The Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog – Sharplanina, also known as Šarplaninac is an old breed, grown in southeastern mountain regions of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Today the Šarplaninac is grown throughout the whole country. It was registered in FCI in 1939 under number 41 and the name Illyrian shepherd dog (Illirski Ovcar). The board of the FCI approved the proposal of the Yugoslavian Cynology Federation for changing the name of the dog. Puppies for sale of this breed are rare and an adult dogs are mainly used as guards of herds of cattle farms.
Specialist still argue about the origin of this beautiful animal. Most likely it has occurred in Europe from Middle Asia during huge migrations of the past eras. A natural form of the breed is preserved only in those regions of the Balkan peninsula, where intensive farming is still prevalent and where shepherd can perform its role of protector and guardian of cattle against predators.
The Šarplaninac is a healthy, balanced dog with massive bones, huge size, and with a long, thick, coarse hair. This breed has a sturdy construction. Height is between 58 and 63 cm and their weight - from 25 to 36 kg. The Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog has a large muscular body covered with straight and harsh to touch coat. Coloration may be a single colored black, yellow, brown and gray, or in a combination of above colors. Head has rounded cheekbones and square muzzle. Eyes are dark brown and ears are dropping. Limbs are large, and tail is long and fluffy.
Character and behavior
This is a flock-guard that should be occupied all the time. It is not as affectionate toward humans, as it is for the herd. It possesses and independent character and incredible guarding abilities. It is usually very calm, but in extreme situations, becomes ferocious and extremely dangerous. It is obedient, but only to the one it chooses.
Training and education
Šarplaninac is independent and stubborn dog. It has highly developed protective instincts and is suspicious to strangers. Educating it is a real challenge, because it is very capricious. You should be calm, patient and firm. Show your puppy that you are the leader of the pack, to avoid unwanted behavior in future. The best method of training is a combination of strong hand and praise.
Representatives of the breed are distinguished with great health. Of course, like most large breeds, they also could suffer from dysplasia, joint problems and overweight. Average life expectancy is about 12 years.
Grooming and care
Apartments are not the best home for the Šarplaninac because these dogs need more space and movement to spend their energy. Appropriate owners for them are active families who have experience in breeding dogs, because they are very capricious and their training is also difficult. Their fur needs only combing, but relatively rare. Bathing should done only when necessary.
Children and other pets
The Šarplaninac is independent and stubborn dog. It may have problems with other dogs, so it requires early socialization and good education. Dogs of this breed are a suitable company for older and educated children. They are suspicious of strangers and may even show aggression.
In the past, some scientists believed that the Šarplaninac originated from Asia, but now the widespread opinion is that its region of origin is in the Balkan peninsula, namely - the mountains of Macedonia - Shar Planina, Korab, Stogovo, Bistra and Mavrovo. The Yugoslavian Sheperd Dog has adapted to harsh conditions of the Macedonian mountains, where it lived for centuries.
There are some cases when this huge dog successfully defeated 2 or 3 wolves, trying to protect the herd and its owner.