As a sheepdog, the Sarplaninac has a defensive and protective function of what is entrusted to its care – the herd, property, master, and members of his family. However, the way it performs the assigned tasks defines it as a shepherd dog.
Is training required? – No!
It is a natural-born guardian who makes decisions independently, but keep in mind that the Sarplaninac is a lazy and stubborn dog. Don’t expect it to bring you the ball 10 times in a row, because it’s much smarter to save your strength for a bigger challenge – an attack by a beast or unknown people.
Is this dog breed for you? Let’s find out …
Sheepdog vs Shepherd
Maybe you didn’t know but there is a difference … Sheepdogs live with sheep, and they’ll move through the herd without causing commotion or anxiety because the sheep are used to their presence.
- no predatory appearance;
- big body type;
- lower percentage of independent decision-making;
- the main participant in the “event”, not an observer;
- oriented toward carrying out direct orders.
When the herd is threatened by a predator, magic happens as these dogs are ready to give their utmost to eliminate the danger. [¹]
The shepherd dogs are used for moving and herding the sheep!
How to recognize them? They are mostly medium-sized, with rougher heads (male), agility is the stronger side, and pointed ears (like a V).
A classic shepherd’s body style is very similar to a wolf (or fox), so a predatory look is very likely when they meet a stranger.
We come to the conclusion that sheep maintain a small distance from shepherds when they notice them inside the herd.
How does the Sarplaninac perform these tasks? Usually, one or two dogs go in front of the herd and then stop to wait for their friends. Other dogs follow the herd from the side and behind.
This movement formation creates problems for predators because they cannot easily reach prey.
The Sarplaninac has a calm temperament, good-natured, but very sharp! However, it is very important to differentiate between a fearful (biting) dog and a balanced one.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Barking dogs seldom bite”. Why? It is more likely a bad guys:
- unstable mental state;
- showing teeth when barking;
- cramped body and stiff movement;
- folded tail between the legs;
- they are hiding behind the owner;
- susceptible to bribery when the danger is over.
Dogs like this should not be bred any further, no matter how beautiful they are. That is why breeders and cynological judges have a big responsibility, who have to adequately punish undesirable behavior.
The breeder will give such a dog to a friend or find a new home where it will be a pet and nothing more! The kennel judge will thank the competitor for its participation and disqualify the dog from the show ring.
How to recognize the Sarplaninac with a great character? – Very simple.
You have noticed the shepherd dog that is highly compliant with FCI Standard N 41 and you want to test it. Start slowly approaching your desired goal … At some point, you will see that the dog has spotted you and starts growling slowly (no barking!).
When you take a step forward the growl gets a little louder, and a few steps back there is silence. Raise your hand suddenly and simulate an attack! If you got the expected reaction, congratulations.
You have found a priceless treasure.
At the beginning, I emphasized that training is not necessary for the Sarplaninac to be a good guardian. Just when you think it’s going to bite a stranger’s arm, the target becomes a leg. Something that is not acquired through training but by birth!
However, socialization is necessary.
Our furry friends are in a natural environment because the kennel is surrounded by the Juhor mountain and the Morava river (between them are large spaces and nature).
How and in what way we do the socialization of the puppies, I cannot reveal the details for understandable reasons, but at one point – we go to the city (Paracin).
The puppy comes to my apartment and that’s where the beautiful side of the story begins.
We are exploring a new environment where my buddy will have the opportunity to see: buildings, traffic jams, soccer fields, factories …
Can I Keep the Sarplaninanac Dog in the Apartment?
It depends on you and your lifestyle. If you are ready to devote attention to your furry friend every day, my answer is YES. What does it mean?
The dog won’t be locked up all day, morning and afternoon walks in the city and endless love from other family members.
Now someone will ask a logical question – tropical temperatures up to 40 degrees? Don’ t forget that we live in the 21st century, and the air conditioner is not the greatest invention of civilization.
If a German Shepherd can live in an apartment, I see no reason why an (urban) Sarplaninac can’t.
Let’s go back to the beginning – a lazy and dominant dog. Far greater challenges are our daily activities and organization of time.
Wolf Killer Dog
This is a topic that causes a lot of attention on the internet, but also a smile on my face. I don’t want to generalize things and include other breeds of dogs in a broader analysis, but some stories sound like fairy tales.
We must not underestimate the wolf, a wild beast that can cover 40 miles in a single day. The Sarplaninac has a 1v1 chance only in the following cases:
- young (inexperienced) wolf in a fight;
- visible injuries on the wild animal’s body;
- a wolf that is used for filming movies (maybe);
- an old wolf with a large weight loss (malnutrition) who will soon leave this world.
This is our opinion based on vast experience in raising these dogs. No one can convince me that there is a dog that will emerge victorious against the wolf in the video.
What Are the Odds Against a Bear?
If we’re talking about a 1v1 situation, the maximum is “buying time” until the owner escapes or finds a firearm. However, the three (outstanding) sarplaninac dogs can provide serious resistance that will cause the bear to run in the opposite direction.
Consider this a big win because the primary goal is to defend the herd right? If a canine were to follow the wolf/bear in the forest, it would get into a trap.
TOP 5 Reasons to Buy Sarplaninac
- Perfect for families with kids – With its calm demeanor and protective instincts, the Sarplaninac will quickly become a cherished member of your family.
- Loyal and protective – working dogs with a natural instinct to protect their family and home.
- Low-maintenance creatures – they are relatively low-maintenance compared to other breeds.
- They’re versatile – these shepherd dogs are adaptable to a variety of lifestyles and can be trained for different jobs (we are big opponents of such training, but it is possible).
- Rare and unique – a very rare breed of dog with a unique character.
Namely, based on historical data, it is believed that the ancestors of Sarplaninac originated from Moloses from Tibet from where they set off for an endless journey, accompanying their masters. The highest quality dogs are found in the Balkans (today).
If you hear or read sharplaninatz, Yugoslavian shepherd or Illyrian dog somewhere, know that it is the same breed.
The average height is 73 cm. It is desirable that the weight is 60% of the dog's height (withers).
You can get a puppy in different ways. A friend makes you happy with a birthday present (the price is 0 $). By going to animal shelters, you get the opportunity to adopt a sarplaninac puppy. The price ranges from $50 to $350 (or more). Those who decide to buy a puppy from a reputable kennel must dig deep into their wallets.
Is the Sarplaninac dog right for you? The answer depends on several factors such as temperament, size, age, lifestyle, etc.
In Europe, the most popular breeds include German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Bulldog, Belgian Malinois, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Doberman Pinscher. There are also some rare breeds like the Italian Mastiff, Tibetan Spaniel, Shiba Inu, American Eskimo Dog, and Lhasa Apso.
However, there are other types of pets that are less common but equally beloved. One of these is the Sarplaninac!