Polish Tatra Sheepdog

80-130 lbs
Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, Polish Mountain Sheepdog, Owczarek Podhalanski, Owczarek TatrzaŇĄski, Polski Owczarek
Developed over centuries in the Tatra Peaks of the Carpathian Mountains in Southern Poland, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog is a rare and nearly timeless breed with a distinct personality and attractive look. Originally bred to be a livestock guardian and watchdog, this breed takes many of its character traits from its drive to work. Despite their intimidating size, Tatras are known to be quite gentle and generally maintain a calm regard for other animals and people. Much of this is due to their composure in the field, as they have stood as vigilant protectors of flocks of livestock and families in the region for as long as they've been domesticated. They are highly intelligent and strategic, which is another reason for their non-aggressive behavior -- they only attack if it is the last resort. They've been known to herd sheep into tight bunches, then stand as a barrier between the flock and predators, preventing any chance of outside attacks while attempting to launch an attack itself. This characteristic behavior also defines their regard for their owners, as although they are inherently trained to protect livestock, they will accept human families the same and play the watchdog and guardian roles with zeal, which can become problematic if not trained early on, as they like to use their bellowing bark to intimidate potential threats, whether they exist or not. While they are normally a calm, collected breed, their historic duties have also made them quite independent and strong-willed, so they take considerable training to be an obedient and responsive pet. But unlike a large variety of other breeds who get easily frustrated when left unattended too long, the Tatra usually does fairly well flying solo and will usually resort to their watchdog duties both indoor and out at their own discretion. Because of their size and heavy double coat, they generally do better with families that have large spaces to run and patrol, are active, live somewhere that isn't consistently hot, and have an experienced, authoritative owner who is able to train and socialize them. Even with their watchdog/herding/guardian background, they can still make fantastic companion animals in the right setting.
purpose Purpose
Herding. Guarding. Watchdog.
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Mastiff, Native Mountain Dogs

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Health

Average Size
Male Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats
Height: 26-28 inches Weight: 80-130 lbs
Female Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 80-130 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Cataracts
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination
  • Allergy Testing

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Breed History

Although the Polish Tatra Sheepdog has a long history, little has been documented in terms of their origins. It is believed that they may have descended from the Mastiff, another large dog native to Asia that eventually made its way into Europe, and may have bred with native dogs already established in the region that would have been likely to be more acclimated to the climate with their thick coats. While it is thought that the breed has thrived in Poland for hundreds of years, it wasn't until the advent of mountaineering in the mid 1800s that the breed became more widely known. After World War II sent starvation numbers skyrocketing, Tatras were dangerously close to extinction, but an American Foreign Service Officer in the 1980s fell in love with them so much he had three shipped back to the States. Since then, their numbers have been in a slow and steady incline as they are still used for herding and guarding as well as military and other utilities. Their unique fur can even be spun into wool.

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Breed Appearance

Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are a large breed, standing over two feet tall and weighing up to 130 pounds. They have a robust, muscular build that provides a considerable amount of power, should they need to use it, but also provides them a healthy amount of stamina. They have a distinct all-white double coat with an outer layer that is long and wavy. They have large, almost bear-like heads with a squarish muzzle tipped with a black nose, folded ears and calm, collected yet vigilant eyes. Their forequarters are mostly square with their back descending into a mildly angled hindquarters topped with a massive curly, bushy tail. The pads of their feet are quite large and the overall size of their paws is considerable.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Polish Tatra Sheepdog eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Polish Tatra Sheepdog nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white Polish Tatra Sheepdog coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Polish Tatra Sheepdog wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Breed Maintenance

Even with their long, thick coats, Tatras require only moderate grooming. In the late spring, they shed their under coat profusely and need almost daily brushing, but in other seasons shed little and take little more than a good brushing every week or so. Because their coats are self-cleansing, they rarely need a bath and generally keep themselves quite clean. They do not drool but do, like any breed, need regular tooth brushing to keep their teeth healthy. Their nails should also be monitored and trimmed when necessary.
Brushes for Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Polish Tatra Sheepdog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Temperament

Although they are well-known as guardians, Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are a non-aggressive breed and generally maintain a calm regard towards other animals and people. They are quite gentle for their size and have a keen awareness of their surroundings at all times. They are not overly affectionate unless raised as a companion from early on, but they will treat their family as they would a flock, protecting them with endless resolve all while maintaining a moderate to high level of independence. It can become an issue though, especially if they are untrained, as they are somewhat easily stimulated and tend to bark when presented with a possible threat, whether it is real or just perceived. Because of their high intelligence and strong will, they can be quite stubborn and need a consistent authority figure to train and socialize them, as well as act as the alpha to promote good behavior. But unlike many other highly intelligent breeds, they actually do quite well on their own, especially if they have space to patrol, and will find ways to watch or guard if left unattended. But that's also not to say they won't develop poor behavior if they're not regularly exercised, as they require a fair amount to stay happy and healthy.

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Activity Requirements

Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are mid-to-high energy dogs, largely due to a combination of their size and the stamina developed over centuries of standing as herders and sentinels. They require a good amount of exercise and generally do best in a home with a large space to run and patrol both inside and out. They are usually inactive indoors but will expel energy outdoors at will, whether through play or self-appointed rounds of patrol, but they will also need at least an hour of exercise a day.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
16 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$3.50 - $4.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$80.00 - $110.00
food bag monthly cost

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 19.0 inches Weight: 75.0 lbs
Female Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at six months
Height: 17.5 inches Weight: 75.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 90.0 lbs
Female Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at 12 months
Height: 21.5 inches Weight: 90.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 27.0 inches Weight: 105.0 lbs
Female Polish Tatra Sheepdog size stats at 18 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 105.0 lbs

Polish Tatra Sheepdog Owner Experiences

9 Months
2 People
she loves kids, loves when they play with her
4 years, 3 months ago
7 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Agility training
Obedience classes
Have had him from 3 months old, lives in garage adjacent to house, gets walked twice daily but trained several times a day A beautiful pet and live him dearly
4 years, 3 months ago
Beau Bleu
7 Months
2 People
House & Yard
This breed is a very large. They are very observant of everything They have super sonic like hearing up to a mile. They bark very loudly when they are trying to alert you to something out of the ordinary We have two cats and he is always exerting himself as an Alpha male and tormenting them. We have horses and other barn animals that he enjoys being with and is very congenial with them At this point he is still chewing everything in site and hopefully that abates when all permanent teeth are in. After having several large Golden Retrievers in the past he seems to be a much more muscular and headstrong dog.
3 years, 3 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd