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.
|Other Names||Krasky Ovcar (Slovene), Krasevec (Slovene), Krazski Ovcar (Slovene), Karst Sheepdog, Istrian Sheepdog|
|Coat||Long, dense, double|
|Colors||Iron gray, light gray, sandy, pale fawn|
|Group (of Breed)||Livestock Guardian, Mountain Dog|
|Weight||Males: 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 Traits||Brave, protective, alert, active, intelligent, aggressive, affectionate, loyal, independent|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Good with Pets||No|
|Good for New/First-time Owners||No|
|Country of Origin||Slovenia|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||UKC, FCI, DRA, ACA, SKC
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.
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.
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.
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.