Alabai is the world’s oldest dog breed


Loyal friend and fearless protector

This breed has several names. It is called the Turkmen alabay, or the Central Asian shepherd dog, or the Turkmen wolfhound. The experts believe that this is the oldest dog breed on the planet, the only breed that has not been influenced by other breeds and has preserved its ancient genotype. Alabai, as well as the Akhal-teke horse and the local hound – tazy, are considered by the Turkmen people as the national treasure.

Historical sources and folk legends emphasize the courage and loyalty of the alabays, which are ready to risk their lives and save people.

Archaeological findings in the most ancient settlements of Turkmenistan evidence that the breed has a history of several millennia. Thus, archaeologists have discovered a burial of a large dog with a massive head and powerful jaws dating back to the fourth millennium BC (!) in the settlement of Jeytun, located in Ahal Velayat. After many years of research, the famous archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi came to the conclusion that nowhere in the world is there such a large number of special dog burials as in Margiana in the third-second millennia BC. The alabay burials were discovered even at the royal tombs in Gonur.

Loyal friend

According to archaeological finds in southern Turkmenistan, the large service dogs lived in the settlement of Altyn Depe in a later period – 4000 years ago. They were hardy, unpretentious, easily endured heat, cold, lack of food and water, and covered long distances.

A huge alabay was depicted on the rhyton found at archaeological excavations in Nisa, the capital of the ancient Parthian Empire. The Nisian dogs were unusually strong and fearless; they had a death grip. According to a legend, the alabay dug the teeth into the lion's throat, devotedly protecting its owner, and people could not tear the dog away from the predator, even though it was already dead.

The earliest record of these dogs was found in the Chinese sources, where it was reported that the Central Asian ruler presented a huge dog to the Chinese emperor in 1121 BC.

The above-mentioned facts proved that alabay had a high status in the life of the ancestors of the Turkmen people.

Millennia pass by. The special traits of the alabay, including in dignity, courage, confidence, which determine the peculiarities of their breeding, as well as absolute trust and loyalty to the owner and members of the owner’s family, have been preserved. The dog can even look after children in the absence of their parents.

Shepherd dog
Shepherd dog
Turkmen Alabai
Turkmen Alabai

Turkmen Alabai International Association has been created in Turkmenistan to continue the traditions of ancestors, to preserve and develop the breed and its most valuable qualities that distinguish the Turkmen alabay from other dog breeds. Alabai became the official mascot of the V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which took place in Ashgabat in 2017. After the event, the monument to this mascot, a symbol of the will to win, physical and spiritual strength, was built in the Olympic Village. At the end of 2020, the Monument of Turkmen Alabai was opened at the crossroads in new district in the capital. These landmarks demonstrate respect and reverence for the courage and kindness of these wonderful dogs and emphasize their role in the history and life of the Turkmen people.

Akhal-teke horse