The trustworthy Croatian Sheepdog temperament makes this breed a versatile dog for herding, guarding, and companionship.
The Croatian Sheepdog, also known as the Croatian Shepherd Dog, originated in the Republic of Croatia in the 1300s.
This ancient breed was used for centuries in Croatia as a multi-purpose farm dog.
The Croatian Sheepdog is described as a breed with “combined habits,” which means it can be used for herding livestock as well as a protector of the homestead and a companion to the family.
Croatian Sheepdogs are incredibly intelligent, trainable, and loyal. They are still rare in the United States, but they are starting to gain more popularity due to their optimal size and their outstanding personalities.
However, these highly driven herding dogs are not the right match for everyone.
Before you welcome one into your home, make sure you are well informed about common Croatian Sheepdog traits.
This article will provide you with a good starting point for your research about the pros and cons of the Croatian Sheepdog.
Five Croatian Sheepdog Behaviors and Personality Traits
Below you will find some of the most prevalent Croatian Sheepdog characteristics.
However, please keep in mind that all individual dogs will possess some distinct differences.
Even though there are similarities within breeds, not all Croatian Sheepdogs will be exactly alike.
Herding is in their DNA
Croatian Sheepdogs are bred to work with their masters from dawn until dusk. These little dynamos are herding machines!
Herding is in their genes. Do not be surprised to see your Croatian Sheepdog trying to herd your other pets or children.
These high-drive dogs are perfect for active owners, but if you are a couch potato, this is definitely not the breed for you.
If you plan to keep a Croatian Sheepdog as a house pet, you need to have a plan to provide it with enough daily exercise.
Exercise is a Must!
Croatian Sheepdog exercise can take the form of running, hiking, biking, swimming, or romping at the dog park. It can also include games of fetch or tug in the yard (preferably fenced).
If you think a daily stroll around the block is enough exercise for a Croatian Sheepdog, think again.
You must be willing to devote about an hour a day to strenuous physical exercise.
If you work long hours, consider a dog walker or a doggie daycare.
Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!
Give them a Job
Canine sports are a perfect outlet for the boundless energy of the Croatian Sheepdog!
Croatian Sheepdogs make fierce competitors in canine sports such as agility, disc dog, rally obedience, flyball and nosework.
If you think your Croatian Sheepdog needs a job to do, you and your dog can get involved in search and rescue work and/or therapy work.
Smart as a Whip
Croatian Sheepdogs are highly intelligent and trainable.
With time and patience you can teach them to do just about anything.
They are very focused on their owners and they like to maintain eye contact.
As with all intelligent animals, it is important to provide your Croatian Sheepdog with plenty of enrichment to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
Kongs, food puzzles, busy balls, and other work-to-eat toys will challenge your Croatian Sheepdog to use his brain.
Devoted to One Person
Croatian Sheepdogs tend to form a special bond with one person in the household.
Yes, they can live with large families, but you will probably notice that they will gravitate towards one person in the family.
Croatian Sheepdogs are very loyal. They love to follow at their masters’ heels and trail them from room to room.
If you enjoy having a devoted shadow at your feet, the Croatian Sheepdog might be the dog of your dreams.
A Brief Look at Croatian Sheepdog History
The Croatian Sheepdog is a very old breed from central Europe. The breed evolved over centuries to become an ideal herding dog for sheep and cattle.
The Croatian Sheepdog was first mentioned in writing in a text from 1374.
The first Croatian Sheepdog entered a dog show in 1949 in Zagreb.
Although the Croatian Sheepdog is still not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, it is starting to gain more popularity in America and other countries around the world.
Croatian Sheepdog Size and Appearance
Part of this breed’s appeal is its manageable, compact size.
The typical Croatian Sheepdog weight range is between 29 and 44 lbs. Male Croatian Sheepdogs are larger than their female counterparts.
The usual Croatian Sheepdog height range is between 16 and 20 inches.
Croatian Sheepdog colors are nearly always black. A few white hairs are permitted, as is a small white patch on the chest.
Croatian Sheepdogs have slender and intelligent faces. Their tales are usually long, but they can occasionally be born with naturally bobbed tails.
A Guide to Croatian Sheepdog Training
As with any breed, it is very important to invest time and effort into training your Croatian Sheepdog.
Obedience training is a great way to form a bond with your dog, and it also helps your pet become a well-behaved canine citizen.
If you acquire your Croatian Sheepdog as a puppy, try to sign up for a puppy kindergarten class with a trainer near you. Puppy socialization classes are beneficial because they usually include “puppy playtime,” which is a great way for your puppy to learn how to interact nicely with other dogs.
If you adopt your Croatian Sheepdog as an adult, you can still sign up for obedience classes and introduce your pet to other dogs using positive reinforcement.
Sometimes older dogs come with some prior training, which is always a plus!
Croatian Sheepdogs are very smart and they learn quickly using positive reinforcement methods.
Positive reinforcement is a science-based method of dog training that is very humane and effective. It does not require you to use any fear or force when training your dog.
Avoid any methods that use harsh punishments or painful equipment such as shock collars or pinch collars.
Such tactics are not necessary and will simply damage your relationship with your dog.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Croatian Sheepdog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
A Guide to Croatian Sheepdog Grooming
Croatian sheepdogs possess a soft coat of medium-length. This coat requires frequent brushing and grooming.
You may have to bring your Croatian Sheepdog to a professional groomer for a haircut a few times per year, but most of this breed’s grooming can be done at home.
You will also need to trim the nails and clean the ears on a regular basis.
Is the Croatian Sheepdog Hypoallergenic?
The Croatian Sheepdog is not a breed that is considered to be hypoallergenic.
Therefore, if someone in the household suffers from allergies, this breed might not be the right fit.
Take a look at this article for information about hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Staying Healthy: The Most Common Croatian Sheepdog Health Issues
In general, the Croatian Sheepdog tends to be a robust and healthy breed of dog.
However, there are some conditions that can affect herding breeds such as the Croatian Sheepdog. If you acquire your dog from a breeder, talk with the breeder about the medical records and genetic testing of the parents.
Also, be sure to talk with your vet about possible health concerns so that you can be on the watch for early warning signs.
Some possible health concerns for the Croatian Sheepdog include:
Your Croatian Sheepdog should visit a veterinarian at least once per year for a checkup and vaccinations.
It is vital for your Croatian Sheepdog to be up to date on flea, tick and heartworm prevention at all times.
Spaying and neutering is recommended, and is often required by responsible breeders. Speak with your veterinarian about the right time to schedule this procedure.
With good care, the Croatian Sheepdog lifespan is usually between 13 and 14 years.
Note: Our Health is #1 Priority. It should be no different or your Croatian Sheepdog. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely dog from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 14 yrs+ without pain and suffering.
Croatian Sheepdog vs. Mudi
The Mudi is a medium-sized working dog from Hungary. The Mudi bears some similarities to the Croatian Sheepdog.
For example, the Mudi is a similar size, although the Mudi is usually a little bit smaller than the Croatian Sheepdog.
The Mudi is usually black, but can come in other colors.
Both breeds are intelligent, quick, agile, and hard-working.
If you are interested in the Croatian Sheepdog, you might also want to learn more about the Mudi.
Croatian Sheepdog Rescue and Adoption
If you think the Croatian Sheepdog is the right dog for you, the next step is to find one to add to your family.
Many people choose to adopt their new pet through a rescue group, animal shelter or humane society.
There are many benefits
Their personalities are often more established, so you have a better sense of your new dog’s temperament. Adopting a dog is much less expensive than buying one from a breeder. Plus you can provide a home to a dog in need!
You can start your search for a Croatian Sheepdog for adoption by contacting the national breed club or association. The Croatian Sheepdog Club of America can refer you to Croatian Sheepdogs in need of adoption throughout the country.
You can also look for Croatian Sheepdogs, and similar breeds, on Facebook, Google, Petfinder.com or Adoptapet.com.
Be sure to visit your local animal shelter as well. Even though Croatian Sheepdogs are rare in animal shelters, you never know what breeds you might find at any given time at your local shelter.
Ask the staff to keep you in mind for a Croatian sheepdog or a Croatian Sheepdog mix.
Finding a Croatian Sheepdog for Sale from a Reputable Breeder
If you decide to purchase a Croatian Sheepdog puppy from a breeder, you will need to do a lot of research to make sure you find a breeder that is responsible and ethical.
Never purchase Croatian Sheepdog puppies over the internet or from a pet store.
Always make sure to meet the breeder in person and visit the breeder’s location. Ask the breeder questions health records and genetic testing. The breeder will probably want a chance to meet you and talk to you as well. Good breeders want to make sure that every single one of their puppies goes to an excellent home.
If any breeder refuses to let you visit the property, beware of this red flag. Keep looking for alternatives.
Croatian Sheepdogs are rare in this country, so finding a good breeder will take time and patience. The Croatian Sheepdog Club of America can provide some listings of Croatian Sheepdog breeders in the United States.
Croatian Sheepdog puppies might be available right away, so you might have to put your name on a waiting list.
Since Croatian Sheepdog puppies are so uncommon, the Croatian Sheepdog price can be very high. The average price is between $1000 and $1200, but can be higher.
Conclusion: Why the Croatian Sheepdog?
There is no doubt that the Croatian sheepdog possesses many great qualities as a herder and as a companion dog.
The devoted Croatian Sheepdog temperament makes this breed popular as a working dog and as a pet.
If you plan to keep one as a pet, just be sure you have the time and energy to provide it with constructive outlets for its drive to work.
The Croatian Sheepdog can make an excellent pet for an active family that wants to bring their dog on many outdoor adventures.
However, it is not suited for a sedentary life in a city apartment.
If you think this might be the breed for you, spend some time with Croatian Sheepdog owners and breeders to get to know this fascinating breed.
Allie has worked in the field of animal welfare for over ten years and as a freelance writer the space for many years. She has had many different kinds of dogs (and cats) throughout her life—all adopted. She currently shares her home with a lovable pit bull mix named Huckleberry.