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Tzar
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Hi there .. I am interested to learn about the different types of CAS; Central Asia is a vast area with different terrains; for example only:  How many types/strains?  What are the physical differences between the different types e.g. CAS from the steppes, CAS from the mountains etc?  How can the different types be identified?  Does 'type' = 'strain'?  What are the different traits between the different types, or do all CAS's have the same trails?  What do different types of CAS excel in over the other e.g. steppe type can jump higher than the mountain type?  Not sure what else ..

Please note that the intention behind this post is not about which strain or type is better so please let us not get into that; I just want to learn about the different strains and types of CAS please .. Thank you ..

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  • Hello Tzar,

    I took a look back at the profile we have for the Central Asian Shepherd Dog and am sharing this tidbit as I think it addresses your post.

    Central Asian Shepherd Dogs had existed in many different types of varying sizes, coats, colors and temperaments, depending on their primary use and region of origin.

    To this day, it can be said that the Russian dogs differ from dogs found in Turkmenistan, both of these types being very different from those of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which in turn aren't the same as the dogs of Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and so on. But, until these countries develop strict standards for their dogs and get recognized as separate breeds, the name Central Asian Shepherd Dog is being used for all of them. Some consider even the Sage Koochee and the Sarmatian Mastiff to be nothing more than types of the Central Asian Ovcharka, but this notion is understandably disputed by the fanciers of those breeds.

    Only the Alabai of Turkmenistan and the very rare Tobet of Kazakhstan are somewhat standardized and on their way to possible separate recognition, while most of these other countries aren't showing any interest in doing that, due to their general disregard for the Western ways. Their dogs are bred for work, not for show and that's the way it has been done for thousands of years.

    Thank you for starting this discussion - let's see if others have comments. 

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    • Ah, here in the 'west' we demand standards for supply and demand markets - so establish CAO standards for safety and profit....  

      Merry Christmas everyone.   smile

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      • That is so true knichol5, most of our breed clubs are commercial entities out for profit and really don't have the original intent of breed preservation any more. Look at what the AKC has done to the German Shepherd and the Neapolitan Mastiff.

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        • Yes, Gary_Sicard, true profit is the breeds' helping us with the tasks at hand along with loyal spirit and wise discernment (function of good training noted).

          Godspeed in good stewardship.

          Kevin

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        • Hi Gary

          A very valuable piece of information; thank you; it sums it up nicely; it also confirms my understanding that there are varying types and strains; however, I don't think that the response fully addresses the post, as a question is about both the physical and temperament differences between CAS types and strains.

          To start and without being fussy, does Type = Strain? I am just trying to narrow the discussion as much as possible, and as a dog owner not a breeder, I am really eager to learn and don't mind being spoon fed :)

          The most interesting part in your response for me is that there are still some countries that focus on dogs that are bred for work, and not for show; thank God for that :) Applying the rule of elimination from what you said, these countries are: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgystan.

          Having said that, I believe that the Russian CAS produced by the late Red Star Kennel was very successful in producing exceptional quality of guard CAS; where they also exceptional as shepherds; I wonder what happened to the Red Start Kennel, who inherited their breeding stock, and again what are physical and temperament differences between the Russian CAS and the rest?

          The more I think about it, the more I realise how large the topic is .. So, if you may please allow me, I will come back to where I started:

          What are the physical differences between the different types?  How can the different types be identified?  What are the different traits between the different types?  What do different types of CAS excel in over the other? 

          Perhaps, it might be easier, as a starting point, to classifying CAS according to their terrain: Mountain Type, Steppe Type and Desert Type - And build up from there ..

          Thank you for your time, and I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a Blessed Festive Season and a Happy 2020 :)

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          • To start and without being fussy, does Type = Strain? 

            What are the physical differences between the different types? 

            How can the different types be identified? 

            What are the different traits between the different types? 

            What do different types of CAS excel in over the other? 

            Perhaps, it might be easier, as a starting point, to classifying CAS according to their terrain: Mountain Type, Steppe Type and Desert Type - And build up from there ..

            Type = Strain - Yes this is loosely used to mean the same thing though in some cases a type is an established subset of a population. The Mountain Type - would be a good description, not mountain strain. A breeder can produce a strain from that type - say a particular coloring or maybe a lighter boned strain. It is good to find out how the terms are used before deciding on the relevant meaning. In my case, I use type to be established and recognized and strain to be a particular variant of the type.

            Physical Difference - are mainly the three that you mentioned and have to do with morphology. Mountain types are usually heavier boned and greater mass on the body. Longer coated with a double coat, heavier blockier heads, deep wide chest, and large paws - all adopted to moving on the mountain and snow. Steppe are not as heavily built have the body type that is between the plains type and the mountain type. Of course, this is dictated by habitat and function. Look for lighter-colored, narrower dogs that can traverse the large expanses of land quickly and efficiently.  Longer legged, slightly longer blocky muzzle deep-chested, well tucked up and powerful well-coupled structure. Plains version (desert type) by necessity are slightly built animals with long legs, deep chest, strong lithe muscles, and narrower heads compared to the mountain type. Colors would range more to fawn, straw and multi-colored including a good dose of white. Have a look at some photos here.

            You will see many Turkmen Alabai and other types. Some look like Caucasians with docked tails - possibly mountain type and some may resemble the Kangal or Anatolian but with different coloring.

            This one is Russian: 

            Have a look at Murat that was used as a fighting dog - http://sicard.net/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=1051

            This one is a Russian import to Israel.

            http://sicard.net/gallery/displayimage.php?pid=1905

            Temperament is a function of breeding and work. it takes about three generations to completely change the temperament in a breeding kennel. The tasks that the dogs is bred for will dictate their temperament.   Will continue the discussion later - Christmas calls. :)

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            • Gray; this is a grand reply; thank you; I noticed that breeders often avoid this subject; not only here but also on Facebook; not sure why exactly such a basic topic may become sensitive; I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic and I look forward to learn more especially about the difference in temperament between the 3 main types of CAS; this would be very interesting to read (on the root of the discussion please); thank you :)

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            • So the temperament is going to be a function of the breeding and the work that the dogs are engaged in doing. Regardless of type, the CAS should be protective, wary of strangers, and belicose. Breeders tend to breed for what the market demands and, as such, you will find that the temperament is being diluted and softened by breeding the weakest dogs to other weak dogs - removing the behavior that may not be welcomed in today,s litigious environment. Removing or softening the exact behavior that made the breed special in the first place.

              Breed clubs also want their "breed" to be accepted by the mainstream dog clubs and that required a softening of the dogs so they are acceptable to strangers getting in their faces.  Thus, the breed, once accepted by the major kennel clubs are changed forever.

              So, when looking for a dog it is important that you select your breed and then find a breeder that breeds dogs to do the work that you envision.  Not an easy task today.

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              • Hi Tzar Tzar(2) 

                did you find a breeder of choice or have have you decided on another breed?

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