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FCI Standard

Middle Asian Ovcharka (Central Asian Ovcharka)
Country of Origin: Russia
Current Standard FCI No: 335 (New Standard FCI No:335, please note that this standard is still waiting for FCI approval. There are some major changes we won’t withhold you)


The shepherd dogs from Central Asia are dogs of above average and great size of a coarse constitution, strong, bold, wary of strangers, not very demanding, who adapt easily to different climatic conditions. All that allows the shepherd dog of Central Asia to be used widely in the different regions of the country. The principal regions of penetration of the Central Asia shepherd dogs are the republics of Central Asia and the regions surrounding them.
The Central Asian Ovcharka is one of the largest breeds that has been created in the result of interaction and fight of two mighty forces - man's necessities of life and natural selection conditioned by severe nature of the region. The breed formed in the vast territory stretched from the Caspian Sea to China and from the South Ural to Afghanistan. The breed has the blood of the ancient dogs of the Tibet, the shepherd dogs of different nomadic people and of the fighting dogs of Mesopotamia. The Central Asian Ovcharka is related to the Mongolian Ovcharka, Tibetan Mastiff, Ovcharkas of Afghanistan and Iran. In West Europe there is also the relative of the CAO, it is the Spanish Mastiff. In the territory of origin the CAOs are used as the guard and shepherd dogs, and also when hunting large animals.


Coarse, with a massive bone structure and a powerful musculature. One often comes across dogs of this breed who have a tendency to being soft, lacking in energy. The thick skin with a well-developed and sufficiently elastic sub-coetaneous tissue, often forms folds in the region of the neck.
A Central Asian Ovcharka is a dog of the large height, strong, brave, self-respectful, unpretentious, easily adaptable to various weather conditions that makes it possible to use this breed for different work. Dogs have the rough built type, massive bone and strong musculature.
FAULTS: Obesity
MAJOR FAULTS: Weak constitution, rickety. Muscular weakness.


Type of great nervous activity; balanced and calm. The predominant reaction is of defense in an active way.
Confident, balanced, quite behavior. The characteristic reaction is the active-defensive one. Has the inborn sense of property and territory. Unconfident behavior and excessive excitability are the major faults that make dog's breeding value lower.
FAULTS: Lack of excessive energy. Timid character.
MAJOR FAULTS: Great excitability. Cowardice.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: Coward, choleric, uncontrolled aggressiveness.

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Males 100-105, females 102-108.
FAULTS: Slight deviation from the indicated format index.
MAJOR FAULTS: Important deviations in relation to the format index.


Well accentuated. The males are more virile, stronger and more massive than the females. The sexual dimorphism is clearly obvious.
The format is slightly long (more often in females than in males). The low height limit for males is 65 cm, for females - 60 cm. If a dog is proportionally built, it should be more. The sex types are clear. Males are larger and more massive than females.
MAJOR FAULTS: Males of feminine type. Unilateral and bilateral cryptorchids.
FAULTS: Dry or loose built; leggy, poor bone.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: A dog in a famine type. Total or unilateral cryptorchism, the underdeveloped testicles.


headMassive, wide in the skull region with strongly developed zygomatics. Forehead flat, stop hardly visible. The muzzle is a little shorter than the length of the skull, wide between the eyes, hardly narrowing towards the nose. Seen from the front and from above, the muzzle appears rectangular, whereas in profile it has a truncated shape with an heavy upper lip which hangs at the corners of the mouth. The nose is strong and black. In light colored dogs a brown nose is allowed.
Proportional, massive.
SKULL: The skull is broad with well-developed but clean cheeks and slightly marked supra orbital ridges. The occiput is flatted because of the well-developed musculature. The forehead is flat or slightly rounded.
STOP: Slightly pronounced.
MUZZLE: Blunt, slightly shorter than the length of the skull, well filled under the eyes, wide and deep, almost not pinched to a nose. At the front and side view a muzzle is square, at the view from above - from the rectangle to the massive almost not narrowed wedge form. The lower jaw is massive and broad.
NOSE: Big, black. The light nose is admissible when white and light-fawn color.
LIPS: Thick fleshy, completely covering the lower jaw.
FAULTS: Light head. Zeugmatic arches very prominent. Bulging forehead. Very pronounced stop. Superciliary arches prominent. Short or long muzzle. Wrinkled skin on the head.
MAJOR FAULTS: Narrow head. Light head. Pointed and upturned muzzle.
HEAD FAULTS: Short, light, un proportional. A domed forehead, well marked cheekiness. The well marked wrinkled skin on a head; the fluttering lips forming flews.
NOSE FAULTS: Butterfly, brown or pink (do not mix with a light nose when white or light fawn color). Any color admits a light nose, but the white and light fawn ones.


White, strong, fitting tightly. The incisors are set at the base in one line. Scissors bite.
White, large, tightly set; a full tooth-formula (42 teeth). It is admissible when the first premolar is doubled. The incisors bases are set in a line. Scissors, level bite or compact undershot bite (without break). The broken incisors that can't prevent from determining the bite, don't influence the mark.
FAULTS: Worn teeth in such way disproportionate to the age. Presence of broken teeth without deformity of the bite. Absence of more than two first premolars or absence of a first and a second premolar. Slight yellowing of the teeth.
MAJOR FAULTS: Teeth small, sparse. Incisors irregularly placed. All deviation in relation to the normal scissors bite. Absence of one incisor or one canine. Absence of a third or fourth premolar or of one molar. Teeth with badly damaged enamel.
FAULTS: Small, widely spaced, rather broken. Lack of one tooth.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: All deviations from the standard bite.

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Average of tooth system in CAO on traditional keeper, %

Type of dog 


Straight Undershot




City dog

Fighting dog











*Oligodontiya-meaning not fully complex of teeth- understanding of those not fully complex of teeth with birth defect only; tooth been lost in the fight...are NOT COUNT. 

Teeth: white, large, tightly set; a full tooth-formula (42 teeth). It is admissible when the first premolar is doubled. The incisors bases are set in a line. Scissors, level bite or compact undershot bite (without break). The broken incisors that can't prevent from determining the bite, don't influence the mark

teeth 1 teeth 2 teeth 3 teeth 4
1.Scissors  2.Level  3.Undershot 4.Overshot  


Dark, wide apart, rounded, set straight.
Not big, oval, looking straight ahead, set deep and well apart. The eyelids are rather close fitting, the marked third eyelid is admissible. The complete eye rims are desirable.
FAULTS: Light eyes or set on the slant. Drooping lids. White speck on the eye.
FAULTS: Protruding, round, close set. The haw eyes partially opening the sclera.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: Blue, eyes of different color.


Small, hanging, low set, of triangular shape (cropped short on puppies).
Not big, triangular, hanging, low set - the ear set is on the eye level or slightly lower. Shortly cropped when a puppy.
FAULTS: High set ears. Not cropped.
FAULTS: High set (the ear set is on a forehead level), not cropped.


Short, muscular, carried low, forming an angle of about 30° till 40° with the line of the back.
Strong, nearly round in section, a wide neck set, equal to the head length. Set at an angle of 35-40° to a back line. The dewlap is admissible.
FAULTS:  Long neck with insufficient muscle. Dewlap very obvious.
FAULTS: High set.

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High, well defined, especially in males. The height at the withers is of 1 or 2 cm superior to the height at the rump. Back is strong, straight, wide.
High withers, not long, well marked. The height in withers is little more or equal to the height in rump. A back is strong, straight, broad, it's musculature is well developed.
WITHERS FAULTS: Withers low, insufficiently marked above the line of the back.
BACK FAULTS: Soft back or arched.
MAJOR FAULTS: Hollow or humped back.
TOPLINE FAULTS: A sway or roaches back. The croup is much higher than withers.


Wide, muscular, almost horizontal.
FAULTS: Rump a little on the slant.
MAJOR FAULTS: Narrow, short, very oblique. Rump very high.


Short, broad, muscular, slightly arched.
FAULTS: Flat, narrow, sagging.


Short, wide, slightly rounded.
Wide, muscular slightly sloped, reasonably long.
FAULTS: Long loin, straight or too rounded.
MAJOR FAULTS: Long loin, narrow or hollow.
FAULTS: Narrow, short, abruptly sunken.


Wide, deep with rounded ribs. The lower line of the chest is either at elbow level or lower.
Lowered to an elbow line or lower, long, broad, rounded in section. The ribs are well rounded, the false ribs are well developed. A front part of the chest is well developed and prominent in comparison with the glenohumeral joints. The well-defined under chest can intensify the general impression of the massiveness of the body front part.
FAULTS: Flat chest, rather small. Skin definitively hanging below the chest.
MAJOR FAULTS: Very flat chest, narrow and small, insufficiently developed.
FAULTS: Flat, narrow, shallow, underdeveloped. The blades are short, the shoulders are straight, the ligaments of the wrist and elbow joints are weak.

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Moderately tucked up.
Reasonably tucked up, slightly higher than a lower chest line.
FAULTS: Abdomen (belly) too tucked up (as in Greyhound) or drooping (voluminous)


High set, in shape of sickle, hanging; reaches the hock. Docked short
High-set, thick in set. The undocked tails are admissible, they are sickle curved and reach the hock joints.
FAULTS: Not shortened.


Seen from the front; straight and parallel.

The length of the legs to the elbows (from the ground to the elbow) is slightly superior to half of the height of the dog at the withers. Angle of scapular-humeral articulations is about 100°. FOREARM: straight, massive, long; PASTERNS: short, wide, strong, straight
At front view - straight, wide and parallel set. The blades are long and sloping in set.
FOREARM: The shoulder blades are long, sloping in set. An angle of the shoulder-blade joint is about 100°. 

The shoulders are muscular, the forearms are massive, rounded in section, straight, set deep under the body. The length of the forelegs up to the elbows is a bit longer or just the same as the half of height in withers. 


Massive, strong, slightly sloping.
FAULTS: Slight deviation of the angle of the shoulder articulation. Feet slightly toeing in or out. Pasterns a little soft.
MAJOR FAULTS: Straight shoulder or too closed. Deformation of leg bones. Weak pasterns. Feet badly toeing in or out.
LEGS DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: The joints are not enough fixed (flexible).


Set parallel, slightly open at level of stifle and hock joint. Legs short, Metatarsales thick, straight set.
At rear view straight and parallel, set slightly wider than the forequarters. 

UPPER THIGHS: Wide, muscular. 

The upper thigh bones are of the medium length, slightly sloping in set.

LOWER THIGHS: Of the medium length.

REAR PASTERNS: Of the medium length, massive, upright. See Image

FAULTS: Slight deviation in relation to parallelism of hindquarters. Hocks a little close. Hind angulations a little straight.
MAJOR FAULTS: Definite deviation in relation to parallelism of the legs. Bowed legs. Hind angulations excessively straight.
LIMBS FAULTS: The hindquarters too far under, too straight in stifle and in hock. A narrow front.


Front and hind: strong, oval, compact.
Large, oval, arched, cat-like. The dew claws must be cut off.

The stifle and hock angulation is average marked, clearly angulated.
FAULTS: Splayed feet, long and flat.
MAJOR FAULTS: Badly splayed feet, very flat.

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The heavy shortened trot and gallop are the most characteristic gaits of this breed of dogs.

At the trot the legs must move in a straight line, with a certain coming together of the forelegs.
The typical gaits are reachy, not stretching trot and gallop. 

The joints of the fore-and hindquarters unbend freely, the withers, back and loin are slightly springy and on the same level.
FAULTS: Slight deviation in relation to normal gaits.
MAJOR FAULTS: Restricted movements, hobbled.
FAULTS: Bindy or unbalanced. Uncorrected pace


Thick, not too elastic, with well-developed sub dermal fat tissue, very often forms the dewlap and under chest.


Coarse hair, straight with a well developed undercoat. On the head and on the fore face of the legs, the hair is short, flat against the skin. 

The dogs are distinguished according to the length of their coat:
1)  long-haired (7-8 cm) on the back and the surface of the body, especially on the ears,  the neck, the back of the fore- and hindquarters and on the tail.
2) Short-haired (3-5 cm) and smooth.
The hair is coarse, straight, undercoat is well developed. Depending on the hair length they distinguish two coat types:
- with short (4-5 cm) taut outer hair, without any sighs of furnishing hair;
- with long (7-8 cm) outer and cover hair and well developed furnishing hair on the ears, neck, the rear sides of the legs and on the tail.
MAJOR FAULTS: Very short coat without  undercoat. Hair soft, wavy or curly.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: Soft, curly, wavy.


White, black, gray, straw, ginger (rusty), gray-brown, brindle, piebald and speckled.
Any color, but not liver or blue (all the variants).
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: Liver or blue (all the variants).


Height at the withers: males not less than 65 cm, females not less than 60 cm.
The low height limit for males is 65 cm, for females - 60 cm. If a dog is proportionally built, it should be more.
FAULTS: Height at the withers between 60 and 64 for the males, between 58 and 60 for the females.
MAJOR FAULTS: Height at the withers below 60 cm for males, and below 58 cm for females.

Table of average sizes of CAO



Around paw,

Index of bones

Length of head

Around head,

Around muzzle,



71 (94)

65 (78)

14 (18)

12 (15)

19,7 (23)

18,5 (21)

29 (35)

27 (31)

54 (70)

46 (55)

32 (40)

28 (36)


All deviations in relation to the correct scissors bite. 

Absence of one incisor or one canine, a third premolar or a fourth premolar or of one molar.


Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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Updated 01/15/2008 © 2007 All rights reserved Portion or all material can not be used unless written permission were