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Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound is a medium sized purebred from Bosnia and Herzegovina and is in fact the only breed from Bosnia that has been recognized internationally also. It was bred in the late 19th century by crossing Italian gun dogs with local dogs. It was developed to be a hunting dog and is very rare anywhere outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has a number of alternative names such as Barak, Illyrian Hound, Bosnian Rough-Haired Hound, Bosnian-Broken-Coated Hound, Bosanski Ostrodlaki Gonic,Bosanski Ostrodlaki Gonic, Bosnian Hound, Bosnian Coarse-Coated Hound, Illyrian Hound, Bosnian Broken-Haired Hound and the Bosnian-Rough-Coated Hound.
The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound at A Glance
Name Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound
Other names Bosnian Rough-Haired Hound, Bosnian Broken-Haired Hound, Bosnian Coarse-Coated Hound, Bosnian-Rough-Coated Hound, Bosnian-Broken-Coated Hound, Bosnian Hound, Illyrian Hound, Bosanski Ostrodlaki Gonic, and Barak.
Nicknames Bosnian
Origin Bosnia and Herzegovina
Average size Medium
Average weight 35 to 55 pounds
Average height 18 to 22 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Double coat with short, dense undercoat and long, shaggy outer coat
Hypoallergenic No
Color Wheaten yellow, reddish yellow, earthy grey, or blackish, sometimes white or black markings
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Very good
Tolerance to heat Very good
Tolerance to cold Very good
Shedding Low to moderate – will not be a lot of hair in the home
Drooling Moderate – not especially prone to slobber or drool
Obesity Moderate to average – just do not overfeed
Grooming/brushing Average – brush a couple of times a week
Barking Frequent even with training and socialization
Exercise needs High – very active dog
Trainability Moderate – experience will help
Friendliness Friendly and social breed
Good first dog Low to moderate – best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good if socialized
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Low to moderate – even with training and socialization has a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good with strangers but protective so wary
Good apartment dog Low – Barking can not be totally eliminated even with training
Handles alone time well Moderate – prefers not to be alone for long periods
Health issues Fairly healthy breed but some issues include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, eye problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic medical needs and pet insurance
Food expenses $275 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $660 a year for grooming, basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1420 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $2,000
Rescue organizations None breed specific but look to local shelters to find a rescue dog
Biting Statistics None reported

The Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound’s Beginnings

The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound was developed to be a hunting dog but all that is really known about its beginnings was that it started in the 1890s, making it a fairly modern breed, and local scenthounds were crossed with Italian gun dogs in the process. It is not like other dogs in the region it was bred being quite tall when other local scenthounds were fairly short. Hunting dogs came to Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Greco Persian wars described as Molossian dogs, referring to the Molossus.

Through the years this region has gone through incredible upheaval, wars, invasions and such that have lead to it being kept isolated from the rest of Europe over the last 400 years. This meant the local hunting dogs were not known anywhere else, they were exclusive to the area. In the late 19th century it opened up to the rest of the world and hunters from Bosnia were able to bring in dogs from elsewhere. The most popular crossing was with the Italian gun dog. It created a dog that was tall with a coarse coat. That height let it cross terrain faster and the increase in size meant it could be used to hunt larger prey. The coat meant it was able to handle harsh terrain and climates. Then came the worst conflicts the world has seen, first World War I, then World War II.

New Lease on Life

Thankfully this hardy breed survived both world wars and because relations with the Soviet Union were strained, then called Yugoslavia became more welcoming to the Western world and as a result the FCI had contact leading to early knowledge and recognition of dog breeds there. In 1965 the FCI gave this hound full recognition but was called the Illyrian Hound, naming it after the region’s ancient name. Then in 1973 it was renamed the Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound. Despite this recognition no other club outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina gave their recognition. During the 1990s wars the breed suffered and its numbers were largely reduced. However it survived again and in 2006 the UKC gave it full recognition putting it in scenthound group. The UKC though recognize it as the Barak, which comes from the Turkish word for a rough coated dog. While low numbers can still be found in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is extremely rare outside of its country.

The Dog You See Today

The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound is a medium sized dog breed weighing 35 to 55 pounds and standing 18 to 22 inches tall. It has long thick legs, a stocky build and a deep chest. Its body is muscular and strong and since it is bred to be a hunting dog mainly, all of its features and build is geared towards being effective at that. It holds its medium length thick tail in a curve and its coat is double with a short, soft and dense undercoat and a top coat that is shaggy, coarse, long and hard. Colors include yellows, reds, greys, and there can be white and black markings. On the back that can mean it has a saddle shape marking.

It has a short skull and a longer straight muzzle which is what makes it a good at picking up scents. Its eyes are oval shaped, large and brown and its ears can be medium to long and hang down the sides of its head. There is some bulging at the forehead and some tapering of the muzzle down to the nose. The hair creates the look of it having eyebrows, a beard and a mustache.

The Inner Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound


The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound is am intelligent, spirited, hard working and loyal breed. It is not often kept as just a companion, but is more often kept as a hunting dog that is also the family companion when its not out. As a hunting dog it is courageous, determined, dedicated and athletic and can be independent which means it has a stubborn side. Being an active breed it needs an active family to be a good match with. It is an affectionate and devoted companion, it is not a dog to be left out in the kennels or backyard, it needs companionship from you.

When it is with its family it is happy, sometimes playful, sweet and loving. It is a cheerful and friendly dog, it enjoys opportunities to be social and with socialization is wary but not aggressive with strangers until it is introduced to them, then it will welcome you as a new friend to get attention from. It does have protective instincts and it is alert so it will bark to let you know of an intruder and it may act to defend you and the home also. Unfortunately it does tend to bark a lot so a command to stop that is a good idea. It wants to spend time with you so does not like to be left alone for long periods, it would much rather come with you.

Living with a Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound

What will training look like?

Even though this dog is headstrong, it is intelligent and it leans towards being obedient. So it may have moments of testing you but training in general is moderately easy as long as you are firm with it. Experience of course helps and you need to be consistent, patient and keep it positive. Offer it rewards and treats to motivate it, praise it when it does well, stay in control and stick to the rules you set. Being somewhat sensitive scolding and physical punishment is not going to have any more success. Some things to include in the training is to stop barking on command and how to walk on a leash so it does not pull you after a scent it catches. Also make sure you include socialization from an early age. Socialization is when you get your dog used to different people, places, animals, dogs, children, sounds and situations. This way you can trust its reactions and it is a happier more well rounded companion.

How active is the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound?

It is very important that prospective owners realize how much exercise and mental stimulation this dog needs. It comes from being bred to work over hard terrain in difficult climates for hours. A quick 15 minute walk twice a day is not enough to keep the Bosnian happy. It needs a very active family able and happy to give it at least two to three hours a day of exercise. That means two to three long brisk walks, letting it join you when you go hiking, jogging or cycling, taking it somewhere safe to go off leash and run, playing doggy games with it. It takes a lot to be able to commit to that kind of time every day of the week. Without that, and good mental stimulation too it will be bored, aggressive, hyper active, destructive and hard to live with. It is definitely a dog best suited to rural living, not suited to apartment living. It needs at the least a large yard, but better would be some real land.

Caring for the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound

Grooming needs

The Bosnian is not a dog that needs regular professional grooming but it does shed an average amount so will need brushing at least a couple of times a week. Remember it has a shaggy coat and even after brushing that look will remain! There will be some hair around the home to clean up and it is not a breed suited to people with allergies. It should be given a bath just when it needs one, after getting itself especially dirty or muddy or rolling in something smelly for example. Bathing too often dries out its skin’s natural oils and that can lead to skin problems. Only use a dog shampoo as anything else can do the same thing.

Other maintenance needs include having its nails clipped when they get too long, using proper dog nail clippers and making sure not to cut too far down the nail where there are blood vessels and nerves. Clean its ears carefully by wiping once a week never inserting anything into the ear and check for infection at the same time. Signs would be redness, irritation, unusual discharge for example. Its teeth should also be cleaned using a dog toothpaste and brush two to three times a week.

Feeding Time

Feed your Bosnian with a quality dry food that is rich in essential nutrients. Make sure that you divide its daily ration of 1½ to 3 cups into two meals to avoid problems with bloat. Its size, health, age, activity level and metabolism can all affect the exact amount it eats. It should always have access to water that is changed regularly.

How is the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound with children and other animals?

The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound is good with children, it is lively and playful making it a good playmate, it is affectionate and it can be protective. Being socialized and trained helps it get along better with anyone and being raised with children or other animals also helps. Since this dog was bred to have a high prey drive to hunt with it is not the best dog around other pets and can have a lot of aggression directed at them. Some can grow up with them and learn to accept them, but some cannot. It tends to get on well with other dogs as it is often used as part of a pack to hunt with.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

It is believed this dog is generally quite healthy and it has a life span of 12 to 15 years. Some issues that can come up include joint dysplasia, patellar luxation, bloat, eye problems, anesthesia sensitivity and it can have birthing problems.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dogs attacking people and causing bodily harm in the US and Canada in the last three to four decades, there is no mention of the Bosnian, though this is to be expected given how uncommon it is to find it anywhere other than its home country. It is not an especially aggressive dog though, unless it perceives a real threat. However all dogs have the potential to have a bad day. There are things you can do to lessen the risk, like good socialization and training, giving it the exercise, stimulation and attention it needs, a good diet and a good lifestyle.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound puppy if you find one will cost about $2000 from a decent breeder, more likely more than that for a top breeder and finding one outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to be tough. Always buy from trusted sources after doing some homework though, avoid rushing in and using unsavory options like puppy mills or backyard breeders. While finding this dog in a local shelter or rescue is very unlikely, it is possible you might find a dog you feel drawn to and want to take home. Adoption rates tend to run between $50 to $400.

Once you have found a puppy or dog there are some things you will need to get for it like a crate for training and for when you are not home, a carrier to move it from home to the vet, bowls to eat and drink from, collar and leash, bedding and so on. These will cost about $250. It should also get a visit to a vet as soon as possible for blood tests, deworming, a physical, vaccinations and so on for $290.

Then there are annual costs of dog ownership. Feeding your dog will cost about $275 a year for dog treats and a high quality dry dog food. Basic medical care like shots, tick and flea prevention, check ups, pet insurance and such come to about $485 a year. Miscellaneous costs like a license, basic training, toys, grooming and miscellaneous items will come to $660 a year. This means an estimated annual cost of $1420.


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The Bosnian Coarse-haired Hound is not commonly kept as only a companion dog. It can be loving, friendly, social and playful but it also has a high prey drive, can be stubborn and has very high exercise and stimulation needs. If this is the dog you are feel drawn towards make sure you have time to commit to its socialization and training, to give it companionship and of course to give it a lot of activity.

Featured Image Credit: Maria Sivtseva, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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