This particular page started September 20 1998
Last update September 20 1998

the Starohrvatski Hrt
My interest in this breed started when I got a mail that went something like this;

First of all a lesson in the Croatian language;

The name, "Starohrvatski hrt" is what we call them in Croatia. "Starohrvatski" means Old Croatian (Staro - Old, Hrvatski - Croatian), and "Hrt" stands for sighthound.

It is pronounced as you read it, you have to pronounce every letter in the word. Let me try to put it in English: Star-O-Her-Vat (?)-Ski Her-T. I know it's complicated for foreigners, but try it, unless it breaks your tongue, you'll have a lot of fun :)

In some parts of Croatia, there are people who hunt with greyhounds and
borzois, but it's illegal, against the law here. Anyway, you wouldn't
believe what those dogs are capable of hunting ! They even use them in
groups with German Hunting Terrier, to hunt down boars ! On a few occasions
some years ago, they even used azawakhs and our native breed, Old Croatian
Sighthound (!!!!!), not recognized by the FCI, a breed similar to Rampur
Dogs, similar in height, weight and exterior. They are black and white,
spotted, exclusively. There are just a few left here, maybe 10-20, and
nobody is really trying to preserve the breed and fight for it. Anyway, it
would take about 15 or 20 years to refine the breed and put some fresh
blood in it, and that would definitely have to be achieved with greyhounds,
which would eventually give us the same dogs like the ones we have but with
a normal background (not brother/sister or mother/son or father/daughter
breeding). It is a breed with very good hunting abilities, kept exclusively
for hunting a long time ago.There are so few of them, that even
our Croatian Kennel Club doesn't give them pedigrees ! There was a man
here, doctor of veterinary medicine, who tried to reestablish the breed, he
came very close, had som litters, but people who took the puppies never
bred them ! It's a damn shame (please excuse my language, but it is) !

Sadly, there is no written standard for Old Croatian Sighthound ! Imagine that !
Nobody ever wrote it, not to my knowledge, but there is a chance I don't have the last
information, since I talked about them for the last time seriously some
three years ago.

The breed itself is about 1200-1300 years old, according to authorities. It's allegedly mentioned in the writings of the friars of that age, and there are probably some old drawings of those dogs.
It's unbelieveable they managed to survive almost unchanged all these years, they were just given occasional greyhound blood to freshen the lines, since there was never too many of them, and the last attempt to present them in public here was in 1993. After that, nothing.

With the war in former Yougoslavia and all, it has been difficult to get more info out of Croatia, but a sighthound judge I managed get in touch with got this info from his Croatian judge-friend;

"About OLD CROATIAN SIGHTHOUND, better known as OLD BOSNIAN SIGHTHOUND - the story was actually approx. 14-15 years ago, from University ProfessorDr. Maria Bauer, who still works at Vet. University in Zagreb. This was more an attempt to breed something than to save them, if you want my opinion..... Unfortunately, no luck. Nobody was interested in this, not very attractive breed, Kennel Club never gave any written act of Standard and the breed was never recognised by the Kennel Club. Believe it or I´ve never seen the breed in life, only from one photo, published in Mr. Bauer´s book.

This is all I have been able to find out, if you have additional information about this breed, please contact me.
Susann Stjernborg, Sweden