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Basics of Dog Breed : Karst Shepherd

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Posted on September 26 2018

Breed Information:

Other names: Karst Shepherd, Kraski Ovcar, Karst Shepherd
Origin: Slovenia
FCI Group: Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid breeds and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds
FCI number: 278
Longevity: 12 years
Hair type: Long
Shape of the head: Long

Race history

The Shepherd of the Karst massif corresponds to a very old race , since it was already mentioned in the 17th century by Baron Janez Vajkart Valvasor in his book entitled "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola", published in 1689. It seems that this dog was bred by the Illyrians, who took him on their migrations through Istria and Dalmatia to settle permanently in the Karst region of the present-day Slovenia. At first, the breed is recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) on June 2, 1939 under the name Berger d'Illyrie. 30 years later, the FCI recognizes it definitively as the Berger du Karst.

Physical characteristics

The Shepherd of the Karst Massif is a molossoid dog of construction that is powerful, robust and harmonious. With a developed musculature, a strong frame and a long and abundant coat, it is perfectly cut for its 2 main functions: sheepdog and watchdog. His hair: long (around 10 cm), very well supplied, flat, associated with an abundant undercoat. Shorter on the head, the anterior edge of the ears and the anterior part of the limbs. Particularly long and bushy around the neck, forming a mane and a collar. Its color: iron gray with, preferably, a darker tone on the back. Lighter on the belly and limbs. Its head :  

rather big compared to the body, without coarseness, nor finesse. Large at the level of the ears, tapering towards the nose. The skull is well developed, dry. The stop is moderately marked, the muzzle is medium long and the lips are thick. Presence of a dark mask extending from the muzzle, with gray or sandy hair at the back. 
Its ears: V-shaped, moderately high attachment, medium length, falling flat against the cheeks and with the front edges bent outwards. 
His eyes: slightly apart, almond-shaped, chestnut to dark brown. 
His body :well developed and of medium length. The upper line is horizontal or slightly oblique, the withers long and moderately high, the back straight, muscular and broad, the rump slightly inclined towards the tie of the tail, the breast well developed, the stomach slightly raised and rolled up. 
Its tail: solid, thick at the base, saber-shaped ending with a slight hook. Garnished with long hair and worn low at rest. Raised to the level of the back when the dog is awake.

Weight and size

Weight Cut
Female Between 25 and 37 kg Between 54 cm and 60 cm
Male Between 30 kg and 42 kg Between 57 cm and 63 cm

A dog breed of the Karst Massif breeds in the category of large dogs .

Behavior and character

The Shepherd of the Karst Massif is a dog full of courage and valor , but not biting. An excellent guardian , he is naturally suspicious of foreigners . In family, he is extremely attached to his master and his little clan, is pleasant and rather docile . He has also retained much of his skills and instincts as a sheepdog. 

Education ...
If it is relatively obedient, the Shepherd of the Karst massif is also characterized by a fairly strong personality . His education must be firm and precocious, as must his socialization. Intelligent and looking to please his master, he can quickly learn the rules to follow.


The Karst Massif Sheepdog is a rustic, robust and resistant dog . Thanks to its double hair, it tolerates the roughness of the climate quite well. The breed has no particular predisposition to a disease .

Maintenance & Hygiene


The shepherd of the Karst massif is easy to maintain , as long as it is done regularly and carefully.

Outings ...
The Shepherd of the Karst Mountains needs a lot of exercise every day. He needs long and frequent outings to satisfy his need for activity and space .

Hygiene ...
It is recommended to brush it a long time once a week . This dog does not need to be groomed .

Living conditions

The Shepherd of the Karst massif is a dog made for large spaces . He needs to stay active and express his guardian instincts by moving into a large fenced garden. He can show great autonomy.

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