The Bukovina Sheepdog was first bred in Romania. The breed was developed over centuries as a working dog that protected livestock from predators in the Carpathian Mountains. Despite their size and their pedigree as watchdogs, Bukovina Sheepdogs are not particularly aggressive dogs.
25 – 31 inches
110 – 200 pounds
10 – 15 years
White/beige with gray patches, black, brindle, and white
Experienced dog owners, active families, those with a fenced-in yard
Gentle, calm, courageous
They are known both for their gentle, loyal companionship and their courage in the face of danger. This combination of characteristics makes this breed a wonderful household dog. Keep reading to learn more about whether Bukovina Sheepdogs are a good fit for you and your family.
Bukovina Sheepdog Characteristics
Bukovina Sheepdog Puppies
In order to find a trustworthy breeder, make sure to do your research ahead of time. Bukovina Sheepdogs are primarily bred in Romania, so it may be difficult to find these breeders in the United States. Since Bukovina Sheepdogs are not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club, you likely won’t be able to obtain pedigree paperwork for your dog. A reputable breeder will be upfront about your Bukovina Sheepdog’s parents and their health history. This is particularly important because Bukovina Sheepdogs are prone to more health issues than the average dog.
These gentle pups are better suited to experienced dog owners. And if you have a large fenced-in yard, even better.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Bukovina Sheepdog
Bukovina Sheepdogs are very intelligent dogs. Bred to shepherd livestock, they can also be fairly independent animals. This combination of intelligence and independence can make them stubborn and sometimes difficult to train. However, Bukovina Sheepdogs are also known for their loyalty and gentle nature, which can make them great pets.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
With the proper training and socialization, Bukovina Sheepdogs are great family dogs. Not only are they playful and affectionate pets, but they are also very protective by nature, making them great watchdogs. You can rest assured that your Bukovina Sheepdog will look out for your kids. If you have very young children, do keep in mind that this is a large breed. You should always keep an eye on your kids while they are playing with your dog, as an excited pup could inadvertently knock over small children.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Generally speaking, Bukovina Sheepdogs get along with other pets with whom they have been socialized. However, they can sometimes be standoffish toward strange dogs. Additionally, Bukovina Sheepdogs have a fairly high prey drive, which means they may have an impulse to chase after small animals, especially animals they don’t know.
Things to Know When Owning a Bukovina Sheepdog:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
The Bukovina Sheepdog is a large to giant breed, which means they need a substantial amount of food. Make sure to buy dog food that is formulated for your pet’s age and size. The exact amount that you feed your dog depends on how much he weighs. If he is overweight, his food portion should be based on his ideal weight, not his current weight. In order to calculate how many calories your dog should be consuming, you can use a pet food calculator such as this one from the Pet Nutrition Alliance. It is not recommended that you feed your dog all of his food at once; instead, try dividing it up into at least two meals per day.
You should know that Bukovina Sheepdogs may be prone to obesity. To keep your dog healthy and happy, give him high-quality food, limit treats, and ensure he is getting plenty of exercise.
Bukovina Sheepdogs need a lot of exercise. These are working dogs who were bred to spend full days roaming outdoors. As such, your Bukovina Sheepdog will benefit from long walks with you. If you have a fenced-in yard, he will also enjoy being able to take advantage of that space, where he can roam around on his own. Between their size and their exercise needs, Bukovina Sheepdogs may not be the most well-suited for apartment living.
Because Bukovina Sheepdogs are such intelligent dogs, they are relatively easy to train. However, as discussed, they are also independent and have a stubborn streak. They will respond well to consistent and firm owners who make it clear that they are in charge. Because training can be tricky, this breed may not be the best option for first-time dog owners. If you are set on getting a Bukovina Sheepdog, you may want to factor a professional dog trainer into your budget.
Bukovina Sheepdogs are big dogs with thick coats that need to be brushed on a regular basis. Not only will brushing help keep your dog’s coat untangled and free of debris, but it will also help pick up any loose hair; these dogs shed quite a bit. You should only bathe your dog as needed in order to avoid depleting natural oils from your dog’s fur.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Bukovina Sheepdogs typically live long lives, with an average lifespan of 10-15 years. However, they may be more prone to health conditions than other breeds. It is important to educate yourself about your dog’s health history so that you know what to expect when you bring him home.
Joint dysplasia: One of the most common forms of joint dysplasia in large dogs like the Bukovina Sheepdog is hip dysplasia. Dysplasia refers to a deformity of a joint that occurs during growth. This condition often results from uneven growth spurts during puppyhood. In the case of hip dysplasia, the thigh bone and the pelvis socket do not grow at the same rate, resulting in a loose hip joint. Risk factors for developing dysplasia are genetics, exercise, growth rate, and environment.
Bloat or gastric torsion: Bloat is a fairly common condition in dogs. While it may sound harmless, this condition can actually be life-threatening if it is not properly treated. Like humans, dogs experience bloat when their stomachs become full of gas, fluids, or food. This causes their stomach to expand, which in turn can put pressure on their other organs. Sometimes, your dog’s stomach will twist, which can trap blood in the stomach and prevent it from moving to other areas of your dog’s body, such as the heart. This condition where the stomach rotates is called gastric dilatation-volvulus, or GSV. Bloat or gastric torsion can be caused by eating a large meal, a raised bowl, eating too quickly, vigorous play or running directly after eating, stress, genetics, or overeating.
Male vs Female
If you’re considering whether you should purchase a male or female Bukovina Sheepdog, one of the biggest considerations you may want to think about is size. Bukovina Sheepdogs are very large dogs, with mature males weighing in as high as 200 pounds. Keeping in mind that these dogs are heavier than many humans, you may want to ask yourself whether you can handle such a large dog. Female Bukovina Sheepdogs also tip the scale in comparison to other breeds, but they tend to weigh in closer to the lower end of the spectrum. The average female Bukovina Sheepdog weighs about 145 pounds, though they can range anywhere from 110-180 pounds.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Bukovina Sheepdog
1. The Bukovina Sheepdog Originated In the Carpathian Mountains Of Romania
As livestock shepherds, they have been known to go head-to-head with fierce predators such as bears and wolves.
2. This Breed Is the Oldest of Three Romanian Sheepdog Breeds
The other two breeds are the Carpathian and Mioritic.
3. The Bukovina Sheepdog Is Known By Many Different Names
Some of the breed’s other common names include the Bukovina Wolfdog, Southeastern European Shepherd, Romanian Bukovina Shepherd, Ciobanesc Romanesc de Bucovina, and more.
Overall, Bukovina Sheepdogs are wonderful family dogs. They are gentle, loving, and loyal, and with the proper socializing, they will love and protect your children as though they’re their own. However, these dogs are not right for everyone. If your family isn’t very active, if you live in an apartment with limited access to private outdoor space, or if you’ve never owned a dog and are unsure of your ability to train your pet, this breed may not be for you. You should also keep this breed’s size and the relative scarcity of reputable Bukovina Sheepdog breeders in the U.S. If you think you can provide the Bukovina Sheepdog with the space, activity, and training it needs, this dog could be right for you!
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Featured Image Credit: Fabian Emanuel Balint, Shutterstock