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Turkmenistan marks state holiday honouring its native dog breed

The Alabay, traditionally used for guarding livestock herds, are among the world’s largest dogs.

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A man dressed in a national costume runs with his border guard shepherd dog Alabay during Dog Day celebration in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AP)

A man dressed in a national costume runs with his border guard shepherd dog Alabay during Dog Day celebration in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AP)

A man dressed in a national costume runs with his border guard shepherd dog Alabay during Dog Day celebration in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AP)

The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has celebrated its new state holiday honouring the native Alabay dog breed.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov established the holiday to be observed on the same day that Turkmenistan lauds its Akhla-Teke horse, a breed known for its speed and endurance.

Mr Berdymukhamedov aims to make the Alabay as well-known as the horse.

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A man and his Alabay dog (AP)

A man and his Alabay dog (AP)

AP/PA Images

A man and his Alabay dog (AP)

Last year he unveiled a 15-metre (50-foot) golden statue of the dog in the capital, Ashgabat.

Alabay, traditionally used for guarding livestock herds, are among the world’s largest dogs, weighing as much as 80 kilogrammes (175lb).

Sunday’s observance included a competition of 10 examples of the breed in which they were judged on appearance and agility.

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