The Sarplaninac (also known as the Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog) is an ancient breed, derived in Yugoslavia. He was named after the Sar Mountains, which forms the border between Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania. In the 1970s, the export of the Sarplaninac from Yugoslavia was officially banned by the law of the country. Therefore, these dogs are extremely rare outside their native land and are extremely difficult to acquire.

Height: 23-24 inches  Weight: 66-99 lbs.  Lifespan: 11-13 years


Despite its medium size, the Sarplaninac possesses extraordinary strength, and he represents an intimidating opponent. This fearless dog is well-built, muscular and very agile. Yugoslavian Shepherds are robust dogs, which can weigh from 35 to 48kg (males). Females are slightly smaller in size and can weigh between 30 and 40kg. Comparable Breeds: The Tornjak and Caucasian Shepherd Dog.


This breed does not show special tenderness or love, and so it is not suitable for the role of a family companion. On the contrary, the Sarplaninac’s thoughts and efforts are aimed at protecting the flock entrusted to him. He is extremely distrustful by nature, especially of strangers. Moreover, this breed is always ready to defend its property and family from anyone who poses a threat. It is not recommended to keep these dogs in the same household with other dog breeds and small pets. Even though Yugoslavian Shepherd Dogs communicate well with older children, they should not be left alone without supervision.

Coat / Care:

The Sarplaninac has a two-layered coat. While the outer layer is long, straight and rather coarse in structure, the undercoat is pleasant to the touch, short and very tight. The dog’s neck, tail, breech and the back of the legs are covered with longer and more luxurious locks. These dogs come in different, solid colors, such as iron grey, fawn, white or almost black. Sarplaninacs need regular cleaning, which will minimize the hair loss and remove excess hair. Bathe your dog only in case of urgent need. Since this breed is extremely rare, there is no specific data regarding health problems.


The Sarplaninac has a high level of intelligence. On the other hand, this dog breed is extremely stubborn and often chooses to obey reluctantly. Consequently, dogs of this breed cannot be socialized easily. Sarplaninacs are very independent, and if they refuse to run commands- no training can fix it.


Representatives of this breed are not suitable for living in a city apartment. Hence, the Sarplaninac thrives best on the farm, where he will have the opportunity to perform the work for which he was traditionally intended.

Photo credit: Anja Kosi/Flickr

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