An imposing giant he is, the Šarplaninac. Originally bred and kept as a shepherd dog, today he wants a family with dog experience. People who can do justice to his eagerness to work and his urge to move. If you have a lot of dog experience to show and you want a strong protector, you can think about getting a Šarplaninac.
With a shoulder height of up to 62 cm and a weight of 45 kg (in bitches 58 cm and 40 kg), the Šarplaninac is a powerful dog. Its coat is long and can range from white and gray, to shades of brown and black all dun. The Šarplaninac has a very dense undercoat. Ice, snow and bitter cold cannot harm him.He has a stocky build and small ears hanging down from his head. His life expectancy is about 15 years.
The nature of the Šarplaninac is typical of a shepherd dog. Courageous and self-confident, he faces the dangers that "threaten" his herd or his family. He makes decisions independently and is also otherwise quite a self-willed contemporary.
His unrestrained eagerness to work and his herding instinct must be steered in the right direction by consistent training. The Šarplaninac needs a task that satisfies his urge for movement and also keeps him busy mentally. Long walks and "thinking tasks" are an absolute must. If you can't offer him that, your big, gentle friend will become a discontented, grumpy contemporary. Then the irritation threshold of the otherwise good-natured four-legged friend drops rapidly and he tends to aggression.
Unfortunately, this peculiarity provided the Šarplaninac with an entry in the list of potentially dangerous dogs in some countries.
The right food
As a guard dog in the barren mountains, the Šarplaninac learned to make do with what his owner brought him. This was usually not much. Originally, the meals consisted of no more than bread, milk, sheep's cheese and now and then a chunk of meat.
Nowadays, of course, you have the possibility to feed your four-legged friend healthy and species-appropriate. You can buy high-quality ready-made food and all kinds of additional treats. But even if an adult Šarplaninac can eat more than 1 kg of food a day, you must be careful that he does not become too fat.
The Šarplaninac enjoys brushing not only in spring, when the coat change is due. The best way to remove the dense undercoat is with a coarse comb or a special brush for long-haired dogs. You should also regularly check the teeth and ears.
The claws of the Šarplaninac usually do not need to be shortened. They wear off naturally.
Bathing dogs of this breed should only be done in an emergency. You would only damage the natural protective layer of the skin. In addition, the coat is extremely water-repellent, which was very suitable for the Šarplaninac in the climate of its original home.
200 sheep, plus 30 hectares of land and some free-roaming wolves and bears. This composition would be the ideal environment for the Šarplaninac. Of course, hardly anyone can offer him that today. Especially not away from his mountainous homeland.
Although he is still used as a guard dog but he can also be happy in another environment. On a farm or in a big house with a garden where he can be with his family are good conditions for the Šarplaninac.
He wants to be free to move around and have something to "look after". If it's not sheep, then it's family members or other pets. Otherwise, the Šarplaninac does not need much. A soft, sturdy collar and leash plus a small assortment for grooming and lots of time.
The original and robust quadruped thinks little of dog coats or clippers. It's better to get a few more jackets and shoes so that you can be out and about with your Šarplaninac in all weathers.
Origin & History
Šar Planina, a mountain range in the former Yugoslavia, is the original home of Šarplaninac. It is located between Kosovo and northern Macedonia. It also owes its name to its homeland. The breeding and spreading of the breed goes back to the beginning of the 19th century.
At that time, however, no uniform breed standard existed. For example, the Kaski Ovcar (a very similar looking breed from Kosovo) was also wrongly called Šarplaninac. It was not until the end of the 1930-ies that the breed was recognized by the FCI, at that time as "Illyrian Sheepdog". The name Šarplaninac has been officially given to the powerhouse since 1956 and can be found with the breed standard under this name at the FCI.
In addition to his role as a guard dog, today he is increasingly used as a guard and protection dog by the police and the military. Here he also proves his qualities as a protective colossus.
Probably the most famous representative among the Šarplaninac is "Lex". The faithful dog of the Yugoslavian Marshal Tito (1892- 1980), even saved his master's life. The clever furry nose discovered a strange package. He bravely took it in his mouth and carried it away from his master. Later it turned out that the package was a bomb. A lot of courage for a single dog.