The Karakachan is a breed of dog that originated in Bulgaria as a mountain livestock guardian dog. Other names are Bulgarian Shepherd and Thracian Mollos. The dog is named after the Karakachans, Balkan Greek nomadic shepherds. Due to their conservative stock-breeding traditions, they have preserved some of the oldest breeds of domestic animals in Europe: the Karakachan sheep, Karakachan horse and the Karakachan dog.

In the past, this Mountain dog was widely used in Bulgaria as a border army watchdog. Nowadays it is used primarily as a livestock guardian dog and property guard dog. The most numerous populations of working purebred livestock guarding Karakachan dogs are found in Bulgaria and the United States. The Karakachan was officially approved as a Bulgarian old native breed in 2005. The Karakachan dog may be a descendant of ancient Balkan domestic dogs, possibly since the time of the Thracians. In ancient Thracian treasures, figures were found of big, longhaired guardian dogs with curled tails. The Karachan is part of the origin of the Bulgarian Shepherd dog, with which it should not be confused.


The Karakachan dog is one of Europe's oldest breeds. It is a typical Mollos, created for guarding its owner's flock and property; it does not hesitate to fight wolves or bears to defend its owner and his family in case of danger. Its ancestors started forming as early as the third millennium BC. The Karakachan dog is a descendant of the dogs of the Thracians, renowned as stock-breeders. The dog is named after the Karakachans. Due to their conservative stock-breeding traditions, they managed to preserve some of the oldest breeds of domestic animals in Europe - the Karakachan sheep, the Karakachan horse, and, of course, the Karakachan dog. It is with this name that the Karakachan dog appears in the works of some of the classics of Bulgarian literature, namely Yordan Yovkov, Georgi Raitchev and Yordan Radichkov. In 1938 H.B. Peters wrote about it in the German cinologycal magazine "Zeitschrift für Hundeforschung" [Zentralblatt für Kleintierkunde und Pelztierkunde "Kleintier und Pelztier", Verlag Dr. Paul Schöps, Leipzig]. The first researcher of the breed was Todor Gajtandjiev, who proposed the standardization of the breed in the 1970s. The Karakachan dog's bravery and dignity, together with its incredible loyalty, make this dog an invaluable friend and helper.


The word karakachan is derived from 2 Turkish words kara and kaçan, kara means black and kaçan means the one that got away. Therefore the word karakaçan has the meaning: the black one that got away

Popular culture

When U.S. President George W. Bush visited Bulgaria in 2003, Bulgarian site presented him with a karakachan shepherd. The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov gave a Karakachan dog, called Buffy to Russian PM Vladimir Putin as a gift in 2010.

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