10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Persian Sarabi


The Sarabi is a dog of Iranian origin. It isn’t a breed that has come into existence in modern times. Instead, the Sarabi is one of those dogs that have been around for centuries and centuries.

1. Has Multiple Names

Some breeds are called by a single name. In contrast, others can be called by a number of names. The Sarabi is an excellent example of the latter, seeing as how its names include but are not limited to Iranian Mastiff, Persian Mastiff, and Iranian Shepherd Dog.

2. Sometimes Called Iranian, Sometimes Called Persian

As mentioned earlier, the Sarabi is sometimes called Iranian and sometimes called Persian. The two terms are often used in an interchangeable sense. For those who are unfamiliar, Iranian isn’t a new term, seeing as how it can trace its roots to ancient times. Meanwhile, Persian came from the Greek Persis, which refers to what is now called the Fars region. Technically, this was one of the provinces of the Achaemenid Empire. However, the Greeks winded up using the name for the Achaemenid Empire as a whole, which has had a huge influence on what outsiders have called the region.

3. Comes from East Azerbaijan

Moving on, the Sarabi is said to have come from East Azerbaijan Province in the northwestern part of Iran. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is considered to be a part of the region called Iranian Azerbaijan. Generally speaking, said region consists of the three provinces of West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, and Ardabil. However, there are some who include Zanjan as well. Confusingly, Iranian Azerbaijan was the first place called Azerbaijan. The country that now bears the name wasn’t called such until 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire. Before that, the region had other names.

4. Named for a Specific County

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that the Sarabi is one of the numerous breeds named for a specific place. In its case, Sarabi refers to Sarab County in East Azerbaijan Province. Amusingly, said county has a capital called by the same name, which has a reputation in the English-speaking world for its rugs.

5. Livestock Guardian

Interested individuals should know that the Sarabi is a livestock guardian. Essentially, this means that it is a breed meant to protect livestock from potential predators in their surroundings. Generally speaking, livestock guardians aren’t very focused on herding, which refers to controlling the movements of the livestock from place to place. Instead, they are more focused on protecting their charges while living among them. In some cases, the mere presence of a livestock guardian can cause a predator to back down because said animals can be very risk-averse. However, that isn’t true for every single predator out there, meaning that livestock guardians must be prepared to fight if that proves to be necessary.

6. Big, Powerful Dogs

As such, the Sarabi is a big, powerful dog. It is perfectly possible for smaller dogs to have plenty of fight in them. For proof, look no further than terriers as well as other smaller breeds that were meant to take on smaller foes. However, there is a serious limit to how much fighting spirit can do for a dog when it outstrips their size by too great a margin. Sarabis tend to weigh well over 100 pounds, with some of the bigger individuals coming close to 200 pounds.

7. Courageous

Naturally, Sarabis are courageous animals as well. After all, they need to be capable of fending off a wide range of local predators. Sometimes, this means animals such as wolves and jackals, which are nonetheless capable of doing serious damage. Other times, well, suffice to say that there are bears living in Iran.

8. Suspicious of Strangers

Sarabis can get along quite well with their own family members. In fact, they have a reputation for being loyal, loving, and protective, which makes sense considering their duties. However, the same thing means that Sarabis tend to be suspicious of strangers. As such, if interested individuals want said dogs to tolerate the latter, they should provide said dogs with a proper introduction to the latter.

9. Independent

Speaking of which, livestock guardians tended to live with their charges. After all, predators aren’t convenient enough to always attack when someone is available to stop them. As such, Sarabis and their counterparts needed to be capable of making their own decisions in dangerous situations without human input.

There are benefits for modern dog owners because of this. However, there are potential downsides as well. For instance, Sarabis are independent by nature, so much so that they can be considered one of the more difficult breeds to train. New dog owners should not get one of these dogs because they need to be able to establish themselves as firm and consistent leaders.

Something that can call for a fair amount of expertise and experience. If a Sarabi learns the wrong lessons because of their dog owner’s mistakes, it is going to be both laborious and time-consuming to fix those issues. Never mind the potential for said process to be expensive as well, seeing as how professional dog trainers don’t come cheap.

10. Not the Best Choice for Getting Along with Small Animals

There are some breeds that can get along well with small animals with no issues whatsoever. Sarabis are not one of these breeds. They can get along with small animals. However, interested individuals need to make sure that their Sarabis grow up with those small animals, thus getting them accustomed to such interactions while they are still young.

On a semi-related note, Sarabis tend not to do very well with small children either. If interested individuals bring these dogs into the presence of small children, they should make sure that these dogs are kept on a leash, well-supervised, and never left alone with the latter. These precautions are particularly true when the Sarabi is unfamiliar with the other party because unfamiliarity makes them suspicious.

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