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Bukovina Shepherd
Description

This old herding breed is believed by some to be a cross between the Romanian and Bulgarian shepherds, while others claim it is the same thing as the Tornjak of Bosnia or the Homolian Sheepdog from Serbia, only bred in Romania. Most Romanians would obviously disagree with such statements, simply because the Homolje region of Eastern Serbia is bordering Rumania, but Bucovina is on the opposite side of Rumania, bordering Ukraine, making this Homolian claim unpopular. Another theory suggests that this is in fact the true Romanian Shepherd, dismissing the modern Carpatin as a recently created designer dog. Whether either of these claims is true, or if the Bukovina Shepherd is an older breed is uncertain. An interesting thing about the Bucovina region, further complicating the issue is that a part of it is in Ukraine and Moldavia, as well. There is very little Ukrainian Bukovinac dogs in existance today and these are considered to be the same thing as the Romanian variant by most authorities. A small percentage of Bucovina dogs constitutes what some researches believe to be a specific subtype of ancient origin, differing from the rest of the breed in that it has slightly longer legs, leaner bodies and black or black-n-tan coats, clearly showing the influence of Romanian and Serbian Sylvan dogs. Some fanciers of the breed don't even consider such dogs to be part of the Bucovina Shepherd, but an actual separate guardian breed known locally as Negru Aghiuta, with only a few surviving specimens left today, mostly assimilated into the rest of Romanian breeds.

Quite a few fanciers of the Bucovina Shepherd are convinced that their breed is descended from the ancient stock of Carpathian Wolfdogs and was one of the many used in creating the modern incarnation of the Romanian Carpathian Shepherd and not the other way around. This ancient breed is undeniably related to other breeds of the region, from the Bosnian Tornjak, Bulgarian Shepherd and the Karakachan Dog, to the Hellenikos Poimenikos, Transylvanian Alps Wolfdog, Homolian Sheepdog, Sarplaninac, Sylvan and the dogs of Central Asia and Caucasus, but it is unclear whether this is a natural regional breed or a cross of any or all of its relatives. In any case, the powerful Bukovina Shepherd is a very capable working Molosser, making an alert flock guardian and good watchdog. Unfortunately, it is reported to be alarmingly rare in its pure form and was on its way to become yet another forgotten Molosser breed until recently. However, the Ciobanesc Romanesc de Bucovina is a recognized breed in Romania and its fanciers are doing their best to preserve this great working dog.

Although there were never any strictly set standards in the past, most modern Bukovina Shepherds are richly coated white dogs with black, brown, red or brindle patches, although uniform white and darker dogs can be found as well. These strong are tall and massive, but not as large as some dogs of the area. The average height is around 30 inches.

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