The Central Asian Shepherd AKA CAO, is a protection dog native to Russia, and the former soviet republics of Central Asia. These large , powerful protection dogs have been used for a number of purposes including livestock protection ,dog fighting , personal protection and family companionship. The CAO protection dog is one of the most popular breeds in the region. These protection dogs are very large, powerful and defensive animals that thrive in some on the harshest environments on the planet. In their native land the CAO protection dog is commonly known as the wolf crusher due to its effectiveness of defending flock animals from predators. The exact history of these large protection dogs is not known.
The only known certainty of the CAO protection dog is that they are native to the steppes and mountains of Central Asia. There are a couple of theories about the original origins of these large and primitive protection dogs. The first is that they descended from ancient middle-eastern protection dogs. The second is that they are a direct descendent of the Tibetan mastiff protection dog. The earliest CAO protection dogs had many roles as, guardians, hunting aides, companions, and sources of meat hide. To help deal with the harsh environments of this region these protection dogs were crossed with larger longer coated wolves of the north. One of the most important needs of farmers in these regions was the protection of livestock from wolves, bears, hyenas, and other predators. Farmers focused on breeding CAO protection dogs that were extremely protective and would defend their flocks to death. The protection dogs that were worthy of breeding had to be large, fierce, and thrive in these harsh climates. Farmers focused on breeding protection dogs with unusual coats with coloration that stood out when engaged in combat with a wild animal. Breeders also bred these protection dogs to have shorter wide muzzles for maximum biting power. The CAO protection dog served many social functions in the region. The blood sport of dogfighting often served as entertainment at these functions. These fights were very popular especially for those who enjoyed gambling. These fights allowed breeders to evaluate these protection dogs by selecting only the bravest, and most fierce. Traits that were vital when in combat with large wild predators. An increasing number of Europeans and Americans are now importing and breeding CAO protection dogs for many of the traits mentioned above. The Central Asian shepherd protection dog has become recognized with a number of kennel clubs and has been given full breed recognition by the federation cynologique. In 2001 the CAO was recognized by the UKC, the united kennel club. It is difficult to comment on the general appearance of the CAO protection dog. These large protection dogs can vary greatly in appearance and have dozens of variations. The CAO dogs are generally built similar to other large livestock protection dogs but far more athletic than most. One characteristic that all CAO protection dogs have is massive size and power. Males stand a minimum of 25.5 inches tall and females stand a minimum of 23.5. Most males will weigh between 120-175 pounds. Female CAO protection dogs will range in weight between 90-145 pounds. The Central Asian shepherd protection dog should be extremely well built and powerful yet still athletic. The temperament of the CAO family guard can also vary greatly. There are currently four variations of these large protection dogs. It is advised that potential owners research the variations in bloodlines in order to determine the ideal temperament they are looking for. One bloodline developed more so as a personal protection dog, will tend to have far more aggression towards man than beast. On the other hand, CAO dogs from fighting lines will have far more animal aggression. In general, the CAO protection dog forms a very intense bond with their family. This is an incredibly protective breed that should really only go to families who have had experience owning protection dogs of this size and intensity. As with many of the large protection dog breeds, they can fall victim to hip dysplasia. Potential owners of the CAO protection dog should research carefully and only buy from breeding stock that has been tested for these genetic defects.