Global Dog Breeds
Dogs A-Z Purebred



The Sarplaninac breed originated in Southwest part of Kosovo and Northwest region of Macedonia. This geographical area was once known as Illyria and was the original name for this breed. These dogs used to work in the Shar Planina mountains in modern Macedonia and thus were named after the mountain ranges. The breed got its first unique status in the year, 1930.

They have a dense coat, evenly distributed throughout its entire body. They are considered to be one of the unique flock guards and come in solid colors, other than whites. These dogs have a medium sized body with feathers on their bellies, and a bushy tail giving them the appearance of a husky dog. The tip of their nose is large, and the tail is slightly curved.


Interesting  Facts

  1. Sarplaninac is pronounced as Shar-pla-nee-natz.
  2. Built to guard the flocks, and their tribal instincts are incredibly deep-rooted in them. So much so that, a six-year-old Sarplaninac named Bruno from the USA began its journey as a guard dog to protect the sheep, and soon it was noticed that it could not be coaxed away from its barn, even to play.
  3. Yugoslavian army was the first in the world to employ these dogs in their army.

Facts About Sarplaninac

Breed Group Molossers, Mountain dogs, Guard dogs, Livestock dogs
Breed Type Purebred
Country of Origin Serbia, Macedonia
Other Names Illyrian dogs, Illyrian Sheepdog, Macedonian Sheepdogs, Yugoslav Mountain dogs
Height 22-24 inches
Weight 55-90 pounds
Competitive Registration / Qualification Information NKC, FCI, CKC, ACR
Shedding Minimal
Hypoallergenic No
Litter Size 3-8 puppies
Colour Iron grey, fawn, brown, white
Life Expectancy 11-13 years
Coat Thick & dense
Price NA

Temperament & Personality

The Sarplaninac is a working dog and needs to move its body, because of its ancestry constantly. Being livestock dogs, they are also unaffectionate towards their human counterparts, and will instead prefer to flock and guard the sheep. They have an independent strike, typical of the herding dogs. During their guarding duties, they will never hesitate to investigate a possible threat lurking around. Most importantly, they are not brainless creatures and will make friends wisely.

In recent years, the sheep and goat owners are discovering new ways to use these dogs, because of their predatory issues are disappearing slowly from the countryside. These dogs can stay happily with small children if raised with them early in their childhood. This is a tricky breed, and if mistreated, they can show their negative side also. These Illyrian dogs will not be a good fit for apartment life.



The Illyrian Sheepdog needs a  lot of physical activities. Leave them freely on the farmland, and they will themselves take care of their exercise needs by running here and there. If the owner does not want them as farm dogs, he should instead satiate their exercise need by taking them for a short trip to a dog park on a daily basis. If deprived of proper physical activities, these dogs will satiate their exercise needs by channelizing their energies in barking and growling.


They have a coat which is designed to keep them warm and comfortable in the mountainous region. Occasional brushing will do the job. No frequent trimming or stripping is needed.

Health Problems

The Sarplaninac breed can suffer from health issues such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Obesity, Ear infections, Skin allergies, Bloating, and Eye problems. Occasional tests such as X-Ray, Full body examination, Ear, and Eye tests, and Blood panel can prevent a lot of diseases of this breed.


Early socialization, leash training, and obedience training will shape a highly obedient and well-behaved dog in the future. Frequent praises and food rewards will accelerate the overall training process.


The Sarplaninacs need good quality dry dog food on a daily basis. Boiled eggs, cooked meats, or goat meat are also great options.

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