This breed gets lumped under the Croatian Tornjak name today, even though it's quite smaller, has a true mastiff-type head and somewhat shorter legs. The South-Istrian Herder has a hard coat, which can be straight, wavy and even curly, but the face must remain clean. There is also a very rare bearded variety, which is believed to be descended from the extinct Morlach working breed called Turko-Istrian Sheepdog. The tail of the South Istrian Herder is usually docked, but some dogs are even born bobtailed.
Although black dogs known as the Karavlach type existed in the past, the preferred coat colours for the South-Istrian Herder have been either uniform ivory or white with some black spotting, but a lot of today's dogs are multicoloured. The average height is 22 inches.