The Alabay dog
A friend, a defender, a fighter – the Alabay dog has been serving the Turkmen people for generations. There are a great number of breeds of dogs in the world and it is considered that long ago all of them had a common progenitor. Breeding selection pursued practical purposes, creating everything from the more docile domestic breeds to those that are bred for work or as defenders.
The Alabay, or Central Asian sheep dog is one of the most ancient breeds of dogs which inhabit a vast territory extending from the southern Urals to Afghanistan and from the Caspian Sea to China. Scientists consider that wolf dogs’ pedigree is Mesopotamian fighting dogs. The first mention of the Central Asian sheep dog, which is often called”Asian sheep dog”, appeared a thousand years ago. During the excavations of the Altyndepe settlement in Turkmenistan (2000 years B.C.) a terra-cotta statuette of a dog, and remains of a big animal with powerful jaws and a shortened neck, similar to the modern Central Asian sheep dog, were found.
“Alabay” is translated as “multi-coloured or dapple dog”. Its straw, yellow and brown colour perfectly blends with the main colours of the desert. For centuries shepherds in the Karakum Desert have been using these big, powerful dogs for the safe-keeping of their flocks of sheep. The severe conditions of the sandy desert, and a sharp natural selection and strict breeding based on fighting qualities, created this remarkable breed which cannot be confused with any other.