Dog breeds native to Croatia

Dogs have been man’s best friend for a long time. The oldest known remains of a modern dog in Croatia were found near Zadar.

The dog’s bones (a fragment of the lower jaw and two teeth) from near Zadar on the Croatian Dalmatian coast are around 7500-8000 years old.

Below is a list of the dog breeds native to Croatia.

Croatian Shepherd Dog (Croatian Shepherd Dog)

Croatian Shepherd Dog (Photo: Michala Mračková / Public Domain)

The Croatian Shepherd Dog probably came from dogs that the Croatians brought with them during the migration period. The oldest recorded record of a Croatian Shepherd Dog dates back to 1374.

The Croatian Shepherd Dog is small to medium in size and the base color is always black, although there may be very small white spots on the chest and / or toes.

A characteristic is the short hair on the head and legs, which is a bit fox-like. The rest of the fur is longer and wavy or curly. The Croatian Shepherd is an attentive, agile, keen and intelligent dog with enormous energy and a strong need for human company. It has a well developed herding instinct and makes an excellent watchdog.

Dog breeds Croatia

Croatian shepherd puppy (Photo: Michala Mračková / Public Domain)

In the past, the dog was often used to drive herds of pigs into oak forests in autumn, and an ancient document says that this versatile breed even drove the horses out of Đakovos stables.

Dalmatian (Dalmatian)

Croatia dogs

Dalmatian dog

The World Canine Organization, known for its unique white fur with black or liver-colored spots, recognized Croatia as the country of origin of the Dalmatian and cited several historical sources.

The first known written information about a Dalmatian dog dates back to 1374, when the bishop of Đakovo, Peter, mentioned the hunting dog from Croatia, mainly from Dalmatia with short white hair and black round spots on various parts of the body, and he called him “Canis Dalmaticus ”.

Istrian coarse-haired dog

Dog breeds in Croatia

Istrian coarse-haired dog (Photo: Linda Pellegrini / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Istrian coarse-haired dog is a rough-haired scented dog that is still mainly kept as a hunting dog rather than a pet. Although the name indicates Istria as the place of origin, the place of training is also the Croatian coastal area, Dalmatia, Gorski Kotar and Lika.

The origin of the Istrian coarse-haired dog has been controversial since the 1960s with competing claims from Croatia and Slovenia. In 2003 the World Canine Organization recognized the breed as originating in Croatia.

The Istrian coarse-haired dog can vary in size and its wiry coat is weatherproof for hunting. The color is white with yellow or orange markings, usually on the ears. The ears are wide and hang flat with a long, upturned tail.

Istrian Shorthair Dog (I.old short haired dog)

Dog breeds in Croatia

Istrian Shorthair Dog (Photo: Mirta12 / CC BY-SA 1.0)

The Istrian Shorthair Dog is slightly smaller than the longer-haired Istrian Coarse-Haired Dog, which comes from the same region. The breed has a short, sleek, glossy, hard coat, mostly white with sparse orange spots. The breed has a typical muscular dog body with long legs and a long tail.

The Istrian shorthair dog is still kept for hunting in Croatia and is particularly valued for hunting foxes and rabbits.


Croatian dog breeds

Tornjak (Photo: Canarian / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Tornjak, also known as the Croatian Shepherd Dog, is a zoo keeper. The Tornjak is an ancient breed that was first mentioned in the 11th and 14th centuries.

The name comes from the local word for a sheep pen, “tor”. The Tornjak is a large and powerful dog with well-proportioned, almost square facial features and agile movements. The dog’s bones are not light, but they are neither heavy nor rough.

Tornjak has a calm temperament. A typical adult tornjak is very calm, peaceful, at first sight an indifferent animal, but when the situation calls for it, he is a watchful and very attentive guard dog.

Posavac Hound (Posavina Hound)

Dog breeds originating in Croatia.

Young Posavac bitch (Photo: Strojovodjazg / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Posavac Hound is a Scenthound-type hunting dog. The name translates into English as Scenthound From The Sava Valley, but is usually translated as Posavac Hound.

The Posavac Hound is a solidly built dog with a somewhat long body, tight ears, a long tail, and a gentle expression. The Posavac dog describes the ideal temperament as docile and enthusiastic.

Old Croatian Greyhound

The Old Croatian greyhound, an extinct breed of greyhound, was almost identical to the greyhound, albeit a little smaller.

The breed had a short coat and was mostly white with black, brown, red, or yellow spots. Traditionally, the breed was held for coursing, primarily hunting hares. She caught the game and gave it back to the hunter. The breed is believed to have died out in 1995.