Karst Shepherd

Istrian Shepherd, Krazsky Ovcar

The Karst Shepherd is a superb and pleasant companion. Endowed with beautiful qualities and aptitudes, he is very appreciated as a family dog. Even if he remains the ideal sheepdog, his great qualities as life companion make him a full-fledged family member. Courageous and valiant, he is ideal for guarding property and protecting his own.

Height 54 to 63 cm
Weight 30 to 42 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 13 years
Home country Slovenia

Quick Overview of the Karst Shepherd


  • Beautiful but strong personality
  • Very docile
  • Tireless and enduring
  • Obedient and pleasant


  • Solid and very robust physique
  • Harmonious silhouette
  • Well-developed muscles
  • Nice doggie look


  • Rather robust
  • Generally healthy
  • No particular pathology

Temperament of the Karst Shepherd

Endowed with a beautiful but strong personality, he is very docile, protective and an excellent guardian. Untiring, enduring, excellent sheepdog, devoted and courageous, the Karst Shepherd has a moderately alert temperament.

He is incorruptible in his work as a guardian and rather wary of unauthorized strangers. Obedient and pleasant as a companion, he is easy to train.

Breed Appearance

shepherd of the karst massif

Of average size, the Karst Shepherd has a solid and very robust physique. His harmonious silhouette is endowed with well-developed muscles and a strong constitution. Even with his nice doggy appearance, strangers will keep a certain distance between him and them.


Between 57 and 63 cm (22.44 to 24.80 inches) for the male
Between 54 and 60 cm (21.26 to 23.62 inches) for the female


Between 30 and 42 kg (66.14 to 92.59 pounds) for the male
Between 30 and 42 kg (66.14 to 92.59 pounds) for the female


His coat is gray and dark tone, more precisely on the withers, abdomen and feet, changing to a lighter gray or sandy color with a stripe leaning towards dark gray on the lower part of the legs. His head has a dark mask surrounded by greyish beige hair.


His fairly long hair, up to 14 cm (6 inches), has a very developed undercoat.


His head is neither coarse nor fine, but rather broad and tapering towards the nose. It has a more or less marked stop but without abrupt transition. His protruding almond-shaped eyes are a beautiful color ranging from chestnut to dark brown.

His ears hang down in a v-shape. His nose is black and surrounded by a dark mask. His broad, bushy sabre-shaped tail is medium length, sometimes with a small hook at the tip.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 2, section 2 and is #278

Tips About this breed

Very protective and great guardian, he remains an excellent sheepdog even if he is more and more used as a family dog.

It is preferable not to be sedentary to own such a dog unless you have a large garden or an huge piece of land where he will be able to run at will. Untiring and constantly on the move, the Karst Shepherd has a constant need for exercise. He is more an athletic than sedentary type.

His strong personality requires a good education that is firm but gentle because, even though he has a strong temperament, he is docile and easy to train. His mistrust of strangers should not be exacerbated but should rather be guided. He is distrustful but not aggressive and more interested in warning than biting.

Health of the Karst Shepherd

Rather robust and generally enjoying very good health, this dog is not affected by any particular pathology and his life expectancy is quite appreciable.


A good, energetic brushing in a constant and regular manner will ensure a beautiful, healthy coat. No other special care is necessary.

History of this breed

Probably having followed the migration of the Illyrian people through the Dalmatian islands and Istria, the race was settled in the Slovenian region, more precisely in the Karst massif. It was in 1969 that Baron Janez Vajkart Valvaso's book "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola" described him for the first time.

His standard was first recognized in 1939 in Stockholm but under the name of Illyrian Shepherd Dog. In Slovenia, in 1948, the standard was completed and until 1968, the Karst Shepherd and the Sarplaninac Shepherd Dog both bore the same name of Illyrian Shepherd Dog.

The Yugoslav Central Society decided to choose and opted for the distinct breeds of Karst Shepherd and Sarplaninac. Since then, the two breeds are now totally independent from each other.

A sheepdog par excellence at the time, he is today an admirable life companion much appreciated by all families. Even if he is independent as a companion, he is very attached to his family and protects them all the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

best fresh dog food 5 brands

We Tried 5 Fresh Dog Food Brands

Is all the marketing hype worth it? Did our dogs enjoy them? Here’s our dogs’ totally honest review.