Central Asian Shepherd Breed Information and Buying advice

Central Asian Shepherd

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Central Asian Shepherd?

Quick Central Asian Shepherd Facts

Average Size of Adult
Huge (5/5)
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Grooming Requirement
Low (1/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Medium (2/3)
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Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
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Breed Group
Working (7/8)
No (2/2)

Central Asian Shepherd (Central Asian Ovtcharka, Alabai, Aziat)


The Central Asian Shepherd is an ancient dog thought to be the oldest breed still in existence today. This is a large, powerful breed that is confident, protective and brave. Central Asian Shepherds are impressive working dogs and are known for being fearless. This breed has been formed through natural selection and its temperament is dependent on its breed line. This is a big dog that looks imposing and needs consistent training from an experienced owner. Central Asian Shepherds are as tall as they are long, they have a broad head and feature loose skin around their neck.  

Physical Appearance 

Central Asian Shepherds are huge dogs that look powerful. They have muscular shoulders, strong thighs and a large chest. The Central Asian Shepherd also has loose skin around their neck, a broad head and a slim muzzle. They have strong jaws and medium, oval, deep-set eyes that can be brown or hazel. Central Asian Shepherds are well proportioned, although they have small feet considering the size of the dog. Their tails are short and their dense coat can be short or long in length and comes in fawn, brindle, grey, black and white colours. 

How big do Central Asian Shepherd dogs get? 

  • Height - Males: 65 - 78cm. Females: 60 - 69cm.

  • Weight - Males: 55 - 79kg. Females: 40 - 65kg.

Character Traits

Central Asian Shepherds are excellent guard dogs, this is something they have been used for in their native lands. The breed is strong, loyal and extremely protective of their family. Central Asian Shepherds are intelligent and have medium energy levels, they are well suited to families that enjoy daily walks and have a large secure garden. 

Due to their highly protective nature, these dogs do best in a quiet home, if you are looking for a dependable guard dog for your home in the countryside the Central Asian Shepherd is a good fit. However, training can be a challenge thanks to the intelligent and independent nature of the breed. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs intelligent? Yes, they are highly intelligent (5/5).

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs affectionate? Yes, towards their family.

Do Central Asian Shepherd dogs have high or low energy levels? Medium - high energy levels (4/5).

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs loyal? Yes, extremely. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs playful? Sometimes. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs aggressive? No, not usually.

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs easy to train? Moderately (3/5), but their training and socialisation need to start at a young age. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs good guard dogs? Yes, they are excellent guard dogs. 

Ability to Socialise 

As Central Asian Shepherds become so large and strong it is important to get them well socialised early so they are manageable and well behaved. They usually get along well with other pets in the house, particularly if they have grown up with them. Central Asian Shepherds bond and play well with children in the family too but will be aloof with strangers. They may also be dominant towards dogs they do not know. 

Do Central Asian Shepherd dogs get along with other pets? Yes, if they grow up with other dogs or cats they will get along with them.

Do Central Asian Shepherd dogs get along with other dogs? Sometimes, they may be dominant towards other dogs they do not know.

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs good with kids? Yes, they form strong bonds with any children in the family and are very gentle around them.

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs good with strangers? No, they are usually suspicious of strangers. 

Lifestyle Suitability

Central Asian Shepherds need a lot of space and enjoy being outside guarding and patrolling. They adapt to living indoors as long as the living space is large enough for them. Central Asian Shepherds are best suited to living in quiet, spacious areas where they have a secure, outside area where they can be off-lead. This breed can handle being left alone for short periods of time but prefers to be around their family so they are best suited to a household where someone is always home with them. Central Asian Shepherds can handle the cold well but do not enjoy hot weather. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs good for first-time owners? No, these powerful dogs need to be trained and handled by someone with experience and confidence. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs hypoallergenic? No. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs prone to drooling? Not generally.

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs a good breed for apartment living? No.

Do  Central Asian Shepherd dogs shed a lot? Yes, they shed moderately all year round and shed a huge amount a couple of times a year. 

Do  Central Asian Shepherd dogs bark a lot? Yes, they often bark at night. 

Can Central Asian Shepherd dogs be left alone at home? Yes, they can handle being alone for moderate periods of time.

Can Central Asian Shepherd dogs handle the heat? They are not particularly good in extreme heat.

Can Central Asian Shepherd dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes, they handle cold weather without a problem.

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs sensitive to loud noises? No.

General Health & Health Issues

The Central Asian Shepherd is a healthy breed that lives for 12-15 years. As natural selection has played a role in the development of the breed it has meant there are few weaknesses to worry about. Due to the large size of the Central Asian Shepherd, they may suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, which can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory pain relief, controlled exercise and surgery. 

How long do Central Asian Shepherd dogs live? - 12-15 years

Exercise & Play Time

Central Asian Shepherds need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. They are not considered high energy but have excellent endurance so make wonderful hiking partners. It’s important to keep Central Asian Shepherds on lead at all times as they can be extremely protective of their family and may see strangers as a threat. Ideally, they should have access to a secure garden where they can roam around off lead and keep themselves busy. It’s best to walk Central Asian Shepherds in quieter areas.  

How much exercise does a Central Asian Shepherd dog need? At least 60 minutes per day 

Do Central Asian Shepherd dogs like water play? Yes, they often enjoy water play on hot days. 

Nutrition & Feeding

Central Asian Shepherds do well with natural or homemade food. As they are so large it is a good idea to get a stand for their feeding bowls so they don’t have to stretch their necks down to eat. It is also best to offer 2 smaller portions rather than 1 big meal each day, this helps prevent your Central Asian Shepherd from bloating. Central Asian Shepherds eat a huge amount of food but every dog is unique so it is important to get a personal dietary plan made to suit your dog. 

Are Central Asian Shepherd dogs prone to weight gain? Yes.

How much should I feed a Central Asian Shepherd puppy? It's best to get a tailored food plan as the size and weight of Central Asian Shepherds varies so much. 

How much should I feed an adult Central Asian Shepherd dog? As these dogs do best on natural food rather than commercial food it is important to get a personal dietary plan made for your Central Asian Shepherd. 

Care & Maintenance

Grooming: Central Asian Shepherds can have long or short coats, either way, they have low grooming needs. However, they do shed a huge amount of fur a few times a year so during this time frequent brushing is required to keep it under control. It is also important to check your Central Asian Shepherd's ears regularly and clean them when it is necessary, this helps to prevent infections. Their nails should also be clipped periodically to prevent them from getting too long. 

Emotional Care: As Central Asian Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs they enjoy training and respond well to positive reinforcement. They are excellent guard dogs and prefer to be around their family but can be left alone for a short amount of time. Central Asian Shepherds aren’t as energetic as you may think but they still need plenty of exercise otherwise they can gain weight and become bored. This breed may channel their frustration by barking incessantly, digging and chewing. 

History of the Central Asian Shepherd

The Central Asian Shepherd is believed to originate from the centre of Asia and can be traced back over 5000 years. The breed has developed without human intervention which has meant it is impossible to accurately trace their origins. Genetically, they are similar to the Caucasian Shepherd, Akbash and Kangal Dog which are all breeds native to the same area as the Central Asian Shepherd. 

The Central Asian Shepherd was later developed by humans into three distinct paths; guard dogs, livestock watchdogs and fighting dogs. Central Asian Shepherds are still used today in the mountains of Mongolia and they continue to guard people and livestock. These dogs are able to cope with extreme climates and have incredible endurance. The Central Asian Shepherd is starting to gain popularity elsewhere in the world thanks to their protective nature, loyalty and good health. 

Interesting Facts About Central Asian Shepherd Dogs

  • The Central Asian Shepherd is believed to be the longest surviving dog breed. 

  • They can cope well in extreme weather.

  • They are believed to be related to the Tibetan Mastiff. 

Getting a Central Asian Shepherd Puppy

Bringing a new puppy home is so exciting, take a look at our buying guide for helpful information on finding and buying a puppy. Be careful of scams and bad practices, it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad online so it is important to ask questions and see the puppy before you pay any money. All breeders are vetted on puppies to ensure they are responsible, take a look at our Central Asian Shepherd page to see if there are any puppies available in your area.  

How much does a Central Asian Shepherd cost to buy? £600 - 1,800 

How much does a Central Asian Shepherd cost to feed? £50 - £65 per month

How much does insurance for a Central Asian Shepherd cost? £30 per month

You could also consider rehoming a Central Asian Shepherd. We’d recommend speaking to your local dog rescue centre about this. The following associations may also be able to help:

Rehome a Central Asian Shepherd with the Dogs Trust