Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound
Svenska Mässan /

With their long, coarse coat and thick moustache and beard, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound is an attractive dog. Though not very large, their legs are relatively long and straight, allowing for lengthy strides and a good athleticism. They are scent hounds that are used to hunt game in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Though it is thought that the vast majority of breed members are kept as working hounds in a pack, there are reports of dogs kept as companion animals, and they seem to adapt well to this role. Care should be taken to ensure that they receive plenty of exercise each day and have the ability to hunt when possible to avoid boredom.

About & History

The Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound, or the Barak, is a medium-sized scent hound with a rough coat that has traditionally been used to hunt. Bred in Bosnia and Herzegovina by mixing a number of local hounds with Italian gun dogs in the late 19th century, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound was developed for the purpose of pursuing large game, such as foxes and boar. Unfortunately, we do not know much more about its history and records are sparse.

This breed is particularly admired for its relatively long legs, which allow it to navigate the uneven and mountainous terrain within Bosnia and Herzegovina very well. Currently, they are kept mostly as hunters rather than sole companion animals.

This breed was previously known as the Illyrian Hound, and it was under this name that it was first recognised by the FCI back in 1965. The UKC officially accepted this breed within their Scent Hound group more recently, in 2006.

Even within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound is a rare sight, and it is uncertain if it exists at all outside of its homeland. This very rare dog is under real threat of extinction.


Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound Large Photo
Svenska Mässan /

A strong dog with a lithe though well-muscled body, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound is built for sport. They have a handsome head with a rectangular-shaped muzzle that has an endearing bushy moustache and beard. Their close-fitting lips are dark and cover a full set of teeth that should form a scissors bite. Their large nose may be either black or brown and their wide eyes are a dark brown colour, often containing a humorous glint.

Their pendulous ears hang elegantly to the side of their face. Their straight legs are powerful, holding up a body that is slightly rectangular in shape. They have a broad chest and a gently sloping back. There is a mild abdominal tuck-up. Their feet are described as ‘cat feet’, allowing for a fast and extended gait. Their tail tapers and should reach the hock.

The coat of the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound is one of its defining features. They have a thick undercoat and a shaggy, unkempt outercoat that is quite long. The fur may be yellow, grey or black. White markings are commonly found. Most individuals will measure around 52cm (46cm to 56cm), while weighing roughly 20kg (16kg to 24kg).

Character & Temperament

A scent hound through and through, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound has the typical character of a hunting dog. They are brave and determined, eager to follow their prey for as long as it takes. A vibrant dog, they have high energy levels and enjoy exercising and being outdoors.

It is likely that the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound would tolerate other pet dogs well, as they are known to hunt in packs. Smaller animals, including cats and rabbits, would not be tolerated and should not be housed alongside this breed. When it comes to its interactions with people, this is a breed that anecdotally gets on well with adults and is gentle and well mannered with children. They can show good levels of affection and do bond closely with their family.


If the behaviour desired from the trainer is related to scenting or hunting, they will probably find the task a doddle. However, convincing the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound to perform other tasks, such as obedience commands, is another story, and will take a lot of patience. While this breed is smart, they can also be strong-willed and need a lot of convincing to perform tasks that they do not necessarily like to do.

It is uncertain how well the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound takes to areas, such as house-training or lead walking, as most reports in the literature are of working animals rather than pets. It can be assumed that their prey instinct is incredibly high and would be difficult, if not impossible, to train out of them. Similarly, they can be very vocal when working, and their barking tendencies would likely be difficult to control.


regarding the health of the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound. They are generally accepted as being a healthy dog, and most individuals live to their early teens. Most working dogs are bred for their hardiness and fitness abilities, so, on the whole, tend to enjoy better health than those breeds bred for aesthetic reasons. What we should monitor for in this breed would be:

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

These are two degenerative orthopaedic conditions that result in progressive lameness and mobility issues. It is important to diagnose affected animals so that they can be neutered and removed from the breeding pool. Particularly true for working dogs, it is essential that breeding parents are screened for these inherited conditions to reduce the chances of puppies being born affected.

Entropion & Ectropion

Conditions affecting the eyelids can be potentially serious as, if severe enough, they may interfere with eyesight. ‘Entropion’ is the term used to refer to eyelids that curl inwards scratching the eyeball, while ‘Ectropion’ is a condition whereby eyelids roll out, leaving the eye exposed and dry. Mild cases may resolve as a puppy grows, though some animals will benefit from surgery.

Ear Infections

Signs that a dog has developed an ear infection include: head shaking, ear scratching, vocalising, discharge coming from the ear and a bad smell associated with the ear. Once a dog has developed an ear infection, they often recur throughout their life. Prevent infections by keeping ears clean and dry and by using an ear cleaner once or twice a month. After a swim, ears should be thoroughly dried with a towel.

Exercise and Activity Levels

A breed that needs quite a lot of exercise and outdoor access to keep them happy, the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound should be provided with at least an hour walk, run or hike each day. They must be kept on the lead if in a public place, as they are unlikely to return to you if they catch the scent of a prey animal. Allowing them some off-lead time is also important though, so they should be given access to a securely fenced garden where they can scent and sniff to their hearts content.

If exercise needs are not adequately met, it is almost inevitable that the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound will begin to act out. They may start to bark inappropriately, dig up the garden or act hyper within the home. This is just a natural way for them to burn off the excess energy that they will have. By ensuring they get sufficient exercise, these undesirable behaviours can usually be avoided.


You could brush the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound every day for its life and its coat will never look any less unkempt! Despite this, there is a certain charm from such a messy hairstyle. Brushing the coat twice a week will be sufficient to prevent matts from forming and will also remove any dead fur, brambles or twigs that are within the coat. Bathing will rarely be needed, and these hounds should only be bathed if they become particularly muddy or dirty.

As their ears fold over, it is natural that there is a reduced air flow and that the ear canal will hold more moisture and humidity than an ear that stands erect. At the first sign of an ear infection, a dog should be brought to the vet, as infections that are allowed to grumble can become problematic to cure.

Famous Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hounds

A breed that is not well known and that may not even exist outside of its native territory, there are no celebrity examples of the Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound.


There are no well-known Bosnian Coarse-Haired Hound cross-breeds.

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