The ancient Dakhmarda Mastiff belongs to the group of Central Asian Molossers found in Tajikistan. Used for protecting livestock and property, as well as for fighting duties, the Dakhmarda is a strong and resilient working dog. Seen as a variant of the Central Asian Ovcharka, the Dakhmarda resembles other types of that breed, but is still easily distinguishable from the Alabai of Turkmenistan and the Russian military lines, in terms of appearance and coat colouring, possibly due to some Kangal influence. A number of fanciers believe that those dogs within the Dakhmarda population that exceed 27 inches in height have most likely been crossed with the dogs from Turkey, even though it is almost certain that the Tajik dogs had initially been one of the ancestors of Turkish breeds. The Tajikistan Mastiff can be found outside of its native region, but it's usually presented as just a fawn-coloured Central Asian Shepherd Dog, disregarding its true ancestry and country of origin. There is also a sub-type of the breed known as Chorashma, which is a black-n-tan or a black-n-white dog, but otherwise near-identical to the fawn variety in terms of physical and temperament characteristics, apart from being slightly heavier and having a fuller coat. It should be noted that not all fawn-coated Central Asian Ovcharkas are automatically pure Dahmardas, although most of them definetely show its influence, but there are some Russian and western-bred dogs that have no ties with the Tajik dogs at all, being a result of introducing other breeds into the C.A.O. bloodlines. There are no known breeders of the mighty Dakhmarda outside Tajikistan.
Intelligent and serious, the Tajikistan Sheepdog makes an agreable companion, but is very suspicious of strangers and aggressive towards other dogs, needing early and broad socialization. Wide-chested, squarely built, muscular and lean, it is an agile and healthy Moloss, capable of working for long periods of time. The head is large, with a strong muzzle and well-developed jaws, but without the overly mastiffy features associated with some other varieties of the Central Asian Ovcharka. The tail is docked and the ears are usually cropped, but unaltered dogs can be found as well.
The thick weatherproof coat comes in a variety of solid wheaten, tan and fawn shades, with or without a black mask, as well as in the above-mentioned Tchoraschma black-n-white or black-n-tan colourings, sometimes with white markings. Among the fawn-based dogs, bicolour examples are considered unpure and are undesired, although small white markings on the neck, chest and paws are tolerated. The height ranges from 24 to 32 inches, but most dogs are around 27 inches tall.