The Tornjak (also known as Bosnian Herzegovian – Croatian Shepherd dog) is a very good, loyal, energetic, and friendly dog breed native to both Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name is derived from the word for a pen for sheep, “tor.” The dog is small with a stocky body, short legs, a crooked tail, and a thick, athletic coat. The breed is said to have originated in the mountains of Bosnian, or in the valleys of the Adriatic, as many other European breeds are believed to be the offspring of mountain goats. Their beautiful and sturdy character makes them well suited to protect larger animals.
There is very limited information available on the history of the dog, though it is recorded that it was part of a sporting group that hunted Bosnian goats and wild boars. They were prized for their strength and agility, and for their loyalty. Some say that the dog breed was created by crossing an Italian mastiff with a Bosnian sheepherd, though this is not confirmed. Regardless of whether this was the origin of the breed, the dog has gone through great changes since then and is now considered by many to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.
It is interesting to note that the origins of the Tornjak dog breed have remained relatively untouched despite the arrival of hundreds of different breeds over the years. All of the information on the breed’s origins is only speculation, much of it is based on what the dog is actually bred to do, and its usefulness to a rancher in the area. Much of this can only be speculated.
One of the most popular speculations on the origins of the Tornjak dog is that the dog was created to counterbalance the fierceness of the Serbo-Romagnan dog breed. The theory is that the first dog to use the tearing motion to drive sheep was the tornjak. With all information on the dog being reconstructive in nature, this theory seems to hold some merit.
In looking at the characteristics of the breed, it seems that the dog was created to be strong and brave. Most research on the breed reveals that it has an eagerness to work that is unmatched in other dogs. It seems that this trait was a result of the dog breed’s early origins in the highlands of Europe. From what little information is available, the dog would not have been used as a hunting dog at first. Instead, hunters would have used it for tracking animals and bringing down game.
As time passed, the dog became more like the scotch dog that it is today. There are stories of these dogs stealing sheep, but most documentation does not state that they ever harmed or killed any sheep. Hunting dogs were also developed because the dogs performed better in blind than other dogs. They also seem to have been bred to be alert to any sounds that would alert the herd to a danger and therefore, served as a great warning to hunters.
When looking at the history of the dog breed, it seems that the current day Tornjak dog breed was developed as a cross between a lion and a dog. Some say that this could have happened as the result of a culling of a lion that was in the area at the time. Whatever the reason, the breed that we know today as the Tornjak dog breed was actually developed over hundreds of years. While much of the documentation and history of the dog breed remains classified, much of it is currently accessible to the public.
Because of the low cost of insurance for dogs, people who own them tend to keep several of them around for various purposes. However, in the past few years the dog has become endangered in certain parts of Portugal, Brazil, and Costa Rica. You can help by going online to the American Kennel Club website or requesting information from your local state game and fish office. If the information provided is incomplete or not current, you can always go back to the site or office and get the latest information. You can also find out more about the dog’s guardian and how she ended up with such a dog.