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Pannonian Herder

Ancient Pannonian livestock dogs of Roman times are claimed to be the ancestors of the modern Pannonian Herder breed, but it's more than likely that other sheepdogs of the Balkans greatly influenced its appearance over the ages. Although ties have been made with Iranian dogs of this type, the closest relative of the Panonac can be found in Greece, in the form of the ancient Collie-like population of local herding dogs which show many similarities in physical appearance and temperament to their northern cousins in the former Yugoslavian countries. Some fanciers believe that the Celts took a number of their Pannonian dogs with them to the West, where they were instrumental in developing the Collie and other herders. The Pannonian Herder was a common farm dog and cattle herder in Slavonia, Baranya, Banat, Posavina, Semberia, Transylvania, Voivodina, Macva and other parts of the Balkans in the past, varying in appearance according to regional preferences. Since the breeding was done by the peasants for working abilities only, a variety of types existed within the breed, differing in coat lengths and colours, as well as sizes and temperaments.

During the 20th century, the numbers of Pannonian Herders declined dramatically, thanks to the ravages of the 2nd World War, as well as the popularity of other established breeds, both domestic and foreign. However, this powerful rare breed is not extinct, as some may think. Some believe that the present-day population was established through crossings between surviving examples with the Bosnian Tornjak, Croatian Sheepdog, Zemunac, Pulin and smaller types of the Sylvan, but whether these matings were planned or not is uncertain. Whatever the case may be, the Pannonian Herder is found alongside herds of sheep, goats and cattle throughout the region today. It can still be encountered under various names in some parts of Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and elsewhere, where it is commonly employed for driving livestock and protecting property. Unrecognized and fairly unknown outside its home regions, the Pannonian Herder has an uncertain future.

Resilient, strong and serious, the Pannonian Herder is an all-around working Molosser. These dogs posess very sharp temperaments and are extremely territorial. Even though trainable and devoted to its master, it is also suspicious of strangers and aggressive towards dogs, with most owners agreeing that the Panonski Ovcar doesn't make a suitable urban companion. In appearance similar to the Aidi and some larger varieties of Border Collies, this rugged working dog has a straight back, deep chest and sturdy legs. The tail can be docked or left unaltered, but naturally bobtailed examples are commonly seen too.

There is a variety of coat types, from short-haired to long-coated and even bearded specimens, common in all colours, with yellow, fawn, red, black and black-n-tan dogs, all of them with white markings being the most numerous. The average height is around 24 inches, but smaller examples exist.

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