The Central Asian Shepherd Dog (CASD), also known as the Alabai, Aziat, and Central Asian Ovcharka, is one of the oldest and most natural breeds in existence today. It is a large and powerful breed of dog that originated in the Central Asian region, including countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. These dogs were traditionally used to protect livestock and property, and they have a natural instinct to guard and defend their people and territory. The breed's history stretches back over 4,000 years, when they were first used by nomadic tribes for hunting, herding, and protection. They were highly valued for their ability to protect flocks of sheep and goats from predators like wolves and bears, and their courage and loyalty made them prized companions for their owners. Over time, the CASD became a popular breed throughout Central Asia, and they continued to be bred for their size, strength, and protective instincts. Today, they are still widely used as working dogs, but they are also kept as pets and are recognized as a distinct breed by several kennel clubs around the world. Central Asian Shepherds are known for their thick, fluffy coats, which come in a variety of colors, including white, black, gray, and fawn. They are also characterized by their large, muscular bodies, broad heads, and strong jaws.
The Central Asian Shepherd breed is at a higher risk for Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, a skin and connective tissue condition that results from the improper functioning of Collagen Type VII, which connects the surface layer of the skin to the underlying tissue. Like many other breeds, they can suffer from additional genetic conditions including degenerative myelopathy, hyperuricosuria, and eye disorders such as progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Central Asian Shepherds are known to be fiercely protective and independent. These dogs are bred to work and make decisions on their own, which can make them a challenge for an inexperienced owner. They are typically reserved with strangers, but should not be aggressive without provocation.
They are often described as calm and balanced, with a highly developed protective instinct. They are known to be gentle and affectionate with their family members, including children, but they need to be properly socialized from a young age to ensure that they are well-behaved with other animals and people.
Despite their large size, they can adapt to various living conditions, as long as they get sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation. They need a strong, consistent leader who can provide them with clear rules and boundaries.
Some dogs of this breed are known to have a lifespan of 17+ years.
The first breed standard for the Central Asian Shepherd Dog was written in the USSR in the 1920s. This breed standard, and the breed's recognition by various kennel clubs, helped to solidify the breed's characteristics and ensured its survival into the modern era.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Central Asian Sherpherd Dogs are said to be the oldest known group of dogs in existence, with history that goes back 5,000 years based on artifacts found throughout Central Asia.
This breed has been recorded in the AKC's Foundation Stock Service since 1996.