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An Exotic Breed - The Croatian Sheppard
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An Exotic Breed  -  the Croatian Sheppard

Have you ever seen a dog who looks like black sheep but has the face of a wolf? It is not a mythological being, it does exist. The breed is called the Croatian-Sheppard and its one of the most fun loving dog breeds.

Its not well known breed in the west but has won several awards in the European dog shows. It is historically a working and sheep guarding dog from the farming provinces of Croatia and as most Shepard's it is very intelligent and has an agile mind. The dog is ideal for any sport lovers who want a pet eager to accompany them on nature walks, it loves being in the snow, in the sea, in the woods. Really it is an all weather and sports dog and loves any notion of traveling, naturally being eager to get in the car and boat. It is a family dog and loves gatherings the more family and Friends together the happier the dog appears . The Croatian Sheppard is a middle sized dog, not small, but smaller framed than a poodle or a German Sheppard.

So, how did I find out about the breed? Well I had moved from Italy to Croatia do an exhibition I had decided to use 500 year old house in the ancestral town as my art studio but it had no electricity. Than a family friend and a Croatian Sheppard breeder made me an offer. If I adopt a puppy and integrate it to live in a house and teach it to live among people, he will put electricity into my studio. I asked people what this breed looked like having never encountered it before and the reply I got from my mother was a drawing of a little black cloud with teeth!

The day arrived when the man brought ower the puppy. The little black thing which had until that moment lived in a field with its mother was awfully frightened and kept hiding in the shadows of the car. When we finally got her in to the sun the fluffy thing looked like a tiny bear cub. She was completely round like a ball ,with soft curly fur and a pink tongue. I loved her instantly. I gave her the name Blackberry because she really resembled the fruit and carried her home.

The breed has for centuries been used as a working dog and not so well known as a pet , so it was the desire of this breeder to show people what a great pet the Croatian Sheppard can be and try rouse love for it in people.

There exist two Croatian Sheppard bloodlines, one of the bloodlines comes with a tail, and sometimes straight fur, whilst the other and more rare bloodline produces dogs with very curly fur and who are borne whiteout a tail at all. Blackberry is a pure breed and the gran daughter of a European dog cup winner, and was borne whiteout a tail, in my opinion making her all the more cute as a puppy.

Blackberry was initially very frightened of people and hid form me for a few days eating only when I would not be watching. But during a walk into the centre of town faced with many new faces and noises she soon realised she can trust me and from that moment on a bond was formed.

Blackberry likes to be involved in any activity happening. When released from the leash she never walks further than 10 meters away. She ignores other dogs, neither playing not fighting them either, sticking to the family. When I was creating a theatre stage out of paper ,Blackberry ripped up paper too. When we are digging in the garden and weeding blackberry claws at the earth and weeds too. She swims up to climbs the surfboard when I go surfing. She has been taken skiing, and sailing and even on to a helicopter and loved all of it. She is happy to be involved but not so happy to be left behind as i realise on leaving her a few times where upon she would wee on the paintings i made that day or pile up all my clothes and sleep on them until I returned home. She even figured out how to open the fridge at night to steal cheese, than shut the fridge so that she would not be not found out . And whilst this is rather bad, in some ways its funny and just proves that the dog has wits about it. She also refuses to eat anything sweet or junk food and so does not beg like most dogs whilst you eat, although she prefer remains of people lunch than dog food.

Blackberry has since calculated exactly what is her place in the hierarchy of the family concluding she is one but youngest and so ower rides all commands of my youngest brother and yet listens to every command of my boyfriend. It is a dog with a long memory and who greets all her favourite people dancing on its hind leggs but also tries to scare away people she mistrusts like a local bag lady who broke into our house and whom the dog always barks down..

Croatian Sheppard is a breed with a lot of personality, and as everyone who meets this odd looking dog notices she always seems to be smiling. The smile does not leave her face for the whole day once she returns from the dog salon. It is a perfect dog for an active family or individuals who like company and are eager to go out for the long walks the dog needs to keep healthy.


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