Croatia’s Ancient but Unknown Breed

The Sava River is a tributary of the Danube that flows through Slovenia, Croatia, and along its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The geographical region that stretches along the river is known as Posavina, and there is a hound named for the area, the Posavatz Hound. Its name means “scenthound From The Sava Valley, but it is recognized as the Posavski Gonič by the FCI.

Before the Internet,  the world was a much smaller place, figuratively speaking, but it is still curious that a breed as old as the Posavatz would be virtually unknown to the outside world, especially given that it’s held in such high esteem by hunters. That, however, is the case for this old breed.

How old?

In the cemetery chapel next to the village of Beram is a fresco dating from 1474, “The bow of the three Kings,” and in it appears a dark wheaten colored dog with drop ears. This was the first portrayal of the Posavatz Hound. An ancestor of the breed was seen again in an altar fresco “The Motherhood of the Holy Virgin Mary” from the 16th century in the Mother of the Angels Church in Veli Losinj. A description of the breed also shows up in a manuscript from the year 1719 of the Dakovear Bishop Petar Bakic. There, text indicates that the breeding of these dogs was already well known in the 1300s.

In the 1800s, the hounds from the Sava Valley were sold to Croatia as “Boskini,” and while the breed was first exhibited in 1924 and first official entries were made in the Croatian Book of Origins in 1929, it wasn’t until 1955 that the FCI published the first breed standard. The FCI later clarified the name and changed it from Boskini to Posavac Hound in 1969. The United Kennel Club recognized it by that name in 2006 where it is part of the scenthound group.

This extremely hardy dog performs on all types of terrain, but he is a specialist at hunting foxes and hare in thick undergrowth. The Posavatz is also appreciated for blood searching.  Friendly, loving, and devoted, these dogs nonetheless take experienced dog owners who can train with firmness, fairness, and consistency as this is a pack-minded dog.

Photo from Wikicommons


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