Croatian Sheepdog
Croacia FCI 277 . Sheepdogs

Croatian Sheepdog

With a great instinct for working with the herd.



The Croatian Sheepdog, according to some authors it is an autochthonous Croatian race, while according to others they come from the East and have stabilized and settled in Croatia working with local pastors.

In the news, the Croatian Sheepdog it is a little known dog outside its country.

Physical characteristics

The Croatian Sheepdog it is a dog in the lower limit of medium size. Short hair on the head and limbs is the hallmark of the breed. The head is quite light with a cone shape. The stop is poorly marked. The eyes are medium in size, macaroons, with a lively expression; the color goes from brown to black. The ears are triangular, raised or semi-raised, medium length and set slightly to the side. Straight ears are referable and cutting is not allowed. The tail is implanted a little high, with long thick hair. It is cut so that it does not have a length greater than 4 cm in adult error.

Hair: hair length is 7 - 14 cm on the spine. The face is always covered with short hairs. The ears have short hair on the outer face and long on the inner. The hair is relatively soft, wavy and even curly. The undercoat must be dense.

Color: predominantly black although some white spots on the throat or chest are admitted.

Size: of 40 - 50 cm..

Character and skills

It is a lively dog, attentive, very docile, easy to educate and train, especially frugal and rustic. Has a great instinct for working with the herd, where it is used in both driving and custody, but it can also be used as a guard dog.

Type and recognitions:

  • CLASSIFICATION FCI:Group 1 –> Herding dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs) / Section 1 –> Sheepdogs. Without working trial
  • FCI 277
  • Federations: FCI , UKC
  • Croatian Sheepdog breed FCI standard

Alternative names:

    1. Hrvatski ovčar, Kroatischer Schäferhund (English).
    2. Berger de Croatie (French).
    3. Kroatischer Schäferhund (German).
    4. Hrvatski Ovčar (Portuguese).
    5. Perro de pastor croata (Spanish).


croatian sheepdog Mawlch Gera by Michala Mračková / Public domain

Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog
Bosnia & Herzegovina CroaciaFCI 355 . Molossoid . Mountain

Pastor de Bosnia-Herzegovina y Croacia

The Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog It is a very sensitive and quiet dog.



The Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog, also called Tornjak, it is an ancient breed of dog, and its exact origin is lost in the meanders of history. Most specialists agree that it is one of the descendants of the Tibet Mastiff, that arrived in Europe several thousand years ago.

Some accounts suggest that it already existed in the Dinaric Alps (in present-day Bosnia) at the time of the Roman Empire, almost ago 2000 years. However, the first descriptions of a dog corresponding to the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog can be found in documents of the Bosnian Catholic Church dating from 1067.

Three centuries later, in 1374, Petar Horvat, then bishop of Dakovo, Croatia, also described a dog that looked like the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog in all aspects, size, color and function. At that time it was called Canis Montanis (“mountain dog”) and I was already working with the shepherds, leading flocks of sheep in the mountain pastures and, above all, protecting them from the attacks of wolves.

The name Tornjak first appeared in 1752 in the writings of Father Petar Lukic, member of the Dakovo Catholic Church. It is said to derive from the Croatian word “Tor”, which could be translated as “flock of sheep”.

This dog was found mainly in present-day Bosnian territory, and to a lesser extent in Croatia. The first scientific references to him date back to the beginning of the 20th century, and more precisely to 1905, when Austrian dog fan Franz Laska accurately identified a mountain dog seen in Bosnia, call Tornjak by the locals. However, the Tornjak remained confined to the mountains for a long time. It even declined sharply in the following decades as lifestyles changed and grazing decreased.. Its population grew from several thousand in the nineteenth century to just under a hundred in the decades of 1960 and 1970, when a few Croatian and Bosnian enthusiasts conducted a census to preserve the breed.

If most of the specimens identified then came from Bosnia, It was in Croatia that a breeding program was established in the late 80. In 1979, in Zagreb (Croatia), the Yugoslavia Canine Association officially recognized the breed, and in 1982 the first litter with a full pedigree was born as a result of this breeding program. Despite this almost rebirth, the Tornjak he was not at the end of his problems, since the explosion of Yugoslavia in 1991 and the civil war that followed caused him many difficulties.

The new Croatian Canine Association decided to identify a breed Tornjak croata, while his counterpart in Bosnia-Herzegovina spoke of the Tornjak bosnio. Although these dogs were in all respects the same, the fact that they were considered two separate breeds prevented them from breeding each other, for example.

Was not up 2003 that the two organizations unified their standards under the name of Tornjak. In 2007, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) provisionally recognized the Tornjak, that took the name of Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog. At that time, had 1800 specimens registered in Croatia, and 2700 in Bosnia.

After this recognition, the breed timidly began to make a name for itself outside the countries of the former Yugoslavia. El American United Kennel Club (UKC) accepted it in 2011, while the American Kennel Club (AKC), the other reference organization in the country, included it in 2012 in his Foundation Stock Service (FSS), a preliminary step before full recognition, what has not yet been produced to date. The first specimens arrived in Great Britain in 2013, and steps were taken to gain recognition from the prestigious and influential Kennel Club (KC), the reference body of the country. Have not yet succeeded. In canada, the Canadian Kennel Club (KC) does not recognize the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog. However, year 2017 marked its final acceptance by the CFI.

Very popular in his home region, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog struggles to win over his audience beyond his native region. It is extremely rare in North America, and it is not very common in Western Europe either. In France, He came in 2010. At the end of this decade, there were on average about fifty registrations per year in Livre des Origines Français (LOF).

Physical characteristics

Great and powerful, the Tornjaks retain above-average agility and flexibility for a mountain dog.

They have an almost square shape, with strong bones that are not heavy, giving them a harmonious overall appearance. The tail is long, very mobile and bushy. When falling to rest, rises well above the level of the back when in action, which is rare in mountain dogs. Legs are powerful, parallel and raised.

The head is elongated, with a slight stop. The muzzle is rectangular and ends in a dark nose with wide nostrils.. The eyes are also dark and almond-shaped. The ears, triangular and hairy, stand tall and fall along the cheeks.

The undercoat is dense and thick, with a woolly texture in winter. Rigid top layer is long throughout the body, except on the face and front of the legs. It is particularly abundant on the neck, forming a mane that protects it from predator bites.

The Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog and the Croatian Sheepdog are the ones that most often have a particular color, although there are white subjects, with only a few small spots of color. White is the most common background color, with markings of various colors: black, brown, cervato… More rarely, some individuals have a black coat stained with white.

Last but not least, sexual dimorphism is well marked in this breed: the female is not only smaller on average by about 5 cm., but also less massive.

Character and skills

The Tornjak he is surprisingly outgoing and caring for a shepherd who has worked for centuries in the mountains. He likes to spend time with his family, and is willing to play with older and smaller animals. In fact, he is a dog that adores children, and can spend hours entertaining them – The opposite also is true. However, due to its size and power, could easily inadvertently push a small child, so it is better if you are already a certain age, especially since then he is more likely to learn to behave with an animal and to respect it. In any case, a young child should never be left alone with a dog, regardless of race.

Her attachment to the family she grew up with also means that she can hardly get used to life in a new home if the dangers of life mean she has to change ownership.. You are likely to have the greatest difficulty recovering from abandonment.

In addition to his great closeness to his caregivers, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog he's also surprisingly personable with strangers. It barks when they approach and perfectly fulfills its guardian mission, but do not hesitate to go greet them and accept some caresses once their carer has validated their arrival.

However, it would be a mistake to forget that your primary role is to protect your flock. Under his cheerful and friendly airs, hides boundless courage and amazing strength. However, is not aggressive and is content to bark when a threat approaches. But if the threat becomes clearer and your family is in danger, does not hesitate to force its non-aggressive nature and take action; few things can stop it. In addition, a malicious person would have no chance of persuading and corrupting him with sweets and caresses, because he is infallibly loyal.

His sociability is also expressed against his peers, to the point that you can generally share your home perfectly with one or more dogs. In addition, has no predatory instinct, so it does not see cats or rodents as prey, and therefore is not inclined to chase them. However, the difference in size means that cohabitation can sometimes be dangerous. In practice, if there are small animals in the house, it's better for him Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog live outside.

This would not be to displease you. In fact, used to large spaces, not really made for indoor living. You don't need to do a lot of intensive exercises every day, but must be able to move at any time, so it is not at all suited to apartment living, although his master takes it out for more than an hour a day. Needs a large enclosed garden, where I can patrol, run, to play…

If it can be easily installed outdoors it is because, like any mountain dog, is independent and tolerates loneliness well. Can easily stay home while their owners are away during the day, and does not suffer from separation anxiety if this absence lasts for a weekend. However, under no circumstances should it be constantly left alone in the garden throughout the day. You need to spend time with your family, and two or three daily walks of at least half an hour each are ideal.

Games and sports activities are also great ways to bond with him., while being physically and mentally stimulated. With an excellent memory that allows you to easily assimilate tricks and commands, has the potential to shine in dog sports like flyball, obedience or agility.

However, you can't start physically demanding activities too early. In effect, given its size, when is a puppy, you experience growth spurts during which you need to slow down your burning, or at least avoid any overly intense strain on your joints and skeleton. Otherwise, there is a real risk of injury (sometimes with lifelong sequelae) or malformations.

If you live in a residential area, the fence around the garden is better to be solid, to avoid accidents. In the same way, walks in parks and relatively crowded places should always be done on a leash, so you can hold back if you sense a threat. On the other hand, in an environment where encounters are rare (for example, in the mountains), can be free, If and when, of course, has assimilated the withdrawal orders.

At last, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog has a serious and powerful bark that can be heard from a distance. Can be heard from a distance, and is also heard when approaching a stranger or when you perceive a suspicious noise. This is reassuring and enjoyable when living in an isolated area., but can quickly cause neighborhood problems in a residential neighborhood.


Like all dogs, the Tornjak should be socialized as soon as you get to your new home. Give you the opportunity to meet all kinds of people, animals and situations during your first months helps you become familiar with the unknown, and to avoid being surprised or even reacting badly as an adult. Therefore, you should not hesitate to take any opportunity to meet the neighbors, friends, dealers, the vet… but also other animals, be it dogs, cats, rodents, horses, cows… You also have to deal with situations that you are not used to yet., especially the ones you will have to deal with regularly afterwards: travel by car, walk around the city, go out in a hectic environment…

In addition, given its size, it is advisable to accustom it from an early age to being handled obediently. Brush, bathing or even clipping the claws can turn into moments of complicity with your caregiver, instead of being dreaded tests each time by both protagonists. In any case, trying to groom or bathe a dog 50 kg not accommodated can quickly become an adventure…

Although they have the independent character of herding dogs, to the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog they like to please their owners. In addition, as his intelligence and memory are admirable, a caregiver who combines patience and know-how can go a long way in your education, even teaching them many tricks. However, although easier to handle than most mountain breeds, this does not make him a recommended dog for a novice sitter. However, it can be an interesting option for a person with a little experience who wants to face the challenge of a great independent dog.

In any case, traditional training methods should not be used with the Tornjak, as they only reinforce their independent side instead of developing their potential. On the other hand, positive reinforcement, with the help of caresses, treats and stimuli, motivates you to want to learn more and more and allows you beautiful moments of complicity.

The assimilation of memory is of particular importance: given its size, it is better for such a dog to obey the finger and the eye when his handler asks him to stop pulling on the leash or to return to him. This is the essential condition so that you can enjoy nature with total freedom, without being put on a leash.

On the other hand, protection of the pack is instinctive in the Tornjak: you don't really need any training to play this role perfectly.


The Tornjak it is an extremely robust breed of dog, with a life expectancy much higher than the average of dogs of its size, to the point that some specimens reach the 15 years of age.

The thick, woolly coat of the Tornjak helps protect you from cold and bad weather, as well as the rays of the sun. It is clearly a dog made to live outdoors, who is not afraid of low temperatures as long as he has a place to take refuge. On the other hand, when the mercury rises and the heat wave sets in, it is better to limit your activities and make sure you have the opportunity to rest in a shady place.

Although they are generally healthy, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog they are not exempt from certain problems, especially those that affect larger dog breeds. They are predisposed to ...:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia, joint problems whose origins can be hereditary and which cause more or less severe locomotor difficulties;
  • gastric dilation-torsion, which often follows too rapid ingestion of large amounts of food, and it's fatal if a vet doesn't intervene quickly;
  • Protein intolerance, what can take, among other things, to a deterioration of the coat.
  • Other diseases have been reported occasionally in some subjects, but they are still exceptionally rare. These include anemia or von Willebrand disease, a hereditary condition.

    To limit the risk of having a puppy with a hereditary and / or congenital problem, nothing better than adopting from a breeder Tornjak serious and responsible. In particular, the professional must present an updated health or vaccination record, that allows to verify the vaccines received by the animal, as well as a certificate of good health signed by a veterinarian. However, the professional should also be asked to provide the results of the genetic tests performed to both the parents and the child.

    In addition, the drooping ears of the Tornjak can quickly become nests of infection if not cleaned weekly.

    In addition, how you spend most of your time outdoors, their fur is likely a breeding ground for parasites: even more so than with most tornjaks, it is imperative to be rigorous in the administration of regular pest control treatments to avoid this type of inconvenience.

    Last but not least, the fact that he is generally in good health does not exempt him from wearing it regularly (at least every year) to a routine check-up at the vet, just to keep it healthy. This not only ensures that you are up to date on your vaccinations, it also allows early detection of any health problems.


    The Tornjak rarely poses problems regarding your health, but its maintenance requires some effort.

    First of all, its thick coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week to avoid knots and remove dirt, and its size means that this task takes some time.

    During their annual shedding periods in the spring and fall, a lot of undercoat is shed, and brushing should then become a daily routine to deal with the large amount of dead hair.

    Brushing is also an opportunity to inspect your skin and make sure it is not injured., Court, sore or irritation. Spending most of the time outdoors, You are more exposed to these types of problems than a fellow man who lives in an apartment and only goes out for half an hour each day.

    In any case, if grooming is done regularly, can remove a large part of the dirt from their fur, keeping it relatively clean and odorless. Therefore, it is not necessary to bathe your dog often. Unless, of course, got particularly dirty, you can be content with doing it twice a year, at the time of the move. It is necessary to use a mild shampoo specifically designed for dogs each time.

    On the other hand, as with any dog ​​with lop ears, special care is required to prevent dirt from building up and causing infection. Therefore, at least once a week, brushing his coat should be followed by cleaning his ears with a clean cloth.

    You should also take the opportunity to check your eyes and clean them, to limit the risk of eye infection, Although, unlike the ears, are not particularly susceptible to it.

    To end the beauty maintenance session, a teeth cleaning is de rigueur. It´s, in effect, the best way to effectively protect them against dental plaque formation, cavities and other problems at this level. Ideally, it should be done daily. No matter how often you do it, always use a toothpaste specially designed for dogs.

    It may also be necessary to trim your dog's claws from time to time. Even if your dog lives outdoors, natural wear and tear is not always enough to file its strong claws. If you hear them hitting the ground when you walk, have been made too long and could injure or break you: it's time to cut them with a special tool.

    Although all these operations do not require any particular knowledge, it is better to learn to do them correctly, especially to avoid hurting or even injuring your partner. It can be helpful the first time to have the help of a veterinarian or professional groomer to learn the correct gestures to perform.

    Buy a “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”

    The price of a puppy Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog is of some 1000 EUR, but it's a mean: the sale price varies according to the prestige of the breeding, the ancestry of the animal, but also and above all its characteristics. On the other hand, there is not a big difference according to sex: males and females are generally priced similarly.

    Having said that, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog still difficult to find outside of the former Yugoslavia countries. Therefore, it may be wise to turn to a Croatian breeder, Slovenian, Bosnian or Serbian to find the right one. The sale price will not necessarily be much cheaper, but then import costs must be added to the budget, registration and transportation.

    It is possible to find hatcheries in the United States, but it is also still very rare there.

    Characteristics “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”

    Coexistence is important that you have with your new friend. Before considering the acquisition of a dog of the breed “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog” you know certain factors. Not all breeds of dogs are apt to live in an apartment, You must take into account their character, their need for exercise, their interaction with other pets, your care and if you have young children, their level of tolerance towards them.

    Adaptation ⓘ

    Rated 2 out of 5
    2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Dog friendly ⓘ

    Rated 4 out of 5
    4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Hair loss ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Affection Level ⓘ

    Rated 5 out of 5
    5 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Need to exercise ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Social Needs ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Apartment ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Grooming ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Stranger Friendly ⓘ

    Rated 4 out of 5
    4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Barking Tendencies ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Health Issues ⓘ

    Rated 2 out of 5
    2 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Territorial ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Cat Friendly ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    intelligence ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    versatility ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Child Friendly ⓘ

    Rated 4 out of 5
    4 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Watchdog Ability ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Playfulness ⓘ

    Rated 3 out of 5
    3 out of 5 stars (based on 1 review)

    Images “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”


    1 – “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog” by
    2 – And little Tornjak. Colour: white & black by Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
    3 – And little Tornjak. Colour: white & brown by Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
    4 – A Croatian Tornjak (aka Croatian Mountain Dog or Bosnian and Herzegovinian – Croatian Shepherd Dog) female by Canarian, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
    5 – And little Tornjak. Colour: white & black by Canarian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
    6 – Toro the Tornjak. Photo taken in a dog shelter in Zadar, Croatia by Mirta12, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    Videos “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”

    Type and recognitions:

    • Group 2: Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
    • Section 2.2: Molossian, Mountain type. Without working trial.
  • Federations:
    • FCI – Pinscher and Schnauzer-Molossoid type dogs – Swiss Mountain Dogs and Cattledogs. Section 2.2 Molossoid, mountain type.
    • AKC(FSS)

    FCI breed standard “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”

    FCIFCI – “Bosnian and Herzegovinian - Croatian Shepherd Dog”
    Pastor of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia FCI

    Alternative names:

      1. Tornjak (English).
      2. Tornjak (French).
      3. Tornjak, Bosnien und Herzegowina und Kroatien (German).
      4. Tornjak (Portuguese).
      5. Tornjak (Spanish).
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