Bold, Confident, Protective
He is an imposing giant, the Šarplaninac. Originally bred and kept as a shepherd dog, today he wishes for a family with experience in dogs. People who can do justice to his enthusiasm for work and his urge to move. If you have a lot of canine experience and you want a strong protector, you can consider getting a Šarplaninac.FCI Group: Pinscher – Schnauzer – Molosser – Swiss Mountain Dogs
- Size: Large
- Weight: 45kg
- Life expectancy: 15 years
- Coat type: long hair
- Colours: white, grey, shades of brown, black
With a shoulder height of up to 62 cm and a weight of 45 kg (bitches 58 cm and 40 kg), the Šarplaninac is a powerful dog. Its fur is long and can range from white and gray to shades of brown and even black. The Šarplaninac has a very dense undercoat. Ice, snow and freezing cold cannot harm him. He has a stocky build and small ears that hang down on his head.
Its life expectancy is about 15 years.
The nature of the Šarplaninac is typical of a shepherd dog. Brave and confident, he faces the dangers that “threaten” his herd or family. He makes decisions independently and is otherwise quite an idiosyncratic fellow.
His irrepressible zeal for work and herding instinct must be steered in the right direction by consistent training.
The Šarplaninac needs a task that satisfies his urge to move and also keeps him mentally busy. Long walks and “brain exercises” are an absolute must. If you can’t offer that, your big, gentle friend will become a dissatisfied, grumpy fellow. Then the stimulus threshold of the otherwise good-natured four-legged friend drops rapidly and he tends to aggression.
Unfortunately, this trait has put the Šarplaninac on the list of potentially dangerous dogs in some countries.
As a livestock guardian dog in the barren mountains, the Šarplaninac has learned to get along with what its owner brought him. That wasn’t usually much. Originally, meals consisted of nothing more than bread, milk, feta cheese and the occasional chunk of meat.
Nowadays, of course, you have the opportunity to feed your four-legged friend healthily and more species-appropriately. You can buy high-quality ready-made food and all sorts of additional treats.
But even if an adult Šarplaninac can eat over 1 kg of food a day, you have to be careful that it doesn’t get too fat.
The Šarplaninac not only enjoys brushing in spring, when the coat is about to change. The best way to remove the dense undercoat is with a coarse comb or a special brush for long-haired dogs. You should also check your teeth and ears regularly. The claws of the Šarplaninac usually do not need to be trimmed. They wear out naturally.
Dogs of this breed should only be bathed in an emergency. You would only damage the natural protective layer of the skin. In addition, the fur is extremely water-repellent, which suited the Šarplaninac very well in the climate of its original homeland.
The Šar Planina, a mountain range in former Yugoslavia, is the original home of the Šarplaninac. It lies between Kosovo and North Macedonia. It also owes its name to its homeland. Breeding and distribution of the breed go back to the beginning of the 19th century.
At that time, however, there was no uniform breed standard.
For example, the Kaski Ovcar (a very similar looking breed from Kosovo) was incorrectly referred to as Šarplaninac. Only in the late 1930s was the breed recognized by the FCI as the “Illyrian Shepherd Dog”. The name Šarplaninac has officially borne the power pack since 1956 and can be found with the breed standard under this name at the FCI.
In addition to its task as a livestock protection dog, it is also increasingly used as a guard and protection dog by the police and the military. Here he also proves his qualities as a protective colossus.
Probably the most famous representative among the Šarplaninac is “Lex”. The loyal dog of the Yugoslav Marshal Tito (1892-1980) even saved his master’s life. The clever fur nose discovered a strange package. He boldly took it in his mouth and carried it away from his master. The package later turned out to be a bomb.
A lot of courage for one dog.
200 sheep, plus 30 hectares of land and some wild wolves and bears. This composition would be the ideal environment for the Šarplaninac. Of course, hardly anyone can offer him that today. Especially not away from his mountainous homeland.
Although he is still used as a livestock guardian dog, he can also be happy in a different environment.
On a farm or in a large house with a garden where he can be with his family are good prerequisites for the Šarplaninac.
He wants to roam freely and have something to “take care of”. If it’s not sheep, then family members or other pets. Otherwise the Šarplaninac does not need much. A soft, stable collar and a leash plus a small assortment for grooming and plenty of time.
The original and robust four-legged friend doesn’t think much of dog coats or clippers. Better to get yourself a few more jackets and shoes so that you can be out and about with your Šarplaninac in any weather.
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