If you thought the Old English sheepdog was the only shepherd in town, the Mioritic sheepdog will come as a surprise to you. Only recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale -- the World Canine Organization -- in 2005, the noble Mioritic dogs have a history that dates back to the middle ages. If you like big hairy dogs with big loving hearts, maybe the Mioritic is for you.
At first glance you might confuse a Mioritic dog with an Old English sheepdog. They both have a long coat over their entire bodies that is mostly white and can sport spots of black, grey or cream. But at 25 to 29 inches tall, Mioritic sheepdogs are bigger than the Old English who are typically around 21 inches. The personalities of the two different breeds are similar, too, both being energetic and affectionate dogs who are protective without being aggressive.
Mioritic sheepdogs were bred to protect flocks of sheep in the Carpathian mountains in Romania. Dogs who need to defend helpless sheep from wolves and bears need to be fearless and that's what you'll get with a Mioritic dog. Even though they are large dogs with impressive strength, they won't attack unless provoked. Instead, Mioritic dogs tend to put themselves between danger and their masters, family or herd, ready to defend and protect when necessary.
Just like a sheepdog should be, Mioritic dogs are affectionate, loyal and good with children. They tend to get attached to their families and often form strong bonds with the kids. They enjoy playing with children but will always be gentle when doing so. They enjoy playing fetch, will enthusiastically learn to catch a frisbee and they love to run, so a big yard is one of the basic requirements for Mioritic sheepdogs.
Even though Mioritic dogs have a long coat, they are fairly low-maintenance dogs. Their undercoat is water resistant, so frequent baths aren't recommended as that can diminish their natural water-proofing. Just a weekly brushing and an occasional trim by a groomer is typically what is needed in the grooming department for Mioritic sheepdogs.
A few Mioritic sheepdogs have made their way from Romania to the U.S. -- like the watchdog at the Romanian Embassy in Washington D.C. -- but the majority are still in their homeland. There are a few places in the United States where you can find the lovable breed, but if you want one and want it now, you may find yourself taking a trip to Romania. Be prepared to show a certificate of health and a record of vaccinations when you bring your baby back home with you. If your dog is too young to be vaccinated, he will have to be quarantined until he gets his shots and for an additional month afterwards.
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