Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov presents Vladimir Putin with an alabai puppy in 2017. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
Dogs and horses are sources of national pride in Turkmenistan, where they are widely used by the many traditional herders among the population of 6 million.Berdymukhamedov has run the tightly controlled former Soviet republic since 2007 and is unofficially known as the arkadag, or protector.He has praised the alabai, or Central Asian shepherd dog, as an example of national heritage and written a book about them. He gave Putin a puppy in 2017.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Stray dogs in Russia have learned how to ride the complex subway system, and get off at specific stops in search of food.
The large, stocky breed is known for its prowess in protecting sheep and goats from wolves. It is also used to guard homes and in dog fights, a popular form of entertainment in Turkmenistan.