Greek Shepherd Dog
The Greek Shepherd Dog was developed for the purpose of guarding the livestock of the farmers, as well as for protecting them from other animals and thieves in the hilly regions of Greece. Often confused for Saint Bernard or Great Pyrenees, this rare dog has a medium to a large body with a huge head, broad muzzle, floppy ears, and often drooping eyes with a sharp vision. The jaws are strong lined with large teeth. Interestingly, while some of them have long tails, the others have a short one, or no tails at all.
Greek Shepherd Dog Pictures
|Also known as||Olympus Dog, Greek Sheepdog, Hellenikos Poimenikos
|Coat||Fluffy, long, wavy|
|Colors||Black, white, black and white, grayish-brown|
|Type||Livestock Guardian Dog, Herding Dog, Companion Dog, Mountain Dog|
|Group (of Breed)||Purebred|
|Lifespan/Expectancy||12 years approx.|
|Weight||Males: 84–110 pounds (38–50 kg);
Females:70–92 pounds (32–42 kg)
|Height (size)||Medium to Large;
Males: 25–29 inches (65–75 cm);
Females: 23–26 inches (60–68 cm)
|Personality Traits||Loyal, independent, alert, affectionate, intelligent, alert, brave, aggressive|
|Good with Children||Yes (if trained from tender age)|
|Good with Pets||No|
|Barking||Average (deep barks)|
|Country of Origin||Greece|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||KCG, APRI, DRA|
Video: Greek Shepherd Puppy Playing
History & Development
No specific timeline about the origin of this breed is known. Some dog experts believe that the Turkish migrants to Greece created the Greek Shepherd dogs many centuries back by crossing the white Balkan Molossers with the Turkish Akbash dogs since they have a striking resemblance to these breeds, and are found in the same region.
Greek Shepherd Dogs did not begin as a herding or flock guardian dog. They were rather used as shepherd dogs that thrived on the command and security of their masters. They were used mostly in pairs (a male and a female) and were spread across all regions in Greece mainly because they were thought to possess healing abilities and certain magical powers. The children were advised to take care of the puppies since legends said that they, in turn, would transfer strength and health into their souls.
The right ear of the male Greek Shepherd was either cropped or completely cut off since the owners believed that it would improve the dog’s hearing, as well as ward off evil spirits. At present, these dogs are rare and mostly available in their native region in Greece, with only about 3000 individuals remaining.
Temperament and Behavior
Though they are lazy, the Greek Shepherds are marked by high speed and swiftness when they find their owners or family members are in danger. They are mostly independent-minded and have often proved to be well-decisive and brave. They are wary of strangers, and are mostly one-man dogs that would obey the commands of their ‘flock leaders’. As a herding dog, they are often aggressive towards wild animals or other human intruders.
Take them out for a jog for at least an hour in the morning, and a long walk again before evening. Such activities will certainly keep the chasing and running instincts of this shepherd dog under control.
Greek Shepherds have a double coat, and they are average shedders. Brush the long, wavy fur about 4-5 times a week for keeping the dense coat fluffy and dirt-free.
These are healthy dogs with no health issues yet reported.
- Vigorous socialization from a tender age is highly recommended. Never fail to take them out on a daily basis especially to those places where they can socialize and get a precise idea about the man-to-dog relationship. For that, dog parks are best, where they can see other dogs are mingling freely with humans, and playing with different other breeds (or maybe even other pets). Allow your friends to step in and play with your puppy, while you too join in with your kids.
- Teaching basic commands like no, stop, sit, halt, or come back from its puppy days is crucial so that you can successfully gain control of its movements. Follow the same rule while giving them behavioral training. Make it clear that running after your neighbor’s cat or the wild squirrel in your garden is never acceptable. But remember, this dog does not tolerate rough behavior from the trainer. Hence, while training your dog, be consistent but caring at the same time. Use some tasty treats as rewards.
- Leash training is important. Teach it wearing the leash happily when you want it to do so. Caress your puppy for a while and give it a hug or two, since your praises would mean a lot to your pet.
If your dog is a large one, 4-5 cups of dry, high-quality kibbles are sufficient, whereas, for a medium dog, the quantity is 3-4 cups. Also, try feeding it raw meat at times for some extra energy.
- The bitches were not believed to be possessing magical powers. Their left ears were often cropped only to distinguish them from the males (who had their right ears cropped).