Alabai, the Turkmen sheepdog

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The Alabai is one of the most ancient and majestic dog breeds ever, able to show itself from time immemorial as a faithful guardian and companion

History of Alabai

Alabai is one of the oldest breeds in the world, so much so that, according to the latest findings, it appeared as early as 4000 BC, more or less concurrently with the domestication of the first goats and sheep, its great work companions. Originally (and still today), in fact, this dog was used to help shepherds move their flocks in the vast expanses of Central Asia, a place that has always been populated by ferocious beasts and dominated by extreme weather conditions. Precisely to these conditions we owe the imposing and regal physique of Alabai, a perfect blend of power and agility that allowed him to become the undisputed lord of these expanses.

The 6-meter gold statue commissioned by the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow

Unlike many other breeds created in breeding, the Alabai blood was forged by nature and it is the latter that made it such a special beast, always keeping its lineage pure until the arrival of the Russians. The latter tried to “improve” the breed, obtaining however very modest results and, above all, observing an incredible transformation of the dog based on where it was placed. Thanks to its innate adaptability, in fact, this dog tends to develop its body based on the surrounding environment and, not surprisingly, with the passing of generations it tends to decrease in tonnage the further it is away from its homeland. Precisely for this reason, according to many experts it is extremely complicated to maintain the characteristics provided by mother nature, so much so that it should be cyclically crossed with Alabai of the native land. The current president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, in 2020 dedicated a 6-meter gold statue to an Alabai, which has since become officially national heritage along with carpets and horses.


The height at the withers of the males is about 65-80 cm, while that of the females about 60-75 cm. The ideal weight of the first is from 45 to 90 kg, while the second is about 40-65 kg; it must be said that the weight must always be in balance with the height in order to have a dog as healthy as possible. They tend to have short hair, but animals with slightly longer hair are accepted as Alabai; the color can be extremely varied but often the coat is dappled.

Photo taken from the site “Del Parco Di Guerra

The Turkmen tradition has it that his ears and tail are cut off, but these operations are mostly linked to practical needs related to his ancient trade and in many countries they are illegal. The Alabai is an extremely courageous and intelligent dog who knows how to best dose his energies in order to obtain the maximum result with the minimum effort and this makes him an extremely balanced animal. Companion of incredible loyalty, if you know how to earn his trust he will protect you at any cost and by any means.

If you are interested in getting to know this dog even more closely, I recommend the site “Del Parco Di Guerra“, really full of information and experience.

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