Sarplaninac Dog Breed Profile

The Sarplaninac is an old breed substantially made to guard livestock in mountainous terrain. 

The Sarplaninac looks more significant than is expected to the breed’s heavy boning and thick double coat with a slightly longer body than it is tall. 

He bears superior strength, characterized by his famous teeth and muscular build as a means to scare away potential predators. 

With v-shaped drop ears and a long tail held like a saber, the Sarplaninac has generally colored iron-gray, though any solid color from white to dark brown to black is found in the breed.

This is Hera, a three-year-old Sarpie we encountered on one of our foot patrols in northern Kosovo. She appeared pretty aloof to us as we walked by, but you could tell that she would’ve started to show some aggression if we had gotten much closer. Her proprietor had recently acquired rid of his sheep, so the dog was more interested in guarding the property.

Other Names

  • Charplaninatz
  • Illyrian Dog
  • Illyrian Sheepdog
  • Illyrian Shepherd
  • Macedonian Shepherd
  • Macedonian-Yugoslav Shepherd Dog – Sharplaninec
  • Ovcarski Pas Srbije I Crne Gore
  • Sarpie
  • Sar Planina
  • Yugoslav Mountain Dog
  • Yugoslav Shepherd Dog
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The Sarplaninac is an old guardian breed ordered from the mountainous landscape of Yugoslavia, or Illyria, as it was comprehended in the Roman age. 

The breed previously was called the Illyrian Shepherd Dog when the FCI admitted it in 1939 but was modified to the Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog Sharplanina, named after the Sharplanina Mountains, where the breed was most generally found, abbreviated to merely the Sarplaninac. 

The breed could not be shipped from his land Yugoslavia until 1970 and even then had to be brought down from the peaks by mules before being sent to the United States. 

Today, the Sarplaninac remains a community’s revered guardian and is achieving popularity among ranchers in the United States and Canada as a protector of livestock. 

The UK club has recognized the Sarplaninac as a member of its Guardian Dog Group since 1995.

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The skin of the Sarplaninac is about four inches (ten cm) long. The hair is thick and evenly spread. 

The colors are gray, white, tan, and black. 

Colors can be reliable or blended.

The Sarplaninac is one of the rare flock shields in solid colors other than white. 

The body is medium in size and bone. 

The seat is slightly curved in repose. The end of the nose is quite large but not protruding. 

However, the feathering on the underworld and legs and the bushy tail provide the appearance of a much huskier dog.

The forearm is well-boned, well-muscled, and practically vertical. 

The eyes are dark and almond-shaped. A keen, discriminatory term is characteristic.

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Serene, intelligent, and independent; the Sarplaninac has a character similar to other guarding breeds.
The breed is distrustful of strangers and brave, fast to act to any threat toward his property or human family.

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The Sarplaninac is a somewhat healthy and hardy breed. His wide double coat clears moderately heavy, so frequent brushing and periodic bathing are a must, as is regular nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing. Because the Sarplaninac is conditioned to having an abundance of the chamber to roam on a ranch or in rural areas, the breed needs lots of outdoor activities, preferably in a large fenced yard. Daily physical exercise and mental stimulation will support this independent breed from evolving destructive, as will good training and socialization during puppyhood. Stubborn and endlessly devoted to his work, the Sarplaninac does not recommend it for first-time dog owners.

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Living Conditions

The Sarplaninac is not suggested for apartment life.
It has an all-weather hide and will be pleased to live and sleep outdoors.
His temperament requires a zesty, outdoor life.
He will push the best living on a ranch with a flock to shield.

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Interesting  Facts

  1. Sarplaninac is pronounced as Shar-pla-nee-natz.
  2. Made to guard the flocks, their tribal intuitions are pretty deep-rooted. So much so that a 6-year-old Sarplaninac called Bruno from the USA started its trip as a guard doggie to guard the sheep, and soon it was glimpsed that it could not be persuaded away from its barn, even to play.
  3. The Yugoslavian army was the first to use these dogs in their army.
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The Illyrian Sheepdog requires a lot of physical activities. If denied proper physical exercises, these dogs will satiate their exercise needs by channeling their barking and growling energies.
Dump them voluntarily on the farmland, and they will themselves take care of their training needs by sprinting here and there.
If the proprietor does not desire them as farm dogs, he should instead fill their exercise need by bringing them daily for a short trip to a dog park. channeling their barking and growling energies


They have a coat devised to maintain them warm and comfy in the mountainous region. No regular trimming or stripping is required. Occasional brushing will do the job.


Early socialization, leash exercise, and obedience training will shape a positively respectful and well-behaved dog in the future. Periodic tributes and food rewards will rev the overall activity process.


The Sarplaninacs require good quality dry dog food daily. Boiled eggs, cooked flesh, or goat meat are also attractive options.

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Primary Concerns: N/A

Minor Concerns: N/A

Sometimes Seen: Hip dysplasia, bloat

Recommend Tests: Hips

Lifespan: 11 to 13 years

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Alma the Sarplaninac at two years old from Hungary “Alma is a youthful female puppy who is generally very calm. She is due to have pups soon.”

A very large black, gray and white Sarplaninac dog is laying down on a brown leather recliner chair and the dog takes up the entire chair.

Sasha is a Sharplaninec, also learned as a Macedonian Shepherd displayed here at two years old. 

She is a large breed with a long coat. 

Sasha is knowledgeable and great to train. 

She has a great character and is a perfect guardian of her owner. Her only issue is her barking. 

We are working on that, and she is learning.

A large breed black and gray Sarplaninac dog is standing outside of a square wooden building with a red roof and it is looking to the right

Hera the Sarpie at three years old

A black with tan Sarplaninac dog is sniffing the person standing in front of it. The person has one hand in its pocket and the other hand in the air. There is an old building in the distance.

This is Bear, a 6-year-old Sarpie and his proprietor near the city of Novo Brdo in southeastern Kosovo.
Bear began barking at us once we got near, but the owner reached out and convinced me to pet him.
He still appeared pretty worried about the new visitors, and I understand that if the owner hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have reached as close as I did.
When I said I had read that they were awesome sheepdogs, the owner began smiling and told me that Bear had destroyed two wolves, sure that he understood it.
You can’t catch it in the photo, but half of his left ear is missing, probably from one of those fights.

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Note: While the characteristics cited here may often describe this breed, dogs are people whose personalities and appearances will vary.
Please confer with the adoption organization for facts on a specific pet.

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