History & Overview
The Sarplaninac (pronounced as shar-pla-NEE-natz) is an ancient dog still widely used in the mountains to protect flocks against predators. The breed is named for the Sarplanina Mountains in what is now South Western Macedonia and Eastern Albania and is sometimes called the Greek shepherd dog, Yugoslavian sheepdog, or Illyrian Sheepdog, depending on where it is found. The breed was registered with the F.C.I. in 1939 as “Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog Sharplanina”.
According to legend, it was once unknown outside the mountains, and, in fact, it could not be exported from Yugoslavia until 1950. Now it is a recognized breed and is sold in both the United States and Canada.
The Sarplaninac has a good disposition and is reliable, protective, but not snappy. He is incorruptible and devoted to its master. This is a working breed that needs a job in his life. The Sarplaninac is easily trained and always looks forward to training sessions and activities. He responds best to positive re-enforcement. Being very territorial, he has strong guard dog instincts and will not hesitate to attack an intruder. Male Sarplaninacs do not mix well with one another and often fight to move up the rank order.
Sarplaninacs are quite large dogs weighing between 66 and 99 pounds, but they seem much bigger because of their heavy bones and thick coats, which come in a wide range of coat colors, from white to black, often with large spots, but is predominantly a dark gray or tan dog.