Turkmenistan is a nation in Central Asia that’s known for its strict laws. But they do have one thing going for them: they’re huge dog lovers! In fact, the country is even celebrating a new holiday that’s just for the dogs.
This new holiday is dedicated solely to the country’s native dog breed: the Alabai. The Alabai is a native variety of the shepherd dog, reaching up to 175 pounds! These adorable pups are clearly worth celebrating, so the people of Turkmenistan are happy to honor them.
Meet the Alabai Dog
The Alabai (also known as the Central Asian Shepherd) has long been a prized dog breed in Turkmenistan, and they’re one of the largest breeds in the world. They’re strong and fluffy, usually with a coat of white and brown patterns. They’re most commonly used as herding dogs in Turkmenistan. Also, they might be one of the rarest dog breeds in the world.
President Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan has a deep love for dogs and horses. He’s been in power since 2007, and he has thought highly of the Alabai dogs his whole life. He even gifts them to the leaders of allied nations, including Vladimir Putin. However, many criticized Berdymukhamedov for how he handled Putin’s dog.
In 2020, he unveiled a golden statue of the Alabai dog in the capital, which stands 19 feet tall! He also wrote a 272-page book about these special dogs. But despite a positive history for Alabai dogs, 2021 was the first year that the country chose to dedicate an entire holiday to the breed.
Dogs Take Center Stage
The Alabai dog holiday consisted of several dog-related events. One of the biggest moments was a best-in-show competition, where Alabai dogs showed off their agility and appearances.
The top prize from this competition went to a dog from the border guard service. Berdymukhamedov said it was because of the pup’s outstanding courage. The winning dog received a medal for their hard work, and the dog’s handler won a new car.
There were also a few horse-related activities during this holiday. The Akhal-Teke horses are almost as popular in the country as the Alabai dogs. So, a horse race was added to the list of activities because citizens love the elegant horses too.
Dogs are incredible animals that deserve to be celebrated more than ever. Perhaps this tradition will catch on in other countries too. But hopefully, other countries will use their dog holidays to celebrate rescue dogs instead!