Carpathian Shepherd Dog

Used mostly by farmers, the Carpathian Shepherd dog is embedded in Romanian culture. Check out the guide below for further information on this loveable breed.

Carpathian Shepherd Dog near the mountains

Height: Male 26-29 inches, female 23-26 inches
Weight: Male 32-45 kilos, female up to 39 kilos
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): No, this breed is not registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Find out the pros and cons of the Romanian Shepherd:

Pros:

  • Excellent guard and watch dog
  • Able to adapt into a family companion
  • Can work in packs with other dogs
  • Doesn’t bark repetitively

Cons:

  • Not a hypoallergenic breed
  • Doesn’t suit apartments
  • Not ideal for first time owners
  • Prone to weight gain

Overview

The Carpathian Shepherd dog is a large breed dog from Romania, used to guard and herd livestock. They’re famous and prized in their homeland, yet they aren’t very popular outside of Romania. The Carpathian Shepherd is fearless and has wolf-like features leading some to believe they may actually have some wolf relation.

Bears and wolves are carnivorous predators that attack and kill livestock in Romania. The Romanian Shepherd dog does a fantastic job at looking after and protecting the livestock. Shepherds and farmers would face repetitive killings of their flocks without these dogs. Cart pulling was another working job this canine undertook.

Carpathian Shepherd Dog in the grassland

Naturally, this breed is used to living outside as a part of their pack. They’re on guard day and night, ready to face whatever comes their way. A double layered thick coat protects them from the harsh weather. This breed is robust and has been perfectly developed over the years for working life.

The Romanian Shepherd does a great job at protection and although they are guardians of livestock, they make great family dogs too! Loyal, gentle, calm and loving, this breed is adaptable to life with a family and makes the perfect four legged companion.

Recommended: Are Bracco Italiano dogs ideal as family dogs? Check out our guide to find out the answer.

History

The Carpathian Mountain dog is an ancient breed that has worked with Romanian farmers for hundred of years. Their exact origin isn’t known but one of their ancestors is thought to be the Lupomulossoids. These were Mastiffs with similar wolf like features.

Most countries are no longer faced with predators killing off their livestock. Romania however, haven’t demolished the population. So, it is no wonder why the Romanian Shepherd dogs are still so popular and relied upon today.

Carpathian Shepherd Dog guarding sheep

This breed will only bark if they sense a predator. They have an amazing sense of smell and will act instantly to protect the flock. First comes the alert and then the defense, if necessary. Packs of these dogs have been known to defend livestock from bears. This is one of the reasons why the Carpathian Shepherds are so prized in their native land.

These dogs are really popular in Romania and are used as both working dogs and companions. Yet outside of this country the breed remains largely unknown. It would be very rare to come across one anywhere else. For hundreds of years their looks have remained relatively the same ever since their emergence in the Carpathian Mountains.

Personality

The Romanian Sheepdog makes an excellent and fearless guard dog. Yet this trait is balanced out by their loyalty and calmness allowing them to make great family pets. A dog like this is gentle enough to be around the family whilst still being able to ferociously protect them.

This canine doesn’t like being left alone much. They prefer to have a human companion by their side if they aren’t working. The Carpathian Shepherd needs an experienced owner to train them up into working dogs. Their stubborn and sometimes dominant side makes them less than ideal for first time owners.

Carpathian Shepherd Dog standing in the yard

Are Carpathian Shepherd Dogs Good With Strangers?

No, this breed is not friendly with strangers. Whilst they won’t react with instant aggression they will be suspicious and wary. Carpathian Shepherds are amazing watch dogs and will let you know instantly if there is somebody you don’t know approaching your territory.

Are Carpathian Shepherd Dogs Good With Children?

Yes, this dog gets along well with children. They also have a patient side for a child’s behavior. Calm, gentle and not overly energetic, this large breed does well with children. They’ll protect them as they would their owner. Smaller children should be supervised around this dog. Due to their large size accidental injuries could occur.

Recommended: What are the pros and cons of owning a Finnish Spitz?

Are Carpathian Shepherd Dogs Ok With Other Dogs?

These canines are known to be more tolerant with dogs when compared to other flock guardians. Generally, the breed is known to work with other canines and are used to their companionship. A Carpathian Shepherd will need socialization to prevent dominance and ensure friendliness.

Exercise

The Romanian Shepherd is not overly high in energy and will need an hour of daily exercise each day. Puppies however, may need longer. A garden is ideal for this dog but fences must be completely secure. This dog is known to wonder off, although they won’t disappear too far away from home.

Carpathian Shepherds will become destructive if they haven’t been exercised enough. Chewing, digging and other bad behaviors are sure to form. Health problems could also become an issue. Whilst this dog is naturally relaxed and well behaved in the home, they must be walked frequently.

Carpathian shepherd dogs guard sheep in the highlands on a summer day

Whilst Carpathian Shepherds are independent, they prefer the company of others. If you want to leave this dog alone it shouldn’t be done regularly for long hours. They’re prone to separation anxiety and don’t like to be on their own. Exercise your dog beforehand and leave some games around to keep them occupied during this time.

Health

Below are the breed related health conditions of the Carpathian Shepherd dog:

  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development of the hip joint leads to lameness, pain, inflammation and swelling. Arthritis will eventually follow.
  • Bloat- The stomach twists trapping the contents and gases inside. Emergency veterinary attention will be required. Potentially fatal.
  • Elbow Dysplasia- Poor development of the elbow joint will cause a dog to limp. Mostly affects large breeds. Will cause arthritis.
  • Cataracts- A change in lens causes a cloudiness in the eye. If it’s big it will affect your dogs vision potentially leading to blindness.
  • Ectropion- The lower eyelid rolls outward causing a droopy look. Will dry out the tissues exposed.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy- A degenerative disease affecting the photoreceptor cells. This will eventually lead to blindness.
  • Corneal Dystrophy- A progressive condition, inherited from parents. May affects both eyes by clouding the eye in white or grey.
  • Entropion- The eyelid rolls inward causing the lash to scratch the surface of the eye. Causes irritation, ulcers and pigmentation which could affect vision if large enough.

Intelligence & Training

A firm and patient owner will be needed for the Carpathian Shepherd dog. As a large stubborn breed, leadership needs to be established quickly. Once your dog begins to understand who is boss you can focus on respect and obedience training.

Territorial and dominant, if trained correctly this pooch can make a fantastic flock guardian and guard dog. Yet they can also be incredibly dangerous if they haven’t been brought up correctly. It is important to consistently socialize and exercise this breed so they can get used to different people, dogs and surroundings.

Carpathian Shepherds are bred to work. There is nothing that pleases this dog more than carrying out and fulfilling their tasks. If they are just companions then mental stimulation will be needed to prevent your dog from becoming bored. Dog agility is a great way to do this whilst also keeping them exercised.

This breed is prone to weight gain so don’t be dishing out food treats regularly. Try to replace this with affection where you can. Extra food should be minimal, if your dog seems to focus more with food, then reduce their meal intake.

Recommended: The Giant Schnauzer has a unique personality. Find out why in our guide.

Grooming

Thankfully, this breed isn’t difficult to maintain. Their grooming needs are low so you won’t need professional help to keep them looking good. Do be aware, they are seasonal shedders and need a thorough brush once or twice a week. Use a grooming rake, pin brush and slicker brush to finish when grooming their dense coat.

Carpathian Shepherds should only be bathed when they are dirty. Their natural oils are designed to protect their coat. Excessive washing could damage their fur making them susceptible to the cold. Brush their coat before bathing. it is difficult to remove mats and tangles once they’ve become wet.

As their ears fold Carpathian Shepherds are prone to ear infections. Lack of airflow and a build up of debris can quickly turn into trouble. Check and clean the ears once a week and twice in the hotter months. Nails should be filed every two months and teeth should be brushed two or three times a week.

We'd love to hear what you think in the comments section!

Leave a reply