Sarplaninac – a majestic giant from the Balkans and a great guardian

Sarplaninac is a giant defense dog with a very calm, even stoic disposition. He is great as a watchdog because he is alert and fearless. It is not suitable for an inexperienced handler. Read more about this little-known breed in Poland!

Sarplaninac is a breed not very popular in our country. These dogs for decades guarded flocks of sheep in the mountains in what is now Serbia and Kosovo. The breed is sometimes referred to as Macedonian Sheepdog or Yugoslavian Sheepdog. The purpose of this four-legged dog was to fight against wolves, that’s why sarplaninac still works great as a guard dog today. He requires consistent training, but for loved ones he is a faithful and loyal companion. Read about him and find out for whom this dog will prove to be a good companion!

Sarplaninac – breed description

Sarplaninac is a very large and harmoniously built dog with strong bones. His height at withers is 62 centimeters in case of males and 58 centimeters in case of females. The body weight of this animal sometimes reaches up to 45 kilograms

How does the Sarplaninac look like?

The coat of the dog of this breed on the larger area of the body is long and straight. Short hairs are found only on the head and the back of the limbs. The coat is double-layered and the undercoat is short yet very dense and abundant

The coat of the Sarplaninac should be uniform. The most desirable are shades of gray – from silver to dark gray. Nevertheless, practically all shades from white to almost black are allowed. The standard excludes white markings. The coat in this dog is darkest on the back and on the head, but it lightens towards the ground

Sarplaninac – character

Sarplaninac is first of all a working dog, which strongly bonds with his guardians, but he doesn’t show his feelings particularly effusively. The task of this dog was always protection of the pack, not herding. This is why the breed should be considered more defensive than herding

How does sarplaninac behave towards strangers?

Sarplaninac is attached to his family and shows a lot of patience with “his” children. Stranger little ones will most likely be treated with a lot of distrust by him. Exemplary dogs of this breed should be very stable, calm and considerate. However, mistakes in upbringing can very quickly lead to the pet becoming aggressive. This must not happen, because due to its physical predisposition, it will pose a huge threat to people and other animals

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The sarplaninac dog and its training

The Sarplaninac is extremely intelligent, but its training is not at all easy. A dog of this breed needs to see in his handler a true guide who will be an authority for him. Weakness and hesitation will be noticed by him very quickly. As a consequence, the four-legged dog will not want to listen to commands

Sarplaninac – life span and health

Sarplaninac is a dog that lives an average of eleven to thirteen years. There is no information about genetic diseases typical for this breed. However, it is worth remembering that, like all large dogs, they may be prone to hip dysplasia and gastric torsion

Sarplaninac – dog grooming

The sarplaninac’s two-layered coat requires regular grooming, which, however, should not cause too much trouble. Above all, it is important to thoroughly comb the coat. Usually it is enough to do it once a week, although during the moulting period you will definitely have to increase the frequency.

Sarplaninac sheds twice a year – in spring and autumn. The animal loses a lot of hair then, but you have to expect that combing will be necessary all year round

Sarplaninac – puppies and breeding

There are not many breeding kennels of the Yugoslavian Sheepdog in our country. However, in the Polish Kennel Club there are a few registered, which give the dogs FCI pedigrees. Before buying a puppy it’s always worth verifying this issue

Sarplaninac is a huge dog, which out of control can become very dangerous. Even before buying a puppy make sure that:

  • already in the kennel is properly socialized;
  • is kept in a home where he has contact with people and all everyday situations

The best solution will be to visit the kennel and get to know not only the puppy, but also his parents

Sarplaninac – price

It is difficult to determine the average price of a sarplaninac dog, because there are not many kennels and litters are born rarely. However, it can be assumed that the price for a puppy with FCI pedigree starts from 3-4 thousand zloty

Sarplaninac – history of the breed

The specific name – sarplaninac – comes from the Szar Planina Mountains, where for hundreds of years dogs of this breed performed their shepherding duties.

The origin of the breed is not known in detail. However, it is assumed that Yugoslavian Sheepdogs came to the Balkans from Central Asia. They were supposed to accompany farmers and shepherds already during the Roman Empire. The ancestors of this breed of dogs served them in the Roman province of Illyria. Hence the first name – Illyrian sheepdog

History of the sarplaninac breed in the 20th century

These dogs met the attention of cynologists relatively suddenly in the 1930s. Due to their size and natural guarding instinct, the military began to be interested in them. Initially, the breed was registered under the name Illyrian Sheepdog. Only after the war it was changed to Yugoslavian shepherd dog from Shar Planina

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In the 1950s, these dogs gained considerable popularity in their homeland. The breed was valued by the long-time leader of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. It is worth noting that until 1970 there was a ban on exporting these dogs, so they were not popular anywhere outside the Balkans.

Sarplaninac dogs in Europe and in Poland

There are very few sarplaninac litters in Western Europe until today. This is mainly due to the fact that the demand for this type of animal is not high. If there is a demand, the niche is filled by more common breeds, such as Caucasian Sheepdogs.

In Poland, the first Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog officially appeared in 1993. There are several kennels registered in Polish Kennel Club, but litters are born very rarely and the sight of this dog on our streets is almost unheard of

Sarplaninac – for whom?

Sarplaninac is a dog for experienced and consistent owner who knows what kind of care such a dog requires. These animals perfectly find themselves in a role of guarding dogs. They rarely show affection, but they are gentle and patient with their family. However, they should not be kept only as companion dogs. This is because it is primarily a utility breed

Why does a sarplaninac need to be properly trained?

The guardian of the sarplaninac must take care of his correct socialization. It should start already in the breeding. Especially make sure that your dog grows up in the company of other animals and has constant contact with people. Badly socialized representative of this breed can be a very big danger for the environment

In everyday life, the Yugoslavian Sheepdog is a balanced, quiet and patient dog. However, if it senses danger, it can become a real element, which is difficult to stop.
A sarplaninac dog can be an excellent watchdog, but it definitely won’t be a pet for everyone. Its guardian must inspire obedience and respect, so inexperienced lovers of barking pets should rather not buy it. Buying one may not be easy either, as it’s not a very popular breed. However, if you know that you can handle this strong newcomer from the Balkans, you can look for a reputable kennel.

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