Tornjak: characteristics of the dog breed, photo, character, rules of care and maintenance


  • Country of origin: Croatia
  • The size:
  • Growth:
    62-73 cm
  • The weight:
    35-60 kg
  • Age:
    9-11 years old
  • FCI breed group:
    Pinschers and Schnauzers, Molossians, Mountain and Swiss Cattle Dogs
  • Brief information

  • Smart and calm;
  • Independent, unobtrusive;
  • Excellent shepherds and guards.
  • Origin story

    The first mention of such dogs is found in the annals of monasteries of the 9th century. Who were the ancestors of the Tornjak? There are two versions. One claims that they were bred from the domesticated dogs of Mesopotamia in ancient times. The second is that the blood of Tibetan mastiffs flows in them, also crossed with other breeds in ancient times. But what is interesting: modern dogs look exactly the same as they did many centuries ago.

    The name of the breed comes from the Bosnian word “tor”, which means “pen for sheep”. The selection was aimed at growing reliable and attentive shepherds and guards. By the way, these dogs are good nannies: the ability to take care of the children of the owners has been brought up in them for centuries. And outside of their shepherd work, Tornjaks can seem like lazy bumps, big teddy bears. However, a couple of these bears will cope with a real bear.

    When, over time, nomadic sheep breeding disappeared, the Tornjaks also practically disappeared. And only in the 70s of the last century, cynologists took up saving the breed. Animals were selected that best fit the description of the ancient Tornjaks: in 1972, in Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, specialists began breeding work, and after a few years it brought success.


    The Tornjak is a powerful dog with an athletic build. The coat is long, thick, straight or slightly wavy, with a dense undercoat. Forms a mane on the neck and chest. The tail is fluffy, often saber-shaped, with fan-shaped fringes. On the hind legs shaggy “pants”. The color can be any, but not monophonic, the main thing is with a predominance of white, preferably without piebaldness and speck. Bright colors are valued, it is considered a plus if the dogs differ from each other in “clothing”.

    Head elongated, wedge-shaped. Due to the shaggy voluminous mane, it may seem disproportionately small in relation to the body. Nose black, large. Ears hanging, triangular shape. The chest is wide, the legs are strong, the back is straight.


    Tornjaks feel great when they can fulfill their mission to feed and protect. No flock of sheep? The dog will graze and protect the master’s children, small dogs and even cats, as well as garden crops. Of course, if the owner gives him a competent installation. As with any large dog, training should not be left to chance.

    Shaggy giants are accommodating, reasonable and unobtrusive. But in case of danger, they react instantly let no one be embarrassed by their apparent phlegm. Fans of the breed say that the Tornjak is the ideal dog for a country house.


    Long thick coat with a dense undercoat is the main decoration of the Tornjaks. But it needs brushing to look good. You will have to purchase a plier and a couple of good brushes and use this equipment at least a couple of times a week. Otherwise, a handsome woolly man will turn into a neglected shaggy dog, which is not only ugly, but also fraught with skin diseases due to diaper rash under a fallen “boot”.

    Like all “heavyweights”, Tornjaks should not be overfed excess weight will put additional stress on the joints.

    Washing the dog too often is useless, but it is necessary to monitor the cleanliness of the bed, house, aviary.

    Conditions of detention

    Breeders say that life in an apartment is contraindicated for Tornjaku. Of course, these words should not be taken as the ultimate truth: a dog lives well where it is taken care of, but it is not easy to provide such a dog with suitable conditions in a city apartment. But outside the city, he will feel in his element.

    Woolen “sheepskin coat” allows him not to be afraid of frost. But keeping on a chain or in a closed enclosure is unacceptable: the breed was bred in order to run around the open spaces; with restrictions in movement and space, the animal may have problems with both the psyche and the musculoskeletal system.

    In Russia, it is still quite difficult to find such a puppy. But in the homeland of the breed, as well as in Poland, the Czech Republic, France, there are clubs and kennels you can contact the breeders and choose a dog for yourself. Prices for small torgnacs depend on many factors and range from 100 to 600-700 euros.

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