Tornjak - Mountain Sheep Dog

Tornjak is a native breed to Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia. It is a muscular dog with squarely proportionate body. The dog has thick wooly coat which protects it from extreme climatic conditions. Its wooly coat requires lot of time in grooming. The dog’s primary job was to protect sheep, as a result, they are naturally vigilant and alert.

Inside home they remain calm and friendly with family members and generally doesn’t show any sign of aggression. But when the situation demands they transform their personality to a fierce guard dog. These dogs are still bred to guard and herd livestock.


Tornjak also makes wonderful family companion because of its sweet temperament and easy going attitude. It is a fully devoted dog to owner and performs works assigned to it with full responsibility. The dog needs great deal of exercise to be happy.

Tornjak Dog

Tornjak Origin

Tornjak is the oldest breed of Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia. This is vivid from the documents and papers kept in Catholic Church of these regions. This dog is similar to mountain dogs in respect to appearance and function.

It was used by farmers to watch, herd and guard livestock. As the technology flourished and sheepherding diminished, this breed has become less in number and is one of the rare breeds of this world.


Tornjak Characteristics

  • The breed belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
  • It is a farm dog that is expert in herding and guarding livestock especially sheep.
  • Lifespan of this breed is 10-12 years.
  • It is alert, vigilant, calm and tenacious breed.
  • Height of the dog is 65-70 cm.
  • Weight of the dog is 35–50 kg.
  • Average cost of the puppy is $600 - $800 USD.
  • Dog comes in combination color of white-black, white-brown, piebald and white-red.
  • The dog thrives in an open environment where it can wander and run freely.
  • It doesn’t bark excessively.
  • If the dog is raised it tend to be playful, cheerful and protective around them.
  • The dog sheds moderately.
  • It has wooly coat which requires effort in grooming them.
  • The dog is highly trainable but you need to b stern in training it.
  • It is suspicious of strangers but will not bite them.
  • It is not a hypoallergenic breed.


It is a large sized dog with solid body. The breed is powerful, muscular with harmonious movement. Its bones are not too light and not too heavy. Its head is elongated with straight muzzle which is neither pointed nor blunt.

Ears are long, floppy shaped and hang side by its face. The dog has almond sized expressive eyes. Its teeth should meet in a scissor bite and jaws should be strong.  The dog has a bushy tail which gets carried over its back when it is alert or excited.

Size and Weight

Ideal height of the male breed is 63–72 cm and female should be 58–65 cm in height. Weight of the male breed should be 35–50 kg and female should weigh around 28–40 kg.


Coat and Color

The dog has a thick double coat with hard texture. The top coat should be straight and coarse while undercoat should be dense, wooly and soft. The dog has short hair on face and forelegs. Long and slight wavy hair can be seen on neck, ears, shoulder, tail and thighs.

Dog comes in combination color of white-black, white-brown, piebald and white-red. White should essentially be the ground color with darker color markings.


  1. Personality - It is a friendly and compassionate family dog and an attentive and fearless farm dog. They are wary of strangers and will not get bribed by them when on guard duty. It becomes aggressive when it considers any animal or stranger as threat to family. Being a working class guard dog and watch dog, they have to take certain decision by own at the work place. This has made them independent minded, so they may not necessary comply with your orders. When it is inside home, it rarely barks but outside it will bark at new people and sound. The dog takes any task seriously and tenaciously. Work is its first love.
  2. Behavior - It is a placid breed that loves tranquility and serenity in the environment. It has strong protective instincts and in the absence of sheep it will herd humans. The dog is scary to strangers and friendly to the known people. It is friendly, brave, bold and lion hearted dog. With family kids, they are fun loving and high spirited. The breed forms strong bonds with family and should never be left alone.
  3. Activities Requirement - It is necessary to provide open space to the dog. Restraining its movement will make it destructive in nature. Take your dog on brisk walk, running, jogging and play. The dog loves fetch games and search games like fly disc, searching the treat, crossing the hurdle etc.
  4. Trainability - This breed is naturally trained in the field of herding and guarding. Not much effort has to make to teach the dog skills related to this filed. The main purpose of the training program should be to establish leadership over the dog. It is a smart dog that learns skills easily but you need to be consistent.


It needs diet formulated for large working class dogs. The dog has a low need for proteins as its body responds negatively to high dosage of protein. Give meat and other raw food to the dog after removing excess fat.


It can live up to 10-12 years.

Health Issues

It is not a hypoallergenic dog. There have been no notable signs of major health issues seen in this breed. Excess amount of protein in its diet can cause digestive problem. Care should be taken when the dog hasn’t matured yet; it shouldn’t be allowed to climb stairs or do vigorous exercise. Hip dysplasia, skin problems, deafness, blindness are some of the common health problems related to all breeds of dog.


This breed sheds averagely; be ready to vacuum quite often. It is necessary to brush its coat daily if it is a working dog because long coat get easily attracted by mats and debris. Bath the dog as needed. Trimming the nails, cleaning the ears and brushing the teeth should also be part of grooming regime.


The breed thrives in countryside or farm. It can also thrive in apartment accompanied with yard. It prefers cooler climate and utmost care should be taken even in moderate hot temperature.

Pet Names

  1. Lucy
  2. Jugni
  3. Casper
  4. Dollar
  5. Doll

Things To Consider Before Buying


  1. It is friendly and amiable to known people.
  2. Inside home, it remains calm and good mannered.
  3. It is a reliable dog for guarding and watching purpose.


  1. It is not a hypoallergenic breed.
  2. The breed’s coat gets easily affected by dirt and debris.
  3. It tends to independent minded and is not so good in obedience training.