Karst Shepherd Dog
Other names: Krasky Ovcar, Krasevec, Krazski Ovcar, Karst Sheepdog, Istrian Sheepdog
The Karst is a livestock guardian dog. It was originally bred in Slovenia and is still mostly used by Slovenian farmers. It is rarely seen out of its native lands but its popularity elsewhere in the world is on the rise. It is used as a herder and a guardian of livestock due to its alertness and protective nature. It is a fearsome watchdog, but an unlikely sensitive companion about the house.
Key facts about the Karst Shepherd Dog
Life expectancy :
Origins and history
Records of the Karst show a lineage dating back several centuries; it is mentioned in a Slovenian chronicle of 1689. The breed was officially recognised in 1939.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs
Section 2 : Molossian type
Physical characteristics of the Karst Shepherd Dog
Female : Between 21 and 24 in
Male : Between 22 and 25 in
Female : Between 55 and 82 lb
Male : Between 66 and 93 lb
A mix of iron grey, light grey and sandy colours.
Type of coat
The Karst has a long and abundant topcoat and undercoat. Its head and front parts of its legs are covered with shorter hair. Thick and long fur around the neck forms a mane.
Dark brown or chestnut.
A muscular and robust dog. The head is slightly large proportionally than it should be; nicely shaped and wide from the skull to the muzzle. The ears are relatively high on the head but hang against the cheek. Its sabre-shaped tail is broad and well-feathered.
Good to know
The Karst has a want to be the dominant dog of a pack. If it is not taught from a young age to respect the boundaries of the hierarchy, this dog will seek to take control of the household. Consistency from its owner is required. That is not to say that the Karst should be treated unpleasantly.
An affectionate dog is the trained and well-socialised Karst, but it tends to choose one favourite from its pack.
This is a dog that will play on its own terms and when it wants to. It will want to be in control of any playtime that ensues. It may become possessive of its toys.
This is a fiercely alert dog who will not sit still for long periods of time. Among its family it will generally be calm and relaxed.
An intelligent dog, the Karst feeds off exercise and commands. Left to its own devices the Karst will become troublesome.
The Karst is a herding dog rather than a hunter. It is not likely to exhibit predatory behaviour but it will exhibit aggressive defence of its owner.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Karsts tend to be very wary of new people and take some time to warm to a visitor in their home. The dog may even adopt a defensive behaviour because it feels threatened by the new arrivals.
The Karst has a strong and wilful individuality. It does not take well to being told what to do.
Behaviour of the Karst Shepherd Dog
The Karst will tolerate solitude up to a point.
Easy to train / obedience
A firmness and confidence are needed of a trainer of this dog. The Karst is easily distracted, easily bored and will always seek to take control of a situation.
Because this dog is always alert and has a strong instinct to protect it tends to bark at anything it thinks is threatening the household.
Tendency to run away
Even well-trained dogs of this breed may not respond to a recall. It will consider itself the pack’s leader if given the opportunity to roam.