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Sarplaninac - Sar Mountain dog

Updated on March 23, 2013

Sarplaninac - origin

Sarplaninac is one of the oldest native breeds in the world . Sarplaninac belongs to the group of shepherd dogs originating from Molossus ( ancient extinct breed of dog ). Sarplaninac is a result of natural selection in closed community, for centuries without any contact with dogs from different types. Sarplaninac is a sheep dog that has been breeded for centuries in southeastern mountainous regions of the former Yugoslavia. The place with the largest number of sarplaninac dogs was Sar mountain in Macedonia, and after this mountain he got his name - sarplaninac. This breed was registered with the FCI 1939th under number 41 and the name of the Illyrian Shepherd Dog. In 1957 FCI enacted an amendment in the name of the Illyrian Shepherd Yugoslav dog - Sarplaninac. Origin of Sarplaninac can only be speculated. Probably he came with the migration of people from Asia to Europe and Balkan peninsula, along with cattle which these people pursued. Sarplaninac is a dog that still serves as a shepherd and defender of herds from wild beasts.

Basic characteristics of sarplaninac - Strong and good watchdogs

Photo credit: Nedih Limani / Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Nedih Limani / Foter / CC BY-SA

The basic characteristic of sarplaninac is a good character. Powerful dogs with good head, noble, when needed sharp, and with all of this they are very good watchdogs and guardians. Desirable are larger males with stronger head. It is in his genes to defend, that is why he is so big and large, but he can learn everything the owner wants. Sarplaninac is a dog for guarding and walking, for house, warehouse, mountain - the main thing is to have space and shade for their long hair.

Rugged and harsh nature made him tough, rough, ready for combat, excellent guardian and watchdog who will never run away before a pack of wolves or a bear. Sarplaninac is a dog which accurately performs his job in guarding herds and keeping property of his master. A high degree of intelligence allows him to be independent. On Sar mountain you may encounter dogs of all colors, from white through the color of honey, wheat, yellow or shades of gray to dark, almost black color. Breeders in cities prefer dogs of gray color, lighter or darker. It is very important to note that for sarplaninac all colors are equal.

Sarplaninac is extremely balanced and calm dog. He is also a very good-natured and very sharp, but only when the need arises. He is very brave, willing to stand up against much stronger opponent to defend his master, or what he has been entrusted to the care even at the cost of his life. Sarplaninac is the guard by instinct, he doesn't need any training. One of his characteristics is that he never barks for no reason. Loyal to his master, and suspicious of strangers.

He is stubborn and dominant dog, and it can't be expected from him to preform circus skills or unquestionable obedience when training him. It is completely wrong opinion that sarplaninac is a stupid dog because he is hard to train. He is just a dog who thinks with his head and he does most of the things by instinct. He will perfectly understand what is asked of him, but he will not do it unless he finds it necessary. What he learns once he remembers his whole life. It is necessary to raise the puppy from the start, because mistakes made at that period it is very difficult to correct, and bad habits are hard to eradicate.

Photo credit: Nedih Limani / Foter / CC BY-SA

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Food, dog house and hygiene

Sarplaninac is modest when it comes to food - he eats little compared to his size. He isn't picky which doesn't mean that you shouldn't give him good and quality food, especially during his development. The dog's diet should also include vitamins. Puppy, and later an adult dog, you should take regularly (every few months) to get preparations against intestinal parasites, and must be regularly vaccinated against infectious diseases and rabies. As for accommodation it is ideal to keep him in a larger fenced space, or at least give him enough exercise. For him life is a torment on the chain, so it is necessary to provide for him wide box with house (roof should be flat or with a slight decline), which will be used as a listening post. The height of boxing ought not to be less than 2 meters, unless the box isn't covered. Homes can be made from wood, with due consideration to be lifted from the ground. If it is a female that will whelp a puppy the dog house should be more spacious, depending on the size of the female. Too big dog house, whether is a male or female sarplaninac, is a big mistake because the dog isn't able to heat with his body warmth the space around them. Although sarplaninac has a fur with heavy undercoat that allows him to withstand extreme cold, it is desirable to put on the door of the house some curtain, and inside put some straw. If you have a female that is about to whelp the puppies, curtain and straw are mandatory. Don't ever put him away from home, and outside events. Although he is a large dog he can be kept in an apartment, though this can be a torture if he doesn't get sufficient exercise and a place where he will be able to hide when he wants to. In this case, the problem may be a little animosity and distrust towards foreign entities.

Sarplaninac is a dog that really holds up to personal hygiene. Puppy is easy to learn how to stay clean, and an adult dog does his needs while taking a walk or as far away from the place where he is staying and sleeping. His fur doesn't require frequent brushing, except during shedding season when you need to remove the undercoat . You should avoid bathing more than once a year, and then do it only if it is absolutely necessary. A thick coat and undercoat remarkably protect him from the cold. Snow is something sarplaninac likes the most, and he will be grateful if you give him a chance to run out in deep snow. Sarplaninac is very sensitive to moisture, the heat bothers him so he will look for salvation in the river (while talking a walk) or he will dig holes in the ground.

Sarplaninac respects his boss. When he is passed into the hands of a new owner he will respect him, but he always remembers the first master. He has everything under control and you can't hide anything from him.


Relationship with kids is amazing. Sarplaninac is a dog who isn't corrupt and who is taught from childhood to the presence of humans. It is important that children don't harass them. Wrong moves can only lead to an incident, and sarplaninac will never attack defenseless creature. Sarplaninac isn't aggressive race. With command dog gets to use not to attack other dogs and he realizes that he doesn't have to do that.

As for the female sarplaninac, she is excellent mother, a good female can whelp up to six or seven puppies. Puppies require a lot of care.


These are large breeds of dogs and some people keep them in their apartments.

Dou you think it is ok to keep this dog in apartment?


In this video you can see how strong is sarplaninac and how he keeps his herd safe. Amazing video.

Dog supplies - All the supplies you need for your dog get here!

Leave a comment! - What do you think about this wonderful dog? Share your thoughts and opinions!

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    • FrancesWrites profile image

      FrancesWrites 4 years ago

      I hadn't heard of the Sarplaninac before. I like large dogs, and have been looking at Leonbergers as well as something along the lines of an Anatolian Shepherd, so I am surprised I haven't come across this breed before. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      MaryMitchell 4 years ago

      A great lens about a breed of dog I haven't heard of before - they are obviously great working dogs, but part of the family too.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I would like to have one as pet :)

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Sarplaninac was for some time very popular in Slovenia too, but with more and more people living in apartments and less and less people who can spend a lot of time outside, I am not surprised I can hardly see a sarplaninac in these days.

    • LiliLove profile image

      LiliLove 4 years ago

      Sarplaninac is a wonderful dog! I would love to have one, but they are really big and I don't want to keep my pets outside the house.

    • pumpum profile image

      pumpum 5 years ago

      @malena10: It is so great to hear that someone actually has this dog. Thank you so much for sharing that info.

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 5 years ago

      Sarplaninac is great dog, my uncle has it, we all love her. She lives outside and sometimes they take her inside. She is very loud when the storm is coming.

    • babynstar profile image

      babynstar 5 years ago

      I've never even heard of this type of dog before, it's beautiful!

    • pumpum profile image

      pumpum 5 years ago

      @greenmind: Thank you !

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 5 years ago from USA

      Beautiful dog. Nice lens, thanks.

    • pumpum profile image

      pumpum 5 years ago

      @mechanicaleye: Thank you for visiting, and I agree with you totally.

    • mechanicaleye profile image

      Eda Ċ kulj 5 years ago from Bosnia and Herzegvina

      What a beautiful dog! I wish I had one.