Polish Tatra Sheepdog (Polski Owczarek Podhalanski)

    Related Articles

    History & Overview

    The Polish Tatra Sheepdog, known in his native country as Polski Owczarek Podhalanski, is an ancient breed of livestock guardian dogs originating from the Tatra mountain region (Podhale) in southern Poland. As a member of the mastiff family, it belongs to the group that includes the:

    Some experts believe that the breed traces back to the ancient white guardian dogs of the Eastern part of the world, while others claim that it comes from the Tibetan Mastiff. The Polish word “owczarek” is the same as the Russian “ovcharka” or Yugoslavian “ovcar” which means “sheepdog.” A livestock guardian dog is one that generally stays with sheep without harming them and aggressively repels predators. The dog chooses to remain with sheep because it has been reared from puppyhood with them. Its protective behaviors are largely instinctive, and there is relatively little formal training required other than timely correction of undesirable behaviors.

    Livestock guardians have traits that distinguish them from other breeds. They tend to retain puppylike characteristics throughout their adult lives, such as licking the muzzle of an adult dog, begging for food, play wrestling, following parents or littermates, staying near a home or den site, barking when something new or strange approaches, and absence of predatory behavior.


    The Tatra Shepherd Dog is alert, calm, intelligent, and courageous. It takes his job very seriously and may become rather dominant. Strong-willed and independent, he requires consistent and firm training from puppyhood.


    The coat consists of a long, thick, straight or slightly wavy outercoat and a short, dense undercoat. The hair on the neck makes a ruff, while on the head, muzzle, forelegs and lower hindlegs the hair is short and dense. The tail hair is long and profuse, forming a flag. According to the breed standard, only white coat color is accepted. These strong, muscular dogs stand 23.6 – 27.6 inches at the shoulder.

    Living With A Polish Tatra

    This is a working breed that thrives in rural and semi-rural environments. As a companion dog, the Tatra Shepherd will be at his best if provided with long daily walks. According to the Polish Tatra Sheepdog Club of America, this breed is not suitable to apartment living or small yards with close neighbors. While not excessive, their instincts to bark at strangers and suspicious noises can be problematic. He needs considerable space and exercise. Good fencing is a must.

    Video Credits: Dagmara Modzelewska


    1. FCI Standard #252
    2. Dominique De Vito – World Atlas of Dog Breeds
    3. Livestock Guardian Dogs (PDF document)
    4. J.R. Lorenz and L. Coppinge – Raising And Training A Livestock-Guarding Dog (PDF Document)


    Other Topics

    Common Diseases In Guinea Pigs

    Overview At times, the usually healthy guinea pig falls ill. How will you know if your guinea pig...

    Purple-throated Euphonia

    Appearance The Purple-throated Euphonia (Euphonia chlorotica) is a small songbird with a short, thick bill. Males are purplish...

    American Robin

    The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a member of the thrush family and one of the most neighborly of birds.

    Hibiscus syriacus

    Overview Hibiscus syriacus also known as the Rose of Sharon, is often used for hedging in warm climates,...


    Overview Bengal Cats were developed by breeding the Asian Leopard Cat with the Domestic Cat. The intention was...