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Karakachan

Bulgaria’s rare gentle giant


BREED ORIGINS

The Karakachan people, also known as the Sarakatsani, are an ethnic group native to Greece and Bulgaria that are descended from tribes of nomadic shepherds who tended to flocks of Karakachan Sheep, hundreds of years ago. In order to protect their precious livestock from the bears, wolves, and wildcats that naturally prey on animals like sheep, they utilised large canines with strong natural protective instincts. Although there is no way to know for sure, most historians believe these large canines were originally dogs from Thracia. The Karakachan people had very conservative breeding traditions, and this led to the preservation of the breed with very few contributions from any other breeds. The breed was frequently mentioned by authors in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and was known to be quite popular as a flock guardian for both the Karakachan people and other shepherds, and they were sometimes used as border patrol dogs as well. When the farming industry in Bulgaria was nationalised in the 1940’s, all of the livestock was moved to communal farms, and the flock guardians were seen as unnecessary, and many of them were exterminated. Fortunately, a few managed to survive and a breed standard for these ancient molosser dogs was proposed in 1991 and approved in 2005.

Read more about the history of this breed – HERE

OTHER NAMES – Bulgarian Shepherd Dog, Thracian Mollos, Karakachan Shepherd Dog


LIVING WITH THIS BREED

These lovely large dogs when well socialised from a young age are known to be gentle giants and great companion dogs. Karakachans are extremely sweet-tempered, playful, and patient with their own family, but they can become fiercely protective of their family and their territory when needed. While socialised Karakachan dogs are generally trustworthy around children, all interactions between the two should be closely supervised; these dogs are very large animals, and they may unintentionally knock younger or smaller children over. Although very good with the people they love, these gentle giants tend to be very wary of strangers which is why they make such good watch dogs. They will not let a stranger anywhere near their territory and will even keep other animals out of a back garden. While they are very intelligent dogs, they have also been bred to be independent thinkers, and tend to respond to commands only when they feel like it, so training may be a challenge. The Karakachan is known to be incredibly loyal to their owners, they are alert and extremely courageous dogs. Once they have formed a bond with a family, this remains extremely strong for the rest of their lives.


BREED INFORMATION

This information is taken from kennel clubs and other reliable sources

COUNTRY OF ORIGINBulgaria
PURPOSE BRED FORLivestock Guardian, Companion, Service
OVERALL SIZELarge
TEMPERAMENTFriendly, Loyal, Courageous
EXERCISE NEEDED1 hour per day
HEIGHT – MALE65 cm / 25.5 in (to shoulder)
HEIGHT – FEMALE60 cm / 23.5 in (to shoulder)
COAT TYPEMedium, Double Coat
GROOMING NEEDSDaily
RARE BREEDYes
LIFE EXPECTANCY12-14 years

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The word Karakachan has been obtained from the Turkish words “Kara” and “kacan” meaning “the black one that got way”.
  • The breed is known to be strong and robust, they suffer very few known hereditary or congenital health issues.
  • These dogs are definitely not the best choice for first time owners, but for people who know how to train a dog with a firm, yet gentle hand.

LINKS TO KENNEL CLUBS

This breed, so far, is only recognised by it’s native country of Bulgaria


PHOTO GALLERY

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


VIDEOS

Here’s a video about Karakachans, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed and subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


WEBSITES ABOUT KARAKAHANS

Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to this breed, please click to view them. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

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