Polish Tatra Sheepdog

The Polish herding dog is mainly used to guard flocks and property. It comes from the Carpathian Mountains in the south of Poland. Large white mountain dogs found in several European countries are thought to have the same origin which goes back thousands of years. It is a self-confident and independent breed that is considered "a one man dog".


Also known as the Tatra Shepherd Dog, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog, the Polish Mountain Sheepdog, the Polish Mountain Dog, the Polish Mountain Herder, the Owczarek Podhalanski, the Owczarek Tatranski, the Iwczarej Tatrzabsju, or simply the Tatra, this breed has acted as a livestock guardian for several centuries. The Polish word for sheep is "owca", and Owczarek (pronounced "of-shar-ek") means "sheepdog".

This breed hails from a region in southern Poland close by the Tatra Mountains. The Polish Tatra Sheepdog is a heavily built mountain dog which is an out-and-out flock protector, with little interest in other ways of life. Attempts have been made to employ it for police, military or traction work, and as an urban guard dog, but although it is reasonably adaptable, it is only truly at home in the high pastures in the company of its sheep.

This imposing Polish flock guard is closely related to the Hungarian Kuvasz and the Slovakian Shepherd Dog. All three breeds have heavy bodies, long bushy tails and solid, creamy-white coats. It would take an expert to distinguish between them at a glance.

In the 1980s an American serviceman in Poland fell in love with this dog and imported three of them to the United States, where they formed the basis of a North American population and led to the formation of the Polish Tatra Sheepdog Club of America.


It is a courageous, tough, weather-resistant, independent, calm giant of a dog, standing up to 34 in (87 cm) at the shoulder. Its rich coat is so thick that combings from it are used for making woollen garments.

Gallery of Polish Tatra Sheepdog