Ciobanesti Carpatini

3 min

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The mountain regions of Carpathian and Transylvania were made famous by Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula”. What is lesser known is that the Carpathian mountain also is the homeland of the Ciobanesti Carpatini, the Carpathian Shepherd Dog.

This breed was constructed by the farmers when the first vampires came to the region, and the farmers did feed the dogs with garlic so the dogs could hunt the vampires with their garlic breath. This was very successful since we now know that vampires are extinct.

Just kidding! The vampires only live in novels and movies, and the Ciobanesti Carpatini has a totally different past than a garlic-eating vampire hunter, I just could not resist.

The Carpathian Shepherd Dog is close related with the other eastern Europe flock guardians, which all are descendants of dogs coming from the east.

Exact when the Carpatin, or its forefathers, came to the region is uncertain, but we can probably expect that the breed has existed a very long time. It has visible traits common with the Sarplaninac and the slim steppe type variant of the Caucasian Ovtcharka and it is believed that it came from the east at the same time as the Sarplaninac, and developed its breed characteristics when settled in the Carpathian mountain region.

I have learned that in the modern workplace with the breed , and a possible international recognition, they are trying to breed the dogs away from the Molossoide type, and they instead trying to get more of the lupoid typed head. In my opinion, this is a mistake. Based on the origin of the mountain dogs and the Ciobanesti’s close relatives in eastern Europe, this breed should have a Molosser-look of the mountain dog type.

The work of the Carpatini have always been guarding and herding the sheep, defending them against wolves and bears, and also from sheep rustlers from over the borders.

The Ciobanesti Carpatini is very suspicious of strangers and in the old days, these dogs had to wear staves of wood fastened to their necks, or some other easily and quickly recognized symbol of proprietorship, if not the dogs could be killed by law if threatening the passage of a traveler.

The Ciobanesti Carpatini is little known outside of Romania and the little information available on the breed comes from small sections in various dog breed atlas, which some also giving a picture on the breed. Under the patronage of King Carol II, the Rumenian Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1937 and did much to further its breeding on modern scientific lines, but the Romanian National Cynologic Association are still working to get the breed recognized by the FCI. As of 1999, no Carpathian Shepherd Dogs are known to exist outside of its native Romania.

Because of the high wolf population in Romania, the Carpathian Shepherd Dog is still used to herd and protect the flocks of sheep and cattle, a work they are doing very well. They are known to be very loyal to their master, to have a balanced temperament and they are showing great kindness to children. Because of these traits, the breed is becoming more and more popular by people living in the cities, who wants a watchdog or just a pet.

The Captain is also known to have a very high protection instinct, with sharp senses, which makes them the ideal and long favored breed by the Rumanian sheep farmers.

Because of experimental crosses with St. Bernard and sheepdogs a lot of “half-breeds” are known and puppy seekers must be careful when selecting a breeder, so they get a pure specimen.

The body of the Carpatini is built much like the earlier mentioned slim steppe type variant of the Caucasian Ovtcharka. The head should be massive with a distinct stop and slightly doomed skull. The slightly sunken are medium and should be dark amber in colour. The rather small ears are set wide apart, folded backward and are set rather low on the skull. The body of the Carpatini is well-knit and muscular, with a deep roomy chest. The legs are very strong with rather large feet.

The coat is soft and smooth in texture and of generally medium length, but much shorter on the head, and at it longest at the flanks and buttocks, where it often is wavy.

The colour of the coat varies much and includes sable with darker head points, black and tan, various brindles, grey, wolf-color, beige and white with patches.

The size of the Ciobanesti Carpatini is normally about 65-66 cm. (25,5-26 in) at the withers and about 50 kg. (110 lbs), but common with the other flock guardians much larger specimens are known.


Name: Ciobanesti Carpatini

Other name: Carpatin, Carpatini, Carpathian Shepherd Dog, Romanian Shepherd Dog.

Country/Region of origin: Romania.

Date of origin: Ancient.

Height: About 65-66 cm. (25,5-26 in).

Weight: About 50 kg. (110 lbs).

Colour: A large variety, including sable with darker head points, black, and tan, various brindles, grey, wolf-color, beige and white with patches.

Present situation: Rare, unknown outside of Romania.

Additional info: Rumenian Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1937. The Rumanian Kennel Club is now working for getting the breed recognized by FCI. Larger specimens that the ones described above are not unusual.


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