Sarplaninac Information

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(Sar Planina, Illyrian Sheepdog, Charplaninatz, Yugoslav Shepherd Dog, Yugoslav Mountain Dog, Ovcarski Pas Srbije I Crne Gore) The Sarplaninac is a large, sturdy breed whose round head ends in a long, rectangular muzzle. The breed has medium size eyes which are usually dark brown. Their ears are large and lie flat to their head; the tips are slightly rounded. Their chest and body appear to be very broad, but that broadness is an illusion created by their thick fur. Large legs and huge round feet support their heavy body. Their tail is large and bushy while their coat is furry and thick. Their fur comes in many colors, including white, gray, black, or tan which can be mixed or solid.

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The Sarplaninac is an independent and strong willed dog. Family is not the main focus of this breed; they are more interested in their flock. They do get along with children in their family. However, they do not trust anyone - friend or stranger - and are overly protective of animals on their property. Their intelligent nature does not make them good at training because they are often very defiant. Any animal living on their property will be under their protection which makes them good herders but not necessarily ideal companion animals.  The breed is always calm and quiet in the house, yet energetic outside.

Sarplaninac dogs selected for breeding must have a calm and even temperament. They are naturally protective, highly territorial, and have a moderate prey instinct. They are generally devoted to one person and should be loyal to all members of the family. Naturally wariness of strangers and incorruptibility is one of their most important characteristics. Knowing the characteristics of a Sarplaninac dog, it is very important to start socialization at an early age. They should be exposed to as many different social situations as possible so that their actions will be predictable in the future.

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22-24 inches
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55-80 pounds
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General Health

The Sarplaninac has an average life expectancy of about 11 to 13 years.  Because the breed is not common, any serious health problems common in these dogs is not known.

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The Sarplaninac originated in Macedonia where they worked with as a shepherd dog in the Shar Planina mountain range.  In fact, the dog is named after those mountains.  In 1930, the Sarplaninac was recognized as a breed and is one of only two dogs who have gained such recognition through the Yugoslavian Kennel Club.  Although not as common as it once was even in its home country, this breed has been brought to North America to protect herds from coyotes and has been raised for military uses as well.

Illyrian Sheepdog is originated from mountain called Mali Sharr. Formerally known as Sharplaninac by Yugoslavia. This breed now reigns from Mali Sharr which is divided between Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Kosova. The Sarplaninac (Shar-pla-nee-natz) dog is a sheep guarding breed that originated in the remote mountain regions of Serbia. Made to protect livestock and personal property throughout the centuries, they were selected mainly for their working abilities and their temperamental soundness. The history of the Sarplaninac dog is very long and not very clear. Unlike the modern breed of dogs, the Sarplaninatc breed has been preserved unchanged throughout the centuries There are many theories in existence of how and when the Sarplaninac dogs came to inhabit the mountain region of South Serbia. One of the theories is that the Sarplaninac dog originated form the ancient MOLOSSER sheep dogs of ancient Epirus. These are ancient Tribes that lived in the Balkan Peninsula. It is believed that the Molosser dogs developed from the so called "untamable Tribetan Hounds" whose ancestors are known to be the Tibetan wolves. Sarplaninac dogs today display the uniqueness of their physical and temperamental characteristics thanks to the shepherds with whom they live. Through the centuries, shepherds from the Sara, Korab, Bistra and Kopaonik Mountain ranges, selected only those dogs that were capable of efficiently protecting livestock. With their harsh living conditions, which are worsened by the presence of large predators such as wolves and bears, which Srbia is known to have in large numbers. The shepherds needed dogs that could be left alone with the flocks in the mountains for several days; and be trusted to make the right decisions. Sarplaninac dogs got their full public and international recongition as a unique breed back in 1939 when they were registered with FCI (Federation Cynoloqugue Internationale). At that time, they wre registered as Illyrian sheep dogs, under #41. In 1957, at the instigation of the Yugoslav Cynological Association, their name was changed to Yugoslav Shep-dog SARPLANINAC (pronounced Sha-pla-nee-natz).

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All maintenance is simple with the Sarplaninac. Regular brushing about once a week is all the grooming needed.  They can take care of their exercise needs themselves. As long as they have a large farm to run and play in their energy will be released. Also training is futile because they will not listen to their owners’ commands anyway.

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Ideal Environment

The Sarplaninac is a great guard for flocks but is not the best family dog. The breed is not affectionate or loving even with their families. Children will be safe around them but not given much attention. This breed does not trust any strangers especially around their flock, which is the most important thing for this breed. This breed will not be happy if they do not live on a farm with many animals they can protect. Living in the house or outside is fine for this durable breed. They need plenty of exercise but will release it on their own by running around their rural homes and doing the job they were designed for.

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Sarplaninac Q&A

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Do Sars have the wandering tendencies of other LGD's?

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