The Sarplaninac is a mountain dog indigenous to the Sar Mountains, bordering the Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania regions, from where it also attained its name. Primarily used for guarding livestock, this breed has a large and fluffy appearance, with almond-shaped, dark eyes, a well-muscled body and a curved, bushy tail. These molosser breeds with their mighty appearance and excellent herding ability have emerged as great guard dogs.
|Other Names||Yugoslavian Shepherd dog, Illyrian dog, Illyrian sheepdog, Charplaninatz, Macedonian Shepherd, Yugoslav Mountain dog, Sarpie, Sar Planina|
|Common Nicknames||Sar, Planinac, Sarko|
|Coat||Thick and dense double coat but can also be coarse|
|Color||Fawn, white, iron gray, sable, black with the undercoat being paler compared to the top coat|
|Group||Livestock Guardians, Molossers, Mountain dogs, Guard dogs|
|Lifespan/ Life Expectancy||11 to 13 years|
|Height||22 to 24 inches|
|Weight||55 to 90 pounds|
|Litter size||3 to 8 puppies|
|Behavioral Characteristics||Intelligent, protective, loyal, devoted and gentle|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking||Though not excessive, they bark at the instant they sense a threat|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||ACR, CKC, ACA, APRI. DRA, NKC,FCI|
Though proper information remains unavailable regarding the origination of these ancient breeds, they are said to descend from the Tibetan Shepherd dogs which migrated from Asia to the Balkan region about 2000 years ago.
With the FCI registering them in 1939, they were initially named as the Illyrian ShepherDog going by the Roman name of the southern Yugoslavian belt. However, it underwent a name change in 1957, to the Yugoslav shepherd dog-Sharplaninec.
Used mostly for fighting or chasing mighty animals like bears, wolves or lynx, they are even employed as guard dogs by the Serbian military. In fact, their success rate in attacking and killing preys is greated than other livestock guardian dogs like the Great Pyrenees.
Besides the native land, their popularity has gradually spread to the U.S. and Canada where they were exported for controlling coyotes. The United Kennel Club recognized it in 1995, while it has attained recognition by the Yugoslavian Kennel Club too.
Being an out and out working dog, they have an immensely protective, dominant and independent disposition.
Their personality is versatile and unique as they display a calm, gentle behavior when in their family domain which transforms to complete aggression on encountering a threatening situation that may pose harm to their household. This intuitive breed possess a strong barking instinct, letting out a cry the moment they feel things are going in the wrong direction, a trait which thereby make them excel as efficient guard dogs.
Their level of intelligence is so commendable that they are capable of guarding herds sans the supervision of their masters.
Though friendly towards kids of the family and smaller canines, they possess a reserved attitude towards strangers. So strong is their guarding instinct that the puppies resort to hunting and killing smaller animals until trained.
Instead of cozy apartments, they do well in big country farms where they have a herd of livestock to guard. The texture of their coat makes it convenient for them to stay outside as well as bear the cold weather.
Training the Sarplaninac from its puppyhood is of utmost importance to keep their stubborn and dominant nature under control. Since they are devoted to their masters, training them in a tactful way would ensure success.
Socialization: To overcome their rigidity towards strangers, it is extremely essential to impart socialization training to the Sarplaninac puppies. Introduce it to those who are regulars at you place and implement the positive reinforcement techniques so that your dog and guests can eventually get along. They may not be the ones to cuddle with, but repeated interaction with a familiar face would make it accustomed to that particular person. It is also essential to acquaint it to various experiences so that it gradually learns to distinguish a friend from a foe.
Leash training: Keeping in mind its tendency to attack at the sight of danger, leash train the puppies well.
Obedience: Teaching it basic commands lie “Stop”, “Come, and “Wait” would help in keeping a check on its obstinate nature, also controlling its destructive habits like barking without a cause or chasing unnecessarily. In fact the commands “Sit” and “ Stay” is essential while controlling its hunting behavior.
These large dogs need to be fed on a good quality dry dog food, well supplemented with a balanced diet having essential nutrients. Cooked meat, eggs, or goat meat can even be included as a part of their food plan.