sarplaninac breed information

common health issues

Elbow dysplasia is actually a collective term which refers to the effects of one or more diseases of the elbow joint which result in pain and arthritis. Many of these problems can affect both elbows and result in forelimb lameness and elbow pain, often requiring surgical correction.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

GDV describes a condition whereby a dog's stomach becomes dilated with air and then, while dilated, twists over on itself, effectively sealing the stomach. The most common sign of bloat is a firm, distended stomach, especially if it seems to occur rapidly. GDV is one of the true life-threatening emergencies in dogs and many cases require emergency surgery.

Clinical signs of hypothyroidism are caused by a decrease in normal thyroid activity. In congenital hypothyroidism, puppies will have stunted growth and other abnormalities. A blood test confirms the disease and treatment with thyroid hormone supplements is lifelong.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the ligaments stabilizing the knee joint. Rupture of this ligament leads to joint instability and is the most common orthopedic problem in the dog. Pain and lameness result from both partial and full cruciate ligament tears, and surgery is recommended to prevent progression of joint disease.

The precise origins of the Sarplaninac (pronounced shar-pla-NEE-natz) are unclear, but theories abound that she descends from either the ancient Molosser dogs of Greece, cattle dogs that migrated west from Asia, or the livestock guarding dogs of Turkey. She gets her name from the mountain Shar Planina, located in the Balkans, which stretches from Macedonia and Yugoslavia to Albania. The Sarplaninac developed in a harsh region that remained devoid of other dog breeds for centuries, and the resulting dog is a naturally fearless shepherd and guardian. Today, in addition to her traditional duties, she is used as a military dog in the mountain regions. The breed’s full registered name is “Macedonian-Yugoslav Shepherd Dog – Sharplaninec”, and her image appears on currency in both countries.

When the Sarplaninac was brought from her mountain environment to be domesticated, she evolved slightly to become a little shorter, with a lighter, less coarse coat than her hardy cousins. She is still large, though, ranging from 80 to 120 lbs., with a heavy, thick coat. Dogs that still work on the mountain of Shar Planina may be any color, with or without a mask, but more urban breeders prefer solid grey dogs.

The Sarplaninac is still very much a natural guardian dog, intelligent and independent, and she requires a well-seasoned owner who can serve as a leader for her. Socialization is very important from a young age to help her overcome her natural suspicion of strangers. She is devoted, gentle and calm with her family, but when she feels threatened, she will immediately try to protect her “flock”.

Despite her hardiness, the Sarplaninac is still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect her health, and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Sarplaninacs are prone to include stomach conditions such as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV or bloat); joint conditions such as cranial cruciate disease and elbow and hip dysplasia; and thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism.

Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Sarplaninac inherits anything more than a large family tree, you’re protected.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)