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Bosnian Tornjak

The mighty Tornjak is an ancient Moloss from the Mt.Vlasic region of Central Bosnia, but these dogs have existed in many parts of the Balkans for centuries. Its main use is that of a herd-guarding dog, usually while enclosed in a large sheep-pen, called a "Tor", which is how it got the name Tornjak. This large Bosnian breed is one of the best-documented dogs in the Balkans, considered by a small number of fanciers to be even older than the legendary Sarplaninac.

Although the "Illyrian Sheepdog" misnomer is oftentimes used for some other breeds in the region, it is precisely the Bosanski Tornjak that is most deserving of that name, at least from a historical perspective.It differs from the Croatian variant in that it has a perfect balance between the lupoid and the molossoid-type head, whereas the Croats breed for strict lupoid features. It is also larger and stockier than the much finer and lighter built Croatian Tornjak, while the Serbian variant is even larger, although it's almost extinct. Matings between the regional breed types, but also between Tornjaks and other breeds were fairly common in the past, so a number of varieties can be seen today, some sharing their colourings and physical traits with the Sarplaninac, Sylvan, Herzeg and others. After years of conflict between the fanciers of the true Bosnian and modern Croatian variants of the breed, the Tornjak was finally recognized by the FCI as having both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as parent countries, but this decision, while begrudgingly accepted, failed to fully satisfy the opposing sides.


This is a wonderful Molosser breed, heavily boned and massive, but not a bit lethargic. Very agile and powerful, the Bosnian Tornjak is capable of great speeds and valued for its resilience and courage. Closely related to other Molossers of the area, it is a very healthy and sturdy dog, possesing remarkable intelligence and a sound temperament. A very calm breed, the Tornjak is friendly with humans, although cautious with strangers. Like many other Balkan dogs, it is fairly dog-aggressive, but not overly vicious. Thanks to its loving and obedient nature, the Bosnian Tornjak makes a good family companion when socialized properly and handled with authority.


There are a few types of the Bosnian Tornjak, separated by coat type and colour, as well as temperament and size, such as the Garov, Belov, Zelov, Medov, Sarov and Grlin. The most common type is the Sarov, which is the large, white dog with big patches of black, brown, gray, red, yellow and fawn, either bicoloured, tricoloured or multicoloured. The coat is long and dense, requiring moderate grooming.

Average height is around 30 inches, although smaller examples can be found as well.

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