Carpathian Sheepdog (Ciobănesc Românesc Carpatin)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
pale fawn overlaid with black (wolf-grey), with or without white marks
very large
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • forms very strong bonds with its family
  • easy to groom
  • excellent guardian and herder
  • dominant and independent-minded
  • needs a great amount of daily exercise
  • prone to see in everything threat to its family

The Carpathian Sheepdog is a trustworthy and hard-working livestock guardian, which was developed in Romanian mountainous regions. It’s regarded to come of the earliest Shepherd dogs and existed in Romania since time immemorial. This fearless and balanced breed has just recently deserved international approval but it’s still rather obscure outside its homeland.

For hundreds of years the Carpathian Sheepdog served poor Romanian peasants in one of Europe’s difficult and isolated territories. This dog had been invented long before any organised breeding became a common practise. So dogs’ experts can only make several probable suggestions as far as it concerns its ancestry. It’s very likely that the breeds’ direct predecessors arrived in Carpathian region between 6000 and 7000 years ago that is when agriculture was initially introduced to this area. This implies that it descended from first dogs domesticated by humans around 14000 years ago.

It’s also quite probable that the Carpathian Sheepdog was imported to the region much later. For some time significant part of what is now Romania was under the dominion of the Roman Empire and was reckoned as province Dacia. The Romans were highly competent in dog’s breeding and they used breeds from people they oppressed. One such breed was the Molossus, which was praised for its exceptional bravery and powerful protective instinct. The Carpathian Sheepdog bears striking resemblance with this dog so the suggestion was put forward that they share common genes.

Other group of dog’s experts insists that the breed’s progenitors originated from the Steppes that borders with vast territories of modern Romania. For centuries European settlements were subjected to invasions of nomadic people and their path inevitably laid through Romania. These invaders usually took their war and livestock guarding dogs with them and they eventually mixed them with local dog’s population.

The Carpathian Mountains teemed with various kinds of predators including the brown bear, wolf, lynx, golden jackal etc. These ferocious beasts as long as human marauders represented a great danger for local cattle rearing. The Carpathian Sheepdog effectively opposed these threats and was very treasured in the role of a livestock guardian. The stock was usually handled by the group of several dogs, which was able to withstand the attacks of two or more wild animals. The dog also displayed outmost protectiveness over its human family so it reliably guarded shepherd’s house from different criminals who frequently raided this area because of its frontier location.

To this day the Carpathian Sheepdog is mostly used as a guard dog in the most remote regions of Romania. Recently it has received the recognition of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). In 2006 the breed was fully approved by the United Kennel Club (UKC). However this good-natured and undaunted dog can be hardly seen anywhere outside its native Romania.

Thanks to its stable and biddable demeanour the Carpathian Sheepdog makes an excellent family dog. It’s prone to attach very intensely to its family and it usually suffers from loneliness if left alone for a long time. This breed is very gentle and loving with children with whom it has been brought up together. Anyway a well-mannered specimen will tolerate even small children and will put up with their mischiefs.

Being an inborn guardian the Carpathian Sheepdog treats strangers with suspiciousness and aloofness. This dog should be certainly socialised in order to learn to differentiate real and farfetched threats. It constantly stays on alert and its thunderous bark and formidable appearance are usually enough to scare off any ill-intended person. That’s why it will make very effective watch dog. It also doesn’t require any particular training to become a fearless and unfailing guard dog.

The Carpathian Sheepdog was bred for centuries to work with dozens of other canines. In these circumstances any aggressive behaviour in relation to other dogs was highly undesirable so this breed generally gets along with familiar dogs. However it can become quite aggressive towards strange dogs with which it competes for superior position or just sees them as something perilous for its human pack. So its owner should walk it leashed and muzzled at all times. This dog usually lives peacefully with a home cat if they have been timely introduced to each other. On the whole the Carpathian Sheepdog is considered to be aggressive towards non-canine animals, which it tends to view as threats to its family.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• gastric torsion;
• eye problems;
• skeletal growth abnormalities;
• arthritis.

The Carpathian Sheepdog has very low grooming requirements. Its rich coat should be brushed from time to time preferably once in two or three days. Naturally its owner should regularly trim the dog’s nails, clean its ears and brush its teeth. The dog does shed and probably in considerable amounts.


The Carpathian Sheepdog is a fairly capable learner since it possesses a keen intellect and aptitude for independent thinking. It needs virtually no training to become an outstanding shepherd and guardian. It’s said that it’s much more trainable than majority of guardian breeds but it certainly requires an experienced handler who will know how to earn the dog’s respect and obedience.

During training sessions the owner should treat the dog with proper firmness but without unnecessary cruelty. On the whole the Carpathian Sheepdog is somewhat sensitive to harsh handling so it should be motivated only with tasty treats and verbal encouragement.

The Carpathian Sheepdog was created with capability to cover an impressive distances of very challenging terrains in one single day. So this Shepherd has significant exercise requirements. Its owner should take it for a walk for at least an hour on the daily basis but this dog would gladly take every opportunity to move you have to offer it.

The Carpathian Sheepdog can accompany you in jogging or bicycle riding and will tireless run beside you for hours on end. This breed requires spacious and securely fenced yard where it can run and play to its heart content. It poorly adapts to apartment life due to its massive size and exercise needs. Without appropriate amount of physical activity it usually becomes hyper active, destructive, nervous and disobedient.