Meet the Sarplaninac Dog, Learn About Its Puppies and More!

The Sarplaninac dog is a large canine with dense hair covering the entire body. The coat usually grows to be approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in length with a bushy tail that curves.

They are very protective of their family as well as if they are given a job watching livestock. On the other hand, they are very gentle-natured, and they may not be very affectionate towards you because that is just how their personality is.

Here you will find a lot of information about the Sarplaninac dog breed. You will learn more about its history, diet, training requirements, and so much more.

Sarplaninac Dog

Sarplaninac History

The Sarplaninac dog hails from southwestern Serbia in southern Kosovo and the northwestern region of Macedonia. The dogs were bred to work in the mountains. The Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) initially registered the breed as the Illyrian shepherd dog but later accepted the new Sarplaninac name in 1954.

This breed was known for its ability to guard livestock. It is said that the Sarplaninac is a descendant of the Molosser dog breed, which is like an ancient Mastiff-type dog.

Currently, they are one of only two breeds recognized by the Yugoslavian Kennel Club. The breed has diminished somewhat in its native lands but has been exported to Canada and the United States since 1975. The move was intended to provide another way to control the threat of coyote populations.

A fun fact you might find interesting is that the Yugoslavian army employed these dogs in their military in the 1920s.

Nowadays, you can find this breed worldwide, and it has been successful here in the United States. This breed was recongised but the UKC in the year 1995.


The Sarplaninac is a large dog breed that can weigh between 60 to over 80 pounds. This breed has a long body and a long muzzle. You will notice that the ears stay next to the side of your dog’s head.

Feathering is expected along the legs and underbelly. The thick fur covering gives the Sarplaninac a husky appearance. The nose does not protrude but looks large. Well-muscled forearms hint at the strength of the dog. Sarplaninac breeders often describe their dog’s expression as keen.

Sarplaninac Dog

Sarplaninac Coat

One of the first noticeable things about this dog breed is that it is very fluffy. It has a lot of fur all over its body. The coat of this breed is actually a double coat which means it is very thick and able to keep your dog warm even in very cold climates.

Shaving your dog is not recommended because it can actually harm your dog. In addition, this breeds coat is specifically designed to protect your dog from the outside weather elements, so shaving your dog during the hot summer months can be a problem.

Below you will see various colors that Sarplaninac can possibly come in. Your dog may be a solid color or could come in multiple colors.

What Colors Do They Come In?

Sarplaninac puppies are born with the following coat colors:

  • Gray
  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
  • Fawn
  • Sable
  • Dark Brown

These colors could be blended or solid. This breed is recognized as one of the few flock guard canines that can be found in non-white solid colorations. Also, your dog can have either brown or amber-colored eyes.


Sarplaninac puppies grow into good flock guarding dogs.  Unlike other breeds, this canine is not affectionate towards its human masters. Instead, its lovelies with the flock it was bred to protect. In addition, natural traits established through selective breeding have given the Sarplaninac intelligence and the ability to think independently.

It lives for its job, which the breed takes very seriously. While working, the Sarplaninac dog will investigate anything that appears out of the ordinary and is more than willing to confront larger threats.

Even though they are not ideal house pets, this breed is highly devoted to sheep guarding and will quickly adapt to new arrangements and new livestock.

Height & Weight

The average Sarplaninac dog stands 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) with a weight of between 55 to 88 pounds (25 to 39 kg).

Sarplaninac Puppy

Health Problems of the Sarplaninac

No notable health conditions plague the Sarplaninac dog; however, the breed is at a higher risk for injury that sometimes comes with working situations.

Hip Dysplasia – Hip Dysplasia is always a concern for larger breed dogs. However, this can be prevented by knowing if your dog’s parents had hip dysplasia and their hip score. This can give your dog some pain, especially in the hip area where it will not correctly connect to the bone or socket.

Bloat – If your dog overeats too fast, fills with a lot of fluids, or even excess gas, it could cause bloat. Bloat makes the stomach twist, and this can be very troubling and an emergency situation.

Arthritis – Arthritis is a type of joint pain that can occur in multiple places on the body. It can be very painful, so I suggest getting your dog checked out by a veterinarian.

Obesity – You will need to watch out for this as your dog could overeat and actually become obese. Make sure you are feeding your dog the correct amount of food based on its weight.

Patellar Luxation – This is a knee cap condition in which the knee joint gets dislocated, and it will get out of place and, of course, put your dog in pain.

Before purchasing a puppy, make sure you have chosen a reliable breeder to purchase a dog from. Also, learn about your puppy’s parent’s health history to better understand your dog.

Life Expectancy of a Sarplaninac

The average Sarplaninac will live approximately 11 to 13 years. This is a fairly long time for larger dog breeds. However, this is a purebred dog, so the bloodlines are very controlled, and typically the life span is spot on with purebred unless they pass away from a medical reason.

Living Conditions

The first-time dog owner that wants a loving, affectionate companion will be disappointed by the Sarplaninac dog. This breed is designed to work, making it a poor choice for the first-time dog owner. Even though they aren’t affectionate with humans, the Sarplaninac is an extremely good flock guard.

The Sarplaninac dog requires outdoor space. Therefore, this is not a pet for an apartment, condo, or small dwelling. The breed is really only recommended for households in the country with livestock to work.

This is also not a curl-up-on-the-bed kind of companion. The Sarplaninac has no problem sleeping outside. The thick coat keeps this canine warm in cold weather.

They can be difficult to train at first because the breed is naturally stubborn. However, they are very loyal to their family and protective over them. They may not be very affectionate to you or children, but they are gentle and will let you pet them and hug on them.

Sarplaninac Dog


Every Sarplaninac dog needs a lot of exercise. The best way to get it is to give the dog a job to do. They love to run free and will generally do so on their own with no need for scheduled play sessions with the owner.

In fact, the dog really prefers to burn off energy working. However, this dog breed can be very sedentary, so you may have to convince your dog to come outside.

Of course, you can always do other things with your dog, giving it some exercise. There are a variety of fun things to do with your dog to give both of you exercise.

Sarplaninac Diet

A big dog is going to need a lot of food! Your Sarplaninac will consume four and a half cups of food a day! This will typically cost you between $2.50 to $3.00 a day in food costs. This can run you around or over $75.00 a month!

If you are using your dog for work purposes such as working on a farm herding, you may want to give your dog a working breed food formula instead of just large dog breed formula.

You can always consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s food requirements if you have some concerns about it. You can also feed your dog your own high-quality homemade dog food or even a raw diet. Make sure you know about your dog’s nutritional requirements before doing that.


The Sarplaninac dog has a thick coat, so the grooming maintenance for these dogs is considered medium maintenance. This breed needs brushing every few days, if not daily! You can use a slicker brush or even a firm bristle brush to get some of the shedding hair.

Their ears are big and floppy and covered by a lot of hair, so it would be best to check them weekly for dirt and wax build-up. This will be helpful in preventing ear infections.

Also, if your dog’s nails are not trimmed down naturally from their outside work, then you will need to trim them yourself. Finally, always check for any signs of concern on your dog’s coat or body. If anything looks suspicious, you should bring them up to your vet.

Sarplaninac Training

You should undoubtedly consider basic training because this breed has natural herding instincts. You may find your dog actually trying to herd you or perform little nips as it would to the livestock it is herding.

Basic obedience training would be a good idea to teach your Sarplaninac. It is also important to socialize your dog at an early age to get it used to the people in your family and other pets. This breed can be protective, so socialization is a must.

This breed is very smart, so it should be easy for you to train it if you are consistent. Come up with a training schedule; that way, you can stick to it. Of course, you can always hire someone to do the training for you.


Sarplaninac Puppies

If you are looking for a Sarplaninac puppy, I suggest purchasing from a breeder. Breeders are the best way to get your dream dog. Talk to a few breeders and ask them questions that will show to you that they have good breeding practices and can give you a healthy puppy.

These puppies grow fast and very big, so make sure they are getting all the required nutrition. For more specific information, you can ask your local veterinarian. Also, remember to keep up to date on all of your dog’s shots and heartworm pills to keep them happy and healthy!

Sarplaninac Litter Size

The average litter size for this type of breed is between five and seven puppies. Prices from experienced breeders can range from $1,500 to $2,000. Remember to always purchase from a reputable breeder instead of a puppy mill.

Key Takeaways

In this section of my articles, I like to give you key points from the article. Below are some of the main things you should know about this dog breed.

  • The Sarplaninac breed comes from an ancient dog breed called the Molossar, which is a mastiff type of dog.
  • This is a large dog breed that can weigh up to 80 pounds.
  • The Sarplaninac dog has a very fluffy appearance due to its very thick coat. This coat is important as it protects the dog from the outside weather elements.
  • You will want to beware of the few health conditions that this breed can have. All of them can be easily managed with the help of the vet.
  • Your dog should get most of its exercise doing its various jobs with the livestock but in case it doesn’t, make sure you take your dog outside for at least one hour of exercise a day.
  • The Sarplaninac needs about four and a half cups of food per day. Make sure you split up that food into multiple meals throughout the day.
  • Make sure when your purchase a Sarplaninac that you do so from a reputable breeder.
Sarplaninac Puppy Sitting


Here you will find some common questions that people have about the Sarplaninac dog breed and the answers.

Are Sarplaninac’s Good Pets?

Yes, the Sarplaninac is a good pet, but it is important to keep in mind that this breed is very work-oriented, which means the breed focuses more on that than anything else. Once you successfully bond with your dog, you will find that it is a great family companion, just not as loving as other dog breeds may be.

Where is the Sarplaninac Dog From?

The Sarplaninac natively comes from Serbia in the North Macedonia area. Nowadays, this breed can be found worldwide.

Does a Sarplaninac Shed?

Yes, this breed does shed hair, but it is considered to be lower maintenance than other dog breeds out there. They shed because the breed has a double coat, and loose hairs can build up and cause shedding. One way to combat this is by having a good grooming brush and brushing your dog daily or weekly.

Other Names

This dog breed has a few other names that it has been called by, here are a few of them:

  • Dog of the Sar Mountains
  • Sar Mountain Dog
  • Yugoslav Shepherd Dog
  • Illyrian Shepherd Dog

Close Relatives of the Sarplaninac

These other breeds are very similar to the Sarplaninac dogs in a few ways. To learn more check these breeds out:

  • Balkan dogs
  • Caucasian Shepherd dog
  • Karakachan
  • Akbash
  • Greek Shepherd

Leave a Comment