A-z - Animals

Alabai (Central Asian Shepherd Dog)

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The genetics of the Alabai show that the breed has existed for more than 5,000 years.

The Arabai, commonly known as the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, is a very large breed. Dating back more than 5,000 years, they have historically been used as watchdogs for goats and sheep. Today, the Arabi is still used as a herding dog, but it also helps protect the homes and properties of nomadic peoples.

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The bite force of the Alabai is one of the strongest of all other breeds; their bite force is between 500 and 650 pounds per square inch. Since the breed originated in Central Asia, they are one of the most popular in Russia. In addition to being known as Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Alabais may also be known as Central Asian Ovtcharkas, Central Asian Ovtcharkas and Central Asian Shepherd Dog.

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Owning an Alabai Dog: 3 Pros and Cons

advantage! shortcoming!
Ease of Grooming : The Alabai is very easy to groom and only needs to be brushed once a week. Large : Alabais are a very large breed and require a lot of space and food.
Get along well with other animals : Central Asian Shepherd Dogs generally get along well with other dogs and cats. Can be challenging to train : Alabais are a very independent breed, which can make obedience training more difficult.
Protective : Alabais are brave and will protect their families. If threatened, their bite force of 500 to 650 pounds per square inch supports their bark. Not suitable for apartment living : The Central Asian Shepherd Dog needs to live in a large fenced yard and does not do well in an apartment setting.

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size and weight

The Alabai is a very large breed. Both males and females are at least 25.5 inches tall and may exceed 27.5 inches. They usually weigh at least 88 pounds, but can exceed 110 pounds.

height (male) 25.5" to 27.5+"
height (female) 25.5" to 27.5+"
weight (male) 88 lbs to over 110 lbs
weight (female) 88 lbs to over 110 lbs

breed history

This breed has existed for over 5,000 years. The ancestors of the Arabai people originated from the Caspian Sea and the northwestern regions of China, extending all the way to Asia Minor.

These dogs were originally bred to guard livestock. They have also been bred over the years to be used as personal protection or working dogs. As such, they excel in obedience, territorial protection, and personal protection, and are very intelligent. These traits have evolved from working with humans and adapting as a breed over thousands of years.

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Health and Recreation of the Arabai (Central Asian Shepherd Dog)

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In Turkmenistan, Alabai is considered a symbol of national heritage. In 2020, golden dog statues of the breed were displayed across the country in honor of the breed.

Alabai, a Central Asian shepherd, stands on a rock in the mountains.
Alabai, a Central Asian shepherd, stands on a rock in the mountains.

© Andrey Degtyaryov/Shutterstock.com

common health problems

The Arabian has been around for over 5,000 years, and natural selection has helped create a very healthy and genetically resistant breed. However, due to their large size, they may develop hip or elbow dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip bone does not develop normally. The joints rub against each other and cause deterioration. This can make walking very uncomfortable for Alabai and may require surgery.

Likewise, elbow dysplasia affects Alabai's elbow joint. It can also make walking very difficult and painful. Alabai dogs may also require surgery to correct the condition.

To recap, the two most common health issues faced by Alabais are:

  • hip dysplasia
  • elbow dysplasia

Temperament and Behavior

Alabais have a very independent personality. They are also very assertive, territorial and protective, and may display aggressive behavior if they feel threatened by their loved ones. This breed is very loyal to those they love and are very affectionate.

The characteristics of the Alabai make them good family dogs for families with older children, but due to their size, they are generally not recommended for families with young children.

Front view of charming and smiling Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Alabai, standing on a spring field at dawn.
The Alabai has been around for over 5,000 years and is a very healthy and genetically resistant breed.

©Alex Zotov/Shutterstock.com

How to Care for an Alabai

Because the Alabai is a unique breed, you will need to keep their temperament, size, nutritional needs, activity needs, and training needs in mind when developing your care plan.

best dog food for alabai dogs

Due to its size, we recommend a high-calorie dog food for your Alabai. When choosing a food for an adult Arabian, look for one that is specially formulated for the larger breed. Since Alabais are not a high-energy breed, you should also look for something suitable for a lower-energy breed. Depending on your dog, it may be best to offer them only one larger treat or two smaller treats per day. Your veterinarian will be the best resource for confirming how much food they should be eating and how many servings they should be feeding each day.

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Puppies have different dietary requirements than adult Alabais. They have smaller stomachs and require multiple meals throughout the day. Consult your veterinarian, but in most cases, puppies under six months should eat three to four meals a day.

With that in mind, we at AZ-Animals recommend Nutro Natural Choice Large Dog Mix for your Arabi . This food is a great combination of carbs, protein, vegetables, and more. It's higher in calories for your larger dog.

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overall best

Maintenance and Grooming

Alabais are easy to groom. They don't shed much throughout the year, but do have a very heavy shedding season. Between moulting seasons, Alabai only needs occasional brushing and bathing.

Alabai's nails do grow very quickly and should be trimmed frequently so they don't become too long, crack, crack, or otherwise make the dog uncomfortable to walk on. Owners should also keep Alabai's ears clean and brush their teeth regularly.

dog training

The Alabai's independent nature makes this breed difficult to train. Experienced owners who can devote the necessary time to training the breed are likely to produce the best results. Consistent and fair training is essential to help the Alabai learn what to expect and become an affectionate and well-behaved puppy.

dog sports

While Alabais are not a very high energy breed, they still need daily exercise. Designed to take your Alabai on long walks, give them a task to complete outside, or play with them in the fenced yard. This breed should be exercising for at least an hour each day.


Alabai puppies grow rapidly and owners need to be prepared to meet the breed's growing demands. Puppies need to be given enough playtime and activities to keep them busy and entertained. They often enjoy playing with sturdy toys made of unbreakable rubber.

Before bringing an Alabai puppy home, make sure your home is puppy-proof and that you're ready to take on the responsibility of raising the breed. They require more supervision and more ongoing training than many other breeds.

Alabai puppy on a white background in the studio.
Alabai puppy on a white background in the studio.

© Kristina Korotkova/Shutterstock.com

alabai and children

Alabais are very good with children. They are affectionate, protective and loyal. However, because this breed is very protective, they may not accept strangers in the home, such as a child's playmate. Alabais are also very large and may accidentally injure smaller children, so they should be closely supervised when around children.

Beautiful Great White Alabai, (Central Asian Shepherd Dog), against a background of white snow.
Alabais are great with children because they are affectionate, protective, and loyal.

©Tetiana Dollezhal/Shutterstock.com

dog similar to arabai

Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Mastiff and Tibetan Mastiff are three breeds that are similar to the Arabai.

  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Alabais are both very large breeds, weighing over 100 pounds. Both breeds are very territorial and can make excellent watchdogs. Alabais generally get along better with other dogs and cats than Anatolian Shepherds.
  • Mastiff: Mastiffs and Alabais are affectionate dogs who are very protective of those who are important to them. Mastiffs are more easy-going and easier to train than Arabes.
  • Tibetan Mastiff: Both the Tibetan Mastiff and the Arabai can weigh more than 100 pounds, although the average height of the Arabai is usually 29.5 inches, while the average Tibetan Mastiff is 26.5 inches. Alabais are more suitable than Tibetan Mastiffs for families with children or other animals.
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Alabai vs Kangal

Kangaroos are another ancient breed. They date back to the 12th century, and the Alabais have been around for over 5,000 years. Both Kangals and Alabais were used to protect livestock herds. Both breeds have a strong bite, but the Kangal has an even stronger bite than the Alabai. Both Kangals and Alabais can weigh over 110 pounds, but Kangals can be taller, up to 30 inches.

kangal lying on grass among flowers
Both Kangals (see here) and Alabais were used to protect livestock herds.

© shodography/Shutterstock.com

famous arabais

If you're interested in following some Alabais on Instagram, here are a few accounts you can check out:

  • guardiandogmi: Central Asian Shepherd Mi United States
  • alabai.world: Central Asian Shepherd Dog
  • alabai_montenegro: Central Asian Shepherd Dog

Can't come up with a suitable name for your Alabai? See if one of the top options below is a good fit:

  • Bear
  • maximum
  • duke
  • Apollo
  • Bruce
  • Sadie
  • ruby
  • Zoe
  • harper
  • Fiona

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The price to buy an Alabai from a breeder can vary depending on your location, the dog's pedigree, and the breeder's reputation. Most Central Asian Shepherds cost between $1,200 and $1,500 to buy, but some can cost over $2,000. It is also possible that you can find an Alabai for adoption through a local rescue organization. The price to adopt the breed should be much lower and can range from $100 to $300 depending on the shelter.

Alabais also require care and supplies, which will cost extra money. During your first year of owning your Alabai, you should expect to spend at least $1,000 to $1,500 on everything you need to care for your puppy. The next few years should be less expensive, but it's a good idea to budget at least $500 to $1,000 a year to make sure you have enough to cover everything you need and any unexpected expenses.

Yes, Alabais are generally good with children. They can be great playmates for the children of their trusted family. However, they may not interact with friends who come to Alabai and do not know the child. This is also a very large breed, so they should be closely supervised around young children to prevent accidental injuries.

Alabai's lifespan is usually between 12 and 15 years.

Alabai can be dangerous if provoked. They are very protective of their family members or animals in their care and may attack if they feel it is necessary. And, with their bite force between 500 and 650 pounds per square inch, they can do a lot of damage.

With the right owner, the Alabais can make an excellent pet. They are very loyal and protective. However, they can also be very strong-willed and independent, and require more supervision than most other breeds.

Alabais are very large animals. They weigh at least 88 pounds, but may exceed 110 pounds. This breed is at least 25.5 inches tall, but many Alabais are taller than 27.5 inches.