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  • Temperament: Loyal, Active, Alert and Intelligent
  • Height: 16-20 inches
  • Weight: 29-44 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-14 years
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Breed Standard
Croatian Sheepdog standing in a field.
Croatian Sheepdog head profile outdoors.
Croatian Sheepdog laying in a field.
Croatian Sheepdog swimming with a ball in its mouth.
Damir /
Croatian Sheepdog standing outdoors.

About the Croatian Sheepdog

Petar Horvat, the bishop of Djakovo, wrote in 1374 that Croats had brought a shepherd dog along on the move to their new land. He referred to the dog as Canis Pastoralis Croaticus—the Croatian Shepherd Dog.

The bishop of Djakovo, Peter Bakic also wrote about the Croatian Sheepdog in his 1719 manuscript “On the Life of the People and Raising of Stock in Djakovo and it’s Surroundings in 1719”. He quoted the words written by Bishop Petar in 1374 and, providing his own description of the dog, stated that the Croatian Sheepdog had not changed since the record (from 1374 to 1719) and had not changed in appearance from that described by Bishop Petar in 1374.

A systematic selection breeding program was started by the “father of the breed” – veterinarian Prof Dr Stjepan Romic in 1935 with dogs in the territory of Djakovo.  After 34 years of work, the breed was recognized by the FCI in 1969.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.

Find a Puppy: Croatian Sheepdog

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.



Croatian Sheepdog fanciers provide a variety of diets depending on the needs of their dogs. Follow your breeder’s and/or veterinarian’s recommendations to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


The Croatian Sheepdog is an easily cared for breed. Occasional baths, a combing or bushing to remove dead hair, and regular nail care is sufficient for this wash-and-wear breed.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Occasional Bath/Brush




Croatian Sheepdogs are very energetic dogs. Though they are calm and relaxed in the house, once outside they appreciate a good run. Not surprisingly, a Croatian Sheepdog excels at flyball, obedience, herding, and frisbee. They are quite playful and can be mischievous, particularly when it comes to digging. They are also noted for their extraordinary jumping ability. A well-exercised Croatian Sheepdog is a Croatian Sheepdog who tends not to find trouble elsewhere.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity


The Croatian is alert, energetic, intelligent, biddable, adaptable and always enthusiastic about any job that needs to be done. Needless to say, these traits make them very trainable and eager-to-please. The Croatian Sheepdog is also sensibly suspicious and, therefore, an excellent watchdog.


May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please


Reserved with Strangers


The Croatian Sheepdog is an overall healthy breed.

Croatian Sheepdog running outdoors.
Croatian Sheepdog leaping over an agility pole.
Croatian Sheepdog laying in the grass outdoors.
Croatian Sheepdog standing in a field of tall brush.


The Croatian Sheepdog was developed over several centuries in the Republic of Croatia.  They are a working sheep and cattle dog.  The earliest written document about Croatian Sheepdogs, Canis pastoralis croaticus, found in the archives of the diocese of Djakovo by “father of the breed” – veterinarian Prof Dr Stjepan Romic – dates from 1374.

Did You Know?

The Croatian Sheepdog was added to the Foundation Stock Service in November 2017.
The Croatian Sheepdog is a breed with combined habits, which means it can be used for the herding of livestock as well as a guard or companion dog.

The Breed Standard

Colors & Markings


Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
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