Any dog on the planet can be trained to become an exemplary guard dog for its family, his home and potential pet buddies (such as sheep and other livestock). Some of the best guard dogs are actually the so-called “street superb” breed – an impure mutt of mixed breeds – because they’re often more versatile than a purebred canine since they have inherited the traits of two or more breeds.
And yet, when we hear / read the words “guard dog” we usually think of sheep guard dogs, hunting scent hounds or police dogs like the German Shepherds. But you may be surprised to learn that there’s a plethora of endemic Slavic guard dog breeds, which are outstanding at carrying out the essential tasks of watching over you, your home and your personal belongings. Whether you want to protect your gaming PC or a flock of livestock (or both), here are some of the best Slavic guard dogs for the job.
Sulimov / Shalaika
The ultimate Slavic guard dog is actually unavailable to us, mere mortals. It’s an experimental exotic breed developed specifically to serve the PJSC Aeroflot airline security. Known as Sulimov (named after the breeder Klim Sulimov) or Shalaika, this breed is a hybrid mixture between jackals and herding dogs. The breeding program kicked off back in the 1970s and nowadays there are only a few dozens of these jackal-dog hybrids, all of which are owned and used by the airline for their notable intelligence, adaptability to both freezing cold and scorching hot weather conditions, and their spot-on sense of olfaction.
As you might have guessed, this canine breed originates in the Czech Republic. Český Fouseks have been around for centuries. Their distinctive beards and wired fur coats make them rather appealing and fun for kids, which is advantageous, since these dogs make wonderful family pets. Susceptible to training and with an inborn knack for hunting small and large prey alike, these loyal pups are even suitable for apartment living, as long as they get their essential dosage of daily exercising.
One of the few existing Bulgarian dog breeds is the Karakachan, also known as Karakachanska Shepherd and Thracian Mollos. This mountain dog is massive and ideal for herding purposes. Nevertheless, it has notably been used as a watchdog by army soldiers placed on border watch duty. Moreover, in the past Bulgarian politicians have presented Karakachan Shephers as honorable gifts on two separate occasions – once to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and once to the US President George W. Bush.
The Bohemian Shepherd is yet another canine breed originating from the Czech Republic, which makes an fitting guard dog. It’s not officially recognized by the major kennel clubs, but it’s not intended for show status after all. It’s believed that these dogs may just be the predecessors of the popular German Shepherd breed. In terms of temperament, sense of olfaction and agility the Bohemian Shepherd makes a great family pet and a watchdog – which is probably why back in the days so many people used the breed for guarding their homes in the Chod region.
You probably want to snuggle this huge furball just by looking at it, right? Wrong! Šarplaninac (a.k.a. Yugoslavian Shepherd Dogs) are notably independent and aloof when it comes to strangers. They don’t like having their territory invaded and are surprisingly loyal to their owners, regardless of their reservations towards strangers. Robust and in need of indisputable training, these fluffy creatures can actually be quite menacing when in suspicion of an unknown person. Furthermore, they have strong inborn hunting instincts, which means you can’t use them for herding unless you’re willing to devote yourself to training – or to pay for a reputable trainer’s services.
Unlike the Shalaika dog, the Russo-European Laika is a widespread breed, which many pet parents prefer for a number of reasons. For starters, this breed is overly energetic, vocal and eager to please its owner. It does well with small children and remains unconditionally loyal to its family while being infamously territorial. Don’t expect it to allow any stranger to come near your family or your property in one piece!
Last, but not least, is another fluffy giant – the Tornjak. Native to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Tornjak has an extremely docile temperament. It doesn’t require as much training and exercising as other similar breeds. Even if the dog is well-socialized from a young age, it will still remain alert of any strange noises, scents and sights. As such, it’s a good fit for families with livestock and large yards where the Tornjak can exercise freely even in harsh weather conditions, which fortunately won’t affect its thick fur coat. Needless to say, this furball is not meant to dwell indoors, regardless of how spacious your apartment may be.