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Durmitor Shepherd Dog

The powerful Durmitor Shepherd Dog is a very old Balkan breed named after the Durmitor mountains of Montenegro, where it is believed to belong to the greater group of the Crnogorac, locally developed through crosses with ancient Greek Molossers and other Yugoslavian dogs, namely the Sylvan and the Sarplaninac, as well as the Herzegovina Shepherd and the common collie-like population of livestock dogs found throughout the region. Some fanciers suggest the Circassian Shepherd Dog as its primary ancestor, while others trace the Durmitorac back to the Albanian Molossers. Regardless of its heritage, this agile and resilient dog is valued for its intelligence and courage. While very territorial and moderately suspicious of strange people, the Durmitorac is not a vicious breed by any means, although it can become overly aggressive if not socialized and handled properly. The primary role of these dogs is to simply alarm the herdsmen and chase away the predators, but when working in a pack of 3 or 4 dogs, they can overpower a wolf with ease. The breed is neither dog-aggressive nor easily provoked, but it will not back down from a fight when attacked. Working Durmitor Shepherds are raised with their flocks from early puppyhood and are said to consider themselves to be siblings to the sheep, for whose safety they will willingly give up their lives when confronting a predator.

The Durmitorac is famously loyal to its master and fairly easy to train. Extremely rare today, it can still be found in some parts of Montenegro and Serbia, where it's used as a livestock guardian and a watchdog. Most authorities agree that there is only a handful of pure examples left in existence today, due to numerous outcrosses with the far more popular Sarplaninac breed. Some working specimens have docked tails, but the majority of dogs are unaltered.

The rich weatherproof coat is moderately long and rough, with dense undercoating of lighter colours. The Durmitor Shepherd Dog comes in shades of sable, grey, brindle and brown, almost always with white markings of various sizes, from dogs with only a small blaze on the chest or muzzle to those with so-called "white socks" on their legs. Some white specimens can be found, but these are considered unpure, being a result of introducing Merdzan Sarplaninacs to the area. Average height is around 26 inches, although the females are generally drastically smaller than their male counterparts.

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