Shepherding is one of the most ancient professions in the world, Source: Unsplash

Bulgaria launches first Academy for Shepherds in a bid to preserve old profession

Bulgaria launches first Academy for Shepherds in a bid to preserve old profession

The institution will also aim to preserve heritage sheep and goat breeds

There is now an official school in Bulgaria, where you can go and learn how to be a shepherd. The school is called Academy for Shepherds “Todorovi koshari”, taking a refrain from a popular folk song, whose text delves into the soul of the ancient profession.

The Academy is located high up on the slopes of Pirin Mountain, near the tiny village of Vlahi in Southwestern Bulgaria. The setting is as remote, idyllic and pastoral as it gets and thus it is the perfect place to learn the craft of tending sheep – away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

The first class of the wannabe shepherds consists of 20 adults and 8 children, who have signed up to learn the ins and outs of keeping a flock happy.

Bulgarians value their rural traditions

Shepherding used to be a big deal in Bulgaria, a country whose economy was predominantly based on agriculture in the past and even though this is changing, traditions such as vegetable gardening and livestock raising are still venerated.

Nevertheless, these kinds of skills used to be passed from father to son in the past and nowadays it might be hard to learn them even if you wanted to. That’s the kind of gap that the Shepherds Academy seeks to fill by creating a shepherding curriculum.

Each of the four training seasons at the Academy will help students get familiar with the history of native breeds in the country, the making of pens, grazing and milking the animals, cleaning pastures and learning traditional practices in animal husbandry.

With this, the organizers behind the Academy hope that they can ensure the survival of the autochthonous sheep and goat breeds, such as the Karakachan sheep and the mountain long-haired goat.

Traditional breeds of domestic animals provide biodiversity and a valuable local gene pool, the organizers of the Academy point out, according to the Bulgarian News Agency. The two breeds play an important role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystems in the mountainous regions in the Balkan country.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU