The Torjak is a breed of domestic sheep dog that originated in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an ancient breed that was first mentioned in a ninth century text from the Catholic Church, and later in the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. It was described as an intelligent and non-aggressive dog that guarded livestock and humans, although the Romans trained it to fight in wars and for sport. The breed nearly vanished when the nomadic sheepherders of its native area dispersed, but a group of cynologists gathered the remaining members of the breed in order to preserve it in the 1970’s.

The Tornjak is a large breed with a muscular and well-proportioned body, broad chest, and elongated muzzle. The double coat of this breed is thick and shorter along the lower legs and face. Longer fur occurs along the neck and upper legs. Although the breed standard accepts any color for the Tornjak, most individuals are predominately white with various markings. Other colors include nearly black with yellow, red, brown, and faint grey markings. The two most common types of markings found on this breed are piebald and Irish spotting, and it was bred to have a large number of color variants so farmers could distinguish their dogs from others.

The Tornjak is a social and calm breed, although it may seem aloof with strangers and can be very active if the need arises.  Because the breed is large and requires a good amount of space and exercise, it is not recommended as a pet for people living in apartments.

Although special training is not needed for this dog, early socialization is highly recommended in order for adult dogs to be comfortable in all situations. Currently, the Tornjak is only recognized by the FCI as a temporary breed.

Image Caption: Tornjak. Credit: Caronna/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)