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Turkmenistan’s Alabai now has its very own national holiday5 min read

April 28, 2021 4 min read


Turkmenistan’s Alabai now has its very own national holiday5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes
The country is orange is Turkmenistan, surrounded by the Caspian Sea and other Asian nations. Credit: Birtannica

Do you know where Turkmenistan is? It’s a Central Asian country bordered by a sea and is largely covered by a desert! So why are we talking about this nation? Well, it’s because they love dogs as much as we at Owliver’s Post do!

Turkmenistan has created a national holiday to honour its native dog breed – the Alabai. The decision to dedicate a day to this special breed was announced by Serdar Berdymukhamedov, the son of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, while he was judging a dog competition.

So why has a state-wide holiday been declared for this breed? It’s because Berdymukhamedov wanted to encourage people to celebrate the Alabais as a source of national pride. In fact, last year, a statue of an Alabai of almost 20-feet-high was  installed at a busy traffic circle in the capital of the country, Ashgabat. The Alabai shares its special day with another national treasure – the native Akhal-teke horse species.

This fluffy large dog is the Alabai. Credit: Wikipedia

Owliver’s Obscure Observations

Dogs and horses are sources of national pride in the former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan, where they are widely used by many traditional herders.

The first ‘Alabai Day’ included a contest to find the best of the large shepherd dogs. President Berdymukhamedov awarded the top prize for courage to a border guard service dog. The president’s son presented the award, which included a medal for the dog and a car for its handler.

A massive gold statue of the Alabai in a prominent part of the country’s capital.
Credit: The Independent

Speaking about native breeds, do you which breeds of dogs are indigenous to India? Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Bull Dogs, Pugs and all the other breeds that we see commonly in homes, have all been brought to the country and bred here for decades. Let’s learn about some of our native dog species!


This breed has royal blood. It was bred by the royal families of Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district, and was primarily used for hunting. Having this dog around was a symbol of royalty and class.


Indian Paraiah Dog

The Indian Paraiah dog

This is the most ancient breed of dog known to India. It is said to be a relative of the Australian Dingo. 

Mudhol Hound

Mudhol Hound

This breed is known by various names, for example, it is known as ‘Karwani’ by the people in South India. The Kennel Club of India calls this breed ‘Caravan Hound’, while the Indian National Kennel Club calls it the ‘Mudhol Hound’.

Rampur Hound

Rampur Greyhound

The Rampur Greyhound is native to the Rampur region of Uttar Pradesh. The kings  of this region would be accompanied by this breed on hunts, as it can run great distances and has high endurance.

Indian Mastiff

Indian Mastiff or Bully Kutta

Also known as ‘Bully Kutta’, this dog shares origins from both India and Pakistan. It is predominantly found in the Punjab region. They are the most common choice for guard dogs.



This breed is an Indian guard dog from the Rajapalayam region in Tamil Nadu. It is believed that they were used to fight against the British army in a few battles. Of late, they are being used by the Indian Army as guard dogs.


Another hound from South India, the Kombai (Combai) was bred to hunt boar, bison and deer since early times. Unfortunately, the breed is now endangered, and is only found in a few regions and at special kennels.

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, Times of India

Images: Wikipedia, Reuters