Sarplaninac are an amazing breed of dog that were originally developed to be livestock guardians. Although each one is unique and different, Sarplaninac share a few personality traits across the breed, here are their top 5 temperament traits.


1. They are intelligent

Sarplaninac are highly intelligent animals and require sufficient mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored and destructive. Being a working breed, they are very happy to have a job and can surprise you with how cunning they are. They are quick to assess situations and will react swiftly if they suspect an intruder or predator.


Watching for movement on the hillside


2. They are independent

Sarplaninac are able to work without supervision and are more than happy to spend a majority of their time with their flocks with limited human interaction. From my experience, if socialized, they do enjoy attention, but will also be very content to be outside doing their own thing / watching over their property. They will not necessarily be awaiting your next command like a German Shepherd, or begging for your attention like other needier breeds.


Working together to guard their flock


3. They are loyal

To their masters, the loyalty of a Sarplaninac is unwavering. They are typically very suspicious of strangers in the absence of a trusted family member. With an even keel, they are calm and steady guardians; however, if they perceive a threat, they are quick to react. With the flock or family, they are known for being very tender and gentle.


Looking at the family for cues


4. They are fearless

With the job of fighting off bears, wolves, and other predators, the Sarplaninac has to be a fearless guardian in order to succeed. Although they are not the largest of the available options for livestock guardian breeds, they are characterized as having immense strength, accompanied by a large set of teeth, making them a force to be reckoned with when confronting predatory animals.


Barking at a threat beyond the fence


5. They are dominant

Being the independent thinkers they are, Sarplaninac are not very subservient. They require a strong leader, but not a domination driven relationship. To own a Sarplaninac is to have a Sarplaninac as a partner, and they will respond best with mutual respect and positive reinforcement training. They are a fairly stubborn, strong and dominant breed, and therefore not recommended to new dog owners who are unfamiliar with handling large breeds.



Summary:

Sarplaninac are highly intelligent, independent, loyal, fearless and dominant. They embody these traits out of necessity through the type of work they were originally bred to do – protect others from threats. Whether you have a Sarplaninac in a working situation or as a companion animal, you can expect to see some of these traits. They are amazing animals, and every encounter with one is special.

Portrait of Lucas, the Sarplaninac, keeping an eye out at camp | Photo by @adventuresoflucasboy