This name has been used throughout history for a great number of breeds, some originating in Persia and others with no known ties to the Iranian dogs. The Persian Shepherd Dog is one of the oldest living Molossers, even though it has never been standardized or recognized as a distinct breed. Its ancestry is rooted in the same canine stock from which the Turkish Kangal, Afghan Sage Rama, Armenian Gampyr, Caucasian Ovcharka, Sarplaninac and other ancient breeds of Greece and Asia developed in their respective regions.
The Persian Sage Shaban is also related to the legendary mastiffs of the area, such as the Hyrcanian, Assyrian, Carmanian and other Molossers, as well as the mighty Siah Sag, Sage Mazandarani and Shahsavan Mastiff. There was a dog registered under the "Persian Sheepdog" name at the London Zoo in 1840, but it isn't clear whether this was truly a representative of the breed or simply a common large herding dog imported from the East and mistakenly presented as a real Sage Galleh Parsi.
This rugged working Moloss can still be found today in Iran, where it is employed for the job it has been bred to do for ages. An excellent protector of livestock, the Sage Galleh Parsi moves slowly and doesn't herd the sheep at all, like some popular western breeds, but rather follows its master and his flock, always keeping a watchful eye over them. Usually in packs of 3 or more dogs, the Persian Sage Shaban guards the herd and property very aggressively and is known to be overly vicious towards strangers and an intimidating enemy to any intruder or potential predator.
These working dogs aren't kept as pets and their meals are scarce and not at all guaranteed, forcing the breed to evolve over time into self-sufficient, hardy and modest animals, able to survive on a poor diet of occasional handouts from the shepherds. In appearance similar to the Kangal or a leaner CO, the Persian Sheepdog is a large Molosser, strong-boned, muscular and resilient, well-adapted to its harsh surroundings. Ears and tail are commonly cropped for work, but many specimens can be seen left in their natural state.
The coat is dense, hard and flat, common in two lengths, these being the short and long and a variety of shades, both solid and bicoloured, with the majority of dogs having fawn, wheaten and cream colourings, with or without white markings.
Average height is around 28 inches, although taller examples exist.