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The Central Asian Shepherd

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226 – The Annual, 2020-21

By Amy Fernandez

It’s always tricky generating media attention for obscure breeds. There’s no telling how the press is going to run with the story–and it can really backfire sometimes. Take it from someone who spent decades trying to find a mainstream presentation for the Xoloitzcuintli. I mean even the name is a giant obstacle to popular appeal. Of course, the entire process is way easier if you happen to be an autocratic dictator with unlimited resources at your disposal. In that case you just take the bull by the horns and ….erect a 19-foot gold statue in the center of town. That does the trick every time.

Not long ago, the Central Asian Shepherd Dog was instantly vaulted from obscurity to global news buzz thanks to a former dentist, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who has reigned as president of the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan since 2007. His devotion to the breed is no secret. Last year he published a deluxe book on the breed. In addition to the usual fare of breed books, this volume features his own rhapsodic poetry.

Although the Ovtcharka is designated as Turkmenistan’s national breed, this tiny country actually has no particular claim on it. Also known as the Alabai, it is one of several ancient molosser strains developed to guard livestock throughout Central Asia. Indigenous strains, believed to have originated over 4000 years ago, still abound from the Ural Mountains to the Caspian Sea. And the breed is also a thriving presence throughout Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Its kinship to both the Akbash and the Kangal Dog is unmistakable.

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226 – The Annual, 2020-21

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Posted by on Jan 15 2021. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  • March 2021