Jackals are medium-sized canids from the wolf-like clade, exhibiting a unique combination of ancestral morphotypes, broad trophic niches, and close phylogenetic relationships with the wolf and dog. Thus, they represent a potential host of several pathogens with diverse transmission routes. Recently, populations of the Eurasian golden jackal Canis aureus have expanded into the Western Palaearctic, including most of Europe. The aim of our study was to examine Eurasian golden jackals from Romania, Czech Republic and Austria for a wide spectrum of vector-borne protists and to evaluate the role of this species as a reservoir of disease for domestic dogs and/or humans.Diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) DNA amplifications revealed 70% of jackals to be positive for Hepatozoon, 12.5% positive for piroplasms, and one individual positive for Leishmania infantum. Phylogenetic analyses of partial 18S rDNA sequences invariably placed sequenced isolates of Hepatozoon into the H. canis clade. For piroplasms, both the 18S and cox1 sequences obtained confirmed the presence of Babesia canis and "Theileria annae" in 5 and 2 individuals, respectively, providing the first records of these two piroplasmids in Eurasian golden jackals. A single animal from Dolj County (Romania) was PCR-positive for L. infantum, as confirmed also by sequencing of ITS1-5.8S.Apparently, expanding populations of jackals can play a significant role in spreading and maintaining new Babesia canis foci in Central Europe. The role of jackals in the epidemiology of "Theileria annae" and H. canis is probably similar to that of red foxes and should be taken into account in further research on these parasites. Also the presence of L. infantum deserves attention. Our study confirms that once established, the populations of Eurasian golden jackals constitute natural reservoirs for many canine vector-borne diseases, analogous to the role of the coyotes in North America.