Canine Breed Menu



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Breed Organization
United Kennel Club (UKC)
Native Country
Former Yugoslavia
Other Names
Sar Planina Sheepdog, Illyrian Sheepdog, Yugoslav Shepherd Dog, Sharplaninec, Sarplaninac, Yugoslav Mountain Dog
Life Expectancy
Approximately 11-13 Years
Litter Size
Average 5-7 Puppies
Breed Group
Flock Guard
Breed Appearance
The Sarplaninac is a large, strongly built dog. The body is slightly longer than the height at the withers, and the front legs account for approximately 55% of the height. The head is large but proportional to the body, with dark eyes.

Breed Description
Breed Description
Head: Size in proportion to body. Slightly convex skull. Straight bridge. Stop not pronounced. Broad muzzle.
Ears: Medium size. Drop, v-shaped, hanging flat against the cheeks.
Eyes: Almond-shape. Dark or light chestnut color. Black rims.
Body: Slightly longer than tall. Broad neck without dewlap. Deep chest. Ribs moderately well sprung. Belly well tucked up. Sloping croup. Topline slightly sloping from withers to croup. Broad back.
Tail: Long, narrowing at the tip, curving in the form of a saber. Thick feathering.
Hair: Long, thick, fairly coarse on the neck (collarette), body, back of legs and tail (feathering). Short on the head and the front of the legs. Short, fine, very thick undercoat.
Coat: Solid color. Any shade ranging from white to dark brown. Greenish gray (iron gray) and dark gray preferred. Pied or white markings not permissible. On all pigmented dogs, the darkest hairs are on the top of the head, neck, and body, lighter shades on the lower body and on the legs.
Size: Dog: average 62 cm. (24.5 in).Bitch: average 58 cm. (23 in).
Weight: Dog: 35 to 45 kg. (77-99 lb).Bitch: 30 to 40 kg. (66-88 lb).

This breed's name is taken from the mountain in southwest Yugoslavia where it originated, the Sarplanina. This breed is believed to have been bred by shepherds in the region around 2,000 years ago to protect their flocks of sheep from predators such as wolves and bears. Some writers hold that this breed was brought to Europe from Asia during times of migration and may be descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. Registered by the FCI in 1939, first under the name "Illyrian Sheepdog" and later, in 1957 as "Sar Planina Sheepdog", this breed has spread throughout all of Yugoslavia and is becoming more popular in other countries, particularly France where it arrived in 1980.

This loyal, gentle, calm, sensible dog is completely devoted to his owner. He is not easily swayed. Alert, with a strong defensive instinct, and distrustful, even potentially aggressive toward strangers, the Sarplaninac is an exemplary guard dog. Be aware that this extraordinarily courageous dog will never retreat. He also exerts his dominance over other dogs. His strong personality demands early training.

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This dog can adapt to living indoors, but he needs access to wide, open spaces and a lot of exercise. This dog despises solitude. Weekly brushing is required; daily brushing during seasonal shedding.

Flock Gaurd, Herder, Pet.

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