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Sarplaninac Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about Sarplaninac so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Guard Dogs
Popularity Rank525
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Sarplaninac dog profile picture
OriginSerbia flagSerbia Macedonia flagMacedonia
Other Names
What other names does the Sarplaninac have?
Illyrian Shepherd DogYugoslavian Shepherd DogMacedonian Shepherd
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?

Sarplaninac Size and Weight

Is a Sarplaninac small, medium or large dog?

How big do Sarplaninac get?

What is the average size of a Sarplaninac?

How much does the Sarplaninac weigh? How much should a Sarplaninac weight? What is the normal weight of a Sarplaninac? How much does a full-grown Sarplaninac weight?
Male: 55-80 pounds (25-36 kg), Female: 45-70 pounds (20-32 kg)
Average Weight
What is the average weight of a Sarplaninac?
Male: 67.5 pounds (30.5 kg), Female: 57.5 pounds (26 kg)
How tall is the Sarplaninac? Sarplaninac height:
Male: 22-24 inches (55-61 cm), Female: 21-23 inches (54-59 cm)
Average Height
What is the average height of a Sarplaninac?
Male: 23 inches (58 cm), Female: 22 inches (56.5 cm)

Sarplaninac Price and Availability

How much does the Sarplaninac puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of a Sarplaninac in the United States? How much money is a Sarplaninac?

Where to buy a Sarplaninac with a good pedigree?

If you choose to purchase the Sarplaninac, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places. If you have a Sarplaninac for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the Sarplaninac gets to a happy place.
How easy is it to get a Sarplaninac? How many Sarplaninac are there in the world?
Rare: You may rarely see each other in everyday life, but you might catch a glimpse of each other at dog shows.

There are very few of them, and there have been times when they have almost drifted to the brink of extinction, so few are left.

Sarplaninac Trainability and Intelligence

Intelligent Rank
How smart is the Sarplaninac? Is the Sarplaninac breed dumb or smart?
Average: It takes patience to teach this breed any tricks or commands, but the effort is worth it. They understand and remember new commands after an average of 25-40 repetitions.

The Sarplaninac ranks average in the intelligence ranking of dogs.

Are Sarplaninac dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training? How hard is it to train a Sarplaninac?
Sarplaninac dogs are quite easy to train. Sometimes they can be challenging, but if you're consistent in teaching new commands they will obey for sure.
Watchdog Ability
Is Sarplaninac good as a watchdog? Are they alert at night?
Sarplaninac dogs are good watchdogs. Their main job is to observe and they're consistent in their effort. Good vocal cords and a sense of hearing belong to them. Usually, they're territorial and protective about their property, so the Sarplaninac dogs will alert you if they sense something different.
Guarding Behavior / Territorial
Do Sarplaninac dogs have aggressive behavior to protect their home/house/territory? Do they have guarding instincts?
Sarplaninac dogs are extremely protective guard dogs. This breed doesn't hesitate to protect its territory so the Sarplaninac can be a good choice if you want an excellent guard dog. Keep calm and the Sarplaninac will take care of unwanted people or animals.

Sarplaninac Personality and Temperament

What kind of personality does the Sarplaninac have? What characteristics or traits does the breed have?
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? Sarplaninac sensitivity:
Sarplaninac dogs have an average emotional level and are not the most sensitive dog breed. Sometimes it's okay to change the daily routine, have guests and listen to loud music.

Some dogs handle moderate punishment very well, while others crumble apart at a dirty look. This breed is not affected emotionally by moderate punishment.

Affection Level
How affectionate are they? Is a Sarplaninac a good family dog?
Average to High: Sarplaninac dogs are highly affectionate dogs. They like being involved in the family's life. This breed isn't considered an aloof dog.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the Illyrian Shepherd Dog need? Sarplaninac social needs:
Sarplaninac dogs need for social interaction is average. This breed likes being around people or other animals, but they don't mind being left alone for a few hours either.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the Sarplaninac to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does Sarplaninac roam?
The wanderlust potential of the Sarplaninac is strong enough to escape from home. They have a strong desire for exploring the world. Safer to walk them on a leash unless you teach them how to get back to you on command.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does Sarplaninac have high prey drive?
Sarplaninac dogs have a higher impulse to chase and catch something than other dog breeds. Cats or any other small animals might be in danger. It's a natural instinct, doesn't necessarily mean that Sarplaninac dogs are aggressive. Better to keep this breed on a leash.

Sarplaninac Activity and Playfulness

How playful is this breed?
Sarplaninacs are not the most playful dog breed. Sometimes they do like playing, but that's not their favorite activity.
Do Sarplaninac dogs bark a lot? Are they barkers/noisy? Why does my Illyrian Shepherd Dog bark?
Low to Average: The Sarplaninac rarely barks. This breed could be a good choice if you're looking for a quiet breed. They don't bark unless there is a good reason.

Top reasons for barking: protection, alarm, fear, boredom, attention-seeking, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking.

Apartment Friendly
Is Sarplaninac good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat? Can you have a Sarplaninac in an apartment?
Not an apartment-friendly dog the Sarplaninac breed. If you don't have a garden, think carefully about your decision, keeping Sarplaninac indoors can cause a lot of problems.

Sarplaninac Adaptability and Independence

Are they adaptable and easy-going?
Average: Sarplaninac dogs adapt to lifestyle changes and different living environments quite okay usually.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
How long can a Sarplaninac be left alone? How long can you leave a Sarplaninac alone?
Just like every puppy, they are prone to panic, cry, bark, whine when they left alone by their owner. With proper socialization and quality time with the dog can solve this problem.

Sarplaninac Bite Characteristics

Bite Force PSI
Does the Sarplaninac has a hard bite? What is the bite force of a Sarplaninac? How much bite force does a Sarplaninac have? How strong is a Sarplaninac bite?

Between 200 and 400 PSI

Sarplaninac bite force: Ordinary. Bite force Sarplaninac measurements typically fall within the range of 200 to 400 PSI. The bite force of a Sarplaninac is considered ordinary when compared to other dog breeds, but it is still quite powerful. This Sarplaninac bite force PSI can cause bite wounds. Sarplaninac bite PSI is not something that should be feared if the dog is well-trained and managed. To avoid any issues, it's essential to learn how to train a Sarplaninac puppy not to bite from an early age.

The Sarplaninac, and many others, have a fearsome presence because they have significant jaw strength, so it is important not to anger the dog and have it around strangers until it is fully trained.

However, they are usually quite calm and good companions, they work well in families and are easy to care for.

In conclusion, while the Sarplaninac bite force is certainly an interesting aspect of the breed, it is important not to let it overshadow the many other reasons why these dogs are so loved and respected. With proper training and socialization, a Sarplaninac can be a loyal and protective companion for your family.

Biting Potential
Do Sarplaninac bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the Illyrian Shepherd Dog? What are the odds of getting bitten by a Sarplaninac? Why do dog bites happen?

Low 🔽

The Sarplaninac has a low chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the Sarplaninac do?
Sarplaninac dogs have an average tendency to nip, chew, playbite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but Sarplaninac dogs need to be taught a good attitude.

Sarplaninac Health and Lifespan

Health Issues
Is it a healthy or unhealthy breed? Do Sarplaninac dogs have health problems or genetic diseases?
Sarplaninacs are commonly healthy dogs. Vet costs aren't expensive with this breed.
Health Problems
What genetic/health problems does the Sarplaninac breed have? What are the health issues and concerns of the Sarplaninac breed? Most common health risks of Sarplaninac:
Hip Dysplasia BloatDrug Sensitivity
Veterinarian Visits
How often does the Sarplaninac breed need to go to the vet? How often should you take your dog to the vet? How often should the Sarplaninac see the vet?
The Sarplaninac should have a complete physical check-up at least every 12-18 months (but preferably once per year). If your dog shows any symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy
How long do Sarplaninac dogs live? How old can a Sarplaninac be? What is the age limit of the Sarplaninac? How many years can the oldest Sarplaninac live?

What is the average life expectancy / lifespan of a Sarplaninac?

How long is the lifespan of a Sarplaninac?

11-13 years
The average lifespan of Sarplaninac: 12 years
Weather and Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot or cold weather and climate?
Prefers cold weather
The Sarplaninac can adapt well to harsh weather conditions, and also can be a good mountain dog. Dogs can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia in extremely cold weather, so it is important to take precautions to keep your dog safe and comfortable during the winter months.

Sarplaninac Energy and Activity

Energy Level
How much energy does the Sarplaninac have? What is the activity level of the Sarplaninac?
Sarplaninac dogs are high-energy dogs. An active lifestyle makes them happy.
Activity Requirement / Exercise Need
How much exercise does a Sarplaninac need? How much exercise do Sarplaninac dogs require per day?

Do Sarplaninac dogs need a lot of exercises?

Sarplaninac dogs need a lot of exercises. Long walks should be on a daily schedule. If you live an active life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does the Sarplaninac breed need?
Sarplaninac dogs don't need too much sleep. They are energetic and desire to live active life. If you think naps are overrated, this breed can be the best choice for you.

Sarplaninac Diet and Weight Management

Average daily food consumption
How much food does a Sarplaninac need? What dog products should I buy? How much food does a Sarplaninac breed eat per day? What is good dog food for Sarplaninac? How much food should I feed my Sarplaninac?
2.5 to 3.5 cups of a high-quality dog food daily, divided into two meals.
Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity
How easy to gain weight for this dog? Sarplaninac risk for obesity:
Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Sarplaninac's weight, he can easily gain weight. More than one daily walk should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding.

If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the Sarplaninac weight regularly.

Sarplaninac Allergies and Grooming

Coat / Hair Types
What type of coat does the Sarplaninac have? What does this canine coat/fur look like?
What color is the breed's coat? What color are proper Sarplaninac coats?
BlackGray White FawnSable
How to groom the Sarplaninac and how often? How often should I take my Sarplaninac to the groomer?
Easy to groom: The Sarplaninac doesn't require a lot of grooming. Seasonal flea treatment is needed, but cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer isn't necessary.

Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections. Sarplaninac is a good choice if you don't have the time, skill, or money to take care of a high-maintenance dog.

Recommended for beginners.
Shedding Level
How much do Sarplaninac dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the Illyrian Shepherd Dog? Do Sarplaninac dogs shed a lot?
Sarplaninac dogs shed moderately. It's a natural process of the hair growth cycle. Regular brushing reduces the amount of hair that sheds. It mostly depends on their health status and breed type.
Bath Time / Bathing Frequency
How often does the Sarplaninac need a bath? How often should you give a Sarplaninac a bath? Can I bathe my Sarplaninac every day?
3-4 weeks
More often than average. These dog coats tend to be longer, softer, and oilier than short-haired breeds. While a good bath every now and then is a great way to keep your buddy from becoming overly smelly, be mindful about overbathing.

Bathing will wash away your dog’s natural oils, while a simple brushing every few days should keep them clean.

Is the Sarplaninac breed hypoallergenic?
Sarplaninac dogs don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reactions. Some dog breeds are even considered to higher possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?

Low 🔽

The Sarplaninac has a low chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling Tendency
Does the Sarplaninac drool?
The Sarplaninac drools quite a lot, so if you dislike being covered by slobber spots on your clothes, you may want to choose another dog breed. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Certain dog breeds drool more than others, just like the Sarplaninac.

If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

Sarplaninac Good With

Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do Sarplaninac dogs get along with other pets? Are Sarplaninac dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
Sarplaninac dogs usually don’t get on well with other pets.
Stranger Friendly
Are they aggressive or friendly towards/with strangers? Sarplaninac temperament with other people:
Sarplaninac dogs are not the most stranger-friendly dogs.
Child Friendly
Are Sarplaninac dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? Sarplaninac temperament with children:
Sarplaninac dogs are average friendly dogs towards children.
Cat Friendly
How well do Sarplaninac dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats? Can they be good with cats? Can the Sarplaninac breed live with a cat?
Sarplaninac dogs are not the most cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is Sarplaninac good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do Sarplaninac dogs get along with other dogs?
Sarplaninac dogs are average friendly towards other dogs.
Good For First Time Owners
Is Sarplaninac breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners? Is Sarplaninac breed suitable for first-time owners?
Sarplaninac dogs are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
Office Friendly
Are Sarplaninac dogs good office canines? Do Sarplaninac dogs make good office-friendly pets? Can they be office dogs?
Sarplaninac is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do Sarplaninac dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the Illyrian Shepherd Dog temperament with senior people? Are Sarplaninac dogs good for elderly owners?
Sarplaninacs are commonly okay with elderly people.

Sarplaninac As a Working Dog

Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a guide dog? Are they used as seeing-eye dogs?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Sarplaninac is not the best breed for service purposes.

Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a therapy dog? Are they good anxiety dogs? Can a Sarplaninac be an emotional support animal?

Not really

This breed is generally not used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and people with anxiety disorders or autism.

Sarplaninac is not the best breed for therapeutic purposes.

Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a sniffer dog?

Not really

They are not typically employed for this type of work, but there may be exceptional cases. A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.

Sarplaninac is not the best breed for detection purposes.

Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a search and rescue dog?

Not really

This dog breed is not typically used as a search and rescue dog. The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people.

The Sarplaninac is not the best breed for SAR purposes.

Boat and Sailor Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a boat dog?

Not really

Sarplaninac breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.

Boat dogs were typically bred for their strength, stamina, and water resistance, as they were often required to perform tasks such as pulling in fishing nets, and jumping into the water to retrieve ropes or lines, or helping to move cargo.

Sailor dog is a type of dog that was bred to accompany sailors on their voyages. They were typically used for three purposes: as a working dog, a watchdog, and as a companion. A boat dog is a term used to describe a type of dog that was traditionally bred and used as a working dog on boats.

Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can Sarplaninac be a drafting dog?


A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination.

Sarplaninac breed is a good choice for drafting purposes.

Fighting Dog / Military Dog
Where Sarplaninac dogs used as fighting / military dogs in history?

Not really

In history, this breed was not really used for combat dog.

Sarplaninac Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long is a Sarplaninac pregnant?How long does it take to have puppies? How to tell if the Sarplaninac breed is pregnant?

60-64 days

Reproductive cycle of the female Sarplaninac: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days.

During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge.

The second part is the Estrus when the female is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days.

The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color.

The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the female’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating.

The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.

Litter Frequency

Once a year.

More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the Sarplaninac have in a litter? How many puppies can the Sarplaninac breed have for the first time? How many puppies does a Sarplaninac have? How many puppies can a Sarplaninac give birth to?
3-5 puppies

Sarplaninac Recognition

AKC Group
Is Sarplaninac recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Not recognized by the American Kennel Club.
FCI Group
Is Sarplaninac recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Not recognized by FCI.
Breed Recognition
What kennel clubs and organizations recognize or register the Sarplaninac breed?
American Canine RegistryDog Registry of America Inc.Federation Cynologique InternationaleAmerican Canine Association, Inc.Continental Kennel ClubNational Kennel ClubUnited Kennel Club

Sarplaninac Pros and Cons

  • Health Issues: Sarplaninacs are commonly healthy dogs.
  • Grooming: Easy to groom: The Sarplaninac doesn't require a lot of grooming.
  • Stinkiness: The Sarplaninac has a low chance of bad smell.
  • Watchdog Ability: Sarplaninac dogs are good watchdogs.
  • Good For First Time Owners: Sarplaninac dogs are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
  • Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog: A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling.
  • Hypoallergenic: Sarplaninac dogs don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reactions.
  • Apartment Friendly: Not an apartment-friendly dog the Sarplaninac breed.
  • Drooling Tendency: The Sarplaninac drools quite a lot, so if you dislike being covered by slobber spots on your clothes, you may want to choose another dog breed.
  • Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity: Average to High: If you don't pay attention to the Sarplaninac's weight, he can easily gain weight.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: The wanderlust potential of the Sarplaninac is strong enough to escape from home.
  • Cat Friendly: Sarplaninac dogs are not the most cat-friendly dogs.
  • Office Friendly: Sarplaninac is not the best dog breed for office environment.

Sarplaninac History

The Šarplaninac is an ancient Molosser type breed, which can trace its origins back to the mountain region of the South-eastern parts of the Balkans, known as Roman as Illyria, today this region is known as Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania. The breed was originally bred to be a working dog, guarding the livestock, and shepherding the flocks for many centuries around the farms. Moreover, the dogs were often used to protect the livestock and fight off any predators like wolves, lynxes, and even bears.

The breed is known to be developed more or less naturally, without any serious planning and human intervention. According to some sources, the Šarplaninac is one of the oldest native breeds in the world. Thus, the Šarplaninac’s exact origins and ancestry are largely unknown due to the lack of documentation and records. Although, it is believed by most of the experts, that the Šarplaninac is descended from the ancient Molossian dogs from Greece, and the livestock guarding dogs against Turkey. Given the breed’s large size, their dominant appearance, and natural protective behavior, it is not shocking that the Šarplaninac have also been used by the military in various roles, including patrolling prisons and guarding important areas. Thanks to the breed’s impressive stamina and their tireless working nature, which fascinated their owners for centuries out in the fields, they began to be very popular in the Balkan region.

The FCI recognized the breed relatively early on, in 1939, they registered the Šarplaninac under its former name, Illyrian Shepherd Dog. Later, in 1957 their name was changed to Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog Sharplanina, after the Sharplanina mountain range, where the breed was most commonly found at that time. Captivatingly, the most recent breeding happened in the 1970s, when the process was completely controlled by the state, and every international export was prohibited for the dogs. This practice really limited the dogs’ possibility to become popular overseas. Many sources state that the first specimen of the Šarplaninac exported to the United States of America was brought down from its mountain on top of a mule, although it is difficult to prove, that this theory is true or not.

Nowadays it is still common for dogs to perform all kinds of activities around the farm, including shepherding and guarding roles in their native countries. In the USA and in Canada, the breed remains in rarity, nonetheless, there are some cases where the breed is used to fight off wolves and wild coyotes. Even though the breed is an ancient one, the AKC (American Kennel Club) did not recognize the breed yet, but the UKC (United Kennel Club) registered the Šarplaninac in 1995 and categorized them within their Guardian Dog group.

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Sarplaninac Comments, Reviews and Questions

  • steve k

    Jan 1, 2021, 8:47:58 PM:

    Fantastic dog. Would recommend. Especially to farmers/herders