Croatian Sheepdog

The Croatian Sheepdog is a breed of dog which is noted for it’s fox-like head and legs. It is a very beautiful breed and is known by some other names. It’s other names include Hrvatski ovcar and Kroatischer Schäferhund.

As the name suggests, the breed is from Croatia. It was most probably developed over several centuries out of the descendants of the so-called “Pfahlbauhund” in Slavonia, Croatia.

It is an ancient breed, and many believe they were brought by the original Croats in the 7th Century when they first settled what is now Croatia.

Prof. Stjepan Romic developed the Croatian Shepherd Dog as a breed in the year 1935. The breed was first publicly presented at the first state dog show in Zagreb in 1949. Dr. Otto Rohr wrote the first breed standard in the year 1951, which was then published by the FCI in 1969.

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Croatian Sheepdog Breed Information

The Croatian Sheepdog was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). The American Kennel Club (AKC) includes this breed in their Foundation Stock Service, which is often their final step before full breed recognition.[1]

However, here we are trying to describe full breed information of this beautiful dog breed.

Physical Characteristics

The Croatian Sheepdogs are medium in size and they are very beautiful. Their base color is black, although there may be very small patches of white on their chest and/or toes. A distinctive characteristic of the breed is it’s somewhat fox-like head and legs.

The remainder of the coat is longer and wavy or curly. The tail is docked very short traditionally, but if undocked, it is carried curled over the dog’s back.

Their head is relatively light, lean and wedge shaped. The ratio between the muzzle and the skull is 9:11. And the total length of the head is about 20 cm.

Their nose is always black and in the line with nose ridze. The muzzle is lean, the eyes are brown to black and the ears are triangular in shape.

The tail is set medium high, with thick long hair, in repose it hangs relaxed or is carried at back level. In attention it is carried above the back line. Some dogs are born tailless or with a short tail, or the tail is docked so that in an adult male it is about 4 cm long. However, tail docking is now banned in Croatia.

The Croatian Sheepdog has a wavy-to-curly, weatherproof black coat. It is generally a solid coat, although some may have spots of white around the chest and on the toes.

Average body height of the mature Croatian Sheepdogs is between 16 and 21 inches at the withers. And their average live body weight is between 13 and 20 kg.

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The Croatian Sheepdog is an alert, agile, keen and intelligent dog with enormous energy and with a strong need for human companionship. It is healthy, resistant to disease and not expensive to keep. It possesses a well-developed herding instinct and is an excellent watchdog.

The breed is intensely loyal and energetic. Modern enthusiasts often describe their faithful companions as somewhat shy around new people, as they do tend to stick to one person, just like their ancestors stuck to one shepherd as herding dogs centuries ago.

It’s a caring and modest shepherd’s dog, very loyal to their master. The breed also possesses an hereditary predisposition for working cattle. Some farmers affirm that their Croatian Sheepdog knows and will single out every head of cattle by hearing its name.

The Croatian Sheepdog is a very good breed for dog sports. They can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Croatian Sheepdogs exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.


Average lifespan of the Croatian Sheepdog is between 12 and 14 years.


How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Croatian Sheepdogs are medium in size, and they are very active. So, their diet should be formulated for a medium sized breed with high exercise needs. You can consult with a vet in your area for better feeding recommendations.


Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Croatian Sheepdogs. You should always keep up with your dog’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet will be able to help you to develop a caring routine that will keep your dog healthy.

These dogs are very active and they need regular exercise. So ensure getting proper amount of exercise. 2 to 3 half-hour to hour long walks per day with few good and active play sessions and shorter walks will be enough for these dogs.

Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.

This breed is easy to groom: an occasional combing or brushing to remove dead hair and a bath if dirty is all it needs. This breed is an average shedder.


The Croatian Sheepdogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include bloat, patella luxation and knee issues, retained testicles in males and whelping issues. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameCroatian Sheepdog
Other NamesAlso known by some other names such as Hrvatski ovcar and Kroatischer Schäferhund
Breed SizeMedium
HeightBetween 16 and 21 inches at the withers
WeightBetween 13 and 20 kg
Good as PetsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorMainly black, although some may have spots of white around the chest and on the toes
LifespanBetween 12 and  14 years or more
Good for ChildrenYes
Country/Place of OriginCroatia

Interesting Facts About Croatian Sheepdogs

The Croatian Sheepdog is a breed of dog that is known for its herding skills, ability to protect livestock, intelligence and loyalty, making it a popular breed for many farmers and families. Here we are trying to list the most interesting facts about these dog breed.

1. History

The Croatian Sheepdog is a breed that originated in Croatia, where it was used as a working dog to herd and protect livestock.

2. Physical Characteristics

The Croatian Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog, weighing between 35 and 55 pounds. It has a long, thick coat that can be black, white, gray, or brown.

3. Temperament

The Croatian Sheepdog is a friendly, intelligent, and loyal dog. It is known for its excellent herding and guarding skills.

4. Energy Level

The Croatian Sheepdog is a highly energetic dog that requires plenty of exercise and activity to keep it happy and healthy.

5. Training

The Croatian Sheepdog is an intelligent breed that is easy to train. However, it requires consistent and firm training to prevent it from becoming too independent.

6. Intelligence

he Croatian Sheepdog is a highly intelligent breed that is known for its problem-solving abilities.

7. Health

The Croatian Sheepdog is a healthy breed that is not prone to many health problems. However, like all breeds, it can be susceptible to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and eye problems.

8. Grooming

The Croatian Sheepdog has a long, thick coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

9. Life Expectancy

The Croatian Sheepdog has a life expectancy of 12-14 years.

10. Working Dog

The Croatian Sheepdog is a working dog that is still used today for herding and protecting livestock.

11. Versatile

The Croatian Sheepdog is a versatile breed that can also excel in other areas such as agility, obedience, and tracking.

12. Rare Breed

The Croatian Sheepdog is a relatively rare breed, with only a few thousand registered worldwide.

13. Family Dog

The Croatian Sheepdog is a great family dog that is loyal and affectionate to its owners.

14. Protective

The Croatian Sheepdog is a protective breed that will not hesitate to defend its family and home.

15. Socialization

The Croatian Sheepdog requires early socialization to prevent it from becoming shy or aggressive towards strangers.

16. Exercise Needs

The Croatian Sheepdog requires plenty of exercise and activity to keep it happy and healthy. A daily walk and plenty of playtime are recommended.

17. Apartment Living

The Croatian Sheepdog is not a suitable breed for apartment living as it requires plenty of space and exercise.

18. Prey Drive

The Croatian Sheepdog has a strong prey drive and may chase small animals such as cats and squirrels.

19. Herding Instincts

The Croatian Sheepdog has a strong herding instinct and may try to herd children and other pets.

20. Separation Anxiety

The Croatian Sheepdog can develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

21. Guard Dog

The Croatian Sheepdog is an excellent guard dog that will protect its family and home from intruders.

22. Vocal

The Croatian Sheepdog can be quite vocal, especially when it is excited or feels the need to protect its family.

23. Affectionate

The Croatian Sheepdog is an affectionate breed that loves to be with its family and receive plenty of attention and affection.

Tips for Caring Croatian Sheepdog

Caring these sheepdog is relatively easy and simple. If you are planning to adopt a Croatian Sheepdog or already have one as a pet, here are some best tips for caring for them.

Provide Sufficient Exercise

Croatian Sheepdogs are highly energetic dogs that require plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy activities such as running, hiking, and playing fetch, so make sure to provide them with enough physical activity each day.

Provide a Balanced Diet

Croatian Sheepdogs require a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog’s age, weight, and activity level.

Regular Grooming

Croatian Sheepdogs have long, thick coats that require regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Brush your dog’s coat at least once a week to keep it healthy and shiny.

Dental Care

Dental care is crucial for Croatian Sheepdogs to prevent dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly or provide them with dental chews or toys to help keep their teeth clean.

Regular Vet Checkups

Regular vet checkups are important to ensure that your Croatian Sheepdog is healthy and to catch any health problems early. Visit your veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness exam.

Training and Socialization

Croatian Sheepdogs are highly intelligent dogs that require training and socialization to prevent behavioral problems. Start training and socializing your dog at a young age to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and socialized.

Avoid Overfeeding

Croatian Sheepdogs are prone to obesity, which can lead to health problems such as joint pain and heart disease. Avoid overfeeding your dog and provide them with enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

Monitor Your Dog’s Health

Monitor your dog’s health regularly for signs of illness or injury. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior, appetite, or energy level, consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Provide Plenty of Toys

Croatian Sheepdogs are active dogs that enjoy playing with toys. Provide them with plenty of toys to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.

Provide a Safe Environment

Croatian Sheepdogs are protective dogs that require a safe environment to thrive. Ensure your home is secure and your dog is supervised when outside.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Croatian Sheepdogs have a strong prey drive and may chase small animals. Keep your dog on a leash when outside to prevent them from running off or chasing after other animals.

Avoid Overexertion

Croatian Sheepdogs are energetic dogs, but they can easily overexert themselves. Avoid exercising your dog in extreme temperatures or for extended periods without breaks.

Keep Your Dog’s Environment Clean

Clean your dog’s environment regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other harmful substances. Wash their bedding, toys, and food and water bowls regularly.

Provide Mental Stimulation

Croatian Sheepdogs are intelligent dogs that require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Provide them with puzzle toys, training, and other activities to keep them mentally stimulated.

Address Behavioral Issues Early

If you notice any behavioral issues with your Croatian Sheepdog, address them early to prevent them from becoming more severe. Consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist if needed.

Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed

Trim your dog’s nails regularly to prevent them from becoming overgrown and causing discomfort or pain.

Protect Your Dog from Extreme Weather

Croatian Sheepdogs can be sensitive to extreme weather, including hot temperatures and cold temperatures. Provide your dog with shelter, shade, and plenty of water during hot weather, and provide them with warm blankets and shelter during cold weather.

Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke

Croatian Sheepdogs are prone to heat stroke in hot weather, which can be life-threatening. Watch for signs of heat stroke, such as panting, rapid heartbeat, and lethargy, and seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your dog is experiencing heat stroke.

Provide Plenty of Water

Croatian Sheepdogs require plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or periods of high activity. Ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Provide Regular Exercise

Croatian Sheepdogs require regular exercise to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Aim to provide your dog with at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, such as walking, running, or playing fetch.

Socialize Your Dog

Socialization is important for Croatian Sheepdogs to prevent them from becoming shy, aggressive, or fearful. Socialize your dog with other dogs, people, and new experiences from a young age.

Provide a Comfortable Bed

Croatian Sheepdogs require a comfortable and supportive bed to rest and sleep. Provide your dog with a bed that is the appropriate size and level of support for their age and size.

Provide Regular Attention

Croatian Sheepdogs are social dogs that require regular attention and interaction with their owners. Spend time playing, training, and bonding with your dog each day to keep them happy and healthy.

Related Queries & FAQs

There are lots of questions and queries related to this dog breed. Here we are trying to list the common questions and queries about this beautiful dog breed and trying to answer them. Hope you will find answers of your questions or queries. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

How big do Croatian Sheepdogs get?

Croatian Sheepdogs are medium-sized dogs that typically weigh between 30-50 pounds and stand about 18-22 inches tall at the shoulder.

What is the temperament of a Croatian Sheepdog?

Croatian Sheepdogs are known for being loyal, intelligent, and energetic. They make great family pets but require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Are Croatian Sheepdogs good with children?

Yes, Croatian Sheepdogs can be great with children when properly socialized and trained. However, as with any breed, it is important to supervise interactions between dogs and children.

Do Croatian Sheepdogs shed?

Yes, Croatian Sheepdogs have a thick double coat that sheds seasonally. Regular grooming can help manage shedding.

Are Croatian Sheepdogs hypoallergenic?

No, Croatian Sheepdogs are not considered hypoallergenic. People with allergies may still react to their dander and saliva.

How much exercise does a Croatian Sheepdog need?

Croatian Sheepdogs are high-energy dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation. They enjoy activities such as hiking, running, and playing fetch.

What health problems do Croatian Sheepdogs have?

Croatian Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia and eye problems.

How long do Croatian Sheepdogs live?

Croatian Sheepdogs typically live between 12-15 years.

Are Croatian Sheepdogs easy to train?

Croatian Sheepdogs are intelligent dogs that can be trained with positive reinforcement techniques. However, they can be independent and stubborn at times.

Do Croatian Sheepdogs make good apartment dogs?

No, Croatian Sheepdogs are not recommended for apartment living. They require a lot of space and exercise.

Do Croatian Sheepdogs get along with other dogs?

Croatian Sheepdogs can get along well with other dogs when properly socialized. However, they may have a strong herding instinct and may try to herd other dogs.

How much do Croatian Sheepdogs cost?

The cost of a Croatian Sheepdog varies depending on the breeder and location, but generally ranges from $1,500-$2,500.

What is the history of the Croatian Sheepdog?

The Croatian Sheepdog has been used for herding sheep and guarding flocks in Croatia for centuries. It was recognized as a distinct breed in 1969.

Can Croatian Sheepdogs be left alone?

Croatian Sheepdogs should not be left alone for long periods of time as they require a lot of attention and exercise.

Are Croatian Sheepdogs good watchdogs?

Yes, Croatian Sheepdogs are protective of their families and make good watchdogs.

Do Croatian Sheepdogs need to be groomed?

Yes, Croatian Sheepdogs require regular grooming to manage shedding and maintain their thick coat.

What is the average litter size for Croatian Sheepdogs?

The average litter size for Croatian Sheepdogs is 4-6 puppies.

Are Croatian Sheepdogs aggressive?

No, Croatian Sheepdogs are not typically an aggressive breed. However, like all dogs, they can become aggressive if not properly socialized and trained.

What is the AKC’s opinion on Croatian Sheepdogs?

The American Kennel Club does not currently recognize the Croatian Sheepdog as a breed.

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