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Canis lupus

Last updated: December 11, 2021
Verified by: IMP
Image Credit ElenaChelysheva/

The Alabai’s genes indicate that this breed has been around for more than 5,000 years.

Alabai Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Alabai Conservation Status

Alabai Locations

Alabai Locations

Alabai Facts

Fun Fact
The Alabai’s genes indicate that this breed has been around for more than 5,000 years.
Independent, proud, and affectionate

Alabai Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Black
  • White
  • Brindle
  • Multi-colored
Skin Type
12 – 15 years
110+ lbs

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Alabai as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,200 to $1,500
Dog group
Male weight
88-110 lbs
Female weight
88-110 lbs

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The Alabai’s genes indicate that this breed has been around for more than 5,000 years.

Alabais, commonly referred to as Central Asian Shepherd Dogs are a very large breed. They can be traced back over 5,000 years and have historically been used as a guard dog for goats and sheep. Today, Alabais may still be used as a shepherd dog, but they are also used to help protect the family and possessions of nomads.

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Alabais have one of the strongest bites of any other breeds; their bite force is between 500 and 650 pounds per square inch. As the breed originated in Central Asia, it makes sense that they are one of the most popular breeds in Russia. In addition to being called a Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Alabais may also be called Central Asian Ovtcharkas, Middle Asian Ovtcharkas, and Mid-Asian Shepherds.

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Owning an Alabai: 3 Pros and Cons

Pros! Cons!
Easy to groom: Alabais are pretty easy to groom and only need to be brushed about once a week. Large: Alabais are a very large breed and will require a lot of space and food.
Good with other animals: Central Asian Sheep Dogs are generally good with other dogs and cats. Can be challenging to train: Alabais are a very independent breed, which can make obedience training more difficult.
Protective: Alabais are courageous and will protect their family. Their bite force of 500 to 650 pounds per square inch backs up their bark if threatened. Not suited for apartment living: Central Asian Shepherd Dogs need to live in a home with a large fenced-in yard and will not do well in an apartment setting.
Central Asian shepherd, Alabai, standing on a rock in the mountains.
Central Asian shepherd, Alabai, standing on a rock in the mountains.

Degtyaryov Andrey/

Alabai Size and Weight

Alabais are a very large breed. Males and females are both at least 25.5 inches tall and may be over 27.5 inches tall. They typically weigh a minimum of 88 pounds, but can get up to over 110 pounds.

Height (Male) 25.5 inches to 27.5+ inches
Height (Female) 25.5 inches to 27.5+ inches
Weight (Male) 88 pounds to 110+ pounds
Weight (Female) 88 pounds to 110+ pounds

Alabai Common Health Issues

The Alabai has been around for over 5,000 years and natural selection has helped to create a very healthy and genetically resistant breed. However, since they are such a large breed, they may develop hip or elbow dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip bone does not develop properly. The joints rub against each other and cause deterioration. This can make it very uncomfortable for an Alabai to walk and may require surgery.

Health and Entertainment for your Alabai

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Similarly, elbow dysplasia affects an Alabai’s elbow joints. It can also make walking very difficult and painful. An Alabai may require surgery to correct this condition as well.

To review, the two most prevalent health concerns that Alabais face are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia

Alabai Temperament and Behavior

Alabais have a very independent personality. They are also very confident, territorial, and protective, and if they sense a threat towards their loved ones may exhibit aggressive behaviors. This breed is extremely loyal to their loved ones and can be quite affectionate.

The Alabai’s traits make them a good family dog for homes with older children, but due to their size are generally not recommended for homes with small children.

How to Take Care of an Alabai

Since an Alabai is such a unique breed, you will need to keep their temperament, size, nutritional needs, activity needs, and training needs in mind when creating a care plan.

The Best Dog Food For Your Alabai

Because of its size, we recommend a high-calorie dog food for your Alabai. When choosing a food for an adult Alabai, look for one specifically formulated for large breeds. Since Alabais are not a high-energy breed, you should also look for something for lower energy breeds. Depending on your dog, it may be best to offer them just one larger serving of food each day or two smaller servings. Your vet will be the best resource to confirm how much food they should eat and how many servings they should be fed each day.

A puppy will have different dietary requirements than an adult Alabais. They have smaller stomachs and will need to eat multiple small meals throughout the day. Check with your veterinarian, but in most cases, puppies under six months old should eat between three and four meals a day.

Based on this we at A-Z-Animals recommend Nutro Natural Choice large breed dog food mix for your Alabai. This food has a good combination of carbs, protein, vegetables, and more. It is extra calorie-dense for your large breed dog.

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NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Kibble, 30 lb. Bag

  • Contains one (1) 30 lb. bag of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Brown Rice Recipe for large breed dogs ages 18 months and older; real lamb is the ingredient
  • Made with non-GMO ingredients; no chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
  • High quality protein source is the ingredient in the delicious dry kibble
  • Designed to help keep your large breed dog trim and fit
  • Natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin; formulated to support healthy joints

Alabai Maintenance and Grooming

Alabais are very easy to groom. They don’t shed very much throughout the year, but do have one very heavy shedding season. Between shedding seasons, an Alabai will just require occasional brushing and bathing.

An Alabai’s nails do grow very quickly and should be kept trimmed to keep them from getting too long, cracking, splitting, or making it uncomfortable for the dog to walk. Owners should also take care to keep the Alabai’s ears clean and teeth brushed on a regular basis.

Alabai Training

An Alabai’s independent nature can make this breed challenging to train. Experienced owners who are able to devote the time necessary for training this breed will likely yield the best results. Consistent and fair training is essential to help an Alabai learn expectations and become an affectionate and well-behaved pup.

Alabai Exercise

While Alabais are not a very high energy breed, they still require daily exercise. Aim to take your Alabai on long walks, give them a task to complete outdoors, or play with them in a fenced-in yard. This breed should be given at least an hour of daily exercise.

Alabai Puppies

Alabai puppies will grow quickly and owners will need to be prepared to meet the growing demands this breed offers. Puppies will need to be given plenty of play time and activity to keep them busy and entertained. They often enjoy playing with tough toys made from rubber that won’t be easily destroyed.

Before bringing home an Alabai puppy, be sure your home is puppy proof, and that you are ready for the commitment involved in raising this breed. They require greater supervision and more continuous training than many other breeds.

Alabai puppies on a white background in the studio.
Alabai puppies on a white background in the studio.

Kristina Korotkova/

Alabais and Children

Alabais can be very good with children. They are affectionate, protective, and loyal. However, since this breed is very protective, they may not be as accepting of strangers, such as a child’s playmate, in the home. Alabais are also very large and could accidentally injure a smaller child, so they should be closely supervised when around children.

Dogs similar to Alabai

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Mastiffs, and Tibetan Mastiffs are three breeds that are similar to the Alabai.

  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog: Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Alabais are both very large breeds that weigh over 100 pounds. Both breeds are very territorial and can make an excellent watchdog. Alabais generally do better with other dogs and cats than Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
  • Mastiff: Mastiffs and Alabais are both affectionate dogs who are very protective of the people who are important to them. Mastiffs are more easy-going and can be easier to train than Alabais.
  • Tibetan Mastiff: Tibetan Mastiffs and Alabais both weigh over 100 pounds, though an Alabai is generally taller with an average height of 29.5 inches compared to the 26.5-inch average height of a Tibetan Mastiff. Alabais make a better pet for homes with children or other animals than Tibetan Mastiffs.

Alabai vs Kangal

Kangals are another old breed. They can be dated back as far as the 12th century, while Alabais have been around for over 5,000 years. Kangals and Alabais have both been used to guard flocks of livestock. Both breeds have a very strong bite force, though the Kangal’s is even stronger than the Alabai’s. Kangals and Alabais can both weight over 110 pounds, but Kangals may be taller at up to 30 inches tall.

Famous Alabais

If you’re interested in following a few Alabais on Instagram, below are a few accounts you can check out:

Can’t settle on the right name for your Alabai? See if one of the top choices below feels like the right fit:

  • Bear
  • Max
  • Duke
  • Apollo
  • Bruce
  • Sadie
  • Ruby
  • Zoey
  • Harper
  • Fiona

Last update on 2022-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?






If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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How important is health?
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How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.

I want a cuddle buddy!

About average energy.

I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!

All energy levels are great — I just love dogs!

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Alabai FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does Alabai cost to own?

The price to purchase an Alabai from a breeder can vary based on your location, the dog’s pedigree, and the breeder’s reputation. Most Central Asian Shepherd Dogs cost between $1,200 an $1,500 to purchase, but the price to purchase some could be more $2000. It is also possible that you may find an Alabai through a local rescue organization for adoption. The price to adopt this breed should be significantly less, and depending on the shelter will likely cost between $100 and $300.

Alabais will also need care and supplies, which will cost additional money. The first year you own your Alabai, you should expect to spent at least $1,000 to $1,500 to purchase everything you will need to care for the pup. The following years should be less expensive, but budgeting at least $500 to $1,000 each year is a good idea to make sure you have money for everything you need and any unexpected expenses that come up.

Is Alabai good with kids?

Yes, Alabais are generally good with kids. They can make a good playmate for the children in their family that they trust. However, they may not interact as well with a child’s friends who come to the home that the Alabai doesn’t know. This is also a very large breed, so they should be closely supervised around small children to prevent accidental injury.

How long does Alabai live?

An Alabai’s lifespan is typically between 12 and 15 years.

Is Alabai dog dangerous?

If provoked, an Alabai can be dangerous. They are very protective of their family or the animals in their care, and could attack if they feel it is necessary. And, since their bite force is between 500 and 650 pounds per square inch, they could inflict a lot of damage.

Is Alabai a good dog?

With the right owners, Alabais can make an excellent pet. They are very loyal and protective. However, they can also be very strong-willed and independent and need much more supervision than most other breeds.

How big do Alabai get?

Alabais are very large animals. They weigh a minimum of 88 pounds, but can also be over 110 pounds. This breed is at least 25.5 inches tall, but many Alabais are over 27.5 inches tall.

  1. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  2. Wikipedia, Available here:
  3. Dogtime, Available here:
  4. 101 Dog Breeds, Available here:
  5. Pet Guide, Available here:
  6. World Dog Finder, Available here:
  7. Doggie Designer, Available here:

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