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Origin / History The Sarplaninac is a sheep guarding breed, which originated in the isolated mountainous regions of Serbia. These dogs were created to protect personal property and livestock, and were revered for their temperamental stability and excellent working abilities. The history of this breed is long and is quite unclear. Unlike other modern breeds, the Sarplaninac is still the same as it was centuries ago. There are various theories trying to explain when and how the Sarplaninac dogs came to reside in the mountainous region of Serbia. One of the theories is that these dogs descended from the ancient Molosser sheep dogs from ancient Epirus.

Throughout the centuries, shepherds from the Korab, Kopaonik, Sara, and Bistra mountain ranges selected and used only the dogs that were efficient in protecting livestock. In Serbia, the dogs had to work amid harsh living conditions and the presence of predators. It was important for the shepherds to choose dogs that can be left with the flocks for several days and have them make the right decisions. Sarplaninacs were up to the task. In 1930, these dogs became recognized as a distinct breed.

Appearance Sarplaninacs are sturdy and large dogs with a body that is slightly longer than it is tall. The muzzle of these dogs is long and rectangular. They have large ears that lie flat on their head, and medium-sized eyes that are generally dark brown in colour. The chest and body of these dogs seem very broad, but this appearance is simply due to the thickness of their fur. They have large legs, and feet that are huge and round. The tail of these dogs is bushy and large, while their coat is thick and furry.

Colours The coat of these dogs can come in a wide variety of colours, including gray, tan, white, and black. These dogs can have a mixed or solid coat.

Temperament Sarplaninacs are strong-willed and independent, and they care more about their flock than their family. They do, however, get along well with children that they were raised with. These dogs don't trust easily, and they tend to become overly protective of the animals under their care. Outside the house, these dogs are lively and energetic, but when inside, they are quiet and calm.

Height and Weight These dogs have a height that ranges from 22 to 24 inches, and a weight that falls between 55 and 88 pounds.

Common Health Problems There are no known health problems specifically associated with this breed. The illnesses affecting Sarplaninacs are those affecting other breeds as well.

Living Conditions Sarplaninacs are not recommended for apartment dwellers. These dogs can sleep and live outdoors. They have an all-weather coat that will protect them. It's best for them to live on a farm where they have a flock to protect.

Exercise Requirements It's best for these dogs to be given a job to do. When they are not actively working, they should be taken out for a long, daily walk. If these dogs are not given enough exercise, they may develop behavior problems.

Training Requirements These dogs may be defiant at times. They need owners with strong leadership skills, who can make them see that humans are higher in pack rank than animals. These dogs are intelligent, and when properly trained, they can be very obedient. Training and proper socialization should start at an early age so that these dogs will grow up to be well-mannered pets.

Life Expectancy These dogs can live for approximately 11 to 13 years when properly cared for.

Grooming Owners should make it a point to brush the coat of these dogs occasionally to get rid of loose and dead hairs. Bathing these dogs should be done only when they smell bad or are excessively dirty already.

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