The Alabai dog is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. It is a dog native to Central Asia and was originally used to protect livestock and property. This was due to their strong temperament and great courage. Today, they are still reserved as a guard and defence dog in working environments, although it is a rare breed to see outside Asia.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Alabai dog breed, don’t miss the following factsheet in which we will tell you about the main characteristics of this great dog, also known as the Central Asian Shepherd.

Origin of the Alabai dog breed

Also known as the Central Asian Shepherd, the Alabai is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. There is about 4,000 years of history behind this particular dog breed. It is a breed that arose by natural selection, probably originating from Tibetan mastiffs and Mongolian shepherd dogs.

Its origin was in the nomadic tribes of Central Asia, where these large, stocky dogs were used to protect livestock and property against predators and thieves.

  • They are most commonly found in:
  • Afghanistan.
  • Iran.
  • Kazakhstan.
  • Kyrgyzstan.
  • Tajikistan.
  • Turkmenistan.
  • Uzbekistan.

Characteristics of the Alabai breed

The Alabai (sometimes spelled Alabay) is a breed of large dog. They are stocky and muscular. Unlike most other dog breeds, the Alabai has significant sexual dimorphism. Males are larger and more temperamental than females. In particular, males typically reach a weight of 50-79 kg and a minimum height of 70 cm, while bitches weigh between 40-65 kg and are at least 65 cm tall.

  • The most notable characteristics of the Alabai breed standard are as follows:
  • Its head: rectangular in shape, with a moderately defined fronto-nasal depression. The nose is black, although in white or beige dogs it may be slightly lighter.
  • The eyes convey a confident expression: they are of medium size. The colour of the eyes may vary from dark brown to hazel. The rims of the eyelids are usually black.
  • The ears are pendant: they are medium sized, triangular in shape and set low. It is a breed in which the ears are traditionally cropped. However, we must point out that ear cropping is strictly forbidden in some countries and is something we believe should be banned worldwide as it threatens animal welfare.
  • The neck is strong and muscular: it ends in a deep, broad chest.
  • The limbs are strong: they have large muscles, especially in the thighs.
  • The tail is thick at the base and set a little high: it hangs down to the hock in the shape of a sickle. When the animal is alert, it rises to the level of the back or higher. It is also common to find dogs of this breed with docked tails, although we think exactly the same as with cropped ears. The coat is double-coated, abundant, smooth and thick: most dogs have a coat of about 3-5 cm in length, although in some cases it may be longer. It is a very hardy breed, able to adapt to a wide variety of climates.
  • The coat of the Alabai can be almost any colour (white, black, grey, reddish brown, greyish brown, brindle), except genetic blue or genetic brown in any combination or a black over tan coat.

Alabai breed character

Harsh living conditions and work as a guard dog have influenced the character of the Alabai. In general, they are strong tempered and self-confident dogs. They are protective of their family, but at the same time they are quite independent dogs who expect to be treated with respect. They are distrustful dogs, often wary of unfamiliar people or animals.

Despite having a strong character, they are calm and quiet and adapt well to changes in their environment. They are guard dogs noted for their endurance, their courage in the face of predators and their natural instinct for territoriality. When they feel threatened, they react quickly, confidently and seriously.

Alabai Dog Care

Like any breed of dog, the Alabai requires a certain amount of care to keep it healthy:

  • Grooming: a weekly brushing and a bath once a month will be sufficient to keep the Alabai’s coat in perfect condition. The nails should be trimmed regularly and the ears should be cleaned weekly to prevent wax build-up. In addition, teeth should be brushed every 2-3 days to prevent the onset of periodontal disease.
  • Exercise: Although the Alabai is a calm dog with a low energy level, it is not advisable to keep him confined to a small flat. Ideally, at least a large yard would be ideal. They are dogs with great endurance, so they are ideal for caregivers who like daily walks.
  • Food: Their daily food can be commercial or homemade, but should be adapted to the age, health and activity level of the animal. As this is a large breed, feeding care is essential during puppyhood. Overfeeding during this period can be responsible for important developmental diseases.

What is the health of the Alabai dog breed like?

The Alabai or Central Asian Shepherd is a hardy dog, which has fewer genetic diseases than most other breeds. However, it is not exempt from suffering from pathologies that reduce its well-being and life expectancy, with joint pathologies being the most frequent in this breed.

Do you have a dog of this breed at home? Do you live in Barcelona and are looking for a vet? We can be your veterinary hospital of reference. Contact us!