The Tornjak is a mountain sheep dog native to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tornjak Appearance

Tornjaks are large and powerful dogs,with well proportioned, almost square bodied features and agile movements. The dog's bones are not light, but nevertheless not heavy nor coarse. They have long and thick coats. The bodies of these dogs are strong and well built, with harmonious and dignified movements. The dogs have long and thick hair and this adequately protects the animals against poor weather conditions. The dogs typically possess shaggy tails, kept high like a flag. Tornjaks have a clear, self-confident, serious and calm disposition. In general the Tornjak is a long coated dog with short hair over the face and legs. The topcoat is long, thick, coarse and straight. It is specially long on the upper part of the croup, over the shoulders and the back it can be slightly wavy. On the muzzle and the forehead, up to the imaginary line connecting the ears, over the ears and on the front parts of legs and feet it is short. It is especially abundant around the neck (mane), dense and long over the upper thighs (breeches). It forms feathers along the forearms. With well coated dogs it is also especially abundant on the rear of hind pasterns.

As a rule Tornjaks are parti-colored with markings of various solid colors. The colour of Tornjaks is in fact unrestricted. It ranges from nearly completely white to almost black, with yellow, red, brown and not-quite-desired gray in between. There are two main types: piebald and Irish spotting. The goal is multicolourdness and distinction regarding towards other breeds. Usually the dominant ground color is white. There may be dogs with a black mantle and with white markings most often found around the neck, over the head and along the legs. There may also be almost white dogs with only small markings.

Tornjak Head

Lupine, wedge-shaped and elongated. Due to the heavy coat it could look too small sometimes. Powerful and long jaws, teeth complete, scissor bite. The back of the muzzle is straight. The zygomatic arches above the eyes may be slightly noticeable. Back of skull elongated but not narrow, straight from zygomatic arches to occiput. Top of the muzzle straight, proportional, never pointed or excessively fleshy, lips fitted tightly to the jaws. Almond shaped eyes, eyelids close to the skull. Large ears, that are single turn down, set high up, nearer to the vertex than in other sheepdogs breeds.

Tornjak Neck

Long, carried low, set at 45 degree when alert. Neck muscles firm and taut. Skin quite thick especially at the nape of the neck and adheres to the inner tissue not only on the upper but also on the lower side of the neck. Covered with a rich crop of long hair (ruff).

Tornjak Back

Relatively short, firm, moderately wide and level.

Tornjak Tail

Long, can be saber-shaped, annular or hooked (slight upward turn at the tip), set medium high. Highly mobile, at rest hanging downwards. When in motion - trotting - or when alert or excited, always carried above the back.

Tornjak Chest

Very broad, conically deep, wide and rounded, but ribs not heavy. The breast is well-proportioned and forms a firmly connected unit between shoulder joint and chest. As a rule, the sternum (breast bone) tip is a little below the shoulder joint.

Tornjak Belly

Firm muscles, continuous lower line, moderately tucked-up from the back end of sternum to the inside of loins.

Tornjak Coat

As a rule, long coated with short hair on face and front part of legs. Top coat is long, hard textured (similar to goats) and straight. On the front part of shoulders and backside of rump it can be slightly wavy. Particularly well developed on the neck also below the tail very rich and long, forming trousers. Feathering on the forearm and very rich feathering on the tail. Upper hair is especially long on the upper rump just before tail set. Firmly closed and not able to be opened in parting.

Tornjak Temperament

Tornjak has a calm temperament. A typical adult Tornjak is very calm, peaceful, on first sight an indifferent animal, but when the situation demands it, it is a vigilant, a very alert watchdog. The character of Tornjak is equal to the temperament, they are not nervous and not aggressive in general, they are very tough, not demanding, and sturdy dogs. With their human family they are very emotional. When the Tornjak live in a pack they are highly social animals, and there is not any fighting between pack members. Toward strangers or other animals, as a rule, Tornjak is not emphasized aggressive. But when the situation calls upon it, Tornjak acts very determined and it can without consideration attack much stronger rivals. Shepherds used to say that a Tornjak who guards the flock is a fair match to two wolves, and a couple will encounter and chase away a bear without any undue respect. In these situations Tornjaks are very persistent.

Tornjak Activities

Usual exercise levels are not too high, especially in the first 9 – 12 months (during the last intensive growth period). After that they can exercise as much as possible. They prefer long walks without a leash and a lot of playing with other dogs. The Tornjak will also be almost equally satisfied with a walk for only 20 minutes if it's owner is in a hurry. Tornjak's learns quickly and does not forget things easily, he also gladly performs tasks assigned to him and is therefore easy to train. Strong and hardy, during the snowing winter nights, these dogs lie on the ground and often get covered by snow without freezing due to their thick coats. They are used for herding and protection of livestock.

Tornjak Care

Tornjak is not recommended for apartment life. They need space and will do best with at least a large yard. Because its thick coat protects it so well, it can happily cope with living out-doors provided it has proper shelter. This breed of dog is best suited to a family with lots of space surrounding the home where it can attend to its own exercise needs.

Tornjak is a very healthy breed, but because they were very poorly fed in their past, they now do not need so much proteins in the food. For feeding Tornjaks a low protein diet is suitable. Too high a protein content can lead to the development of coat problems. Climbing up and downstairs the first six months can ruin theirs hock joints or lead to hip dysplasia (canine).

Tornjak needs early socialization. Early experiences, before 9 months of age, have a very significant effect throughout the dog's life. They need to be confronted with all potentially fearful stimuli as early as possible, in order to avoid later fear reactions. Traffic noise, big trucks and buses will provoke fear reactions in adulthood, if the Tornjak has not previously faced these situations several times as a puppy. In this early age all Tornjak puppies have to meet as many strange people as possible, and also other animals, dogs, and pets especially, for developing a good and stable behaviour as an adult. No special training or equipment is needed.

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