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central asian ovtcharka picture

Size: Very large
60 - 71 cm (23 - 28 inches)
Weight: 37 - 50 kg (80 - 110 lb)
Life Span: 11 years
Independent & fearless
Country of Origin:
Russia & Central Asian Republics
AKC Group:
Not registered
Other Names:
Middle Asian Ovtcharka, Mid-Asian Shepherd, Central Asian Sheepdog, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Alabai, Turkmen Alabai, Sredneasiatskaïa Ovtcharka, Asiatic Mastiff

central asian ovtcharka

The Central Asian Ovtcharka is fearless, independent, calm, protective and territorial. Central Asian Ovtcharkas tend to be strong-minded with natural protective instincts for their family and property. They get along well with all members of their family but are suspicious of strangers and should be supervised when around unfamiliar children. It is extremely important that Central Asian Ovtcharkas are socialized from an early age with different animals and people for them to make good household pets. They should get along with other dogs and household animals, provided that they are not perceived as a threat. Central Asian Ovtcharkas need a handler that understands their temperaments and can provide firm training to avoid them becoming overly dominant.

Central Asian Ovtcharkas can either be the short-haired variety or long-haired variety. Obviously the long-haired type requires more grooming, but generally this breed is easy to groom and maintain. The coat allows any dirt to be brushed out easily once it is dry. These dogs shed heavily in spring and need extra brushing during this time to remove the loose hairs.

These dogs need a large area of space in which they can exercise and roam freely. If they do not have adequate space they can become bored and start chewing or digging. Central Asian Ovtcharkas are territorial and need to be kept in a well-fenced property as they will extend their territory as far as they can. They prefer to live outdoors so they can watch over their territory, but they can happily adapt to living in the home. Central Asian Ovtcharkas can be good jogging/walking companions.

These fearless and bold herders have been used as guard dogs for livestock in Central Asia for hundreds or possibly thousands of years. Rather harsh natural selection helped develop this breed, as only the the hardiest puppies that survived the extreme climates were allowed to stay with the flocks. The Central Asian Ovtcharka is likely to have descended from the Asian Mastiffs and is a close relative of the Caucasian Sheepdog.

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Muscular and powerful with massive bone structure.
Color: Black, grey, reddish-brown, brindle, straw-colored, grey-brown, parti-colored or ticked.
Coat: Two coat types are accepted: (1) The short-haired variety which is 1.5 -2 inches in length, or (2) The long-haired variety which is 2.75 - 3 inches in length with extra hair on th ears, neck, tail and on the back of the hind legs. Both varieties are double coated with long, coarse outer guard hairs and a dense, soft undercoat.
Tail: Set high, tapering and carried above the level of the back when in action. Docking is optional.
Ears: Set low, small, pendant, triangular and cropping is optional.
Body: The body is a slightly longer then tall with a strong, moderately long back. The ribs are well-sprung and let down to the elbow or slightly below. The chest is deep and broad and the topline declines slightly downwards. The loin is muscular, short, broad and slightly arched and the croup is long, muscular and broad.

Additional Comments:

  • Central Asian Ovtcharkas are natural guardians and they like to bark at night, which may be problematic if neighbours are within close proximity.
  • Central Asian Ovtcharkas are found in Iran, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgyzstan, Turkmenistan, but are still very rare within the United States
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