Turkmen dog - Alabai is a beautiful and courageous animal. For many centuries it has helped Turkmen shepherds to safeguard flocks of cattle in heavy conditions of sandy desert. This magnificent dog can not be confused with one other breed. Strong, well built alabai is fascinating in its nobleness of movements, confidence and calmness. But anyone who has seen this fighter struggles with a predator will never part with his alabai... Now Turkmen wolfhound has a lot of friends and admirers all over the world. It is a fact that this breed has been created by genetic selection. From time immemorial shepherds selecting set dogs to fight. They kept the winner. In fact, they needed a courageous fighter capable of protecting a flock of sheep. Even today during dogfights experts evaluate its hind and fore legs positioning, width and the upper part of chest, waist strength, steep ribs and long false ribs. "A wolfhound should have a strong short neck - they say - a massive heavy head with smooth transition from forehead to muzzle similar to a polar bear's". All these qualities of the breed representative are fixed only on a ring during dogfights.
Today alabai is treasured not only by the people who have created the breed but also by all who has grown fond of these animals and highly appreciates this courageous protector and friend. Considered by many to be just a regional variant of the Central Asian Ovcharka, the legendary Alabai is a respected working breed in its native Turkmenistan, where it is highly valued for its purity and personality traits, as well as its superb resilience and guarding abilities. This impressive Molosser is one of the oldest natural mastiffs in the world, having remained virtually unchanged for nearly 5000 years, with only occasional limited interference from humans, whose requirements and high standards ensured the survival of only the best working bloodlines. Although popular belief classifies the Alabai as a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff, this is most certainly incorrect, since the mighty Turkmen Volkodav is much older than the dogs of Tibet and has been protected from the influence of other breeds for centuries by the geographical isolation of its home region.
Some believe that the Alabai is the original Asiatic Mastiff and the key progenitor of most world breeds, including the mythical Tibet Dogge. Like with other ancient breeds, there are many folk stories and legends mentioning the Alabai, some of them describing it as a result of mating's between leopards and sheep, as well as tigers and wolves and so on. The old proto-Turkmen Huns and related Asian tribes were known for their dogs and strict breeding rules since ancient times, a practice which has resulted in the establishment of their superb working breeds, the most famous of which are the Tazy and the Alabai. Rugged, obedient and protective, the Chokcha has traditionally been kept as a settlement watchdog and livestock guardian, prized for its size, strength, agility and courage.
Over the centuries of warfare, this region of Central Asia has been invaded by many conquerors, including Alexander the Great and the Turks and Arabs, all of which introduced new customs and beliefs to the area. Alexander the Great was very fond of Asian mastiffs and has brought many dogs back to Greece with him, from where the Alabai influenced a great number of European breeds and became one of the most important mastiffs in the legendary Molossian foundation stock. This majestic breed also played a role in the development of other important historic Molossers, from the very influential Alaunt and the large mountain dogs of Kavkaz and the Balkans to the mastiffs of Italy, France and Spain.
In its home region, the Chokcha suffered greatly during the islamization of Asia in the 7th century, due to the conquering Arabs' opinion that the dog is a vicious and filthy animal, resulting in systematic destruction of large aggressive mastiffs, which were until then considered near-sacred by the Zoroastrians of the area. The nomadic Turkmen tribes were allowed to keep a limited number of dogs with their herds, so they chose only those examples which possessed the best working qualities and calm, reliable temperaments. From this carefully selected group of dogs, the modern Alabai has inherited its fantastic working abilities, appearance and personality that make it one of the most impressive Molossers in the world.