Turkmenistan restricts export of its local Alabay dog breed

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. prized / praɪzd / (adj.) – highly valued

    The museum’s most prized possession is the painting Mona Lisa.

  2. bark up the wrong tree / bɑrk ʌp ðə rɔŋ tri / (idiom) – to have the wrong idea or reason for doing something or use the wrong method to accomplish something

    The police haven’t found the suspect because they’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

  3. pedigree / ˈpɛd ɪˌgri / (n.) – a record of a breed’s purity

    Dogs with a good pedigree can be sold at much higher prices.

  4. pride (oneself) on / praɪd ɒn / (idiom) – to be proud of having a certain thing or quality

    My friend prides herself on being punctual no matter what.

  5. extoll / ɪkˈstoʊl / (v.) – to highly praise someone or something

    The author extolled the actress through a lengthy biography.


Read the text below.

The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan says if you’re trying to smuggle its prized native dog breed out of the country, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

The government is now requiring that its celebrated Alabay dogs receive a passport before they can leave the country.

A law that took effect last month requires that all puppies of the breed, which is also known as the Central Asian shepherd dog, be marked in the government’s pedigree book and register of pedigreed dogs. Passports will be issued including data on the dog’s sex, date of birth, color, as well as details about the owner. Special government export permission will be required.

Turkmenistan, an isolated desert country of 6 million people, prides itself on its horses and dogs, honoring centuries-old herding traditions. Alabay, traditionally used for guarding livestock herds, are among the world’s largest dogs, weighing as much as 80 kilograms (175 pounds).

In 2020, then-President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov established a holiday honoring the dogs, and last year unveiled a 15-meter (50-foot)-tall golden statue of them in the nation’s capital, Ashgabat. The Turkmen leader extolled the Alabay for years. He published a book and wrote a song about the breed and presented Russian President Vladimir Putin with an Alabay puppy in 2017.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s son, Serdar, who was elected president this year, heads the international association of Alabays.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The government of Turkmenistan is restricting people from exporting their local dog breed. Why do you think they did this (ex. they want to keep the breed pure)? Do you agree with this move? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Turkmenistan prides itself on its horses and dogs. What’s something that your country prides itself on (ex. local plants and animals, traditional clothing)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • President Berdymukhamedov established a holiday for the breed and even wrote a book and a song about it. What do you think of this person (ex. very passionate, very creative)? Discuss.
  • The former Turkmen president also built a 15-meter (50-foot) statue in honor of the dog. If you were a citizen of the country, how would you feel about this (ex. it honors our country, it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money)? Discuss.