The Polish Tatra Sheepdog (Polski owczarek podhalański) is a breed of dog originatedfrom the Tatra Mountains in Poland. Its history dates back to the 14th century, when its ancestors were brought by Vlach shepherds in these lands. It was used to guard flocks of sheep. It was recognized by FCI in 1920, and the first breed club was founded in 1973 in Zakopane. According to archaeologists, the ancient ancestors of these dogs lived in Asia and looked a lot like the Tibetan mastiff.
This dog has a double coat - the top layer is hard, wavy and straight. The undercoat is dense and profuse. The main color is usually white, without any spots or other markings. This shepherd has a black nose, lid edges and lips. The pads are also dark.
This is a big and strong animal. Its average height varies between 60 and 70 cm and its weight – between 36 and 60 kg.
Character and behavior
Polish Tatra Shepherds are intelligent, very active and extremely loyal dogs. They are strongly attached to their owners, and need a lot of attention and love. The breed has very strong protective instincts and immediately warns with strong barking if it feels any danger.
This working animal is intelligent, self-thinking, independent, and able to take the right decision without help of people. Early socialization is a must, as well as basic obedience. This is an extremely devoted, loving and loyal dog with great qualities. It can guard flocks in any weather conditions and on any terrain.
Training and education
Dogs of this breed are very intelligent and succumb easily to dressage, but are also stubborn, making them more suitable for people with experience in growing dogs. Before choosing from different puppies for sale of this breed, keep in mind that the Tatra Shepherd Dog needs a master with experience in growing dogs. The owner should be intelligent, calm and consistent. But above all that, he should be a natural leader, a real alpha.
The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, knee problems, obesity, eye issues and epilepsy. There are some cases of dogs who suffer from juvenile cataracts, patellar luxation, bloat (gastric torsion) and allergic dermatitis. Average life expectancy of these beautiful animals is around 10-12 years.
Grooming and care
Apartments are not suitable homes for these dogs, they need a lot of space and a lot of movement to expend their energy. It is important for puppies to be socialized from an early age and when educating them you should not use harsh methods. Their fur needs only combing from time to time. Don't forget to check the eyes and ears of your pet to avoid infections. Due to the fact that they work in the mountains and bushes, they may have problems with ticks, so don't forget to deparasitize them regularly.
During non-shedding months the Tatra Shepherd Dog is incredibly clean, which is due to the fact that it possesses the so called self-cleaning fur.
Children and other pets
These dogs are suspicious and often bark when they feel there is something wrong. Of course, this makes them perfect guards and protectors of the family. Furthermore, they are kind and gentle with kids. They also get along very well with other animals and pets in the house. However, some male representatives of the breed are aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex.
According to the most canine specialists and historians the Tatra Shepherd Dog is a close relative to the Great Pyrenees, the Slovak Cuvac and the Hungarian Kuvasz.