Turkmen Alabai, Central Asian Sheepdog (CAS), Aziat, Middle Asian Ovtcharka Articles
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Central Asian Ovtcharkas

Aliases: Turkmen Alabai, Central Asian Sheepdog (CAS), Aziat, Middle Asian Ovtcharka

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Central Asian Ovtcharka Articles

The Breed That Natural Selection Created

When we speak about a breed of dogs nowadays, we usually refer to a group of dogs that are classified together according to a definite set of characteristics that they share. Furthermore, we also intend a group of dogs that was developed by humans; humans had a specific goal in mind for a certain breed and actively sought out and selected for very specific traits to concentrate within a breed so that those dogs could fulfill their purpose. The Central Asian Ovtcharka, though, does not fit this description; many experts agree that this is not a man-made breed, at least not up until this point. This breed is perhaps one of the oldest dog breeds and it is very close to what the ancient Mastiff-type dogs, some of the first dogs to be domesticated, looked like. These dogs have been around for thousands of years. [...]

Central Asian Ovtcharka Variations

As mentioned previously, the Central Asian Ovtcharka, or Central Asian Shepherd dog, is not your typical “breed” of dog. It was subjected mostly to natural selection over a large geographical area and certain subtypes developed that were specifically suited to survive in their own local environments. Usually, the local environments corresponded to the central Asian states that the Ovtcharka called home; today, each state has a specific name for the subtype of Ovtcharka that is found within its borders; indeed, this breed of dog is known by names including Alabai, Aziat and others. The word “ovtcharka” is a Russian word and some feel it is wrong to use this name with the breed, as it is not a purely Russian dog. [...]

Central Asian Ovtcharkas as Guardians

No matter the amount of variation within the breed known as the Central Asian Ovtcharka (more correctly known as the Central Asian Shepherd, or CAS), these dogs developed with one general purpose: guarding their owners and the livestock that belonged to their owners. Only the strongest, most courageous and intelligent of these dogs would survive the harsh conditions under which they and their humans lived and so a breed of dog was born that was the archetypical guardian dog, able to think on its own and willing to sacrifice his own life to save that of his family. Even today, the CAS is used for guardian purposes and makes an excellent watch dog, in both his native country and in locations around the world. [...]

Showing your Central Asian Ovtcharka

While the Central Asian Shepherd is gaining in popularity outside of its native countries, it still is not officially recognized in all registered kennel clubs. It is recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (the World Canine Federation, based in Belgium) and in America, it is recognized by the United Kennel Club. Being recognized allows it to participate in a variety of kennel-sponsored events, including conformation, in which dogs compete in the show ring not against one another but against the standard of their own breed. The breed standard for the Central Asian Shepherd dog at the moment takes into consideration the variation present in this breed, though some dog fanciers would like there to be breed standards for each geographical subtype of Central Asian Shepherd. [...]

Central Asian Ovtcharkas and Dog Fighting

The Central Asian Shepherd, sometimes called the Central Asian Ovtcharka, has been used to guard humans, their camps and flocks for centuries; they considered themselves a part of the livestock, ready to spring into action if any threat should arise. The same held true for the personal property and land of its humans. In the harsh Central Asian countries that it called home, the Ovtcharka often found itself battling large, fierce predators, such as bears, wolves, leopards and even tigers. Only the strongest, most courageous and most intelligent dogs would be able to survive the life that these dogs led. [...]

Owning a Central Asian Ovtcharka

The Central Asian Ovtcharka, or CAO, is not a breed for the faint of heart. If you’ve never owned a dog before, or if you’ve owned something like a Yorkshire Terrier, you should probably not attempt to own one of these Mastiff-type dogs. They can be quite a handful, not in terms of energy, but in terms of sheer size and power. If not properly trained and handled, they could develop very aggressive and violent tendencies, putting others at risk. [...]

The Ancestors of the Central Asian Ovtcharka

The Central Asian Ovtcharka is considered one of the oldest breed of dogs; indeed, some experts claim that it is THE oldest distinguishable breed and could be the ancestor of all modern day dogs, or at least all modern day working dogs. Cynologists (scientists who study dogs) used to believe that the Tibetan Mastiff was the oldest breed and the direct ancestor of the CAO, though there was no concrete evidence to prove this. Now, however, many other theories are popping up and historical and geographical evidence points to the idea that the CAO and Tibetan Mastiff are related, though not necessarily in an ancestor-descendant way, and that the CAO could be the first “true” dog breed. [...]

The Central Asian Ovtcharka and Obedience

The Central Asian Ovtcharka, or CAO, grows to be a very large, massive dog and has the inborn urge to protect his family from strangers; he has the capability of being quite aggressive, as his ancestors were required to fight dangerous predators, such as wolves and tigers. Many people, especially in the US, look to get involved with this breed specifically for their protective characteristics; they view the CAO as an impressive mobile burglar deterrent. What many people don’t realize, however, is that this dog must be trained very early on to not view every single new person or animal as a threat; they must especially be trained to not attack people or animals who approach their homes or family members. [...]

The Central Asian Ovtcharka and the Practice of Ear and Tail Docking

The Central Asian Ovtcharka traditionally has both its ears and tail docked; indeed, engravings and drawings dating back to Assyrian times shows dogs similar to today’s Central Asian Shepherd with their ears and tails cut. Owners claim that this is due to the fact that these dogs often had to do battle with large predators, as well as prove themselves in dog fights. Natural ears and tails provided convenient locations for opponents to grab on and pull, causing damage. A major blood vessel runs through the ears of dogs and if the ear is bitten badly, this vessel could break; a great deal of blood could be lost and the dog could die. [...]

Weird Facts/Did You Know?

Central Asian Ovtcharkas are one of the oldest breed of dogs, dating back thousands of years, and some think they are the ancestors of many of today’s modern breeds. Some experts think that they may have been brought to Mesopotamia by nomads and helped in humanity’s rise to civilization. [...]

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