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  • Temperament: Friendly, Courageous, Intelligent
  • Height: 23-28 inches
  • Weight: 62-110 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 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.

FCI Standard
Tornjak head in three-quarter view

About the Tornjak

The Tornjak is also known as the Bosnian and Herzegovinian – Croatian Shepherd dog. He is a large and powerful dog, well-proportioned and agile. The shape of his body is almost square. When standing and moving, he is strong, harmonious and well-balanced. His coat is long and thick. According to studies, the Tornjak is most likely a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff, or from the area where modern-day Iran is. That environment has created a healthy and strong watchdog, with modest needs for food and shelter. Tornjaks are friendly with people, but aggressive towards other animals and dogs that threaten his owner, home, sheep, pen or flock. They like to work and take commands readily from their owners.

Tornjak Puppy

Find a Puppy: Tornjak

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You are going to want to feed your Tornjak a formula that will cater to his unique digestive needs throughout the various phases of his life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and extra-large breeds. The Tornjak is a large breed.

What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way 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.


Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep your Tornjak clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong, fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.


Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide-and-seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. If you live in an apartment, even short walks in the hallways can give your dog some exercise, especially during inclement weather. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.


The Tornjak learns quickly and keeps the information in his memory for a long time, gladly performing tasks assigned to him, thus, he is easy to train.


May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Easy Training




Some dogs may be faced with health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Tornjaks are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, prospective owners can gain the education they need to learn about specific health concerns within the breed.



The almost extinct descendants of genetically homogeneous, native, archaic types of shepherd dogs have been the foundation stock for the recreation of the Tornjak breed. The dogs belonging to the original stock had been dispersed in the mountain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and their surrounding valleys. The major historical dates are the years 1067 and 1374. Written documents from these periods mention the Bosnianherzegovinian-Croatian breed for the first time. The research about their historical and more recent existence and then a systematic salvation from extinction started simultaneously in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina around 1972 and continuous pureblood breeding began in 1978. Nowadays, the breed’s population consists of numerous, purebred dogs selected during a series of generations dispersed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

Did You Know?

The Tornjak has been assigned the Working Group designation.
The Tornjak has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since May 2012.
In its beginnings, the Tornjak was registered under the name Kanis Montanus, which translates to mountain dog. But the local people eventually gave it the name Tornjak, with "tor" meaning enclosure for sheep and cattle.
This breed has existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the past thousand years, and it can be proven with written documents. Not many breeds have documents this old and precise about their existence.