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Karst Shepherd Dog

The Alpine Slav

Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid Breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs

Original Name : Kraški Ovčar

Type : Molossoid

Male size : 22½-24¾ inches (ideally, 23½ inches) with an upper tolerance of ¾ inch

Male weight : 66-92½ lbs

Female size : 21¼-23½ inches (ideally, 22½ inches) with an upper tolerance of ¾ inch

Female weight : 55-81½ lbs

Degree of grooming :

Countries of origin : Slovenia


Karst Shepherd Dogs are superb herders and good guards. Nowadays, while they are employed for guarding and defense, most of all they are family dogs, although they continue to be born sheepdogs. These medium-sized dogs are harmonious and robust, with well developed muscles and a strong constitution. Tail and ears are hanging; their iron gray hair is long and abundant.


Pleasant to look at, big in proportion to the body, neither fine nor coarse.



Well developed, medium length, long thorax.






Set moderately high, of medium length. The tips reach to the outer angle of the ear.



Solidly attached to the body and broad at the base, saber-shaped in normal position, often with a slight hook at the tip.



Well furnished, long, flat, with an abundant undercoat.


Karst Shepherd Dogs are members of a Molossoid breed that has existed for several centuries. It likely accompanied the Illyrians on their migration through Istria and the Dalmatian islands to the Kras massive in present-day Slovenia. The breed is first mentioned in writing by Baron Janez Vajkart Valvasor in 1689.Breed and standard were officially recognized by the F.C.I. on June 2, 1939 under the name Illyrian Shepherd Dog. The standard was completed at the F.C.I congress in Bled, Slovenia in 1948, when the breed was recognized again, although at the time it was not distinguished from the Sarplaninac, which was also known as the Illyrian Shepherd Dog.The canine authorities of what was then Yugoslavia decided to name one breed after the Kras region of Slovenia – the Karst Shepherd Dog – and the other after the Šar Mountains – the Sarplaninac. The two breeds have developed completely independently ever since.Famed for their good character, bravery and courage without any meanness, Karst Shepherd Dogs are very devoted and moderately lively. As guard dogs they are incorruptible. Distrustful of strangers, but nevertheless a pleasant, obedient companion dog that retains a strong sense of individuality.

Did you know ?

Despite their imposing stature, Karst Shepherd Dogs are harmonious, elastic, well coordinated movers. Trotting, their preferred gait, shows them off at their most elegant.


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