Sarplaninac

66-88 lbs
22-24"
Macedonia/Serbia
Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog, Charplaninatz, Planinac, Šar, Šarko, lllyrian Shepherd Dog, Illyrian Sheepdog, Sarpie, Sar Planina, Yugoslav Mountain Dog
Like many ancient Mountain Dogs, the Šarplaninac has been heralded for centuries as one of antiquity's most utilitarian breeds and for good reason. Throughout their history, they've been used for herding, guarding and working as well as police and military dogs largely in their home region around the Šar Mountains, including Macedonia, Serbia, and other parts of former Yugoslavia. They are considered one of the oldest native breeds in the world, a descendant of ancient Molosser breeds, that remained nearly untouched by outside influence. They are a calm, dignified breed that has an extremely strong protective nature, hence their historic use and purpose. Their drive to herd and protect is actually so deep that they will often treat their family like a flock if they have no true flock to guard and will often attempt to herd them if they sense any presence of danger. While they do form strong bonds with their families, they are usually suspicious of strangers and other dogs and their first instinct is to position themselves as a barrier between their loved ones and a potential threat, rarely turning aggressive unless thoroughly provoked or as a last resort. That protective nature is so tenacious, they've been known to guard their families and flocks from wolves, lynxes and even bears. With that said, it's possible to train at least some of that protective nature out of them so they are more accepting of other people, dogs, and non-canine animals in a more social or relaxed setting, but the process is not considered easy. As they were long bred and trained to be independent enough to stay with herds for days without direction, they are much more likely to make their own decisions than listen to that of others unless they have received thorough training and have a master that consistently asserts dominance, and even so, there is no guarantee that they will immediately listen instead of operating on intuition. With their family they are relaxed, calm, and generally good-tempered and usually do well handling even children with some level of patience and gentleness but thorough training and socialization will be needed for any dog that is to be a regular, well-behaved family member, as they are quick to resort to their instincts over commands. They are also not considered an adaptable breed and are best for families with work to provide, something to protect and a large outdoor space for them to live, as they are happy to weather most conditions with their all-weather double coats.
Purpose
Herding, Guarding, Watchdog
Date of Origin
Ancient
Ancestry
Molosser

Sarplaninac Health

Average Size
Male Sarplaninac size stats
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 77-99 lbs
Female Sarplaninac size stats
Height: 22-24 inches Weight: 66-88 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Obesity
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Ear Infections
  • Skin Allergies
  • Bloat
  • Eye Problems
Occasional Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination
  • Ear Examination
  • Eye Tests
  • Blood Panel

Sarplaninac Breed History

Šarplaninacs are believed to be an ancient breed, descended from the seemingly timeless Molossers, a Mastiff-type dog developed and employed as early as the Greek and Roman eras. They are considered one of the oldest native breeds in the world, remaining largely untouched by a world outside of their region for many centuries. However, most of the official documentation of their existence in relation to the modern standard only reaches back to about the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were first recognized by the World Canine Organization (FCI) in 1939 but at the time were named Illyrian Shepherd Dog after their region of origin, previously known as Illyria. In 1957, they were renamed the Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog or Šarplaninac  after their country of origin had changed its name as well. Up until that time, they had been employed in the region as both herding and guarding dogs but were even used as Yugoslavian military dogs in the 1920s and are still used today as guard dogs in mountainous military outposts in Serbia. Their ability to spread was highly limited until 1970, as they were illegal to export from Yugoslavia, but after the law was lifted, they began being imported and used by both American and Canadian farmers and ranchers as livestock protectors. Their newfound twenty-year use increased both their numbers and recognition, enough so that they were finally recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1995. They are not considered a common breed but do still find a fair amount of use in their region of origin and North America.

Sarplaninac Breed Appearance

Šarplaninacs are large dogs, standing an average of two feet tall at the withers with some larger males weighing up to nearly a hundred pounds, but usually averaging closer to 80 or so between both sexes. They have distinct double coats with a soft, dense, weather-protectant under coat and around a 2- to 5-inch outer coat that ranges in length depending on its location, with the neck, hindquarters and tail being the longest. While their most common color is iron gray, they have a vast range of colors from nearly black to fawn, and generally sport large, natural gradients in color and shade. They have large, relatively rounded skulls with a slight stop and a broad muzzle shorter than the skull, capped with a wide, black nose. They have medium-sized and medium-set folded, v-shape ears covered with short, dense hair and their eyes are generally dark and almond-shaped. They have a medium length neck that sports longer hair and descends into a straight backline. Their front legs are sturdy and straight, separated by a broad, deep, well-muscled chest and shoulders while their hindquarters are similarly muscular and wide. The tail is long and thick and is covered by some of the dog's longest hair.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Sarplaninac eyes
Brown
amber Sarplaninac eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black Sarplaninac nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
brown Sarplaninac coat
Brown
sable Sarplaninac coat
Sable
fawn Sarplaninac coat
Fawn
cream Sarplaninac coat
Cream
gray Sarplaninac coat
Gray
black Sarplaninac coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Sarplaninac straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Sarplaninac Breed Maintenance

Šarplaninacs are considered medium maintenance dogs, as their long coats do need to be brushed with some frequency. They are only moderate shedders but because of their dual coat, can have some of the shedding build up. This can be solved by using both a firm bristle brush or slicker brush as well as a deshedder for their under coat, a few times a week should be sufficient unless in higher shedding seasons when that frequency should be increased. Because their ears are folded and covered with dense hair, they should be regularly checked and cleaned to prevent excess moisture or wax buildup that can increase the likelihood of ear infections. If given regular work, chances are their nails will wear down naturally on their own, but should still be checked and trimmed to prevent cracking and breaking if they grow too long. Especially because of their high intake of food, their teeth should be brushed at least once a week to help maintain good oral health.
Brushes for Sarplaninac
Slicker Brush
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Sarplaninac requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Sarplaninac Temperament

While Šarplaninacs are known to be protective, family-oriented dogs, they are not particularly affectionate or playful and are much happier when they have work to do. That's not to say that they don't form strong bonds, however, as once they live and work with a family for a period of time, they are endlessly loyal and will go to great lengths to protect them. Once they reach that level, they are great with nearly all family members and even children, despite their lumbering size, and are usually gentle and patient even with small kids, but should be thoroughly socialized and trained to reduce any potential issues. Training itself is a difficult task - it is not for inexperienced owners. Šarplaninacs not only like to assert their dominance, calling for a consistent and firm hand out of their trainers or owners, but even after being trained are still head-strong and independent dogs that will often override commands with their own decision making. Because of their protective nature, they are generally standoffish with strangers and new dogs and will position themselves between newcomers and their families, acting as a barrier when they sense any level of potential threats. They are also high energy dogs and usually need consistent work to do or regular and thorough exercise, leaving them best reserved for active families with big houses and large outdoor spaces for them to roam and patrol.

Sarplaninac Activity Requirements

Šarplaninacs are high energy dogs and although they will often relax with the family without getting too restless, it will usually increase their frustration and lower their stimulation level, often resulting in poor behavior if they're not given proper exercise. Because of it, they are best suited for homes with active families that can provide around 18 miles of walking or running a week, about 60 to 70 minutes of exercise daily. If they are kept outside and given work, they will take care of some of that on their own, patrolling the yard and property and standing watch but otherwise need daily mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy and regularly behaving in a positive way.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
18 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
65 minutes

Sarplaninac Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
4.5 cups
Daily Cost
$2.00 - $2.50
Monthly Cost
$60.00 - $75.00

Sarplaninac Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Sarplaninac size stats at six months
Height: 19 inches Weight: 62 lbs
Female Sarplaninac size stats at six months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 55 lbs
12 Months
Male Sarplaninac size stats at 12 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 75 lbs
Female Sarplaninac size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 66 lbs
18 Months
Male Sarplaninac size stats at 18 months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 88 lbs
Female Sarplaninac size stats at 18 months
Height: 23 inches Weight: 77 lbs

Sarplaninac Owner Experiences

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