Tetovo Sheepdog
Description
Presently a type of the Sarplaninac breed, the Tetovac is named after a small town of Tetovo in Macedonia, but the original breed of this name was quite different in the past. One of the distinguishing features of this mountain dog is its coat colour, which was predominantly white with darker markings on the head. The origin of the Tetovac is unclear, but some believe it was developed by crossing Goranian, Macedonian and Caucasian dogs, while others see it as an ancient regional breed, independent of other influences. The old Merdzan and Merdzak varieties of the Sarplaninac and the dogs of Turkey and Bulgaria are also seen by some as its ancestors, but this is uncertain. Primarily a livestock protector and property guardian, the Tetovo Sheepdog has also traditionally played a role of a fighting dog, not only in the place it was named after, but in other villages in the area as well. With the rise of the popularity of the Sarplaninec after WW2, the Tetovac had the same fate as many other distinct Balkan types and strains and eventually became assimilated into the greater Sarplaninac breed.

The majority of dogs found in Tetovo today are seen and bred as Sarplaninacs, having common colourings of that breed, but a particoloured pup or two can reportedly still appear in some litters. An interesting detail concerning the old coat colourings of the Tetovo Sheepdog is the separation of the white dogs having small grey, fawn, orange, red, brown and black markings on the head, usually found on the ears and those Tetovo dogs having cream, wheaten, or fawn bodies with entirely black heads, an influence of the dogs introduced to the Balkans by the Circassians. The latter variety has been known as the "Cherkez Karabas" in the past and to this day, a number of fanciers claim that this is the original Karabash colouring and not the same as the name commonly used today to describe fawn-coloured dogs with only black muzzles. The Tetovac is an independent dog, sharing many traits with the Sarplaninec and other types of that breed, but is said to distinguish itself from the rest of them by having a more relaxed personality and gentler nature. The modern Tetovac tends to be somewhat smaller than its ancestors, but remains a well-boned, wide-chested and powerful mountain dog, although leaner, taller and more lupoid examples do exist, thought to still be showing the influence of an outcross to a wolf, a practice for which the herdsmen of Tetovo have been known for in the past. The coat is thick and hard, fuller on the neck, chest and tail and it has a dense undercoat.

The colours commonly associated with the Sarplaninac breed are also found in the present-day Tetovo population, although a number of bicoloured examples can still be encountered. Average height is around 27 inches.

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