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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 standing in the woods.
Two Tornjaks laying near a flock of sheep.
Tornjak head in three-quarter view
Tornjak laying in the grass.
Tornjak head in profile.

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 laying in the grass.

Find a Puppy: Tornjak

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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.



The Tornjak should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.


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


Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferably fenced, or 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 learning new tricks. Certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, or 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. As a result, 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.

Tornjak puppy laying in the grass.


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 recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since May 2012.
The Tornjak has been assigned the Working Group designation.
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.

The Breed Standard

Colors & Markings


Description Standard Colors Registration Code
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199


Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black & Tan Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 039
Black Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 002
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