Sep. 27.2021 | Updated: November 30, 2021

Sarplaninac Dog Breed: History of Origin, Personal Traits, Health Issues, and Care

Coat type
Activity level
Barking level
Friendliness to other animals
Sarplaninac Dog Breed

Sarplaninac dog is an ancient breed. The main purpose of its breeding was the protection of livestock. Therefore, it may seem to be a large breed. However, this effect is created by the heavy bones and thick double coat. Its large teeth and muscular physique can scare even a predator. However, for us, this is a cute and kind dog, which would become a true friend for its owner. The official name of this breed is in fact Šar Mountains. However, some organizations use others as well:

  • Albanian Mountain;
  • Illyrian Shepherd;
  • Serbian Sarplaninac;
  • Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog Sharplanina;
  • Macedonian Shepherd;
  • Karst Shepherd.

Sarplaninac Dog Breed Info

  • Origin: Macedonia, Serbia;
  • Height: 22-24 inches;
  • Weight: 66-99 pounds;
  • Coat: thick double with iron-gray, brown, white, fawn;
  • Temperament: loyal, intelligent; protective, independent, and calm;
  • Breed for: herding livestock and protecting;
  • Suited for: farms/big yards, big families with children, single people;
  • Lifespan: 11-13 years.

History of Sarplaninac Dog Breed

There are different versions of the origin of this breed. One says that these large, shaggy dogs arrived from the north with the Illyrians who had settled in the mountains. Another is that they descended from the Tibetan Mastiffs brought by the troops of Alexander the Great. Local citizens near Šar Mountains believe that dogs’ ancestors are wolves, whose family was once tamed by hunters. These Shepherd dogs were used by local residents to protect herds from predators, and as guard dogs. Due to the isolation of the pastures and the difficulties with communications with other breeds, Sarplaninac did not interbreed. In 1938, the breed was registered as the Illyrian Shepherd dog.

During the Second World War, the number of dogs was greatly reduced. However, in the post-war period, the dog handlers of Yugoslavia began to actively restore their numbers. Army kennels started breeding Shepherds as service dogs for military troops and law enforcement agencies. The export of Sarplaninac as a national treasure was prohibited for a long time, and the first dog was sold abroad only in 1970. Initially, it was two varieties of a breed – larger dogs living in the Šar area, and smaller ones, which were kept in the Karst plateau area. The current breed standard was approved in 1970. Now, these Shepherd dogs are bred not only in their historical homeland (Serbia and Macedonia) but also in France, Canada, and America.

Sarplaninac’s Characteristics

Sarplaninac’s Characteristics

The Sarplaninac is a large, powerful dog with strong bones and thick, long hair. The head is wide, and the ears are triangular and drooping. The tail is long and saber-shaped, with rich feathers on it and the paws. The color is solid, from white to almost black. However, white spots are considered a defect. The preferred color is gray (from dark to light). Let’s find out the personal traits of this breed.

Sarplaninac: Temperament

The Sarplaninac belongs to the working group of dogs, so an independent and dominant disposition is to be expected. However, dogs of this breed have a unique personality type. In their pack (i.e. your family), they absolutely do not show aggression or domination. They are calm and level-headed. Dogs are neutral towards strangers, unlessthey pose a danger to you or a member of your family, when the defensive instinct would work.

By the way, remember we recently discussed the features of the Bandog breed? It does not bark when attacking, but Sarplaninac barks loudly before taking any action. The owners are not afraid to leave them alone with the herd, as they can make an independent decision to protect them. This testifies to the high intelligence and quick-sightedness of dogs of this breed. If you have small children, despite their size, Illyrian Shepherd does not pose a danger to them. However, if you have other pets, you should take the time to get to know them. Also, stay with them while they get used to each other.

Sarplaninac puppies have a strong hunting instinct and, without proper training, can perceive small animals as prey. Therefore, start training your pet from the first day it appears in your home. This breed is easy to train. Many dog ​​handlers believe that clicker training is suitable for almost all dogs. Try it, maybe your friend is on this list.

Is Illyrian Shepherd Dog Huge?

Indeed, this is a rather large dog. However, females are sometimes referred to as medium-sized breeds. The average weight of a male is around 77-99 pounds, while a female weighs 66-88 pounds. Sarplaninac’s size in inches is 22-24.

Sarplaninac: Health and Care

Sarplaninac: Health and Care

The Sarplaninac is a healthy breed. However, no one is immune from possible diseases. For example, hip and elbow dysplasia, obesity, skin allergies, eye problems, ear infections, and bloating. They can be prevented by regular visits to the veterinary clinic. The specialist would be able to notice even the slightest symptoms of any disease and prescribe the right solution. This breed needs the same care as any other dog.

Brushing teeth, ears, eyes. Grooming the dog once a week is enough. The Sarplaninac finds it difficult to adapt to life in the city. They need more space and freedom. These are dogs of aviary content. Don’t skimp on food for such a large dog. If you need help, your veterinarian would always help you with a nutritional and balanced menu.
If you want a dog of this breed, first look for a representative at a shelter. However, if you want to buy, then Sarplaninac price from 300 to 1000 euros. We wish you to find a new four-legged friend!


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