The Caucasian Shepherd and Central Asian Shepherd, also known as Alabai, are two strong livestock guardian breeds with similar appearance and temperament. Today will tell you what are the similarities and differences between the Caucasian and Central Asian Ovcharka.
Both breeds were developed for the same purpose, to be independent, hard working, alert, very brave and decisive livestock guardian dogs.
The Central Asian Ovcharka originated in the area between the Ural, Caspian Sea, Asia Minor, and the Northwest border of China where it naturally developed by adapting to its purpose and to local environement. The breed has very long history, which is thousands of years long and basically, over it developed into the dog we know today by surviving of the fittest.
On the other hand, the Caucasian Ovcharka was developed by deliberate breeding of Soviet cynologist in 1920s from strong livestock guardian dogs found all over the Caucasus mountains, such as Georgian Shepherd.
Over the time, both breeds found another utilization, next to the livestock protection. Both were used for guarding property as well. The Central Asian Shepherd was also very often used for dog fights and the Caucasian Shepherd was used by soviet military and police, for example for patroling borders.
Both breeds have very similar temperament and they are excellent for guarding purposes. They are both extremely strong, brave, territorial, naturally agressive when its needed, but also absolutely loyal to its family. Both breeds have well balanced temperament and they are extremely independent. They have to be. Both breeds are active guards and they will use their power and force to protect the livestock, people or territory.
But there are some differences in their temperament as well. The Caucasian Ovcharka is more lively, more active and explosive, while the Central Asian Shepherd is slightly calmer breed.
Both breeds must be alert with strangers. But they should accept the stranger when they see they are your friends. Both breeds can be good loyal family companions as well. They are typically quite gentle with kids and they truly love their whole family. But they might not be overly affectionate just like some other breeds.
The Caucasian Ovcharka tends to be little bit more affectionate and lets say emotional, some might say charming, than the calmer Central Asian Ovcharka.
Because of their history as military dogs, the Caucasian Ovcharka is also better fit for property guards and as territory protectors, but to be honest, both breeds will be amazing for this purpose.
The Central Asian Ovcharka tends to be more dog agressive, which is most likely due to their history as dog fighting dogs. For a long time these dogs were used in large numbers for this cruel dog sport. The Caucasian Ovcharka might also be dog agressive, but to far lesser extent that Central Asian Ovcharka.
And what about the appearance differences between two dogs? Well, on the first sight, it is the coat. The Caucasian Ovcharka has ancestry in cold and harsh Caucasus mountains, which is why they have longer and denser doublecoat. The Central Asian Ovcharka also has a doublecoat, but it is much shorter.
Both breeds are very very large. The breed standards of both dogs states minimum size requirements for both breeds and they are 64 cm and 45 kg for the Caucasian Ovcharka, which is 100 lbs and 25 inch and minimum size requirements for Central Asian Shepherd are 65 cm and 40 kg, which is 26 inch and 88 lbs. But both breeds can be much much larger than that and it is not uncommon for them to weigh over 100 kgs, which is 220 lbs.
So they have similar size, but in general, the Caucasian Ovcharka is the stockier breed, while the Central Asian has slightly more athletic appearance and it is leggier than Caucasian Shepherd.
Both breeds have similar lifespan around 10 or 11 years, which is pretty normal for dogs of this size and they are both very resilient dogs. They can suffer from some joint and bone problems, which is very typical for all the giant dogs.
It is also important to mention, that the two breeds are more and more similar together, which is due to migration of the native dogs between the adjacent geographic areas. It is very common for these two breeds to mix together.