The Old Croatian Sighthound: Everything You Need to Know

The Old Croatian Sighthound is a now-extinct breed that has been bred for centuries to catch prey by sight rather than scent. 

In this article, we will talk about the history, physical traits, personality, and health of the once-popular Old Croatian Sighthound. 

A Brief History of the Old Croatian Sighthound

The Old Croatian Sighthound is also known as the Old Bosnian Sighthound, as it is unclear whether the breed was developed in Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Origins and Ancestry

The exact origin of the Old Croatian Sighthound is not determined. Most historians believe the breed descended from Celtic sighthound dogs. This is because the dog resembles an image of a canine portrayed on a Celtic coin dating from the 5th century BC. 

The Role of Sighthounds in Croatian History

Sighthounds have been used for hunting in Croatia for centuries. The Old Croatian Sighthound, however, has played a special role in the region’s history as a symbol of nobility. Croatian aristocrats would often hunt with sighthounds, and such activities were reserved for the upper classes.

Breed Decline and Extinction 

During the 20th century, the breed vanished due to the effects of World War II and the political changes in Yugoslavia following the war. The Old Croatian Sighthound was never recognized by local or major kennel clubs. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

At first glance, the Old Croatian Sighthound looked like a modern-day Greyhound. It had a lean and muscular build with long ears, a curved tail, and an elongated snout. 

Size and Weight 

The Old Croatian Sighthound was a medium-sized dog. Males typically stood 24 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder, while females stood 20 to 26 inches tall. Males used to weigh between 55 and 66 pounds, while females weighed 44 to 55 pounds. 

Coat and Colors

The Old Croatian Sighthound had a short, dense fur coat that came in several color patterns, including white with black, brown, red, or yellow markings. 

Distinctive Features

The Old Croatian Sighthound had physical characteristics that were perfectly suited for the dog’s original purpose: hunting. The lean and muscular build allowed the dog to move quickly and gracefully, while the tapered head and legs helped cut through the air with ease.

The Old Croatian Sighthound’s deep chest allowed the dog to take air necessary for moving, while the long ears and curved tail also served a practical purpose, helping the dog to track prey and maintain balance while running at high speeds.

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Old Croatian Sighthound was a sensitive breed that showed affection towards children and made a great family pet. The breed was highly prized for its loyalty and devotion.  

Intelligence and Trainability

The Old Croatian Sighthound was an intelligent breed capable of maintaining its focus on the field. It was a quick learner and picked up new commands easily. 

Breed members were also valued for their problem-solving skills. Some Old Croatian Sighthound were stubborn but with the right approach, they could be trained properly. 

Socialization and Interaction 

The Old Croatian Sighthound had a natural prey drive and was inclined to chase smaller pets. However, with socialization, breed members could learn to co-exist with other dogs and pets. 

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The Old Croatian Sighthound was a high-energy breed that required regular outdoor exercise. Daily walks, runs, or playtime in the yard were necessary to keep breed members happy and healthy.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

We do not know much about the health of the Old Croatian Sighthound. Being developed naturally, the breed was probably generally healthy. However, considering the large ears, we can assume that breed members were prone to ear infections. 

Average Lifespan 

The average lifespan of the Old Croatian Sighthound was between 11 and 14 years. With the right care, genetically healthy breed members could live for much longer. 


Overall, the Old Croatian Sighthound is a unique and fascinating breed rich in history, both as a loyal companion and skilled hunter.

Despite the extinction in the 20th century, it remains alive in the memory of Balkan people who still prize the Old Croatian Sighthound. 

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