Tornjak on a postage stamp.

Tornjak History

Tornjak belongs to a family Canis familiaris matris optimale which dates back from 2000 years before the new era. The center of origin of this breed is the Caucasus region as well as eastern Caucasus. Today, sheepdog "tornjak" and all breed related to him exist in south-eastern Europe.

Tornjak is a dog from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with dominant region of breeding located in large mountainous areas of Vlašić in central part of the country. The first written record of this dog and its body measures and characteristics at this region date from the year 1067. The name "tornjak" comes from the word "tor" which is an expression used to describe enclosure space, intended for sheep-holding under a clear sky, during the mountain pasture season.

This breed has existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the past thousand years, and it can be proven with written documents. At this time the tornjak was registered under the name Kanis montanus. Which translates to mountain dog. But the local people gave it the name tornjak (tor: enclosure for sheep, and cattle). Tornjak was registered as autochthonous breed on May 9, 1981 with the name "Bosnian-Herzegovinian sheepdog - tornjak."At that time Yugoslavian pedigree was opened for the tornjak. A judge commission was formed with the goal to do everything needed for the standard of the breed and it's recognition with the FCI as an autochthonous breed with the above mentioned name. The standard was done on 10.05.1990 in Travnik (a town in central Bosnia).

Not many recognized breeds have documents this old and precise about their existence, it's shape, height, color and purpose. As it is the case with tornjak. For a long time tornjak resisted to all other dog breeds with which it had contact with. Not people nor other dog breeds have changed its appearance, temper or its work habits. Probably the old Slavs have brought it with them when they moved to these parts. According to the studies the tornjak is most likely the descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff, or from where the today's Iran is. The environment has created a healthy and strong dog, with modest needs for food and shelter, and a great watchdog.

Tornjak in snow.Tornjaks can be multicolored, tricolored and with two colors. Most favored dogs are the ones with a lot of color., especially sharp differences in color. The face should be lighter than the body, preferably having a white line down the middle of the head. Height of the males is 60 cm and more, and females are 56 cm and up. Length of the body about 8% the height of the male dogs, and 10% the height of the females. The height of the chest is 45% of the total height, but deeper chest is also allowed. Tornjaks are friendly with people, but aggressive towards other animals and dogs that threaten his owner, home, sheep pen or the flock. They like to work and take commands readily form their owners. Also they are easily trained, but it is not necessary.

On February 22, 2006 The General Committee of the World Cynology Federation, at a conference held in Madrid, provisionally accepted the Tornjak. The breed Tornjak has the right of participating at national shows in all countries and all CACIB shows. Tornjak will be judged according to the latest standard adopted on February 10, 2006 in Sarajevo. Tornjak has the of provisionally accepted breeds, without the right at a CACIB title, with the possibility at competing for the best dog in second FCI group.


General characteristics

TornjakTornjak is a calm dog and is friendly with people, it is carefully aggressive towards wild animals and those who attack its home, herd or its owner. This dog is persistent in performing given tasks, with a good understanding of master’s requests and training requests. It is an incorruptible dog, with a necessary dose of suspicion toward strangers. Another one of its characteristics is that is also quite resistant to illnesses and it has modest requests regarding feeding and breeding. For example, during the snowing winter nights, these dogs lie on the ground so that is often gets covered by snow. Genetically, this is a very dominant dog. The body of this dog is strong and well built, with harmonious and dignified movements. The part of its face, usually the top of muzzle, is always lighter that dark signs at the body. The look is specified, clear, self-confident, serious and calm. The hair is rich with such configuration that adequately protects the body against bad weather conditions. The tail is shaggy, kept high like a flag.


Morophological characteristics

TornjakThe muzzle is dully cuneiform and often diverged but we can come across other types of head. Dogs over four years of age have incomplete teeth, often compared to pliers, which are distinguished from those of younger dogs that have teeth like scissors. The eyes are brown often with a darker shade. The earlaps are very mobile, especially whilst moving, when they are placed at the back of the head. As a result of such placement of earlaps, external auditive aperture is uncovered, which is the authentic mark of the breed. Ears are usually pressed to the head when the dog is relaxed and allowing for an exception to this rule is one centimeter. Ears are of middle length, with a triangular form and covered with coat. The crossing from the neck to the body is almost imperceptible. The body and the back have a regular construction, whilst the rump has a mild oblique position. The chest is broad and strong, and is grown over with a dense coat so tornjak often looks a lot greater than it actually is. The coat at the neck has a form of a mane. Special characteristic of this dog is its tail that is brought over the back line. That position of the tail indicates the position of dog amongst the herd of sheep, and is determined work the dog is performing. That position of tail also indicates the dominant role of this dog in order to distinct itself from the other kinds of dogs surrounding the same herd.


External characteristics

Average at withers adult male is 65 - 70 cm, female 58 - 65 cm, average hearth girth adult male is 88 - 92 cm, female 73 - 77 cm, average body length adult male is 72 - 75 cm, female 63 - 67 cm, girth left metacarpus adult male 14 - 16 cm, female 11 - 13 cm. Average weight adult male is 35 - 50 kg, female 28 - 40 kg.



Tornjak Kennels

od Haračića FCI 08/03
Dino Haračić email
Kacijan 17, 72270 Travnik
Bosnia and Herzegovina
+38730511665, +38761783970

od Gemylanda FCI 03/05
Almir Šabanović email
Vilenička 35, 72290 Novi Travnik
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sabina Haračić email
Kacijan 17, 72270 Travnik
Bosnia and Herzegovina

iz Malega Vrhka
Mišo Šapec email
Škrilje 133; 1292 Ig

Tornjaci sa Grmeča
Mujaga Selman
Atifa Džafića bb, 79285 Gornja Sanica
Bosnia and Herzegovina
+38737671501, +38761444624

od Bobovca
Semir Mušija email
Alije Izetbegovića 69, 72240 Kakanj
Bosnia and Herzegovina
0038761455469, 0038761755362

od Tuzle FCI 19/07
Enver Đapo email
F. Markovića 4, 75000 Tuzla
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Emir Imširević e-mail
Edhema Mulabdića 36, 77000 Bihać
Bosnia and Herzegovina
061-780-840, 037-310-873

Tornjak des Hauts de Malforêt
Patrick Rouchon email
63290 Lachaux


Tornjak Gallery


Tornjak Standard


FCI-Standard N° 355 / 16.05.2007 / GB

TRANSLATION: Dubravka Reicher, prof. Revised by Jennifer Mulholland and Raymond Triquet.

ORIGIN : Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.


UTILIZATION: Herding and protection of livestock; farmyard guard dog.

Group 2 Pinschers and Schnauzers – Molossoid breeds – Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs.
Section 2.2 Mountain type.
Without working trial.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Tornjak is a large and powerful dog, well proportioned and agile. The shape of the body is almost square. The bone is not light, but nevertheless not heavy nor coarse. He is strong, harmonious and well balanced when standing and moving. His coat is long and thick.

The body is almost square. The length of the body should not exceed its height by more than 8%.
The ratio between the length of the skull and the muzzle is 1:1.

BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: Of steady disposition, friendly, courageous, obedient, intelligent, full of dignity and self confidence. Fierce in guarding property entrusted to him, cannot be bribed and is suspicious of strangers. Devoted to his master and very calm in his presence. Very affectionate towards persons living in his immediate vicinity. Learns quickly and keeps this in his memory for a long time, gladly performs tasks assigned to him. He is easy to train.

Elongated. The ratio between the skull and the muzzle is 1:1.

The upper lines of the skull and muzzle are divergent. Supra-orbital arches are slightly visible. The hind part of the skull is elongated but moderately wide. The area from supra-orbital arches to the occiput is flat. The occipital protuberance is very slight.
Stop: Slightly pronounced.
Nose: Large with sufficiently wide nostrils. Should have dark pigmentation. Pigmentation in harmony with the colour of the coat. Depigmentation is not allowed.
Muzzle: Rectangular. The bridge of the nose is perfectly straight.
Lips: Tight fitting with dark pigmentation.
Jaws/teeth: Jaws are very long and strong. Perfect scissor bite with full dentition.
Eyes: Almond shaped, close fitting lids, dark colour. Dark pigmentation on edges of eyelids.
Ears: Of medium size, triangular, folded and pendant, set rather high. Carried close to the cheeks. With shorter hair.

Of medium length, powerful, carried slightly low. Skin tight fitting. Long, abundant coat forming a mane.

Withers: Moderately developed.
Back: Short, taut, moderately broad and straight..
Loin: Connection between chest and croup is short and moderately broad; in females it is a bit longer.
Croup: Of medium length, broad and slightly sloping.
Chest: Very spacious, deep, broad and oval shaped. The lowest point of brisket reaches at least to the elbows. Never barrel shaped. Chest is strong, with moderately pronounced point of sternum.
Underline: Belly well muscled. The underline is not tucked up but gradually slopes up from the end of the sternum to the rear.

TAIL: Long, set at medium height, very mobile. When relaxed it is hanging and in movement it is always raised over the level of the back, which is characteristic of the breed. Abundantly coated with distinct plume.

Strong and well angulated.
Well developed, strong bones, tight muscles. Parallel and upright when standing.
Shoulders: Of medium length, well laid back. The scapular- humerus angle is about 120°.
Upper arms: Muscular and strong. Almost the same length as shoulders.
Elbows: Moderately close to the body.
Forearms: Strong bones, developed muscles, upright.
Metacarpus (pastern): Slightly sloping.
Front feet: Toes arched and tightly knit. Nails pigmented, dark pigmentation desirable. Resilient pads, hard and tight, dark pigmentation desirable. Front feet more developed than hind feet.

Strong and parallel. Upright when standing with adequate angulation. Knee well bent.
Upper thighs: Broad, strong, well muscled.
Lower thighs: Well muscled, strong, broad, of the same length as the upper thigh.
Hocks: Firm, set a bit high.
Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Strong.
Possible existence of dewclaws.
Hind feet: Toes arched and tightly knit. Nails pigmented, dark pigmentation desirable. Resilient pads, hard and tight, dark pigmentation desirable.

The Tornjak is a trotter. Movement is well balanced, supple, long reaching, harmonious, with strong drive from hindquarters. In movement the backline is firm.

The skin is thick, well fitting all over the body.


HAIR: 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 also 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. The tail is richly coated with very long hair. Winter undercoat is long, very thick and of nice woolly texture. Hair is thick and dense and should not part along the back.

COLOUR: As a rule the Tornjak is parti-coloured with distinct markings of various solid colours.
Usually the dominant ground colour 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.

Height at withers: Dogs: 65 - 70 cm
Bitches: 60 – 65 cm
With a tolerance of +/- 2cm

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

- Bones too fine or too heavy.
- Head too fine or too coarse.
- Faults with ears (set on, length, coating).
- Pincer bite.
- Absence of 2 p2, 2 p3. Absence of more than 2 p1.
- Back too long.
- Roached or saddle back.
- Distinctly overbuilt dog.
- Faulty angulation.
- Elbows turned in or out.
- Tail laid on the back.
- Poorly coated tail.
- Hair of insufficient length.
- Dark mask.
- Weak feet.

- Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
- Lack of type (untypical dogs).
- Deviation of sexual type.
- Anomalies in colour and shape of eyes (wall eyes, vicious expression, different colour of eyes).
- Entropion, ectropion.
- Overshot or undershot mouth.
- Absence of any other teeth than those mentioned above as faults.
- Hair too short.
- Lack of undercoat.
- Kinked tail.
- Absence of tail.
- Solid coloured dogs.
- Albinism.
- Untypical distribution of colours over the body.
- Diversion from allowed height limits (tolerance included).
- Cosmetic treatment of dog or evidence of cosmetic or surgical treatments.

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum

American Kennel Club

The Tornjak is being recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service® - The AKC provides this service to allow purebred breeds to continue to develop while providing them with the security of a reliable and reputable avenue to maintain their records. FSS® breeds are not eligible for AKC registration. Several of the FSS breeds are approved to compete in AKC Companion Events and AKC Performance Events.

Tornjak des Hauts de Malforêt

Bosnian hound - BARAK


Dog Training - Get your dog to listen to you, anywhere you go. Professional dog trainer reveals dog training information on how to get maximum results in minimal time.


Hip Dysplasia in Tornjak
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a hereditary developmental anomaly, most frequent in large dog breeds. Clinical confirmation of the disorder is based on hip X-ray imaging. Twenty Tornjak dogs aged between 9-36 months, and weighted from 35-42 kg were examined for CHD. Scoring was performed according to six clearly defined radiographic parameters by Flueckiger method (5). Dysplastic changes of various severity were observed in 11 dogs, while in 9 dogs changes were absent. The study describes 4 CHD cases of varying degrees of severity. The results indicate the presence of CHD in Bosnian Tornjak. Determining the incidence of dysplasia in this autochthonous breed requires a more detailed study, which will enable determination of the prevalence of dysplasia and analysis of the relationship to other dog breeds. <READ MORE>



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