Tatra Shepherd Dog

Tatra Shepherd Dog Breed description: Character & Co


Tatra Shepherd Dog (Polski Owczarek Podhalanski) - a breed description

The Polski Owczarek Podhalanski is originally native to the mountainous region of Podhale in Poland. The name Tatra Shepherd Dogis derived from the High Tatra mountain range. In the past, this breed was also called Goralen dog, because the shepherds who used these dogs were Goralen. It is a guard dog, but can also be used well as a farm or therapy dog.


  • Height: Male 45 to 50 cm, female 42 to 47 cm
  • Weight: 45 to 65 kg
  • Colour: white
  • Life expectancy: 10 to 12 years
  • Function: guard dog, shepherd dog
  • Group: FCI No. 1.1 / 252
  • Origin Poland


Originally, the Tatra Shepherd Dog came from Poland. In his homeland he was mainly used to guard flocks of sheep. Due to its weather-resistant coat and its character traits, it is ideally suited for use in the mountains and on uneven land. As close relatives of the Tatra dog the Slovensky Cuvac and the Hungarian Kuvasz are considered. The dog breed was recognized by the FCI in 1967.

Banner: Shutterstock / Eric Isselee
Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Canidae,Dog breed,Carnivore,Slovak cuvac,Maremma sheepdog,Kuvasz,Great pyrenees,
Alternate Name Polski Owczarek Podhalanski, Owczarek podhalański, Tatra Shepherd Dog, Podhalaner, Goralen Dog, Polish Mountain Dog
Origin -
Life expectancy 10 - 11 years
Care requirements high-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Sheepdogs
AKC group not recognised
KC group not recognised

Typical character traits of the Podhalen dog

The Tatra is a sociable and friendly companion who fits in well with his family. He gets along well with other dogs or pets. Towards children the Tatra Shepherd Dog is always good-natured and patient. His loving and balanced nature makes him a popular family dog. To his family he is always a reliable and faithful companion, to strangers he behaves rather reserved. Since the Tatra dogis very active, he is not suitable for pure apartment keeping. For extended walks and hikes as well as for swimming this dog breed is always to inspire.

The clever, perceptive animals are fearless and courageous and possess a pronounced protective instinct. For this reason, they are optimal guard dogs or guard dogs. However, they also have a strong will of their own and like to make their own decisions independently. Therefore, it is important to train the Tatrahund consistently but calmly from the beginning. It is especially important to set clear boundaries.

Due to his abilities the Tatra Shepherd Dog is used in many ways as a

  • Guide dog for the blind

  • Rescue dog

  • Tracking dog

used. His innate guarding instinct also makes him an ideal farm dog or guard dog for large properties.


  • educable
  • fearless
  • smart
  • quietly
  • vigilant


  • Herding Dog
  • Working Dog
  • Shepherd Dog
  • Therapy Dog

Care of the Polish Mountain Dog

The Owczarek Podhalanksi is relatively easy to care for. Its coat is dirt-repellent and it is quite sufficient if it is brushed once a week. In the time of the coat change the Tatra Shepherd Dog sheds a lot and should then be brushed every day if possible.

Typical diseases of the Tatra Shepherd Dog

The Tatra Shepherd Dog is very robust and not particularly susceptible to diseases. Only the typical problems of large dog breeds such as hip dysplasia and gastric torsion can cause him problems. His dense undercoat protects the Tatrahund from cold and heat alike. He can live outside, but always needs a shady place to rest in the summer. With too little exercise, Tatrahunds tend to be overweight.

Tatra breed description, white large dog with short coat similar to Labrador

The Polski Owczarek Podhalanski grows up to 70 cm tall and weighs 60 kg. Its strong and compact build conveys endurance, strength and agility. The coat of the Podhalendog is coarse, dense and weatherproof. It is usually smooth to slightly wavy and has a well-developed undercoat. On the front of the legs, on the muzzle, and on the head, the coat is shorter than on the rest of the body. The colour of the coat is uniformly white, without any spots or markings. The Polish Mountain Dog has an imposing ruff and a long, bushy tail that hangs down with only a slight curve at the end. His ears are triangular and of medium length and drooping. The Tatra Sheepdog has black or dark brown eyes and nose.

Fur length long
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail fanned out
Anatomy rugged, strong
Size ♀ 55 - 65 cm
Weight ♀ 50 - 60 kg
Size ♂ 60 - 70 cm
Weight ♂ 50 - 60 kg
Suitable For


  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    The hip dysplasia or hip joint dysplasia of the dog (HD) is a maldevelopment of the hip joint.

  • Gastric torsion

    Gastric torsion is a disease in which the stomach rotates around its own longitudinal axis. The cause of the disease is not known.

  • Overweight

    Often, unfortunately, the dogs very much under excess weight. But the dogs themselves are never to blame!

Other large dogs

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