The Šarplaninac, otherwise known as the Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog is a large breed named after the Šar Mountains from which they originated. These friendly giants are of the livestock guardian type, and they are considered to be one of the oldest Molosser dogs, if not the oldest true Molosser in the world. They are big doggos and can grow up to 24 inches in height, and weigh around 100 pounds! They are reliable and independent, perfect protectors, and utterly devoted to their humans, just like their humans are to them. This big doggo gives the biggest hugs in the world, and keeping them happy and healthy is of utmost importance, given the sheer magnitude of them, and their need for exercise.
The Šarplaninac is a dog with high energy levels, and they require at least one hour of activity a day but thrive if you provide more. They were bread to live in the mountains and guard the livestock, and old shepherds and cow herders would cross many miles a day with their trustworthy doggos and farm animals, trying to find the best and tastiest grass for them. Therefore, it is no wonder that Šarplaninacs require a lot of walking, hiking, exploring, and sniffing around to be happy and stay healthy. If you and your family are already active, the Šarplaninac is the perfect dog for you, but if not, you would need to step up your activity game in order to prevent health and behavior issues in your dog.
The Šarplaninac is, as mentioned, a mountain dog who became one through the process of natural selection, meaning that they are more than capable of defending themselves and surviving in the harsh mountain winter conditions. The Šar Mountain in the Balkans that stretches over the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro is a huge mountain range with a lot of snow, and these doggos originate from that area, which means that they are the happiest when they can have some fun in the snow. They love running in deep snow, burying themselves under it, playing fetch with snowballs, and making snow angels doggo style, so if you have an opportunity to let them go wild in wintertime, do so, and bring your camera as the scene will be fascinating!
If you are lucky enough to live on a farm in the mountains and happen to have sheep or cows, or maybe if your grandma and grandpa live in a rural area, you can make your doggo happy by letting them be herders! These dogs are exceptionally good at protecting the livestock, as that is what they had to do in the Šar Mountains. They protect the livestock from wolves and foxes, and keep an eye on their human as well, so providing some farm activities for them will make them incredibly happy. Šarplaninacs love when they have a job to do, and they will happily do it, so this could provide you with some alone time and an opportunity for work while your doggo is out there being the guardian we need.
If you are unable to go into the mountains on a daily hike, you can still provide enough exercise for your doggo by going on daily jogs together. Every morning, try to cover at least 1.5 miles which will guarantee a happy and healthy doggo!
Instead of sending out a generic holiday card this year, why not create a unique card that features your fluffy dog playing in the snow? Go outside, let your doggo roam through the deep snow and catch their reactions! You will surely have the best holiday card in your friend group!
As you can see, the Šarplaninac is probably not the best city dog. They require a lot of physical activity, and they just cannot thrive on a short walk and fifteen minutes in the backyard each day. If you are committed to your dog, provide enough love and care, and make sure that you stay active, so your dog doesn’t develop health and behavioral issues. They will thank you in their own way, with bear hugs, kisses, and cuddles every night before bed!