Ciobanesc Romanesc Carpatin: The Grey Ones

When Canine Efficiency started the human/predator conflict prevention project in the Romanian Carpathian mountains we soon discovered which dog we needed as conflict prevention measure: The Ciobanesc Romanesc  Carpatin (Romanian Carpathian Shepherd Dog). These dogs have a rich history and through the ages they developed into superb guardians of the flocks that roam the Romanian Carpathian mountains.

In the remote and wild nature areas there is a rich and high quality of vegetation available for the flocks. A land of plenty, where both wild herbivores and domestic livestock can graze the lush green mountain meadows without competition. However there is a downside to living in this rich environment. Predators roam these lands. Lynx, wolf and bear to be specific.

Predators are real efficient when it comes to their food and survival; waste minimal energy to get maximum results. And when easy food like domestic livestock is served to them on a platter, one can imagine what the consequences are. Interesting fact about these predators is that they also are the reason for the rich and bio diverse flora and fauna. Large predators are key species for a healthy ecosystem and all other wild species benefit from their presence. When large predators vanish, the ecosystem collapses, multiple species will disappear and natural balance will be lost.

So a clear conclusion can be made: when attending remote nature areas with domestic livestock, shepherds need to arm themselves with good defenses and protection measures. Since predators are both friend and foe there is only one sufficient tool: good livestock guard dogs (LGDs). Besides being vigilant guardians of the flock, dogs are also man’s best friend and excellent companions. The long period of herding, away from home makes the life of a shepherd tough and lonely. Dogs ease his life in that as well.

As I mentioned before, in the Romanian Carpathian mountains a splendid and qualified dog breed developed through time and survived many threats. Threats while performing their work as well as attempts to destroy the breed, attempted by Ceausescu’s communist regime, by merging and crossbreeding all present shepherd dogs. The Carpatin, also named The Grey Ones, survived all these threats. They managed to maintain and kept performing their purpose as protectors of the flock. In the remote areas there were some shepherds that succeeded to keep their trusty Grey dogs, far away from the hands of the ones that wanted to destroy them.

From the three large predators  mainly two are opposing the flocks in Romania; brown bear and wolf, so strong and intelligent dogs are needed. That automatically means that the required dogs have to be of good size, however they preferably are not giant (moloss) type of dogs. No dog surpasses a brown bear in size and strength. A pack of strong, agile and intelligent dogs however are very well capable to protect livestock from an opposing brown bear. Only through intensive pack collaboration and endurance.

This is also the case when the opponents are experienced and intelligent wolves, who operate in packs using various tactics and precise planning. The speed and agility of wolves is well known, but the large and heavy bear is not to be underestimated either when it comes to speed. A to heavy built dog or a dog who suffers from lack of endurance will lose the confrontation at high cost.

The Ciobanesc Romanesc Carpatin has outstanding adaptation to the climate extremes and splendid capabilities to withstand opposing predators. The combination of wolf-like pack behavior, strong yet athletic built and movement, their ancient utility history and development makes them extraordinary and worthy guardians.