Ultimate guide to Polish Tatra Sheepdog | Tatra shepherd dogs

Polish Tatra Sheepdog is believed to have originated in the Tatra mountains of southern Poland from where they derive their name.

They were used to help shepherds in protecting the cattle as a Livestock guardian dog with their loud barking.

Polish Tatra Sheepdogs are also called Tatra shepherd dogs, Polish mountain dogs, or Owczarek Podhalanski in Polish. They are a rare breed with only 7500 registered Polish Tatra Sheepdogs.

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Polish Tatra Sheepdog at a glance

Size24 to 28 inches
Weight80 to 130 pounds
TemperamentIntelligent and Protective
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Price$1000 to $1500
PurposeCompanion dog

Appearance – Polish Tatra Sheepdog

Polish Tatra Sheepdog

Contrary to what their name says, Tatra Shepherd Dog does not look like a Shepherd dog. They look like Great Pyrenees.

Body: They are large dogs having a long, compact, and muscular body with a deep chest. They have a mane on their neck.

Face: They have a balanced head with a long muzzle on their face. The nose is typically black.

Eyes: Their eyes are medium size and dark brown. They are set slightly slanting having an expressive look.

Ears: These Polish dogs have medium size & light hanging ears. They are triangular with rounded tips.

Tail: They have a long curly and bushy tail.

Coat: Tatra Shepherd Dogs have a double coat with a long and wavy outer coat. Their coat used to help in protecting them from the cold climate of the mountains. They only come in white color.

Size: An adult Owczarek Podhalanski can grow to a height of 24 to 28 inches and weigh approximately 80 to 130 pounds.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of Tatra Shepherd Dog is 10 to 12 years.

Temperament – Polish Tatra Sheepdog

Intelligent and Independent

They are very intelligent and independent dogs who used to take care of themselves alone in the mountains.


These dogs were trained to be protective of the flock from the predators. They still carry this trait.

Gentle and Non aggressive

They are gentle dogs who would not bite until they are pressed to do it. They will bark at strangers but will not be aggressive.


Tatra Shepherd Dogs are known for loud barking. They will notify you of a stranger with their barking. This along with large size makes them a natural watchdog.


With their independent mindset, they keep to themselves. They will not shower as much as love and affection as other dogs. They can be left outside to guard under an amicable climate.

Other pets are welcome

These dogs were bred along with livestock whom they used to protect. If bred together, they consider other pets as their flock and are not aggressive to them.

Great with children but ?

They are very gentle with the children but young children should always be under supervision with a large dog like Tatra Shepherd Dog.

Not apartment friendly

They are large dogs who would love to have a fenced yard to vent out their energy needs. They are not recommended as apartment friendly dogs.

Recommended for Experienced Owners

With their large size, intelligence, and independent thinking, they would need an experienced owner who can be the Alpha whom they will obey.



These Polish hound dogs are large size dogs and they should be given 4 to 5 cups of dry dog food divided into two meals in a day.

You may also take the advice of a vet who can suggest based on the age, size, build, and activity level of the dog.

We would recommend CANIDAE All Life Stages Premium Dry Dog Food for them as well.


They are active dogs but not hyperactive. They would relax within the home but at the same would love to run around the yard to play or guard.

It is best if they can have a large fenced yard.


Polish Tatra Sheepdog has a long thick coat that protects them from cold temperatures. As they used to be left alone in the mountains, they have developed a self-cleaning coat.

They need rare bathing and have a low need for frequent brushing. But during spring, their inner coat would blow out and they would need daily brushing.


Being intelligent and independent, they try to make decisions for themselves and can be difficult to train.

It is recommended that they have obedience training and socialization since the beginning. Positive and consistent training works best for them.


They are generally healthy dogs but are prone to some diseases like below –

  1. Ear Infection – They are prone to ear infections which is common to dogs having hanging ears.
  2. Bloating – They are prone to bloating just like the Polish Greyhound dogs.

To avoid the same, you should give a small two to three meals instead of one large one. Do not go for exercise after a meal and put his bowl on the high surface so that he doesn’t need to spread his legs for eating food.

  1. Hip dysplasia – This is a medical condition when the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint. This is an inheritable disease and dogs suffering from this should not be bred.

Pros and Cons

Highly intelligentNot that playful or affectionate
Good WatchdogNeed a lot of time for exercise
GentleCan be noisy

Origins – Tatra Shepherd Dog

Tatra Shepherd Dog is known to have existed since long though we could not find much documentation about the same.

Some believe they descended from Mastiff breed of Europe whereas others believe them to be descendants of dogs like Great Pyrenees.

They were quite popular in the mountainous regions of Poland and were bred for guarding the livestock. They were highly regarded for their intelligence.

If any predator comes near, the Polish Tatra Sheepdog would gather up the sheep and stand by them instead of trying to attack the predator.

This reduces any chance of leaving any of the sheep exposed to danger.

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