Croatian Sheepdog

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29-43 lbs
16-20"
Croatia
Hrvatski Ovcar

The Croatian Sheepdog, known also as the Hrvatski Ovcar, is a talented and versatile breed of herding dog from Croatia that originated many centuries ago. They are a medium-sized dog with abundant curly or wavy black fur and a spitz-like face. While the breed itself is very old, with written records dating as far back as the 14th century, it wasn’t until 1935 that a systemic selection breeding program was started by Dr. Stjepan Romic. Although this rare breed has not yet been recognized by the American Kennel Club, it was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1969 and the United Kennel Club of England recognized the breed in 2006.

Purpose
Herding Dog
Date of Origin
Pre 14th century
Ancestry
Unknown

Croatian Sheepdog Health

Average Size
Male Croatian Sheepdog size stats
Height: 16-20 inches Weight: 29-43 lbs
Female Croatian Sheepdog size stats
Height: 16-20 inches Weight: 29-43 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Arthritis
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Patellar Luxation
Occasional Tests
  • Physical and Neurology Tests
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

Croatian Sheepdog Breed History

The Croatian Sheepdog, also known as the Hrvatski Ovcar, is an ancient breed that has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. They are descended from canines that the original Croats had with them when they settled the land at some point in the 7th century, presumably a breed developed for their herding ability. An account that was written by Petar, Bishop of Dakovo, in the late 14th century, describes the Canis Pastoralis Croaticus, or Croatian Shepherd Dog, not just by its appearance but also mentioning that this breed is good for keeping flocks of all farm animals. Today’s Hrvatski Ovcar is also a master of many flocks, being equally adept at herding sheep, cows, and even pigs. This first written record of the Croatian Sheepdog was located by a man often referred to by many sources as the “father of the breed,” Dr. Stjepan Romic, a Yugoslav professor and veterinarian whose scientific focus was animal husbandry and zoo hygiene. He also discovered additional references to this breed in later archives of the Djakovo diocese, throughout the 18th century, all referencing the name as Canis Pastoralis Croaticus, each described in a way that matches not only Petar’s account in the 14th century but also descriptions of the modern breed. It was on the territory of Djakovo in 1935 that Romic began his own systemic breeding program of these ancient all-purpose herding dogs. The breed was first recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale in 1969 and more recently by the United Kennel Club in 2006, though it has not yet gained recognition with the American Kennel Club.

Croatian Sheepdog Breed Appearance

The Croatian Sheepdog is a medium-sized dog breed that is longer than they are tall with a light, wedge-shaped head. They are typically well-muscled animals with straight backs, deep chests, and long, sickle or hook-shaped tail, although these are frequently docked at an early age. Their tapering muzzles are slightly shorter than their skulls and they have inquisitive and lively oval or almond-shaped eyes that come in dark to chestnut brown as well as medium-sized triangular ears that are placed high up on the skull and can be held in either the pricked or semi-pricked position. These canines each sport a thick curly or wavy coat of black fur, some adorned with small white patches or spots, with shorter fur around the face and feet. When the undercoat is shedding it often gives the appearance of a brown or grey coat underneath the black. The female Croatian Sheepdog is often longer in body than the male and may have a slightly thinner coat. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Croatian Sheepdog eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Croatian Sheepdog nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
black Croatian Sheepdog coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Croatian Sheepdog curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Croatian Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

This dog has a double-layer coat consisting of a dense undercoat, covered with a water-repellent outer layer of coarser curly or wavy fur that is relatively easy to keep clean and healthy. They only require bathing a few times a year, and more frequent bathing should be avoided in order to prevent stripping the coat of important natural oils. The coat isn’t particularly prone to tangling and is naturally somewhat dirt and dust resistant, so brushing and combing is only usually only needed one to three times a week to keep the coat clean and healthy, although more brushing is recommended when the dog is shedding heavily. Care of the teeth and nails must not be neglected; brush the teeth twice a week and check the nails for length and condition every month.

Brushes for Croatian Sheepdog
Pin Brush
Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Croatian Sheepdog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Croatian Sheepdog Temperament

This is a high-energy breed of dog with a very strong work drive that also has a strong need for human companionship. They are loyal to the extreme and will obey the orders of their chosen human without regard to their own personal safety and they are known to develop the ability to anticipate their owner’s next move. While a socialized Croatian Sheepdog is generally pleasant with family members of all ages, they can be a bit shy with outsiders. During training, they prefer to be a one-person dog and will often only obey that chosen person but with that person, they are typically an extremely quick study who picks up and retains new information quickly. They are also very intense dogs and they often use their voices to convey their intensity, frequently barking when they are excited. Their suspicion towards strangers and their tendency to bark makes them excellent watchdogs. 

Croatian Sheepdog Activity Requirements

The Croatian Sheepdog is an energetic and athletic canine with an agile mind that requires a great deal of physical and emotional exercise. It is important to keep this canine mentally busy as well as physically busy in order to keep your Croatian Sheepdog from developing inappropriate or destructive behaviors While long walks and jogs are always appreciated, this dog is also well-suited to a number of alternative activities such as agility training, herding trials, flyball, obedience training, and rally sports. They prefer to have a larger home or a home with a yard and are generally too active and vocal to coexist peacefully in an apartment setting. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Croatian Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
Daily Cost
$1.2 - $1.4
Monthly Cost
$34 - $45

Croatian Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Croatian Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 25 lbs
Female Croatian Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 25 lbs
12 Months
Male Croatian Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Female Croatian Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 32 lbs
18 Months
Male Croatian Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 36 lbs
Female Croatian Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 36 lbs

Croatian Sheepdog Owner Experiences

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