The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is also known as the Central Asian Ovtcharka. They are a very old breed, dating back about 4000 years. Their exact origin is somewhat unknown, but they are believed to have been developed using the Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs are common throughout Russia, Siberia, Iran, and Afghanistan. These dogs often traveled with nomadic herdsmen and worked to protect the flock. These dogs were also used by the Mongols when they invaded eastern Europe and are believed to have been used when developing many of Europe’s herd-protecting sheep dogs. These dogs are rarely seen outside of central Asia and are currently in decline in favor of the more popular Caucasian Sheepdog. The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is not yet officially recognized by the AKC, but they are being recoded in the Foundation Stock Service. This is a service that keeps track of records and information for breeders of rare dogs.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a very large and muscular dog that is Mastiff-like in appearance. They are a bit longer than they are tall stand at about 24 to 32 inches tall at the withers and should weigh between 88 and 176 pounds. The males are usually much larger than the females. It should also be noted that there is no maximum size for this breed and some have been known to be even larger. These dogs have a large head with a long and powerful muzzle that has only a slight stop. The large nose is black and the eyes are large and deep set. They are dark in color and said to be very expressive. The large ears are floppy and hang down alongside the dog’s head. In central Asia it is common practice to dock the ears and usually the tail is docked as well. These practices are illegal in many parts of Europe. The Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s coat is dense and may be either long or short. The coat comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, but the most common are black and white, shades of fawn, cream, deep red, and brindle. Some of these dogs may also have a black mask. These dogs tend to be relatively low maintenance as far as grooming goes. The coat repels most dirt and they are light shedders except for the spring when they shed heavily. They will require extra brushing during this time.
Central Asian Shepherd Dogs are known as fierce flock guardians, but they known to be very independent and calm. They are known to be affectionate and protective of their families. Sometimes this protective nature can lead to them being aggressive towards other dogs and they also have a tendency to bark at strange noises, especially at night which can be problematic. They also get along well with cats and other dogs as long as they do not present a threat to the Central Asian Shepherd Dog’s dominance. This breed should start their obedience training while they are still puppies, before they become to dominant and independent to train. It is very important that the owner of this dog is a strong pack leader that can be naturally authoritative. This dog is not a breed for everyone. Their owner needs to have plenty of experience with training and must be able to issue commands in a firm and consistent manner. Without proper training these dogs can be very difficult to control. Socializing the Central Asian Shepherd Dog is also very important and should start while they are still puppies. This process should include taking the dog out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. Doing this will help to ensure that they don’t feel threatened by anything new later on in life. Dogs that are poorly socialized are much more likely to be aggressive and overly protective, especially towards other dogs.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog generally requires a large yard and will not be comfortable living in an apartment or other small home. It is important that the yard is fenced in since these dogs like to guard their homes and will expand their territory as far as they can. These dogs enjoy exercise and in addition to a daily walk they will also like going jogging or hiking. This breed is best suited to an active family that will take them out for plenty of exercise daily. Otherwise they will become bored which can lead to obsessive chewing and digging.
Like many large breeds the Central Asian Shepherd Dog is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Many breeders screen for these, but they can still occur. Bloat is a concern for this dog since it is so common in large breeds, but there have been no reported instances in this breed. A healthy Central Asian Shepherd Dog will live about 10 to 14 years.
Overall the Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a rare breed that is well known as a guardian, but they may also be good family companions as long as they are well trained and socialized. They are a relatively healthy breed and require little grooming.