All coat colors and options are possible including solid colors, pintos brindles and particolors.
Lite Shed, Heavy Shed
27-32 inches (65-78 cm)
121-176 pounds (55-79 kg)
24-27 inches (60-69 cm)
88-143 pounds (40-65 kg)
Your Central Asian Ovtcharka will feel most comfortable outdoors. If, however, they need to be indoors, they can become accustomed to living in this manner as well. But because of their size and personality, it is not recommended that they live in an apartment simply because there will not be enough space and outdoor access for this large breed. The Central Asian Ovtcharka does best in moderate to cold climates and will need to have access to shade or air conditioned areas in very hot climates until the dog adjusts.
Some other aliases are Mid Asian Shepherd, Alabai, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, and Sredneasiatskaia Ovtcharka. The Central Asian Ovtcharka has many different names as well as several different appearances depending on the particular area the dog was bred in. Overall the Central Asian Ovtcharka is a muscular, large Mastiff-type dog with a well balanced appearance and a commanding presence. Often at first glance those not familiar with this rare breed may assume it is mixed breed cross between a St. Bernard and a Mastiff. The body of the Central Asian Ovtcharka is very deep, thick and solid in appearance. The shoulders are massive and sloping, as are the hindquarters. The feet are large, round and somewhat arched, almost cat-like in appearance. The body tends to be relatively long and the back may be slightly arched in some variations of the breed whereas others have a very straight topline. It is estimated by breeders that there may be up to ten variations on the Central Asian Ovtcharka breed, ranging from those bred in Afghanistan to those bred in Russia. In some areas the tail is docked very short, while in others it is left natural and full length.
The most common attribute of all the Central Asian Ovtcharka types is the large, intelligent looking head. The head should resemble a mastiff breed with wrinkling often prominent in some Central Asian Ovtcharkas. The muzzle is short with very little stop, and the eyes are dark, deep set and very alert. The ears are often cropped very short, but more and more this practice is banned, so the ears may be folded over and similar to that of St. Barnard. The head is considered to be bear shaped and the nose is very large and dark in all colors. This breed's coat comes in two different types which are short and long. The coat also comes in a large array of colors. The Central Asian Ovtcharka has a large chest, a wide back and is rugged with big bones. This breed has stronger shoulder muscles and great bones in their forelimbs as well as powerful thighs. Their back is not too long and it is also very strong.
There are two distinct coat varieties in the Central Asian Ovtcharka. The most common coat in the Russian varieties is the longer, double coat that is fairly thick and dense all year round. The hair may be slightly wavy in appearance and very thick and heavy around the ruff. The second coat variety is much sorter and less dense, but still a double coat. This is more common of the Central Asian Ovtcharkas seen in Afghanistan and other counties.
The Central Asian Shepherd dogs originate from many different places throughout Central Asia like Tibet, Iran, and the ancient Silk Road. Some people believe that this breed of dog is the ancestor of all the other breeds. There is now genetic evidence that makes it clear that the Tibetan Mastiff is a close relative to the Central Asian Ovtcharka but not an ancestor as was once previously believed. It is important to note that this breed of dog is considered to be the oldest of the ancient Molosser breed of dogs found in the world.
Since this breed of dog is found in many different locations throughout Central Asia, it has been given a wide variety of different names. Thus, each individual country or nomadic tribe has named this dog accordingly. This has lead to some confusion about which types of dogs are actually the true breed with the actual standards and which breeds are later developments that were likely crossed with larger native breeds in the various areas The original purpose for the Central Asian Shepherd dog was for protection of the Central Asian nomadic people and their livestock herds and flocks. The Central Asian Ovtcharka was ideal for this role and was a essential component of most farms and families in these areas for thousands of years. They were also left largely outside, allowing the breed to develop into hardy, healthy and enduring dogs that were capable of being very self-sufficient. Still bred in Russia and other areas as protection and guard dogs, the breed is becoming increasingly popular in many other areas as well. Although currently not formally recognized by the AKC they can be shown under the American Rare Breed Association in the United States.
Generally, the Central Asian Ovtcharka is a protective and dominant dog that has a very strong protective instinct. However, they are also known for being calm and serene and having a very fearless and courageous personality. They are not anywhere near as aggressive and fierce as their close relative the Caucasian Ovcharka. The Central Asian Ovtcharka is very aggressive with other dogs and should always be kept on a leash or lead when out of a fenced yard. Since they are so dominant and dog-aggressive it is important to start socialize training as early as possible so that they can feel as comfortable with stranger animals. Within the home, however, they get along very well with other animals whether they are dogs or cats. Because of their protective nature they are highly wary of any stranger. When it comes to children this breed of dog extends its protective personality to them and it is important to make sure that any strangers are carefully supervised around this dog. Children that are strangers to the Central Asian Ovtcharka should not be left alone with this dog. Carefully socialization as puppies can help minimize this issue with the breed. Despite their protective nature the Central Asian Ovtcharka makes a good dog with children. They are not overly playful after then get out of their puppy stage, but they are good companion dogs for families.
The Central Asian Ovtcharka is a very healthy breed. But, to be on the safe side it is recommended to keep your eyes open for a few conditions that it is more prone to through checkups. For example, this breed of dog is known for having elbow and hip problems at times that will need screenings for to make sure that they do not have any of the common genetic disorders that many large breeds acquire. In addition, it is good to know that although Bloat has been a problem for many of the Mastiff breeds it has not been a problem for the Central Asian Ovtcharka.
The only other condition that is occasionally seen within the breed is hip and elbow dysplasia. This is not uncommon in most breeds and can be tested for by your vet. Dogs with these conditions should not be used in Breeding programs.
The Central Asian Ovtcharka does not require very much grooming and does not need to be professionally groomed at all. While sticks, weeds, mud and other such things tend to get in this dog's coat once they dry they will fall out of the coat and not cause tangles or mats. The coat is naturally very dirt resistant and seems to look clean and groomed even when left natural without regular grooming. The Central Asian Ovtcharka will shed heavily during the spring and then this will be followed by light shedding that extends throughout the remainder of the year. As a result, you will want to brush your dog's coat regularly to remove the dead hair that is being shed from the coat. It is best to do this outside so as to prevent excess hair from accumulating in your home.
Keeping up with your dog's coat grooming needs are important, but you will also want to keep up with trimming their nails once a week to prevent overgrowth. This is a simple process that can be done at home once the dog has been trained to sit or lie down. All you will need is a pair of animal nail clippers that can be purchased from most pet stores. Be careful when you are trimming their nails and be sure to only trim the top of the nail and avoid cutting or nicking the quick. If you need guidance consult with your veterinarian.
You may also need to clean your dog's ears especially if they are suffering from a bacterial infection, allergies, or they have an injury or wound. Use baby oil and a cotton ball to clean their ears and be sure not to push too far into the ear as you do not want to damage the ear canal. Simply wipe the outer ear gently. It is important to keep in mind that if your dog is scratching its ears and or shaking its head more often than usual, you will want to take it to the vet for a check up.
The Central Asian Ovtcharka is a very agile and alert dog even though they can seem slow or lumbering when they are walking around. While this dog is protecting its home or property to the outside observer it may appear to be a very sedentary dog, however, this is not the case. If you love to jog or hike, the Central Asian Ovtcharka is a wonderful companion dog. While some people believe this breed of dog needs very little exercise and others believe it needs a great amount of exercise there is a happy medium. It is recommended that this dog breed have regular, lengthy exercise times as well as shorter, more intense activities. It is important to walk your Central Asian Ovtcharka regularly to ensure that they have the proper body and muscle development.
A home with a large backyard that is fenced in is a good idea to help accommodate their love for the outdoors and their need to be active and exercise. In addition to enjoying being active, this breed of dog enjoys keeping watch over the territory it lives on. And, if there is not a secure fence on the land, the Central Asian Ovtcharka will try to expand and claim as much territory as it possibly can. With a medium to larger sized yard the Central Asian Ovcharka will have enough room to patrol and monitor to keep in good physical shape. As the dog ages he or she will tend to be less active and may need more structured exercise to keep from gaining weight.
The Central Asian Ovtcharka does best with a consistent training regime. Because it is known to be a moderately independent breed of dog training needs to consist of a firm, yet gentle manner and early obedience and socialization is important and recommended.
It is very important to create a daily routine that will help prevent housebreaking accidents that can happen when your Central Asian Ovtcharka is first brought home. You will want to create a schedule that consists of taking your dog outside before you go to work, when you get home, and then once again before you go to bed. This routine will help your dog learn to have more control when you are not home. When you give your dog a daily routine it will also help it feel more comfortable around people and its surroundings. Since the breed is so large crate training is often difficult once they have matured past the puppy stage so early housebreaking if they are to be indoor breed is very important. Because the Central Asian Ovtcharka is very protective, training your dog with commands for public situations is important. One great way to get your dog to feel more comfortable around people they do not know is to walk your dog in public. When you are teaching your dog a new command it is a good idea to give it a treat whenever they complete a command successfully. This will give your dog an incentive to continue to follow your commands and want to please you. In addition, if you are thinking about enrolling your puppy in an obedience training class, it is a good idea to consider both the puppy's age and ability to master basic commands. You may wish to consider speaking with the trainer to let him or her give you some advice on when to best start socializing and training your Central Asian Ovtcharka.