The Tornjak is a fairly large breed that was developed in the mountainous region of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can easily recognize these dogs because of their thick, wooly coat they have developed in order to keep warm in the high altitudes where this breed had to work. It might not be the biggest livestock protector but it is certainly one of the most reliable. It has been used in those areas to protect livestock for over a thousand years.

If you want to get a large mountain dog as a pet, the Tornjak might just be the breed for you. As pets, these dogs are calm and docile, and you can be sure that it will protect you and your family with its life. If you decide to go for these dogs, you will get a devoted companion that is very friendly and a great watchdog.



23-28 in (58-71 cm)



62-110 lb (28-50 kg)



BiH, Croatia


Life Expectancy:

12-14 years

Breed History

Tornjak dogs were originally used fr guarding purposes and they share many characteristics with other livestock guardians. Descriptions of this dog were found in the writings of the bishop of Đakovo – Petar Horvat from 1374.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

The Toranjak’s characteristics are typical mountain dog characteristics. This breed is large, powerful, and well-proportioned. They have strong bones that are not heavy and do not interfere with their agility or ability to move. They have a nearly square built and a thick, double coat.

Their coat was developed as a product of evolution and their need to keep warm and well-insulated in their native, mountainous region. These dogs were used to working in high altitudes where temperatures drop significantly. Their outer coat is long, coarse, and straight while the undercoat is thick and wooly.

The Tornjak has almond-shaped eyes that are usually dark in color. They have medium-sized ears that are triangular and carried close to their cheeks.


Tornjak standards


  • Group 2 (Pinschers and Schnauzers Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs), Section 2.2 (Mountain type)
  • height - males in 25-28 in (63-71 cm), females 23-26,5 in (58-67 cm)
  • date of acceptance - 11/7/2017


Tornjak have a long coat that requires proper care to keep the dog looking good. Regular brushing will prevent the forming of mats and tangles.

Tornjak coat colors:

  • particolored with distinct markings of various solid colors

The dominant color is usually white.

The rest is basic care; trim their nails when needed (if they don't wear them down naturally), brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar buildup and bacteria development. Regularly check their ears for any sign of redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the cotton ball dipped into an ear cleaner. The key for your dog to get used to all things mentioned above is to start early with them. Make a positive experience for the dog, full of praises and rewards, and you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when they grow up.

Tornjak temperament

Some owners say that the Tornjak’s temperament is one of their best features. These dogs are naturally calm and confident. They never show aggression when in public or when interacting with other people, especially children. These dogs are deeply devoted to their families and love nothing more than protecting and keeping an eye out for every member.

The Tornjak has a natural guarding instinct combined with alertness and vigilance. Those traits make them ideal watchdogs. They are very likely to alert you about anything or anyone approaching your house.

The Tornjak usually gets along well with other dogs and even with other pets in the household. It is important that they are introduced to them while they are still young and pretty soon, the Tornjak will view them as a part of the flock that they have to protect.


Tornjak training and socialization

The Tornjak has strong natural herding and protective instinct. Those traits can be polished and trained so that a working Tornjaks can be absolutely great for any tasks that involve herding and protecting. If you would like to get a pet Tornjak, you will be glad to know that these dogs are fairly intelligent and can be taught basic commands rather quickly. They respond best to food motivation and positive training methods.

The Tornjak is a large and powerful breed that can cause a lot of damage if it gets in a quarrel with anyone. Such powerful breeds should be properly socialized so you can avoid any potential problems in the future. Expose your new Tornjak puppy to different environments and situations, sights, and sounds so they can learn social rules and proper behavior.

Tornjak and kids

Early socialization and proper training can teach them to behave even when children are around. Their temperament makes them more suitable for families with older children. If you train and socialize your dog well, your children will get a great playing partner that has plenty of energy. These dogs can play for hours upon hours without getting tired or bored. Your children will also get a guard dog that is naturally suspicious of strangers, and you can be sure that they will warn you about any potential dangers approaching your kids.

Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.

Tornjak and other animals

These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company.

However, every dog, no matter what breed they are, should be socialized and properly introduced to other pets. Take your time and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along. Some dogs require time but Tornjak dogs are generally very affectionate and gentle towards other pets, especially if they were raised together.

Health problems

Tornjak dogs have a life expectancy of 12-14 years. To be sure that you'll get the healthiest possible dog, never buy a dog from a puppy mill breeder or a pet store.


When getting a dog, the most important thing is to get it from a responsible and reputable Tornjak breeder. These dogs are energetic and protective, and getting a poorly bred dog can have catastrophic results. Responsible breeders will breed dogs that don’t only look good but have great characters as well. You must find a good Tornjak breeder that can help you learn about this breed and make an informed choice about getting a dog with these characteristics. 

Tornjak is still a rare dog breed outside their native land and if you are interested in getting one of these dogs you must be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list.

If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.


Photos by: Dragan Cvitkusic

World Dog Finder team


Updated at02.08.2020.