Tatra Shepherd Dog
Other names: Polish Tatra Sheepdog, Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, Owczarek Tatrzański, Owczarek Podhalański, Polski Owczarek, Polish Podhale Sheepdog
The Tatra Sheepdog, more commonly known as the Polish Podhale Sheepdog, is a very strong, quiet dog, used today as a watchdog. They are very gentle with their master, but act suspicious around strangers. They have a calm temperament, are poised and balanced; and their independence makes them easy to train as long as the training methods are respectful. They are particularly fond of children and have a great protective instinct.
Key facts about the Tatra Shepherd Dog
Origins and history
Tatra Sheepdogs originated as dogs imported by Phoenician traders from the East and probably arrived in Europe via Africa. The Phoenicians used these dogs as exchange items, trading them for valuable products such as silver, glass, or cloth. The Romans also used them in wartime to watch their prisoners. They were also pet dogs for aristocrats. The World Canine Organisation officially recognised this breed in 1963.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Tatra Shepherd Dog
Female : Between 24 and 26 in
Male : Between 26 and 28 in
Female : Between 66 and 88 lb
Male : Between 66 and 88 lb
Their coats are white.
Type of coat
Their coats are long.
Their coat is short around their head and long on their body. The hair is usually straight (although can sometimes be slightly wavy), dense and hard to the touch. Their undercoat is thick and they have a mane around their necks.
Their eyes are dark brown.
The Tatra Sheepdog is a large, imposing dog, similar to Newfoundlands but they’re completely white! The head is large with a slightly arched crown and a marked stop. Their eyes are medium sized and slightly almond shaped. They come across as intelligent and they look sweet and dreamy. Their ears are at the same height as the outer corners of their eyes, are medium sized, triangular and covered in hair. Their tail is attached in the middle and goes down to the back of their knees.
Good to know
In the mountainous regions of Poland, Tatra Sheepdogs wear metal collars or studded necklaces to protect them from wolf attacks that are always aimed at the throat or neck.
Aside from their affection, Tatra Sheepdogs are particularly faithful to their masters and social group.
The Tatra Sheepdog gets on very well with children and loves to play and spend time with them. However, their relaxed and calm nature means they do not generally like playing for too long.
Quietly forceful perfectly describes this dog. They are certainly quite imposing however they are big softies and are totally composed. However, be careful not to rush them as they do have a prominent protective instinct.
Lively, brave and intelligent, as well as making great pets, Tatra Sheepdogs are great working dogs.
Their predatory instinct is superseded by their guard dog instinct. The only “prey” they hunt are people who try and enter their home!
Fearful / wary of strangers
Particularly vigilant, Tatra Sheepdogs are naturally suspicious of people they don’t know, without being fearful or aggressive. They are well balanced and intelligent and they have the ability to quickly analyse dangerous situations.
Tatra Sheepdogs can easily go about their own business independently. However, they always keep an eye out for others and give them protection if necessary.
Behaviour of the Tatra Shepherd Dog
Tatra Sheepdogs can happily stay at home alone where they are also happy to guard their home whilst their owners are absent.
Easy to train / obedience
Although it can be difficult to motivate these large dogs, they are generally docile dogs who want to please their master.
On the other hand, you should start training them as soon as they arrive home as a puppy, because given the size of them as adults, you need to learn to control them, especially in towns, or when guests arrive, for example.
They use their bark to intimidate intruders, however usually their mere presence is enough to keep individuals away.