Tornjak UK

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History Of The Breed

The Tornjak is a mountain sheep dog native to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. FCI #355 as Bosnian-Croatian sheep dog Tornjak.

Tornjaks belong to the rare livestock protection breeds, and share many characteristics with other Mountain dogs. The Tornjak is one of the very old breeds from ancient times it is believed to have existed for over 2000 years and was mentioned in handwritten papers for the first time in the 9th century, in a Catholic Church's document. The breed was later mentioned in the 11th and 14th century. Tornjaks from these documents are the very same as today except for the name of the breed, which was Bosanski Ovčar, meaning Bosnian Shepherd Dog. It was also called the Hrvatski pas planinac, meaning Croatian mountain dog

The Tornjak is a very old breed but unlike other breeds with obscure histories, the existence of this livestock protector is backed up by written documents. Tornjaks have existed over 2000 years ago. The oldest document pertaining to the existence of this breed was written in 1062 and found in the archives of the bishop of Djakovo.

It is theorized (although not proven) that the Tornjak, as with other Livestock Guardian Dog breeds, are descendant from dogs that were developed somewhere around 9000 years ago in Mesopotamia following the domestication of sheep and goats in the same area

The term Tornjak evolves from the Bosnian/Croatian word "tor", which means an enclosed area where sheep live in. Today, these dogs are still called Torashi in the surroundings of the city of Sinj and on the Kamešnica mountain, whereas the shepherds of the Dinara-mountains call them Dinarci

Although the Tornjak is a very old breed, with the vanishing of nomadic sheep-breeding the Tornjak also vanished gradually. In an effort to restore the breed, enthusiasts scoured Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina in search of remaining specimens that matched the description on the ancient manuscripts.

Early Tornjaks were originally utilized for herd protection. These are not aggressive dogs but they do take their work seriously. A Tornjak is a very protective breed. Owners of this breed have recounted how the dog would chase away bears and how it would not be daunted with the need to fight two wolves. Unlike herding dogs, this breed is less agile and somewhat indifferent to its surroundings but don’t be misled by the dog’s complacent demeanor. These dogs are very protective and will not allow anything or anyone to harm its flock. The “flock” also includes its human family.

On May 9, 1981, the Tornjak was registered as an autochthonous breed with the official name of Boznian-Herzegovian Sheepdog – Tornjak. A Tornjack breeding commission was established in Zagreb (Croatia). Under the supervision of the Croatian Kennel Association the breeding program was started in 1982. The first breed standard was written on October 5, 1990 in Travnik, Bosnia. In 1997 more than 200 pedigreed Tornjaks were registered.
On 01.06.2007. Tornjak was provisionally accepted by FCI. We anticipate getting full recognition by 2017 which will help with getting the breed recognised by the UK KC