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Native Bulgarian Dog Breeds

Historically, the main function of keeping a dog in Bulgaria is for working. Whether it is herding sheep or for security Bulgarian dog breeds have played an important role for both home owners, farmers and for the security of business premises.

These days the pet industry has grown beyond comprehension in Bulgaria, with dogs evolving as family pets and sharing their owner's homes, as opposed to being tied up in the garden for long periods of time and in many cases permanently. Take a look around most towns, cities and parks and you will no doubt see a vast assortment of breeds of dog, from Huskies, Dobermans, Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweiler's to Chihuahuas, Jack Russell's, Labradors and Retrievers. All of these pedigree type breeds are now becoming just as popular as countries such as the UK and USA.


Native Bulgarian Dog Breeds

There are numerous variations of native Bulgarian dogs, however most of the time this is due to cross breeding. There are actually only 3 original breeds native to Bulgaria and they are:

The Karakachan (Bulgarian Shepherd Dog)

The Karakachan is also known as the Bulgarian Shepherd Dog. It has been in use for hundreds of years in Bulgaria where it works both on the ground and in the mountains, typically herding sheep and goats. In the past it was employed by the Bulgarian military to provide security on the country's borders. These days it also serves the purpose of security for home owners where it can be found in villages all over the country.

This giant mountain dog is very loyal and protective of its master and it has been known to stand between its owner and a Bear, Wild Boar and other dogs in order to protect him from attack. They are known to be very intelligent and diligent. The average height of the Karakachan is 65cm and an average weight of 42kg. It is well documented that the Karakachan is one of the oldest breeds of dog in Europe. It is highly territorial making this an ideal breed by protecting his herd or flock with his astute bravery.

The Bulgarian Scenthound (Gonche)

There are two Bulgarian dog breeds used primarily for hunting and one of these is the Scenthound. The "Gonche" (hunter) as it is often known as, has a similar resemblance to the German Rottweiler but not as often seen. Their temperament is also much more relaxed and laid back compared to the unpredictable Rottweiler. Out of the two hunting dogs of Bulgaria the Scenthound is the most commonly used.

Although the Scenthound has occupied Bulgaria for centuries, there is very little known about its history and how it came to be in Bulgaria. They are mainly used for assisting hunters of Wild Boar.
The average weight of the Scenthound is 19kg and it has an average height of 52cm. This depends on the sex of the animal where females are usually shorter and therefore lighter than that of its male counterpart.

The Bulgarian Hound Dog (Barak)

This ancient breed is thought to have been around for almost 1500 years when it was brought into Bulgaria by Turks during the Ottoman rule. They are more commonly known as Baraks which means scent dogs. Their hunting skills rely almost solely on their incredibly efficient sense of smell which allows them to lead their fellow hunters to their prey.

They have an average height of around 50cm and a weight average of 21kg. They have a rather small to medium build with a wire haired coat of average length of 6cm.
The loyalty of this dog breed is favoured by hunters as well as their ability to work alone and in many cases the Barak will hunt a long way ahead of its owner to eventually lead him to his target. They are extremely independent animals which makes them ideal for solitary work.

Although the Bulgarian Hound is an excellent natural hunter he is often used in more professional roles by the military and fire service among others. They do not make good pets due to the fact that unlike other Bulgarian dog breeds the Barak is purely a hunting dog.