Karst Shepherd

58-88 lbs
Karst Sheepdog, Istrian Sheepdog, Krasky Ovcar, Krasevec, Krazski Ovcar

The Karst Shepherd is similar in look to the Caucasian Shepherd on a smaller scale. He is a medium sized sheepdog with a long coat. The Karst Shepherd is distrustful of strangers and does take a long time to warm up to people. He makes an excellent guard dog because of this personality trait. Generally, the Karst Shepherd is a working dog and it takes a lot of training and socialization for him to settle into family life. He must have a job to perform in order for him to fully adjust to be a family companion. He should not be trusted alone with other pets in the home. 

purpose Purpose
Herding, Livestock Guardian Dog
history Date of Origin
Ancient Times
ancestry Ancestry
Caucasian and Romanian Shepherd

Karst Shepherd Health

Average Size
Male Karst Shepherd size stats
Height: 22-25 inches Weight: 58-88 lbs
Female Karst Shepherd size stats
Height: 21-24 inches Weight: 58-88 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Elbow Dysplasia
Occasional Tests
  • Yearly Physical Examination
  • OFA on hips and elbows

Karst Shepherd Breed History

The Karst Shepherd is considered to be the oldest native breed to Slovenia. Researchers have not been able to determine the approximate date that the Karst Shepherd came into existence. They believe he is an ancient breed used as a sheepdog and livestock guardian dog in the area known as Slovenian Karst located around Pivka. Professor Strebel, a renowned explorer, described the Karst Shepherd’s ancestors as a link between the German Shepherd Dog and the Greek Molos. Professor Strebel suggests that there is a possible Latin origin through the Pompeii Dog. Although other researchers strongly believe that the ancestors of the Karst Shepherd was brought to the Slovenian Karst area by the Illyrians through the Dalmatian Islands and Istra. A widely accepted theory is that the Greek Molos were bred with other sheepdogs such as the Romanian Sheepdog, the Caucasian Shepherd, the Sarplaninec or the Macedonian Sheepdog. The Karst Shepherd was recognized internationally as the Illyrian Shepherd in 1939. He was grouped with the Shepherd of the Sarplaninia Massif. He was renamed the Krasevec in 1968. The Central Society of Yugoslavia went on to separate the Shepherd of the Sarplaninia Massif and the Krasevec into two independent breeds named the Sarplaninac and the Karst Shepherd Dog. This separation occurred in 1968. It is unknown when the Karst Shepherd was imported into the United States. Since there is no known documentation, he is thought to have been imported into Canada or Mexico and then brought over the border rather than be flown directly into the United States. While the Karst Shepherd is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, he has been recognized by the United Kennel Club since July 1, 2006. 

Karst Shepherd Breed Appearance

The Karst Shepherd is a compact sheepdog that is medium sized. He is an impressive looking dog with a long, dense coat. He is found in varying shades of gray, from a dark gray to a lighter silver gray. Karst Shepherds with darker gray coats will usually have a lighter gray on their legs and underside. His coat is a double coat that lies flat on his body except for feathering on his tail and legs. The coat length should be at least 10 cm on his body with his feathering being longer and fuller. His topcoat should be moderately harsh to the touch and his undercoat should be soft and supple. He has dark brown eyes that are almond shaped and inquisitive with black eye rims. His face has a dark mask on his muzzle that must at least cover up to the top of his skull. He has a large nose with open nostrils and is black in color. 

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Karst Shepherd eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Karst Shepherd nose
Coat Color Possibilities
gray Karst Shepherd coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Karst Shepherd straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Karst Shepherd Breed Maintenance

The Karst Shepherd has a dense, double coat therefore, he is not a hypoallergenic dog. He also requires weekly brushing using a pin brush and metal comb. Because he has a double coat, he will shed extensively seasonally. His undercoat will shed throughout the spring and summer. When he is shedding seasonally, he will require daily grooming. His coat can tangle easily if it is not properly maintained. Special attention should be paid to the feathering on his legs, tail and behind his ears. A detangler spray may be used to help work through any tangles that form between brushings. Usually, the Karst Shepherd should only need bathed twice a year, once when he begins shedding and then again in the fall when he is growing in a new undercoat. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a shampoo that will work best on his coat. Trim his nails every few weeks. Check his ears weekly and clean them as needed to prevent odor or infection. 

Brushes for Karst Shepherd
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Karst Shepherd requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Karst Shepherd Temperament

The Karst Shepherd is a unique breed. He is a sheepdog and a livestock guardian dog. Therefore, he makes an excellent guard dog and also can be a solid, devoted family companion. Because of his background as a livestock guardian dog, he can be a very dominant dog. This breed should only be owned by those familiar with dominant or aggressive dogs, novice dog owners should not consider the Karst Shepherd. He does require a strong leader and consistent training and socialization. Expect to spend a good deal of time with your Karst Shepherd working on his training and socialization. He is naturally unsure of strangers and needs to have a strong fence to keep him contained when in the back yard. Do not allow your Karst Shepherd to roam the neighborhood; he can become aggressive towards people or animals that he is unfamiliar. He can become a devoted companion, but it will take a lot of time, effort and training. 

Karst Shepherd Activity Requirements

The Karst Shepherd is a medium sized dog that requires moderate daily exercise. Daily walks or hikes are a great way to bond with your Karst Shepherd. He should never be allowed off leash when he is out on his daily walks. Combine his training and socialization with his daily exercise. While walking or hiking give him commands that he is familiar with such as heel, sit, and down. This reinforces his training and gives him practice. When you are exercising him, work on his socialization skills with both people and other dogs. He would do well performing in certain dog sports such as herding trials or agility and these are a great way for him to become more bonded to his owner.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Karst Shepherd Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$35.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Karst Shepherd Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Karst Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Karst Shepherd size stats at six months
Height: 17.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Karst Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 21.5 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs
Female Karst Shepherd size stats at 12 months
Height: 20.5 inches Weight: 57.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Karst Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 23.5 inches Weight: 73.0 lbs
Female Karst Shepherd size stats at 18 months
Height: 22.5 inches Weight: 73.0 lbs

Karst Shepherd Owner Experiences

8 Years
2 People
rescue dog did not like us at first as she was guarding her house but after feeding several times,she became more affectionate ,now loves husband dearly ,me not as much but still watches over me as I am handicapped and can't walk or run her,Stays near husband all of time and sulks when he leaves without her.Tolerates our cat well and shares her own food with cat for a minute or so until cat becomes disinterested in it .She looks for cat and barks for her if the cat is outside roaming as if telling her is time to come back in.Lovable with kids family that had her before us had 3 small children and she was very tolerant of them
4 years, 10 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd