By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022



Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Tornjak is a large, powerful breed that is dignified, innately dominant and fiercely protective of its domain. The dense coat, almond-shaped eyes, and furry tail give it a pleasing appearance while the sturdy, muscular build and razor sharp teeth make it an effective guard dog.

Tornjak Pictures

Quick Information:

Other NamesShepherd Dog, Bosnian Shepherd Dog, Bosnian and Herzegovinian Shepherd Dog, Croatian Mountain Dog, Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Croatian Shepherd Dog
CoatWooly, heavy double coat with a thick undercoat and a long, coarse, straight topcoat.
ColorWhite, gray, yellow, brown, red, and black in varying patterns
GroupWorking Dogs, Mountain Dogs, Molossers, Livestock Guardian Dogs
Lifespan12-14 years
HeightMale: 25-27 inches, Female: 23-25 inches
WeightMale: 77-110 lbs, Female: 60-88 lbs
Litter Size6-10 puppies
TemperamentProtective, calm, friendly and devoted
Good with ChildrenYes
SheddingModerate, mostly during summer months
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationUKC, FCI, AKC (FSS), DRA, ACA
CountryBosnia, Herzegovina Croatia

Tornjak Puppies Video


The Tornjak, bred to guard and herd livestock, originated in Bosnia, and Herzegovina-Croatia a thousand years back. In fact, manuscripts from the 800s, 1067 and 1374 contain mentions of the Tornjak, wherein the breed was called ‘Bosanski Ovčar’ and ‘Hrvatski pas planinac,’ which translates to Croatian mountain dog.

It is possibly a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff from the area that we currently know as Iran.

Initially, this rare breed was named ‘Kanis Montanus,’ meaning mountain dog, which later changed to Tornjak, where ‘tor’ means an enclosure for cattle.

They are even speculated to be descendants of the livestock guardian breeds that were developed in Mesopotamia 9000 years ago.

Some also believed that the Romans used it for war, as guardians and to fight in the arena.

Around 1972 began the attempts at restoring the Tornjak from possible extinction, while its pure was breeding started in 1978.

On 9th May 1981, this breed was registered by the name of Bosnian-Herzegovinian sheepdog-Tornjak, as an autochthonous breed.

The UKC and AKC recognized it in 2011 and 2012 respectively. The Tornjak presently enjoys the reputation of a working dog and is also a member of the Foundation Stock Service.


The Tornjak is a confident, stable, and friendly breed that makes for an excellent watchdog.

This calm, peaceful dog is not in the least bit demanding, with no signs of nervousness or aggression either.

They are gentle with children, in addition to being devoted as well as affectionate towards their family members. At the same time, they are brave enough not to hesitate to take on stronger rivals when threatened.

 The large breed does not feel comfortable or content in an apartment life. They are happiest in country homes or a house with a spacious backyard.

It may, however, exhibit destructive behavior when exposed to constant unpleasant noises or confined in a small space for long.



Since the Tornjak has moderate exercise needs, a daily 30 or 60 – minute walk or a play session will suffice.


Brush the long, dense coat of the Tornjak at least four times a week to prevent matting. Comb the coat even more regularly if it spends a lot of time outdoors.

Clean its teeth, ears and paws regularly for any infection or insects lodged within. Trim its nails as required.

Health Problems

Although the Tornjak is a healthy breed, it may develop hip dysplasia if exposed to strenuous exercise such as climbing the stairs in its first six months. Moreover, a high protein diet can cause a variety of health problems, including a poor quality coat.


They are quick learners with an impressive retention which makes them easy to train. However, since they are independent thinkers, they require proper training at the right time to ensure that do not develop defiance at a later stage. The best way to train this breed is to expose it to consistent and firm training from puppyhood.

  • The loyal and vigilant breed demands socialization with other animals and strangers, besides exposure to sudden loud noises before nine months of age, so it doesn’t always act overly uneasy and fearful towards the same down the road.
  • Obedience train your dog to help it understand the most important commands first, such as, ‘No,’ ‘Come,’ ‘Stay,’ ‘Stop,’ ‘Sit,’ etc.
  • Start leash training the Tornjak early, before it discovers its strength and uses it to pull hard on the leash. Teach it to walk alongside you without pulling. Reward it with treats when it obeys.


Provide him with high-quality dog food formulated for large dogs alongside a low protein diet.

Interesting Facts

  • During winters, this dog may often be found lying on the ground to get covered by the snow.


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