The Sarplaninac originated in the southeastern mountainous regions of (former) Yugoslavia. These amazing working dogs were named after the Šar Mountains (Šar Planina), a mountain range within the Balkans that reaches from the NW regions of North Macedonia, parts of Kosovo, and NE regions of Albania. Sarplaninac translates literally to "(Dog) of the Šar Mountains" or "Šar Mountain Dog".
The original purpose of the Sarplaninac was to protect herds of sheep. They are a livestock guardian dog, which means they are a working breed meant to protect livestock from predators and other threats.
The lifespan of the Sarplaninac ranges from 10-14 years. There have been a few to live beyond this as well. Compared to other large breed dogs, the Sarplaninac have a decent lifespan.
It is important to understand that the Sarplaninac is a working breed with the instinct to guard and alarm if they feel threatened or that something is out of the ordinary. Yes, they do bark. They are not excessive barkers or considered yappy, but they will bark to alarm any potential predators of their presence, or to bring your attention to a threat.
These dogs are strong. It is imperative that you are able to maintain control over your Sarplaninac. If while on a lead, they encounter an aggressive dog or other exciting event, are you able to keep them under control? It is easy to be dragged by an untrained animal that weighs as much as you do.
Yes, Sarplaninac do in fact shed! They have a thick double-coat that works to provide them with warmth in colder climates, as well as keeping them cool when the temperature is warmer. They have a yearly blowout of this double-coat; however, with regular brushing, their coat is very manageable. NEVER shave a Sarplaninac! Their double-coats do not typically grow back correctly and can result in a dog that is no longer prepared for many temperatures. Consult a veterinarian if you are concerned about the coat of your Sarplaninac.
Surprisingly enough, the Sarplaninac does not require a ton of food. For example, a 130lbs. male with moderate daily activity will be satisfied with roughly 4 cups of food/day. They do, however, require a quality, well-balanced food that provides them with the necessary nutrition. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to keep unnecessary pressure off of joints to avoid health issues down the road. It is also important for developing puppies to not grow too fast; check with your breeder to see what kind of food they use and recommend for growing Sarplaninac puppies.
Generally, they are okay with dogs that they are raised with. If socialized with many dogs at a young age, there is potential for less dog aggression as they grow up, in my experience; however, they are also livestock guardians and have a purpose of guarding from wolves, coyotes and other canines, so they can certainly have some canine aggression in some cases.
Sarplaninac are generally good with children, especially if the dog is included as part of the family unit and children are present. It is recommended that children are supervised when with any dog, large or small. Sarplaninac puppies who do not know their size can easily knock a child over in play. A small human could also easily be dragged by a Sarplaninac, unless well trained. If a Sarplaninac is not familiar with children's different forms of play, they may also become protective if they feel their family member is in harms way.
Sarplaninac do dig! When temperatures increase, they will often dig holes to lie in and keep cool. In my experience, if you fill in their hole, they will start another. You may also need to consider reinforcing your yard if you get a Sarplaninac, as they could also go under a fence being the effective diggers they are.
Sarplaninac are bred to cover large distances while moving alongside the flock in the mountainous regions; therefore, that should be a good indicator of the amount of activity they will require. These dogs are in need of good mental and physical stimulation if they are not in a working situation / guarding livestock. When in use as a companion animal in a home setting, multiple walks a day for a minimum 30 min/each is highly recommended to keep a Sarplaninac from getting "bored" and potentially becoming destructive.
We think that Sarplaninac are as beautiful as they are majestic. Whether working to protect a flock, or a companion and guardian of the family, each Sarplaninac has their own unique personality. This gallery is a place where we like to showcase some of these amazing dogs.
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