Monday, January 7, 2013


Tedzhen iz Jevdokimovoi Storozhi
photo by Gsicard
Last week Mom and Nicky went to the specialty vet clinic, and when they got there, a humongous white dog was in the lobby, right by the door.  Mom had never seen such a big dog, except for sometimes a mastiff, but this dog was hairier than a mastiff.  So Mom asked the dog's mom if it was a St. Bernard.  The woman said no, and she told Mom what breed it was, but Mom couldn't exactly hear what she said.  Nicky and the big white dog sniffed each other, and the white dog seemed calm and friendly.  Nicky was about as tall as the white dog, but Nicky is way skinnier, on account of being a greyhound, and they looked very strange standing next to each other.

Anyway, when Mom got home, she googled "rare dog breeds" on the internet, and she looked at a bunch of pictures, and she figured out that the dog she and Nicky saw was a Central Asian Shepherd Dog.  This breed is one of the most popular breeds in Russia, but they are not very well known in the U.S.  You can call them CAS for short, or CAO.  The "O" stands for Ovtcharka, which means something like "flock guarder" in Russian.

The origin of Central Asian Shepherds was in Central Asia, as maybe you already guessed.  They were kept by farmers in Russia, Afghanistan, and all those other countries that end with "stan" except for Pakistan.  Mostly, the dogs were used for guarding livestock and sometimes also for the people's protection.  Another thing that people used CAOs for was dog fighting.  But the kind of dog fighting that was done in that area wasn't as violent and bloody as fighting with pitbulls.  Usually, the dogs just wrestled until one showed that he was dominant, and then the other dog left the fight.  Sometimes a submissive dog would leave before the fight even got started.  In most cases, any injuries were pretty minor.

Central Asians are strong and powerful dogs.  Also, they are really big.  The male dogs are 27"--32" tall, and the females are 24"--27".  Males weigh between 121 and 176 pounds, and females between 88 and 143 pounds.  Some males are even bigger.  There is no maximum height or weight for the breed.

The hair of a CAO can be either short or medium length with an undercoat.  In the spring, the dogs shed quite a bit, but the rest of the year, they don't need much grooming.  There are several different colors, and the most common of these are black-and-white, brindle, and fawn in a range from almost white to deep red.  The ears can be cropped and the tail docked, but of course this is not done in countries where it's illegal.

Bayuri Shandi Amina,
18 months old
The CAS is very protective of its human and the human's possessions.  The breed is very smart and independent and good at solving problems.  They get along well with members of their own family, but they can be wary of strangers, and they might try to dominate dogs outside the home.  It's best if their people have experience with dogs who have strong territorial instincts.  A Central Asian does best with a large, fenced yard and regular exercise.  If you go running or for long walks every day, this would be a good dog for you to take along.

The AKC does not recognize the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, but the UKC does.  Also there are several breed clubs such as the CFI in Europe that accept Central Asian registration.

After Nicky saw and sniffed the CAO at VCA Mission, he told me that this would not be a good kind of dog for us to have in our house because it was take up too much space and eat too much of our dog food.  I think he is right about this, so I am not going to ask Mom if we can have one!


  1. Hi Piper, I've just found your blog and think you are gorgeous! Would you be able to ask your Mom to get in touch with me please, cos I would like to use one of the pics on here, and thought it only polite to ask :) My name is Jane and I run a little rescue,

    Thanks in advance and be good!! xxx

  2. What an amazing article! Central Asian Shepherds really do eat a whole lot but they make up for it for being big lovable teddy bears!

  3. On another note, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog was approved to compete in AKC Companion Events and has been assigned the Working Group designation! So exciting for CASD (Central Asian Shepherd Dog) lovers!

    1. Yes, it is exciting that these dogs can compete now in AKC events. They sound like really great dogs!