Turkmenistan erects giant gilded dog monument

The statue, with a screen showing Turkmenistan's beloved Alabai dogs in action wrapped around the pedestal, joins another on a different major junction, also coated in gold, of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov himself, seated on a horse.

Dogs and horses are sources of national pride in the isolated desert nation, where they are widely used by the many traditional herders among the population of six million, which largely depends on revenues from natural gas reserves.

Berdymukhamedov has run the tightly-controlled former Soviet republic since 2007.

He has praised the Alabai, or Central Asian shepherd dog, as national heritage and written a book as well as a poem about them. He gave Putin an Alabai puppy in 2017.