Central Asian Shepherd Dog

The Central Asian Ovtcharka is recognized by FCI, as a Molossoid type dog breed of Russian origin. Most breed representatives reside in Russia, and local Kennel Club officials refer to Central Asians as one of the most popular dog breeds in the country, often rating it as the #1 breed.

Central Asian Shepherd Dog General appearance

Robust dog greater than average size of great strength and power. Independent, curious and alert, yet imperturbable. Dog is as long as tall at the withers, or slightly longer than tall. Short or moderately long hair with heavy undercoat. Ears are cropped very short, tail is docked moderately long (exempt dogs from countries where cosmetic surgeries for dogs are illegal). Most common colors are black/white; fawn of different shades, from almost white to deep red; brindle. Some have a black mask. Head is very solid, without pronounced stop or sculls. Neck is low set, short, dewlap. Body is fairly broad, proportionate, muscles are rather flat. Ribcage appears very long, because of developed false ribs. Straight legs, heavy boning, moderate yet defined angulation. Leg bones must be in proportion, and shall never give impression that any bone is short. Tights, and rump are broad. Typical trait is gallop, however CAO can trot for hours without wearing itself out.

Central Asian Shepherd Dog Working requirements and tests

The Central Asian Shepherd Dog is a working dog breed, and different breed fanciers organizations issue sets or rules and recommendations important to preserve dogs’ abilities to perform certain duties. This includes special tests, allowing to determine dog’s inborn qualities, and training degrees or titles, aiming to show what the dog can learn to do.

National Breed Club in Russia developed a temperament test, that aims to reveal dog’s willingness and abilities to protect premises. Also, one can commonly see mostly titled in Obedience (such as OKD), and in Protection (such as ZKS or KS) dogs in most pedigrees from Russia and other countries of that region. There are several other types of tests and training titles, from simple to extremely complicated.

Breed Clubs in European countries seldom have requirements, while common dog sports such as Schutzhund or IPO are not perfectly suitable for a Livestock Guardian dog. Some European Union Countries developed special tests for large breeds of dogs aiming to reveal dog’s overall stability, such as The Mentality Assessment test in Sweden.

Common tests in USA are Canine Good Citizen by AKC, ATTS Temperament Test by American Temperament Testing Society. Both tests aim to reveal primarily temperament stability, while ATTS is more important for working dogs, as it also allows to rate dog’s reactions needed for protection.

Fight tests are common in countries where the breed is still in aboriginal stage, or in the process of formation. Despite adverse reputation of commercial dog fights, fight tests are aimed to reveal dog’s willingness and abilities to fight the predator. In countries with highly developed open field sheepherding, major livestock herd losses may be caused by predation from feral dogs and wolf-dog hybrids, and the livestock guardian dogs must be able to protect the sheep from those. The fight tests were established to maintain this important breed trait.

And, finally, the real life test for the Central Asian is being a farm dog, or herd protection dog, in any country. Information on Livestock Guardian dogs behavior and specifics can be found at Livestock Guardian Dog Association

Central Asian Shepherd Dog Classification

CAO is a versatile, universal breed, and fits under different descriptions at a time, what is a reason for different Kennel Clubs to classify Central Asians under different dog breed groups. Russian Kennel Club classified The Central Asian Shepherd Dog as a working dog breed, reflecting tremendous results in obedience, protection and military-related training. Modern breeding requirements by leading Kennel Club in Russia include mandatory temperament test and training title, besides show rating. UKC fit them together with other Flock Guardians of similar breeds, matching breed’ natural sheep guarding abilities, proven by breeders and farmers in USA. FCI classified them as Molossoid dogs, sometimes described in different languages as Moloss or Molosser type dogs, likewise, reflecting the match by confirmation and common ancestry between CAO and related breeds.

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