Sarplaninac: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Serbia, Macedonia
Shoulder height: 65 – 75 cm
Weight: 30 – 45 kg
Age: 10 – 12 years
Color: solid from white, tan, gray to dark brown
Use: guard dog, protection dog

The Sarplaninac is a typical livestock guardian dog – very alert, territorial and likes to act independently. It needs consistent training and must be socialized early – then he is a loyal companion, a reliable protector, and a guardian of house and property.

Origin and history

The Sarplaninac ( also known as the Yugoslav Shepherd Dog or Illyrian Shepherd Dog) is a dog breed from the former Yugoslavia that accompanied the shepherds in the area of ​​Serbia and Macedonia as a herd guard dog. It protected the herds from wolves, bears, and lynxes and was also a reliable guardian of the house and yard. It was also bred for military purposes. The first official breed standard was established in 1930. In Europe, the breed only spread after 1970.


The Sarplaninac is a large, powerful, well-built, and stocky dog. It has a straight, dense top coat of medium length that is more luxuriant on the neck and tail than on the rest of the body. The undercoat is dense and richly developed. The coat of the Sarplaninac is one color – all shades of color are allowed, from white to tan and gray to dark brown, almost black. The fur is always a shade darker on the head, back, and flanks. The ears are small and drooping.


Like all livestock guardians, the Sarplaninac is a decidedly territorial dog that treats strangers with suspicion and reserve. However, it is very patient, loving and loyal to its own family. It is very alert and confident and needs clear leadership. Since it has been trained and bred for years to protect a herd completely independently and without instructions from humans, the Sarplaninac is correspondingly idiosyncratic and used to making decisions itself.

The Sarplaninac is not a dog for beginners. Puppies need to be socialized very early and be introduced to everything foreign. With careful socialization, however, it is a pleasant, extremely frugal, and also obedient companion, who will always retain his independence.

The Sarplaninac needs a lot of living space and close family connections. It loves the outdoors, so it’s happiest in a home with a large lot that it’s allowed to protect. It is not suitable as an apartment or purely companion dog in the city.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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