The Sarplaninac dog is a large size canine with dense hair that covers the entire body. The coat usually grows to be approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in length with a bushy tail that curves.
Feathering is common along the legs and underbelly. The thick fur covering gives the Sarplaninac a husky appearance.
The nose does not protrude but looks large. Well-muscled forearms hint at the strength of the dog.
Sarplaninac breeders often describe their dog’s expression as keen.
They are very protective of their family as well as if they are given a job to watch livestock.
They are very gentle natured, and they may not be very affectionate towards you because that is just how their personality is.
Sarplaninac puppies grow into good flock guarding dogs. Unlike other breeds, this canine is not affectionate towards its human masters.
Its lovelies with the flock it was bred to protect. Natural traits established through selective breeding have given the Sarplaninac intelligence and the ability to think independently.
It lives for its job, which the breed takes very seriously.
While working, the Sarplaninac dog will investigate anything that appears out of the ordinary and is more than willing to confront larger threats.
Even though they are not ideal house pets, this breed is highly devoted to sheep guarding and will easily adapt to new arrangements and new livestock.
The average Sarplaninac dog stands 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) with a weight of between 55 to 88 pounds (25 to 39 kg).
No notable health conditions plague the Sarplaninac dog; however, the breed is at a higher risk for injury that sometimes comes with working situations.
Hip dysplasia is always a concern when it comes to larger breed dogs. This can be prevented by knowing if the parents of your dog had hi dysplasia and their hip score.
Before purchasing a puppy, make sure you have chosen a reliable breeder to purchase a dog from. Learn about your puppy’s parent’s health history to better understand your dog.
The Sarplaninac dog requires outdoor space. This is not a pet for an apartment, condo, or small dwelling.
The breed is really only recommended for households in the country with livestock to work. The thick coat keeps this canine warm in cold weather.
This is also not a curl-up-on-the-bed kind of companion. The Sarplaninac has no problem sleeping outside.
Every Sarplaninac dog needs a lot of exercise. The best way to get it is to give the dog a job to do.
They love to run free and will generally do so on their own with no need for scheduled play sessions with the owner.
In fact, the dog really prefers to burn off energy working.
However, this dog breed can be very sedentary, so you may have to convince your dog to come outside.
A big dog is going to need a lot of food! Your Sarplaninac will consume four and a half cups of food a day!
This will typically cost you between $2.50 to $3.00 a day in food costs. This can run you around or over $75.oo a month!
If you are using your dog for work purposes such as working on a farm herding, then you may want to give your dog a working breed food formula instead of just large dog breed formula.
The average Sarplaninac will live approximately 11 to 13 years.
This is a fairly long time for larger dog breeds.
This is a purebred dog, so the bloodlines are very controlled, and typically the life span is spot on with purebred unless they pass away from a medical reason.
The Sarplaninac dog has a thick coat, so the grooming maintenance for these dogs is considered medium maintenance.
This breed needs brushing every few days, if not daily! You can use a slicker brush or even a firm bristle brush to get some of the shedding hair.
Their ears are big and floppy and covered by a lot of hair so it would be best to check them weekly for dirt and wax build-up.
This will be helpful in preventing ear infections.
Origin of the Sarplaninac
The Sarplaninac dog hails from southwestern Srbija in southern Kosovo and the northwestern region of Macedonia.
The dogs were bred to work in the mountains. The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) originally registered the breed as the Illyrian shepherd dog but later accepted the new Sarplaninac name in 1954.
They are currently one of only two breeds recognized by the Yugoslavian Kennel Club.
The breed has diminished somewhat in its native lands but has been exported to Canada and the United States since 1975. The move was intended to provide another way to control the threat of coyote populations.
No sub-groups currently exist.
What Colors Do Sarplaninacs Come In?
Sarplaninac puppies are born with gray, black, white or tan coats. These colors can be blended or solid.
This breed is recognized as one of the few flock guard canines that can be found in non-white solid colorations.
Cool Traits / Characteristics
Even though they aren’t affectionate with humans, the Sarplaninac are extremely good flock guards.
A fun fact you might find interesting is that the Yugoslavian army employed these dogs into their military in the 1920s.
The can be difficult to train at first because the breed is naturally stubborn.
They are very loyal to their family and protective over them. They may not be very affectionate to you or children, but they are gentle and will let you pet them and hug on them.
This dog breed has a few other names that it has been called by, here are a few of them:
- Dog of the Sar Mountains
- Sar Mountain Dog
- Yugoslav Shepherd Dog
- Illyrian Shepherd Dog
The first time dog owner that wants a loving, affectionate companion will be disappointed by the Sarplaninac dog.
This breed is designed to work, making it a poor choice for the first time dog owner.
The dog may not be as involved with the household as the owner would like and is best suited to homes that have livestock to guard.
The average litter size for this type of breed is between five and seven puppies.
Prices from experienced breeders can range from $1,500 to $2,000.
These puppies grow fast and very big, so make sure they are getting all the required nutrition. For more specific information, you can ask your local veterinarian.
Also, remember to keep up to date on all of your dog’s shots and heartworm pills to keep them happy and healthy!
No notable Sarplaninac dog mixes currently exist.
Close Relatives of the Sarplaninac
These other breeds are very similar to the Sarplaninac dogs in a few ways. To learn more check these breeds out:
- Balkan dogs
- Caucasian Shepherd dog