By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Karst Shepherd Dog


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Karst Shepherd Dog is a breed of medium to large mountain dogs that developed in Slovenia. It is considered as a national treasure of the country and falls under the ‘Flock Guard’ group. Known for their loyal and protective disposition, this dog has a large body covered with a dense coat. The head is large with a short, black muzzle, a strong jawline, broad almond eyes and hanging ears. The shoulder and legs are muscular, while the tail is bushy and hangs downwards.

Karst Shepherd Dog Pictures

Quick Description

Other NamesKrasky Ovcar (Slovene), Krasevec (Slovene), Krazski Ovcar (Slovene), Karst Sheepdog, Istrian Sheepdog
CoatLong, dense, double
ColorsIron gray, light gray, sandy, pale fawn
Group (of Breed)Livestock Guardian, Mountain Dog
Lifespan11-12 years
WeightMales: 30 to 42 kg (66 to 92.4 pounds);
Females: 25 to 37 kg (55 to 81.4 pounds)
Height (Size)Medium to Large;
Males: 60 cm (24 in) approx.;
Females: 57 cm (22 in) approx.
Personality TraitsBrave, protective, alert, active, intelligent, aggressive, affectionate, loyal, independent
Good with ChildrenYes
Good with PetsNo
Good for New/First-time OwnersNo
Country of OriginSlovenia
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationUKC, FCI, DRA, ACA, SKC
Breed Standards

Video: Karst Shepherd Dog Training

History & Development

The Karst Shepherd Dog, the oldest of the indigenous breeds of Slovenia, was named after the Karst Plateau that falls in the Karst Massif region of the country, partially extending to Italy.

In 1939, the dog, initially named as the ‘Illyrian Shepherd’, grouped with the modern-day shepherd dog Sarplaninac, began to serve as an excellent flock guard.

In 1968,  the Central Society of Yugoslavia separated the two shepherd breeds as the Sarplaninac and the Karst Shepherd Dog (Slovenian – ‘Kraševec’). On July 1, 2006, the Karst Shepherd Dog got recognition from the United Kennel Club (UKC) under their ‘Guardian Dog’ group.

With a gradual decrease in their population, only 600 to 700 individuals are remaining as of 2008. In order to ward off possibilities of heritable diseases, selective breeding is strictly maintained by keeping a genetically safe distance (which must be higher than 0.45). This means that the sire and the dame must be far-related, and they did not descend from the same great-grandparents.

Temperament and Behavior

Karst Shepherds are boisterous and energetic. They are not meant for apartment living, but instead, needs at least an enclosed area to play freely. These territorial canines do not get along well with strangers as well as other pets.

This loyal dog loves its family members, including children, enjoying spending moments of fun with them. They have an inborn ‘guardian’ in them and are quite protective of their nearest kith and kin. The dog wouldn’t give a second thought even to give up its life when it comes to defending them. Such a trait makes them a good watchdog as well.



Do not keep it on a leash, when it is playing. Make sure, you provide a considerably large, safely-fenced space for this active dog to play. Taking them out regularly for a long walk and jogging is essential. Keep at least an hour’s time for that, but the more, the better.


This mountain dog has a dense, double coat to protect them from extreme weather conditions at higher altitudes. They need regular grooming. Brush the coat carefully 3-4 times a week to maintain hygiene and avoid disheveling. Bathe only when it is necessary.

Health Problems

Like most other purebreds, they lack a diverse gene pool and might be prone to certain diseases, mostly those that are common to large active breeds, including malignant hyperthermia, canine hip dysplasia, etc.


These canines pick up training well but needs to be groomed for an early age so that they do not grow up to be aggressive dogs.

  • Like other large dog breeds, the Karst puppies need to be well-socialized as early as possible. Contrive interesting ways to socialize, and at the same time, entertain it, like inviting kids at home, throwing puppy parties where it gets the opportunities to meet other breeds. If you have adopted this breed as a companion dog, encourage it to mingle with more and more people, while if your pup should grow up as a guardian dog, allow it to spend time with other animals regularly.
  • Your dog should be accustomed to its leash and collar while still young. As the pup gradually learns to accept these, begin by training it to walk behind you through your terrace, lawn or living space.
  • Your dog has a strong herding instinct, and training in basic commands (like stop, come back, or sit) is crucial since you need effective control over your large-size pet in future when it runs away from you while chasing a cat or a smaller dog.


Large dogs like the Karst Shepherd need at least 3 cups of healthy kibbles every day in its diet. However, the maximum quantity, including the lunch and dinner, should not exceed 4 cups.

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