Karst Shepherd Dog (Kraški ovčar) FCI Standard
Some dog’s historians stick to an opinion that the Karst Shepherd descended directly from the Caucasian Shepherd. Others presume that its ancestors existed in ancient Pompeii where remains of resembling canines were located. Nonetheless it’s most probably that the forefather of the breed was the Greek Molosus that the Illyrians imported to the Krast area with their sheep flocks.
The Karst Shepherd was treasured by local shepherds for its outstanding personality, including incredible intelligence, responsiveness and unfailing loyalty to its human master. This beautiful dog deserved references of many writers of that time particularly its description can be found in the books of famous Janez Vajkard Valvasor. The breed faced the reversal of fate in the wake of the World War I. The dog’s breeding was fully abandoned, which led to the rapid decline in the number of the Karst Shepherd.
Actually the breed was literally saved from complete extinction through the dedicated work of Teodor Drenik, a Slovenian artillery officer. Thanks to his efforts this dog was recognised in 1939 outside Slovenia. The Karst Shepherd and the Sarplaninac were classified under the same name, the Illyrian Shepherd. In 1955 the Yugoslav Kennel Club excluded the breed from the list of native breeds.
In 1968 the Karst Shepherd’s fanciers obtained its repeated registration under the current name. In following decades the popularity of the breed never stopped growing in its homeland as long as in European countries. It was also ascribed to the Slovene Natural Treasure. The vast majority of these dogs still herds sheep in the rich pastures of Slovenia but some of them enjoy a life of loving and good-natured home companions.
This friendly dog is usually well-behaved when it comes across unfamiliar people although it always stays on alert. The Karst Shepherd is extremely protective of its human family and will lay down its life without second thought for the sake of people it loves. As a rule it’s highly successful in the role of a guard dog. It can also make a very capable watchdog, which will reliably warn its master about any suspicious person in the vicinity of its subordinated territory.
The Karst Shepherd gets along with other dogs if it had a chance to interact with them since an early age. This confident and authoritative dog strives to take a superior position in the pack hierarchy and can initiate a fight to prove its leading status. That’s why its master should stay close while two unfamiliar dogs are getting to know each other. The breed is almost deprived of prey drive and it usually respects the private space of other non-canine pets including a household pet.
• canine hip dysplasia;
• malignant hyperthermia.
It should never doubt the dominative position of the handler otherwise this breed will apply to selective listening more often than desirable. Training methods based on rough-housing don’t work with the Karst Shepherd so it should be motivated exclusively with gentle encouragement and plentiful of its favourite food.
The Karst Shepherd can be turned into an indefatigable partner for a jogger or a bicyclist. Anyway without a proper amount of opportunities to expand its energy surplus this dog will gradually evolve from a well-natured companion into destructive, hyper active creature with the tendency to unreasonable barking.