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TATRA SHEEPDOG – Facts| Height | Origin | Weight | Size



TATRA SHEEPDOG – Facts| Height | Origin | Weight | Size

TATRA SHEEPDOG – Facts| Height | Origin | Weight | Size – The Tatra Sheepdog is our native breed: a large, richly hairy mountain type molosser, always pure white. Balanced, vigilant, his calling is to watch on his own territory.


The Tatra Sheepdog is closely related to the Tatra landscape. It belongs to the group of large, white-colored mountain dogs that have been present for hundreds of years in central and southwestern Europe.


The job of the Tatra Sheepdog was not to lead sheep, but to protect them from predators. It was also used as a guardian of farms, mountain shelters and private homes. Currently, sheep have fewer and fewer natural enemies, a bear is rare and wolves are found mainly in the Bieszczady Mountains. Although this is not a typical herding dog, he was also able to chase the herd from one pasture to another or drive milking. He could faultlessly find stray and wounded art in the most inaccessible terrain and bring them to a hut.

photo: Shutterstock

In the Netherlands, attempts were made to arrange the Tatra Sheepdogs as blind guides. Also in Poland, at least one female worked in this role. During the expeditions to Spitsbergen, the Polish Podhale region accompanied the scientists among impenetrable snows, always finding the right path.

Podhalan is an excellent guardian, distrustful of strangers, very courageous, alert but noisy. It only reacts when it is actually threatened.

Training and education

The Tatra Sheepdog is a temperate dog, calm, composed, balanced and very resourceful. Despite the independent nature and great independence, already visible in small puppies, he is obedient and willing to cooperate. He is very attached to his family and the place where he lives. He is not inclined to dominate, he is faithful and unconditionally devoted to man. He especially favors children. He has a strong caring instinct, no one can get hurt in his company.

Podhalan standing against the sea
photo: Shutterstock

Long-term planned breeding has led to the improvement of the exterior and the consolidation of positive mental characteristics. Podhalan has become a more friendly and open animal. He has a strong personality, but his upbringing does not cause much trouble. It is not conflicting or excessively aggressive towards dogs, however, guarding its territory, it can be unpleasant for an intruder.

The Tatra Sheepdog is intelligent and intelligent, he can be trained in general obedience.

Who is this race for?

Podhalan can adapt to different conditions and requirements of the owner. It is perfectly adapted to life in difficult and changing climatic conditions. Like any dog, for proper development he needs movement and activity, thanks to which he will feel needed. There is an opinion that the representative of this breed feels bad in the lowlands. This is not true, but it certainly should not be kept in urban blocks of flats. Lack of space is detrimental to his mental and physical condition. At home outside the city, having a garden at his disposal, he will feel great, even if he is several hundred kilometers away from the nearest mountains.

Advantages and disadvantages

Tatra Sheepdog – what is it like? Learn its pros and cons!


  • quite independent – likes to make decisions by himself
  • sometimes stubborn – he doesn’t always want to follow a command if he doesn’t see any sense in it
  • requires space – not very suitable for an urban apartment
  • strongly moults, and its hair requires regular combing


  • very attached to the owner and the whole family
  • caring for children
  • excellent, alert but not overly aggressive watchman
  • calm and balanced every day
  • relatively easy to raise and lay
  • willingly carries out orders if it has a good relationship with the owner
  • resistant to weather conditions


Generally, the Tatra Sheepdog is a healthy and resistant breed. Genetic diseases are most often affected by hip and elbow dysplasia as well as eyelid defects: entropy and ectropion. It is threatened by stomach enlargement and twist, which is why it should be rested after eating. His ears may be at risk of infection, so they should be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary.

Portrait of a Tatra puppy on the grass
photo: Shutterstock


Podhalan is not demanding in terms of nutrition. He has a good appetite and is not fussy. Because he worked hard for years and was not pampered, his body is able to optimally use the food given. The food should be of good quality, with medium protein and fat content. Divide the daily portion into two meals, place the bowl on a platform.

Podhale lying in the shade
photo: Shutterstock


Highhal care is not a problem. His coat is double-layered, consisting of topcoat and dense undercoat. Thanks to this, it doesn’t get wet, it dries quickly and doesn’t hold dirt. It is enough to brush the Tatra Sheepdog thoroughly to make it look effective. Choosing with our favorite for the exhibition, remember that he should be bathed and brushed before her. Bleach any yellowness with chalk or special powder. It is also necessary to correct the hair on the paws, under the tail and around the ears.


The history of the Tatra Sheepdog is as distant as it is mysterious. It probably originates from Asian molos, primarily a Tibetan dog, which contributed to the emergence of many of today’s races. Strong, majestic, resistant to weather conditions, has long guarded flocks of sheep against predators and robbers. Today, he is increasingly becoming a guardian and family companion.

Podhalan looking into the distance against the backdrop of the mountains
photo: Shutterstock

The beginnings of shepherding in the Tatras and Podhale date back to the 13th century. Then came to these areas people grazing sheep and cattle. Along with people, their dogs appeared. The shepherds of that time had small herds kept in low valleys. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Wallachian tribes, heading along the Carpathian Mountains to Podhale, contributed to the development of pastoral economy in the Tatra areas. The dogs accompanying them initiated the breed of Podhale shepherd, called by the local population liptak.

Large, strong and sturdy animals were excellent sheep keepers. They worked day and night. Outstanding courage and endurance allowed them to confront the dangerous predators: wolves and bears. They wore special collars studded with spikes or all made of metal that protected them from the fangs of their opponents. The Tatra Sheepdogs also guarded property against thieves.

Two Tatra on a walk in the autumn forest
photo: Shutterstock

When, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Tatra Mountains became a popular tourist destination, crowds of visitors turned their attention to beautiful white dogs, which in time became a local attraction and element of folklore. The Tatra Sheepdog appeared in legends and highlanders’ songs. It was a matter of honor for the shepherd to have a well-kept highlander, for some dogs even three sheep had to be given.

The first attempt at planned Podhale breeding was undertaken in the interwar period by the Border Protection Corps. It was recognized that full of commitment, sheepdogs that have been working hard for generations, resilient and willing to cooperate with people will be good service dogs. The Tatra Mountains have proven themselves as dogs guarding industrial and military facilities. At the beginning of the 1930s, the Service Dog Society was founded in Silesia, which was to popularize the breed. On his initiative, in 1937, the first exhibition of Tatra Sheepdogs was organized in Zakopane. Of the 65 dogs shown there, 18 individuals were entered in the Preliminary Book. In 1938, the first template was developed.

Podhalana potret lying in autumn leaves
photo: Shutterstock

The work of cynologists was interrupted by the outbreak of war. After its completion, the highlanders began to breed surviving specimens. However, they did it thoughtlessly, ignoring race standards. It wasn’t until 1954 that the Krakow branch of the Kennel Club in Poland organized a review at which over 100 individuals were assessed and guidelines for further breeding were developed. This task was undertaken by dr. Henryk Dereziński. In 1967, the FCI officially adopted the breed standard. The first Podhale with full pedigree was female Surma from Kordegarda kennel.

Tatra Sheepdog – group I, group FCI, section 1, reference number 65

  • Origin : Poland
  • Character : calm, understanding, alert, very strongly attached to his family, caring for weaker members of the herd
  • Size : male – 65-70 cm, female – 60-65 cm
  • Weight : dog – 50-65 kg, bitch – 45-60 kg
  • Coat : on the head, face and front of the limbs, a short coat, on the neck and torso, long, dense, straight or slightly wavy, hard to the touch, with abundant undercoat. There is a rich ruff around the neck and abundant trousers on the thighs; tail very hairy, fluffy
  • Color : uniformly white
  • Lifespan : On average, about 12 years
  • Vulnerability to training : high
  • Cost of living:
  • Price of a dog with a pedigree :

Interesting facts

There are several breeds related to our Podhale. The closest cousin is of course the Slovak cuvac – this is actually a breed derived from the same population of liptaks, but bred separately, in which some differences were specially highlighted. Still, the watchdogs and the highlands are usually indistinguishable for the layman and even for many specialists.

Hungarian kuvasz and Italian maremmano-abruzzese bred in more remote areas differ slightly more. Characteristic for all these breeds is a white ointment – the reason is that these dogs guarded white-bred sheep and were to blend in with the herd so that the predator could not easily locate them. For a change, typically herding dogs were to be easily distinguishable by a shepherd, hence, for example, border collie is usually black and white

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