sarplaninac breed information
common health issues
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.