The Carpathian Shepherd is a native Romanian breed and it has been helping Romanian farmers and shepherds for centuries. The ancestry or exact date of origin is rather unknown, since there is not many historical documentation about this breed. It is generally believed, that the Carpathian Shepherd was developed from endemic Romanian breeds in the Carpathian – Danubian area and that it was further developed by adapting to local environment.
For centuries and even today, the Carpathian Shepherd has one main utilization, which is protecting the livestock and property. Romanian mountains are home to some very strong and dangerous predators, such as wolves and bears and Carpathian Shepherds purpose is to keep the livestock safe from these predators. They have great predisposition for this utilization, because it is a very strong and fast dog with brave, courageous, devoted and alert dog breed. They have very strong, natural guarding instincts.
When the Carpathian Shepherd is not working, they make excellent intelligent a extremely devoted companions. They are absolutely loyal to its owner. If the dog is properly socialized, they tend to be quite patient and friendly towards kids in the family, as well, as to other dogs and pets, but of course, this is vastly influenced by early socialization. The Carpathian Shepherd is typically very suspicious and alert towards strangers and it can take a while before a complete stranger will gain a trust of this dog.
I mentioned that this is intelligent breed, but that does not mean they are total pushovers to train, because they are also quite independent dogs, which is very important trait for being good livestock protectors. They are naturally good protectors, but when you are training them all the classic obedience commands, then you must be absolutely patient and consistent. Due to their protective instinct, independent nature and enormous strength, this is definitely not a dog for unexperienced or novice dog owners. These dogs need an owner who will properly train them from the puppyhood.
This is a large, heavily built and powerful dog breed with average height between 59-73 cm, which is 23-29 inch and weight is typically between 35-50 kgs, which is 77-110 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
To be able to withstand colder temperatures and bad weather, the dog must have a thick and dense doublecoat. And indeed, the Carpathian Shepherd has a very thick and abundant coat, which is quite rough to touch. Their coloration is typically similar to wolves, which is pale fawn overlaid with wolf-grey of different tones.
These dogs will do best in a house with a big yard, where they can exercise naturally. The Carpathian Shepherd is not a hyperactive breed, but neither a coach potatoe. They definitely need daily outdoor exercise to stay healthy and happy. If they are working, if they have some job, than there is no need for additional exercise, but if they are kept just as companions, than several daily walks and some playtime or training sesssions are essential to keep them healthy and happy. Without enough exercise, they can develop some unwanted behaviour, such as destruction.
The Carpathian Shepherd is a very popular breed in their home country – Romania, but in the rest of the world this is quite rare breed. You can definitely find some of them in other countries, especially all over the Balkan, Eastern and Central Europe, but their numbers in these countries are not that high. Many of those dogs are also not purebred dogs, but Carpathian Shepherd mixes. The breed is officially recognized by the FCI and UKC, as well as some local kennel clubs.
Great fact is, that the grooming needs of this breed are minimal. Even without any grooming, they will keep the coat in good condition. Of course, their dense doublecoat does shed, and if you want to minimize the shedding, regular brushing is needed. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
Large and giant dogs typically do not have long lifespan, but that is not true with Carpathian Shepherd. The average lifespan of this breed is 12-14 years, which is just amazing for a dog of this size. Just like all dogs, they can suffer from some health issues and those include hip and elbow dysplasia and other skeletal and joint problems, bloating, and entropion.