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Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Croatia 2014 – 2020

Europe 2020 Strategy aims to establish conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Five main objectives until the end of 2020 include employment, research and development, climate change / energy, education, social inclusion and reduction of poverty.

In line with the Strategy and the general objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy, three long-term strategic objectives were identified and they are related to the 2014–2020 EU rural development policy:

  • OBJECTIVE 1. Promote competitiveness of agriculture
  • OBJECTIVE 2. Ensure sustainable management of natural resources and climate changes
  • OBJECTIVE 3. Achieve balanced territorial development of rural areas, including creation and preservation of jobs

Six priorities have been established for the purposes of management of the rural development policy through the Rural Development Programme (RDP) within the general objectives:

  • Incentives to transfers of knowledge in agriculture, forestry and rural areas.
  • Strengthening of competitiveness of all types of agriculture and increasing of sustainability of agriculture
  • Promotion of organisation of the food chain and risk management in agriculture
  • Restoration, preservation and promotion of ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry
  • Promotion of efficiency of resources and support for the shift to low carbon levels and climate-elastic farms in agriculture, food and forestry sectors
  • Promotion of social inclusion, reduction of poverty and economic development in rural areas

Each priority selected in the Rural Development Programme identifies certain areas of action (areas of focus). The Rural Development Programme with the defined priorities and areas of focus represents the basis for programming of support to rural areas of the EU through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Support to rural areas and achievement of the objectives set out in the Rural Development Programme is provided by ESI funds, specifically: The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). All above funds belong into the common legislative framework with a common objective – implementation of Strategy 2020.

A partnership agreement reflects the common strategic approach in the EU applicable to each Member State by specifying the method of coordination of various policies and corresponding use of ESI funds.

PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT between the Republic of Croatia and the European Commission reflects the common strategic approach to use of EU structural and investment funds for growth and jobs in 2014–2020. It was signed on 30 October 2014.

In that framework, the rural development policy reflects its recognisable identity and it is regulated by special legislation (Regulation (EU) 1305/2013) on support for rural development and common provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy as a whole.

Preparation of the Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Croatia encompasses a manifold process including a range of different stakeholders. The Programme reflects strategic objectives established at the national level and specified in the PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT and it is entirely aligned with the strategy of the Republic of Croatia for investments in ESI funds.

The 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Croatia (RDP), whose development started in 2012, was officially approved on 26 May 2015.

Total allocation for the 2014–2020 RDP amounts to 2,383 billion euro, consisting of 2,026 billion euro financed from the European Rural Development Fund (EAFRD), and the remainder from the national budget of the Republic of Croatia.

Using a context analysis (SWOT analysis) and assessment of demand, the 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Croatia defines priorities and areas of intervention, selection of relevant measures and award of financial assets based on expected outcomes.

Priorities of the RDP of the Republic of Croatia:

  • PRIORITY 1 – Promotion of knowledge and innovations in agriculture, forestry and rural areas; Assets for achievement of the objectives within Priority 1 are distributed across Priorities 2–6
  • PRIORITY 2 – Increasing sustainability of farms and competitiveness of all types of agricultural activities in all regions and simultaneously promoting innovative agricultural technologies as well as sustainable management of forests 600,545,085.72
  • PRIORITY 3 – Promotion of organisation of food chains including processing and marketing of agricultural products, welfare of animals and risk management in agriculture 237,632,367.48
  • PRIORITY 4 – Restoration, preservation and improvement of ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry 561,119,748.96
  • PRIORITY 5 – Promoting effectiveness of resources and shift to climate-elastic low-carbon economy in the sector of agriculture, food and forestry 170,508,210.00
  • PRIORITY 6 – Promotion of social inclusion, reduction of poverty and economic development in rural areas 401,382,525.79
  • TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE 55,034,562.05
  • TOTAL 2,026,222,500.00


The 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Croatia (RDP) ensures uniform application of the rural development policy on the entire rural area of the Republic of Croatia – defined as single programme for the entire territory. The RDP is implemented in the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia, except the rural development measures (6.2, 6.4, and 7) which are implemented in the rural area at the level of the programme. Both NUTS-2 statistical regions at the level of the Republic of Croatia are considered underdeveloped regions and the same EAFRD contribution rate is applied in the entire geographical area covered by the programme.

A list of prospective users of the funds has been defined for each measure. Companies experiencing problems within the meaning of the European Union Guidelines on government subsidies in the agriculture and forestry sector and in rural areas in 2014–2020 and within the meaning of the Community Guidelines on government subsidies and restructuring of companies experiencing problems may not be beneficiaries.

Planned use of financial instruments

The Managing Authority has not yet determined the method of use of the financial instruments. Regardless, the potential for use of financial instruments shall be determined in the course of implementation of the Programme, within the framework of the evaluation activities foreseen by the Evaluation Plan, especially regarding the measures pertaining to Priority 2 and, provided this is foreseen, amendments of the proposed Rural Development Plan. In accordance with the complex assessment and preliminary analysis of feasibility of financial instruments, it is difficult to foresee their operative use in practice before 2016.

Why should we know and protect the indigenous breeds?

Traditional and indigenous breeds of domestic animals are a symbol of national heritage, but they are unfortunately often deemed less important than historical structures or rare plants.

Disappearance of the indigenous breeds or diminishing populations to the brink of sustainability is caused by changes to agriculture and orientation to intensive food production. Regardless of the fact that a part of the indigenous breeds is no longer deemed economically significant for food production, their numerous properties, such as adaptation to local environmental conditions, genetic diversity also represented by their strong link with our history and cultural heritage are increasingly recognisable over the most recent decades.

Which indigenous breeds live in Croatia?

Bovine species
Istrian cattle

The Istrian cattle belongs into a group of European primitive primogenius cattle whose bone structure makes it very closely related to the indigenous, extinct species of Bos primogenius. It is primarily bred in Istria, but some animals may be found in other parts of Croatia now. The Istrian cattle belongs to late-maturing cattle breeds which reach their maturity at the age of 6 or 7, offering an exceptional capacity for long-term usability of these animals in operation – also leading to long breeding capacity.

When they reach maturity, the withers height of cows is approximately 138 cm and they weigh 550 to 600 kg.

Withers height of bulls is approximately 155 cm. On average, they weigh 700 to 900 kg.

They are usually light grey to white with gradients to darker grey. Bulls are normally darker than cows and heifers. They are characterised by darker pigments on the neck, shoulders, lower parts of ribs and belly, on the ridge between the nostrils, parts of the head, around the eyes, along the edges and inside ears and lower, internal part of tail.

Deer-like snout is typical – dark pigmented mucosa with white, hairy rim around it. Eyelid mucosa and eyelashes as well as mucosa of anus and female sex organs is dark grey to black. A third or a half of scrotum is dark pigmented.

The head is moderately long, with a wider forehead, and a narrower and longer front. The tongue is lead-grey, while the palate is nearly black.
Horns are relatively long (up to 1.5 m) and they may resemble a lyre or pitchfork. At the root, they are greyish to yellowish, and from the half-point to the tip, they are dark grey to black. Bulls’ horns are shorter and thicker, but cows’ and oxen’s horns are more slender and longer.

The neck is of medium length and narrow, while the back is straight. The cows are often slightly higher at the hip (by about 2 to 3 cm than at the withers). Their legs are strong and of proper posture. Shin circumference ranges between 18 to 20 cm. Their hooves are hard, consisting of very strong keratin, rimmed by black hair.

Calves are most frequently reddish when calved and the colour changes to white to grey at the age of 3 to 4 months.
Natural weight of female calves is 28 kg and male calves weigh 30 kg.

Buša cattle

Buša is, according to the frame, the smallest Croatian indigenous breed. It is bred in Lika and Dalmatia regions, and it has spread to the entire territory of Croatia due to its adaptability. Buša is a short-horned cattle species – Bos brachyeros europeus. It is also known as domestic mountain cattle or Illyrian cattle.

Buša is late-maturing cattle. It reaches sexual maturity in the age of 12 to 15 months and it fully develops in the age of 5 to 7 years.

Calves are small, naturally weighing approximately 15 kg. Females continue to breed for 10 to 12 years. The animals live for up to 20 years. Bušas are small animals of rough build. It is 105 to 115 cm high at withers.

Buša is nearly always in a single colour – entirely light to various hues of red and brown to black. Darker animals sometimes exhibit a lighter coloured longitudinal stripe along the withers. It is rarely striped (covered by dense, narrow tiger-pattern stripes).

Head bones are delicate, with narrower and shorter forehead section and narrower and longer front section. Buša is characterised by deer-like snout is typical – dark pigmented mucosa with white, hairy rim and dark-pigmented mucosa around it. Light veneer is often found on short horns (approximately 22 cm) around the root of the horns and the tips are regularly dark or black. The horns protrude from the forehead bones to sides first and then they grow upwards bending towards each other.

The neck is dry, its skin is tight and dewlap is less pronounced. Buša’s trunk is relatively short and its rib cage is narrow, deep and spacious. Its pelvis is moderately wide, and slanting thurl suitable for easy calving. Legs are strong, relatively short, with wide and hard hooves with dark-pigmented keratin. A third or a half of scrotum is dark pigmented.

Buša’s udder is mostly regular, of modest volume, with somewhat shorter teats and often partially pigmented, covered by dense hair. Lactation lasts for about 8 months. The milk is of excellent quality because it contains 4 to 6% of milk fat. Buša is the result of poor nutrition and limited care, therefore its yield does not exceed 700 to 800 litres of milk. Production of meat is low because Buša is bony and small and meat yield is about 55%. Buša’s work capacity is modest but it is sufficient for the needs of extensive farming in its area.

Since its nutritional requirements are modest, its resilience is exceptional and its fertility is good even in very poor living conditions. It is excellent for utilisation of steep and small pastures and modest quantities of winter stocks by using natural sources of food that remain unused today.


Slavonian-Syrmian Podolac

Population of Slavonian-Syrmian Podolac (Podolian) is largely bred in Slavonia and along the Sava River (Posavina region), but individual animals may also be found in other regions of Croatia. Effective size of population (Ne) is 37,9 which characterises the breed as critically endangered (IA). Since 2008, breeders of this type of animals are organised in the Association of Slavonia-Syrmia Podolac Breeders (UUSSP) headquartered in Slavonski Brod. The association has the status of a central organisation and, in cooperation with the CAA, it implements a programme for breeding and preservation of this breed.

The Slavonian-Syrmian Podolac belongs into a group of long-horn cattle – Bos taurus – and it represents a domesticated form of the indigenous Bos primigenius. It is a late-maturing bovine species. Those animals are very resilient and their skeleton is strong and their constitution rough and strong. When they reach maturity, the withers height of cows is approximately 130 cm and they weigh 400 to 600 kg. Bulls’ average withers height is 140 cm and, on average, they weigh between 500 and 800 kg.

Their horns are markedly long, often sloping with tips turned to the side and spaced wide apart (lyre form). Another type of horns are more vertical with tips bent backwards – giving the horns the form of pitchfork. At the root, the horns are greyish to yellowish, and from the half-point to the tip, they are dark grey to black.

On the head, snout mucosa is dark-pigmented with white hairy rim which is less pronounced on lighter-coloured animals.

Eyelid mucosa and eyelashes as well as mucosa of anus and female sex organs is dark grey to black. The head is relatively small, elongated and narrow. The neck is short and flat. The shoulder blades are well bound. The back is flat and strong, but slightly slumped on older cows. The pelvis is slightly lowered and poorly to moderately filled with muscles. The legs are strong with dry pronounced joints with somewhat open dark-pigmented hooves.

The udder is small, often laterally divided and overgrown with white hair and mostly without extra teats. It produces 600 to 800 kg of milk per lactation.

Colour of Slavonia-Syrmia Podolac is grey-white to dark grey, often with darker pigmentation of dewlap, neck and head. This darker pigmentation is more strongly pronounced on bulls and they often have larger dark rims around their eyes. Upon birth, calves are most frequently yellowish-brown, and after few weeks, the colour changes to grey.

These animals are lively, but timid and not trusting, sometimes even nervous, near humans. These animals were once bred largely for their work and production as well as valued beef. Their nutrition requirements are very modest and they are kept grazing for the most part of the year.


Cigaja (Tsigai) ranks among the oldest breeds of sheep in the world. It is thought that Cigaja was developed in the area of Greece and Asia Minor and brought to Europe from there. This breed was brought to the area of Vojvodina in late 17th and early 18th centuries and then to the north-eastern Croatia and Slavonia. Besides in Croatia, Cigaja is bred in a number of neighbouring countries – which reflects often common historical and cultural circumstances in this area.

Height of an adult animal averages at 76 cm. Ewes weigh 60 to 80 kg and rams/wethers weigh 80 to 100 kg. The ewes generally do not have horns, but rams may have them. Head, ears and legs are black or black-grey pigmented, but the colour fades as the animal ages. Immediately after lambing, the animals are of mouse-grey colour and, as it ages, the colour is gradually lost and four month old lambs are completely white. Today, it is bred in the area of Slavonia and Baranya – primarily for meat. It is also used for upkeep and management of peripheral agricultural areas.

Creska sheep

Sheep farming was the basis of survival of population on the Cres Island for centuries. Sheep farming was mentioned in the Cres Statute as an important branch of economy in 1332. There are no specific information on the origin of the Cres sheep. It is assumed that it was produced by improving the indigenous island-based rough-fleeced sheep by breeding them with Spanish, French and Italian Merinos and a decisive impact of the environment.

Primarily due to conditions of meagre nutrition in which it was developed and in which it is kept today, the Cres sheep is small, but fairly lively, dextrous, resilient and of fairly good bodily proportions. It became an indispensable part of the culture, tradition and customs of the local population – transferred from one generation to the next. The Cres sheep is small, but fairly lively, quick, dextrous, and long-living. The average height of adult animals is 60 to 62 cm and their average weight is 41 kg. Rams/wethers have regularly bulging cross-section and strong and spiral horns.

Today, the Cres sheep is largely bred on the island of Cres and to a considerably smaller degree in the area of Lošinj. Cres sheep milk is traditionally processed on the island to produce the prized Cres hard cheese.

Dalmatinska pramenka

Since it came into existence, the Dalmatian Pramenka was exposed to impact of different genotypes. This was mostly in order to increase production efficiency – initially wool and subsequently meat. In many areas of the country and especially in Dalmatia, sheep provided sustenance for population living in meagre, rocky areas. Historical importance of Dalmatian Pramenka is attested by numerous records, images and other noteworthy objects.

It has genetically combined production properties even though it is currently largely used for production of meat (lamb) and sheep are milked on a relatively small number of farms. It is a late-maturing and small sheep, but it is long-living and resourceful. Its average height is 58 cm. Average weight of ewes is 39 kg and adult rams/wethers weigh 50 kg. The head of the ewes is small and pointy with flat profile, while rams’ heads are larger and slightly bulging in profile. The head as well as the legs are most often black-pigmented, but sometimes the animals may have have white, or more rarely grey, base hair. Today, it is bred in the wider area of Velebit (Jasenice, Bukovica, Zrmanja, Starigrad, Karlobag), in the area of Bukovica towards Knin, on the slopes of Dinara, Svilaja, Kamešnica and Biokovo and on some islands in the central Dalmatia (Brač, Hvar, Vis and Kornati).

Dubrovnik Ruda

It is assumed that this breed was produced by centuries of breeding of the local population with Merino rams imported from Italy, France, Portugal and Spain. Dubrovnik Ruda breed was produced through years of improvement last documented in 1898 when Austrian authorities awarded Merino rams to local breeders to maintain and improve wool fibre quality.

It is well proportioned. Height of an average adult animal is 60 cm. Average weight of ewes is 45 kg and rams/wethers weigh 60 kg. Ruda’s head is of medium length, bent snout and small, narrow and horizontally placed ears. The belly and lower parts of the neck and legs are generally not covered with wool and the fleece is white. Today, it is grown in a narrows strip of Adriatic coast from the Pelješac Peninsula to the border with Montenegro. The largest number of the animals is currently bred in the area of Imotica and Konavle.

Istrian sheep

The area of development and breeding of the Istrian sheep is our largest peninsula – Istria – where indigenous sheep were the object of various attempts of systematic and non-systematic breeding over the past three centuries with the aim of improving productivity of wool, meat and milk. It is deemed that the long-lasting and complex process of development of the Istrian sheep started in 1771 and that the breeding, as well as the impact of the environment, has led to development of the present-day Istrian sheep. Gentile di Puglia and Bergamo sheep were the most frequently used foreign genotypes.

There is a long-lasting tradition of sheep breeding and production of various food products (milk, cheese, curd and meat), clothes and footwear and other wool and leather items in Istria.

The Istrian sheep is quite different from other indigenous sheep breeds. Its average height is 73.5 cm. The average weight of ewes is 67.4 kg and the average weight of rams/wethers is 76.7 kg. The belly, legs and lower part of the neck (more rarely the entire neck) are not covered with fleece but with dense, usually black or black and white hair.

The ewes are largely black and white. Completely black animals are rarer, but entirely white animals are the rarest. Heads of male and female animals have typical and pronounced convex nose bones and they are most frequently black or black and white. Ewes and rams/wethers may or may not have horns. Sometimes, there are tassels of various colours and size on the neck. It is a long-tailed breed with long and strong legs and hard black hooves. The ewes usually lamb one animal, but twins and triplets are sometimes lambed. Today, it is bred in the area of Istria.

Krk sheep

The breed is significant because of uniqueness of its genome, marked resistance due to its constitution and because of its longevity. Significance of the breed should also be analysed through maintenance of pastures of the Krk Island and maintenance of biodiversity of habitats. The first indication of animal farming on the Krk Island date back to the 17th century and they are found in reports of Venetian clerks sent to the authorities in Venice. It is assumed that the Krk sheep developed by intermittent impact of imported Merino types to local rough-fleeced island sheep.
Isolation of the island, controlled introduction of foreign genotypes and modest vegetation conditioned development of the unique breed. The Krk sheep is primarily bred for meat, i.e. production of prized, high-quality lamb trunks. However, there has been an increase in interest in production of sheep milk recently.
It is resilient, adaptable and long-living. Average height of the animals is 54.9 cm. The females weigh 28 to 40 kg, while rams/wethers weigh 45 to 55 kg. The head has small, flat profile. The back line is straight and the tail is long, reaching to below the ankle.
Today, the Krk sheep may only be found on the Krk Island and it is important to maintenance of pasture areas of the Krk Island and for nurturing of biodiversity.

Lika Pramenka

Lika Pramenka has developed on hills and mountains of Lika and Gorski Kotar where the it is still bred the most. It has developed on spacious, lush natural pastures and in harsh winter conditions. During history, in true breeding conditions, Lika Pramenka was endangered by constant or intermittent efforts to improve it using various foreign breeds – often with out any clear plan or objective.
Lika Pramenka is strong, harmoniously built, suitable for exploitation of mountain pastures and meagre vegetation, especially rocky pastures of the littoral part of the Lika-Senj County. It is strong and harmoniously built. Height of an adult animal averages at 60.8 cm. Average weight of an ewe is 49.3 kg, while rams/wethers are significantly heavier, weighing 55 to 70 kg. The head is of medium size, the back line is straight and long and the tail is long, reaching to below the ankle.
It is bred in the area of Lika and Gorski Kotar and it is significant for meat production and prevention of succession of natural mountain grassland areas.

Pag sheep

The Pag sheep developed on the Pag Island where it is has been bred for centuries. Pag is one of the most barren islands where numerous species of aromatic herbs grow. Once, sheep were left on the Pag Island to fend for themselves, i.e. little attention was paid to accommodation, feeding and watering the sheep. Most of the sheep on the island were kept in the open and they largely relied only what they find on meagre karst pastures and water found in puddles or springs on coastal pastures.
Through history, the Pag sheep has been thought of as the source of food which saves the island’s population. This is attested by a monument to the Pag sheep in Novalja on the Pag Island – the first such monument in Croatia. The Pag sheep, despite spatial limitations, is one of our most numerous and most famous pure bred populations. It is primarily intended for production of milk which is processed into full-fat hard sheep cheese. The Pag sheep is also used for production of lamb of low processed-mass.
The Pag sheep i small, resilient and lively and it moves swiftly across inaccessible karst terrain. Height of an adult animal averages at 56.1 cm. The ewes weigh 30 to 45 kg, while rams/wethers weigh 40 to 60 kg. Its head is of medium size with a straight profile, but the rams/wethers have a bulging profile. The rams/wethers have strong horns. The tail is long, reaching to below the ankle.
The largest number of the sheep is white, but black or grey animals can be found. The basic colour of the head and legs is most often white with spots of various size, shape and colour. The spots may be black, grey, brown and reddish-brown.
The Pag sheep is bred exclusively on the Pag Island and it is significant for use and maintenance of extensive pastures on the Pag Island. This makes a permanent contribution to maintenance of the ecosystem and production of top-quality cheese.

Rab sheep

The Rab sheep are bred on the Rab Island as indigenous sheep for centuries without significant genetic changes and it has only recently been introduced in the list of the Croatia’s indigenous breeds. Isolation and limited introduction of imported genotypes influenced retention of the fundamental characteristics of resilience, modesty and adaptability to living in inaccessible, karst terrain with sparse vegetation.
It is locally referred to as “škraparica” due to the tendency of the sheep to get in karrens (“škrapa” in Croatian) between rocks in search of food or shelter against severe weather or strong sun.
The Rab sheep belongs into the group of long-tailed, late-maturing breeds of combined production properties. In the past few decades it is primarily, and nearly exclusively, bred for meat production. Height of an adult animal averages at 56.8 cm. Average weight of females is 30-45 kg while rams/wethers may weigh from 45 to 65 kg. The head is small, comprising a flat profile and most often with no horns, but rams/wethers normally have horns. The back line is straight and short. The tail is long, raching to below the ankles. The fleece is usually white, but there may be black, brown or grey spots of different shape, distribution and size.
Today, it is bred on the Rab Island and it is significant because of use of extensive pastures and this permanently affects the natural habitat of the island.

Croatian white goat

It is not known how and where the Croatian white goat developed. It is assumed that it developed through improvement of the indigenous goats using imported Saanen bucks in order to improve milk yield. It is deemed that it was developed in early 20th century. It was bred in relatively small flocks (5-10 animals) to satisfy a household’s needs for milk – mostly in areas where bovine cattle farming is not possible. Due to specific environmental conditions, accommodation conditions, and primarily because of modest feeding, the Croatian white goat has a smaller frame and bodily mass than the European white goat breeds.
Height of the Croatian white goat averages 58 cm. Does weigh from 35 to 45 kg, and bucks weigh 50 to 60 kg. They are completely white and rarely of cream or light-yellowish colour. The hair is relatively long and coarse. The head is small, usually with horns and pointy ears. It is an early-maturing breed. Does are good mothers and they most often kid twins.
Today, it is bred in Ravni Kotari area, on Biokovo, in vicinity of Dubrovnik and on Dalmatian islands – primarily for milk. By grazing and gnawing on prohibiting rocky areas, they contribute to preservation of habitats of numerous animals and prevention of fires.

Croatian coloured goat

Even though there is a long goat breeding tradition in Croatia, circumstances have not changed in any branch of animal farming so drastically as in goat farming. Goat farming was widespread in the entire Croatia, especially Dalmatia, Dalmatinska Zagora and Istria. Croatian coloured goat developed on karst in meagre and inaccessible terrain of the southern Velebit, Dinara, Kamešnica and Biokovo where it is bred the most today.

No efforts regarding any significant or planned improvement of this breed was recorded in any period of the past other than sporadic attempts in that respect. Therefore it may be concluded that it was indigenously formed in this area. Due to its excellent adaptability to rough karst environment and ability to produce a large number of diverse products (meat, milk, cilice…), the Croatian coloured goat has been relied upon by local population for centuries and it is inextricably linked with nearly al important historical events in the area of Dalmatinska Zagora.
It is harmoniously built, with average height of 60 cm. Average weight of bucks is approximately 50 to 65 kg, while does weigh about 44 kg. Its body is overgrown with long, dense and shiny hair of various colour. Within this breed, colourful animals prevail, while completely black, brown and grey animals are significantly rarer. Their skin is pigmented and quite hard to touch. The head is of medium length, flat, or slightly concave on some animals. Does and bucks may be hornless or horned, but horned bucks are much more frequent.
Today, they are bred in the areas of Dalmatinska Zagora, Bukovica, Velebit, Dinara, Kamešnica and Biokovo. The gnaw and graze in ravines and steep terrain where they clear overgrown vegetation and marquis shrubs and reduce the fire risk.

Turopolje pig

Turopolje pig originated from European boar sus scrofa ferus europeaeus. It is a primitive pig breed. It has developed in the area of present-day Turopolje in the 6th century by breeding of Šiška and Krškopolje pig breeds. The first written record of the Turopolje pig dates back to 1352. Development of the Turopolje pig took a long time, and the turning point occurred in 1840s when a breeder let his domestic pigs breed with an undetermined breed of pigs. This process produced pigs with constant properties which suited economic requirements of the time.
The Turopolje pig is a medium-large breed of pigs. The head is of medium length with a concave profile, strong medium-long snout and medium-long and semi-lopped ears. The neck is short and not very muscular, the back is straight and not very muscular, and thurl is drooping and also not very muscular. The belly line is flat and thighs are poorly covered with muscles. The body is covered by dense, curly white-yellow bristles with dark palm-sized spots. The skin is not pigmented and the snout is pink. Sows have 10 to 12 teats. On average, sows give birth to 7 or 8 piglets per litter. When they are weaned off at the age of two months, the piglets weigh 10 to 15 kg. Fattened swines, in intensive fattening from 20 to 100 kg achieve daily growth of 550 grams. Pork produced from the Turopolje pig is succulent and pink and it is therefore highly prized.

Black Slavonian pig

The Black Slavonian pig is a product of planned breeding initiated by count Karl Pfeiffer in 1860 by cross-breeding Lasasta Mangulica sows and Berkshire boars. His son Leopold continued the cross-breeding with Poland China breed boars imported from the United States. Long-term selection work created the Slavonian Black pig.
It spread from the area of Slavonia to Hungary and Vojvodina. It was especially sought after in the Viennese market were it won a prize at the 1873 agricultural fair. The Black Slavonian pig is not an archaic breed, but it was developed through successful breeding and it suited the breeding objective already set at the time.
By introduction of newer, combined and flesh-abundant breeds, the number of Black Slavonian pigs dropped drastically and reached the biological minimum limit. In late 1990s, after establishment of records and start of a breeding programme and protection of population, number of the Black Slavonian pigs started to grow.
The Black Slavonian pig is late-maturing, medium-sized and fatty-flesh type of breed. It is single-coloured, of medium length and its hooves are dark-pigmented. Its skin is dark-pigmented (ash-grey colour) and hair is sparse, completely black and straight. The head is long, concave in profile, with semi-lopped ears. Its withers height is approximately 68 cm and an adult swine weighs 270 kg. The Black Slavonian pig traditionally foraged in forests (acorns) and grazed and fattening was concluded using corn. It utilises relatively low-quality food very well and exhibits good resilience to poor accommodation conditions. It is suitable for extensive and semi-intensive farming. It becomes sexually mature at the age of one and it usually has litters of 7-10 piglets.

Međimurje horse

Soil, climate and sociological circumstances as well as tradition and cattle farming culture affected simple selection and reproduction in the area of Međimurje to develop a horse conforming to the needs of Međimurje peasants. The basis were Anglo-Arabian purebred and domestic mares of unknown origin breeding with Percheron, Flemish and Ardennes stallions, as well as, to a lesser extent, Brabant and Burgundy stallions. This horse is particularly appreciated as a transport horse or as a horse used to draw greater loads.

The Međimurje (Murinsulaner) horse is a breed of heavy, cold-blooded workhorses. The head is relatively small with small pointy ears. The neck is short and muscular, the withers pronounced and the back wide and short. The croup is wide and split. The chest is strong, deep and wide with rounded ribs. The legs are relatively short and strong, with wide hooves. The trunk is wide, deep and compact. Its withers height is 160–170 cm (tape measured). Mares weigh 650–800 kg and stallions weigh 800–950 kg. It is resilient and its feeding requirements are relatively modest.

Croatian Coldblood

Croatian Coldblood is heavy, wide and robust lowland horse of secure stride and balance, and strong constitution. Its withers height ranges from 140 to 155 cm. Flat rectangular in format, it has dry and medium-sized head, wide forehead, flat to slightly convex profile, noble posture, small ears, large and pronounced eyes and nostrils, long, massive and moderately stacked neck. The chest is wide and deep, and the ribs long and highly rounded.

The shoulders are long and medium-slanted, well covered with muscles and firmly bounded with the trunk. It has medium-long, but strong and wide back with strong and wide loin. The croup is superelevated, wide, moderately drooping to drooping, split and well-covered with muscles. The barrel is rounded, not too large or too twisted. The trunk is compact and covers the ground well. The legs are strong, of medium length to short with well pronounced joints. The shins are short with well defined joints and tendons. The pasterns are moderately covered with hair. Its postures are regular, the front legs cover the hind legs and vice versa. The hooves are wide and keratin is medium-hard. Other properties which should be pointed out are resilience and ability to adapt to adverse environmental factors, early-maturing, good fertility and milk yield and modest feed requirements as well as utilisation of low-quality fodder.

(Croatian) Posavac

(Croatian) Posavac is medium-heavy, wide and noble lowland horse with low centre of gravity, secure stride and balance. Its constitution is strong. Its format is a flat rectangle. Desirable withers height of stallions is 140-150 cm, and 135–140 cm for mares.

It has dry and small head, wide forehead, flat profile, noble expression, small ears, large and pronounced eyes and nostrils. It has medium-length to short but massive neck, firmly stacked onto the trunk, short lower lines. The chest is wide and deep. The shoulders are long and medium-slanted, well covered with muscles and firmly bounded with the trunk. It has medium-length to short, but strong and wide back, short, strong and wide loin. The croup is superelevated, wide, moderately drooping to drooping, split and well-covered with muscles. The barrel is rounded, not too large or too twisted. The trunk is compact and covers the ground well. The legs are dry and strong with well pronounced joints. The shins are short with well defined joints and tendons. The pasterns are sparsely covered with short and bristling hair. Its postures are regular, the front legs cover the hind legs and vice versa. The hooves are wide and keratin is medium-hard.


Year 1580 is considered the year of origin of the Lipizzaner breed – when the Austrian archduke Charles II bought the Lipizza estate intending to establish a stud to supply good chariot drawing horses to the court. In Croatia, systematic breeding of Lipizzaner breed began in 1806 when the horses were moved from Lipizza stud to Đakovo stud – fleeing Napoleon. In this area, Lipizzaner was received very well and its breeding quickly spread elsewhere from the stud farm. Lipizzaner breeding became a part of tradition in Slavonia – as attested by present-day folk lore festivals, equestrian competitions and other events were Lipizzaner horses are indispensable.

This “baroque” horse became well-known for its noble and strong physique, resilience, modest requirements regarding accommodation and feeding, learning ability and will to work. The head is dry, of medium-length and moderate size with clear and lively eyes. Moderately convex shapes may also appear in the nasal area. The neck is of medium length, muscular, nicely bent and high stacked. The link between the head and the neck is well bonded. The chest is moderately deep and wide. The shoulder is long, gently sloping and muscular to a good extent. The loin is moderately long and well bonded by muscles. The croup is strong, slightly rounded and flat. The legs are correctly built, and the joints are pronounced and dry. The hooves are strong, harmonious and of good quality. Leg postures are correct. Movement is abundant, stride is high and long, elegant and balanced. Lipizzaners’ character is balanced.

Primorje-Dinara donkey

Even though there are no reliable indicators regarding phylogenesis of the Primorje-Dinara donkey, it is justified to assume that it developed on the present-day breeding area of the Croatia’s coast, developing characteristics of adaptability and exemplary work capacity while maintaining a smaller physical frame, adapted to droughts and karst. Foreign donkey breeds were partially introduced into the Primorje-Dinara donkey population, but there are no reliable indicators.

It is of a strong constitution, harmoniously built and it has a smaller, compact physical frame. Its head, tail and legs are, in their lower part, one shade darker than the trunk. Colour of the belly varies from light grey to white – just like the inner sides of thighs. A dark stripe along shoulders and back (cross) is marked and clearly discernible. Transversal dark stripes on legs are also marked and clearly discernible. The crest is strong, protruding, with a darker top edge and it is rarely completely black. The head is of medium size, with a flat to slightly concave profile, short ears with darker outer rim and white hairs in the centre of the ear and poorly to moderately pronounced rims around the eyes. The snout is light to white with a dark region of nostrils. The neck is of medium length and muscularity. The withers is long, but poorly pronounced, and the back is straight to slightly concave. Superelevation is not strongly pronounced, but it is discernible. The croup is slanted, not very muscular and its sacral portion is pronounced. The chest is shallow and narrow. The belly is properly developed, rarely drooping. The legs are strong with bones of medium strength. The hooves are small but hard – suited to karst terrain – but insufficient movement and care leads to deformations. The trunk is largely ash-grey and dark brown colour is present to a lesser extent. Completely black animals are rare.

North Adriatic donkey

North Adriatic donkey developed in the area of the North Adriatic, primarily on the Kvarner Gulf islands. It has developed on a local population of donkeys with intermittent introduction of the genome of the larger Istrian donkey and the smaller Primorje-Dinara donkey. The remaining North Adriatic donkey population, in terms of its properties, is special and it merits protection.

It is characterised by strong constitution, rectangular physical frame and strong physical build. Considering the size of the physical frame, it is in between the Primorje-Dinara donkey and the Istrian donkey. The crest is long, dark, sometimes with lighter base segment of the hair, largely protruding, but sometimes swept to a side. The head is exquisite, large, of a flat profile with long ears containing white hair inside and a dark edge of the ears. A rim around the eyes is white and well pronounced, the snout is white with a dark region of the nostrils. The neck is moderately wide, muscular and well stacked. The withers is long and less pronounced, and the back line is straight to mildly convex. Superelevation is discernible. The croup is gently sloping, with medium musculature and pronounced sacral section. The chest is medium-deep, but narrow. The tail is positioned medium-high, with a bunch of long hair at its end. The legs are strong with moderately strong bones. The hooves are of medium size, hard and resilient. Colour of the trunk largely ranges from dark brown to black, and dark grey is only found in a small extent. The belly as well as the interior sides of thighs are grey to off-white. The cross and the leg stripes are not clearly discernible.

Istrian donkey

The Istrian donkey developed in the area of central, southern and western Istria. In the course of development of the Istrian donkey, genomes of larger, primarily Italian donkey breeds were intermittently introduced.

The Istrian donkey is characterised by strong constitution, and large square frame. The head is large, disproportionate, of a flat to slightly concave profile with long ears containing white hair inside. Rims around the eyes are white and well pronounced. The snout is white with a black region of the nostrils. The neck is wide, muscular and well stacked. The withers is long and pronounced, and the line of the back is largely slightly concave. Superelevation is considerable in relation to the height of the withers. The croup is steep, moderately muscular with a pronounced sacral section. The chest is medium-deep, but narrow. The belly is properly developed, rarely drooping. The tail is positioned low, with a bunch of long hair at its end. The legs are strong with strong bones. The hooves are of medium size and hard, and deformations are rare. The trunk is largely black, rarely dark brown. The belly as well as the interior sides of thighs are grey to white. The cross and leg stripes are not discernible. The crest is black, pronounced and protruding, and it rarely falls to a side.

Hrvatica hen

The breed was developed in early 20th century by selecting the Drava Valley type of domestic hen and its breeding with the Leghorn roosters. In further development, all white-feathered animals are removed, and those of black, red, brown and partridge-coloured ones are left. The final appearance and properties were obtained through breeding with Wellsummer breed.

Four types of Hrvatica hens are grown in Croatia and they differ by colour of their feathers – red, black, partridge-gold and black–gold. All the types are characterised by white ear lobes as well as white feet of the red and the partridge-golden types or greyish feet of black and black-golden types.
Body mass of the roosters ranges between 3.5 and 4 kg, while hens weigh between 2.5 and 3 kg. They are a source of high-quality meat when provided with sufficient green food. They are characterised by good egg production and the brooding. They are characterised by resistance to disease and care for offspring, good egg production and high quality of meat. With good feeding and care, it may lay more than 200 eggs per year. This is one of few chicken breeds which retained the brooding instinct.

Zagorje turkey

The Zagorje turkey as well as other turkey breeds originate from Mexican and North American wild turkeys where their ancestors live free even today. In late 15th and early 16th centuries, turkey was introduced to Europe, transported aboard the Spanish Navy ships – first to Spain and then to other West European countries and then to the Danube Basin. It has been bred in the area of Hrvatsko Zagorje for centuries – and the climate and the method of keeping affected recognisability of the turkey grown in the area.

Four types of turkey are bred in Hrvatsko Zagorje – primarily distinguished by colour of their feathers. The bronze type is the most common, and the black type is the rarest. The light and the grey types are somewhat more abundant. The neck, chest and back feathers of the bronze type is markedly black with green sheen. The belly and leg feathers is nearly black without lustre and it is black-brown-ash coloured at folds. The wing feather are ash-black with white stripes and black edges. The tail feathers are black-brown with light brown stripes and they end in a white edge. The black type of the Zagorje turkey is covered with completely black feathers, without any addition of feathers of any other colour. The grey type of the turkey has black basic colour on the neck, chest and back with interspersed white feathers giving it appearance of grey, while the tail feathers resemble those of the bronze type of the turkey. Feathers of the light type of turkey is white, intermixed with light brown, grey or black feathers on its back, tail and wings. Females of all the types are significantly smaller than the males and their feathers has no lustre. The females are tamer and more docile unlike the males which are aggressive and which do not stand any competitors. At the age of 28 weeks, the males reach average body weight of 6.5 kg, while the females weigh an average of 4.0 kg.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica)

Honey bee is the common name for several species of social honey producing bees and it is the economically most important insect. This opinion is most frequently based on the fact that the honey bees produce honey, wax, propolis, pollen and other bee products. However, the greatest value and use of bees is pollination of plants. Bees are the most common pollinators of a range of cultivated and wild plant species.

Evolution of bees

Through the natural selection, the evolution has shaped the body of the bees, just as it shaped their behaviour, nest types and places where they build them. The evolution of the bees is closely related and intertwined with development of flowering plants where each contributed to shaping of the other. The first insects appeared in late Palaeozoic, 290-350 million years ago. In late Mesozoic (Cretaceous), two processes significant for the present-day world began. The first true mammals appeared and started to replace dinosaurs who were dominant up to that point and the first true flowering plants appeared – which was a prerequisite for development of bees. Honey bee shares the common roots with wasps. The wasps are, unlike bees, carnivorous. As this type of food became less available, some types of Sphecidae have transferred to plant food which was more available. Abundance of food increased as diversity of the flowering plants increased. As pollen and nectar were gaining increasing importance in adult wasps diet, it is likely that the females started to use this new food as a supplement in nutrition of larvae if their prey was insufficient. It is likely that some species were better adapted to collecting nectar and pollen because collecting plant food is more certain/safer than hunting and capture of live prey. In the course of evolution, over a long period, bees developed a modified nectar collecting mechanism and structures on legs designed to collect and transport pollen – facilitating farm better utilisation of plant sources of food and the body was reshaped and it became overgrown with hair allowing easier collection of pollen.

Links between bees and plants

Honey bees are the most important pollinators in most areas inhabited by flowering plants. According to Prof. Jürgen Tautz presented in “The Buzz about Bees” a total of 80% of the flowering plants are pollinated by insects (bumblebees, butterflies, solitary bees), and approximately 85% of that is performed by honey bees. Approximately 90% of fruit species depend on bees. There are 170,000 plant species pollinated by bees, and 40,000 species depend exclusively on bees. The great diversity of flowering plants in the world is pollinated by only 9 species of social bees and in Europe and Africa this is performed by only one species – Apis mellifera – the honey bee. This type of disproportion between the number of plant species and the bee species is significant and it indicates that bees are very successful and that they leave very little space for any competitors. An average bee colony may visit several million flowers in a single day because bees have a developed communication system and they may quickly notify all members of the colony about available source of food. Through pollination of plants, bees are the third most important animal species bred in Europe.

Bee colony

Bees are social creatures which may only live in groups referred to as bee colonies. A bee colony consists of three structurally different forms – a queen bee (a reproductive female), drones (males) and worker bees (sexually non-developed females). There are differences regarding the size, external appearance and structure of a queen, a worker and a drone. Two castes of females and a caste of males are associate through various functions within the colony and each caste represent its own peculiarities fitted in the needs and the integrity of the colony.
The queen is the only sexually fully developed female. In each bee colony, there is normally only one queen. Two queens in a natural colony are rarely found. The queen is the mother of all members of the colony which have developed during her reproductive life and their characteristics directly depend on the queen. Behaviour of bees may be changed completely (from aggressive to timid or from non-resistant to disease to more resistant ones) within weeks by replacing the queen in the colony. The queen maintains harmonious functioning of the colony using its secretions (queen pheromones). Some properties possessed by workers are no longer possessed by queens, e.g. pollen bags on their legs and beeswax glands. Behaviour of queens changes so the queens no longer have the instinct to care for larvae, production of beeswax or foraging. They retain the sense for orientation in space. Queens live for an average of 3 or 4 years.
Workers are the most numerous members of a bee colony. Workers’ sex organs are not developed and they have no reproductive function. There are several tens of thousands of them in a bee colony. An average worker is 10-12 mm long. On average, they weigh about 0.1 gram, but this varies significantly depending on the quantity of food they carry (10,000 workers weigh approximately 1 kg). The workers perform all the work in the colony. It includes tending to larvae, construction of honeycomb, cleaning the beehive, defence of the colony, foraging and a range of other tasks. At the time of intensive activities, a worker’s life span is only 4-6 weeks, but in winter time workers live for several months – from autumn until spring.
Drones are sexually developed males. There are several hundred to several thousand drones in a colony. Their only role is reproductive – but this role is performed by few drones only and just once in their lifetime. The drones do not perform other work, but they may help to keep the larvae. Their presence fosters the workers’ will to work. The drones are overall longer and wider than the workers. They are 15-17 mm long and they weigh about 0.196 g thus they are stubby. Since the drones do not participate in the work within the bee colony, they lack the foraging organs. They also do not have the sting. In late summer, when the forage ends (where there is no need to fertilise the queen), the bees force them out of the hive and they die separated from the colony. Exceptionally, the drones may also remain in the colony during the winter when the colony has no queen.

Preservation of biodiversity and preservation of the indigenous breed of bees

Information about the condition of beekeeping in the world is difficult to monitor because beekeeping is given marginal importance compared to other agricultural production in most countries. The general interest and care about bees only increased after awareness was raised and global understanding was improved regarding position of beekeeping in sustainability of the nature and agriculture in response to the recent great loss of bee colonies. The great losses in nearly the entire territory of the United States and in individual regions of the EU brought about a greater interest in monitoring of bee population and establishment of bee protection objectives.
Preservation of bee colonies is directly linked to anthropogenic impact on the nature including changes to land management, modern agricultural practice using various synthetic plant pest and weed control agents as well as the impact of globalisation through rapid spread of disease. One such example includes spread of Varroa destructor pest in past 30 years from the Central Asia to all continents and spread of Aethina tumida pest from South America to North America, Australia and, in recent years, to Europe.

Bees in this region

The original area of development of our indigenous Carniolan honey bee (Apis mellifera carnica) encompasses the area south of the Alps, the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. The area of Croatia is the source of genetic diversity of the breed, especially considering the fact that there are several ecotypes of bees in our region. The bees are adapted to the climate and the forage and the value and quality of bee products are well known. Preservation of the Carniolan honey bee is related to production of recognisable products of well-known origin.
The objectives of preservation of biodiversity in beekeeping are identical to the objectives of preservation of other wild, domestic and domesticated animal species and breeds. It is necessary to ensure public availability and regular provision of information on the state of the population’s biodiversity and/or points of endangering of the bees. Protection of biodiversity of the bees in the territory of Croatia must be a permanent task, starting from scientific and professional institutions, associations and unions to individuals.

Barać, Zdravko; Bedrica, Ljiljana; Čačić, Mato; Dražić, Marica, Maja; Dadić, Mirna; Ernoić, Miljenko; Fury, Mijo; Horvath, Šandor; Ivanković, Ante; Janječić, Zlatko; Jeremić, Jasna; Kezić, Nikola; Marković, Davorin; Mioč, Boro; Ozimec, Roman; Petanjek, Darko; Poljak, Franjo; Prpić, Zvonimir; Sindičić, Magda. Green book of indigenous breeds of Croatia. Zagreb: State Institute for Nature Protection; Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection; Croatian Agricultural Agency; Krka National Park; COAST, 2011
ISBN: 978-953-7169-73-2
Ministry of Agriculture (2010) National Programme for Preservation of the indigenous and Protected Breeds of Domestic Animals in the Republic of Croatia.
Croatian Agricultural Agency. Annual Reports.