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Greek Shepherd Dog

A primitive Greek mountain shepherd herding dog


For centuries, the Greek shepherd dog breed has protected sheep and goat herds in the mountain regions of Greece and is rightfully part of Greek natural and cultural heritage. It is a very important breed because it is perfectly adapted to the natural conditions of the mountainous countryside, and has become a valuable and irreplaceable guardian, able to face the attacks of large carnivores, such as bears and wolves. There is no real information about its timeline of development as no records were kept. It is known that they were often used in pairs and did spread across the country. There was superstition surrounding the dog. Stories were told that they had magical powers or healing abilities, children were encouraged to care for puppies so that the strength of the dog would feed into the children. Owners of the Greek Shepherd would also crop or remove completely the right ear of male dogs believing it would protect them from evil spirits and improve its hearing. The Greek Shepherd today is a very rare and unknown breed outside of Greece, and even in it native country its numbers are declining with an estimated less than 3000 dogs being left. This is in part due to there being less need for them as there are fewer livestock farmers, and also partly due to uncontrolled cross breeding which has led to a number of hybrids and fewer purebreds. Since 1998 the Greek ARCTUROS has been trying to save and revive the breed with the implementation of the Greek Shepherd Dog Breeding Program.

OTHER NAMES – Greek Sheepdog


The Greek Shepherd dog is not your everyday pet dog, it is best as a working breed and a single owner as the Greek Shepherd does not naturally get along well with anyone other than their owner. It is important that if you intend to have it join a family or interact a lot with others that you make sure it is socialised very well. It is wary and aloof with strangers and some can even be somewhat reserved around people they know. It certainly does not make friends very easily and needs time to get used to new people. It is independent thinking which means it can be stubborn but it is hard working, brave, loyal, protective and decisive. It is a calm dog until it needs to act and it can be surprisingly quick for a large dog. Its flock guarding instincts would transfer to its home and territory so it would be a good guard dog. It is difficult to train because of its strong dominant nature and tendency to be wilful and stubborn. It needs experienced owners who are firm, consistent, patient and skilled, (but not harsh or physical with it); gentle and positive training techniques are best, you just need to stick to the rules you set. In terms of children some are more friendly if raised with them but supervision is still needed especially when the children are young. It also does not like strange dogs though it does like to be raised with a second dog that it then works with, it is best though not to have one of the same sex. Other pets are not a good idea, it has a high prey drive and it is likely to go after them. This is not a breed for your regular dog owners but can be, with the right training and socialisation a family pet for those who understand its needs.


This information is taken from kennel clubs and other reliable sources.

TEMPERAMENTLoyal, Independent, Brave
EXERCISE NEEDEDOver 2 hours per day
HEIGHT – MALE70-75 cm / 27-29 in (to shoulder)
HEIGHT – FEMALE65-68 cm / 25-26 in (to shoulder)
COAT TYPEMedium-long length, double coat
GROOMING NEEDSSeveral times a week
LIFE EXPECTANCY10 – 12 years


  • Its coat is quite long and thick so it is best to brush it at least every other day to prevent tangles and to remove debris it picks up when outside. It sheds an average to frequent amount so there will be some hair around the home to clean up too.
  • They need a lot of activity and mental stimulation, it is primarily a working dog, it likes and needs to be busy.
  • If it gets bored it gets hard to live with, destructive, loud and even sometimes aggressive.
  • Do not leave it alone with strange children that come over, especially if the children engage in rough play.


Click the buttons below for more information about this breed from the Greek Kennel Club. Click the ‘English’ option to view the site in the English language.


Click on any image to view these pictures larger and in a slideshow.


Enjoy this video about Greek Shepherd Dog, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:

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