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Everyone loves dogs, but Turkmenistan loves dogs so much it has dedicated a holiday to it’s national breed.
The country marked the new holiday yesterday, April 25, with a day dedicated to Turkmenistan’s Alabai dog breed, also known as the Central Asian Shepherd Dog.
The Alabai breed shares it’s special day with the Akhal-Teke horse breed, another type of animal the country sees as part of it’s national heritage.
The large dogs can weigh up to 79kg and grow as tall as 78cm. According to Pets4Homes, whlie the Alabai’s average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
They’re thought to be ancestors of the most ancient breed known today, with records of the pooch dating back an impressive 5,000 years.
To mark the dog’s special day yesterday, a contest was held to find the best of the large shepherd dogs, The Guardian reports. President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov gave the top prize of courage – a trait Alabai dogs are famous for – to a border guard service dog.
The dogs are also known as ‘wolf crushers’ in the country thanks to their skills in guarding sheep and goats, as well as people’s homes.
The love of Alabais doesn’t stop there though; President Berdymukhamedov has written a 272 page book on the animal, and even gifted an Alabai puppy to Vladamir Putin in 2017. He’s reportedly written a poem about the breed too.
To top it off, last year the Turkmenistan government erected a six-metre high, gold statue of the dog in the country’s capital of Ashgabat. The golden hound was placed on a plinth that has a wraparound LED display showing footage of the dogs.
State media reported at the time of the statue’s unveiling that it was made to reflect the breed’s ‘pride and self confidence,’ BBC News reports.
The statue of the Alabai came five years after a golden statue of the president riding a Akhal-Teke horse – an animal Berdymukhamedov has written a rap about in the past.
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