(in ; ; Serbian Cyrillic
The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for the Serbian language, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two standard modern alphabets used to write the Serbian language, the other being Latin...
: Шарпланинац), (literal translation: [Dog] of the Šar Mountains
or Šar Mountain Dog
) also known as Sharplaninac
, Illyrian Shepherd Dog
or Yugoslav Shepherd Dog-Šarplanina
is a dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....
of the livestock guardian
A livestock guardian dog is a domesticated canine used to defend livestock against predators. LGDs are commonly referred to as "sheep dogs" since they most often have guarded flocks of sheep, but most are capable of guarding other species of livestock. They are classified as pastoral dogs...
Dog types are broad categories of dogs based on function, with dogs identified primarily by specific function or style of work rather than by lineage or appearance....
originally from Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...
The Šarplaninac is a large, strongly built dog. The body is slightly longer than the height at the withers
The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of a four-legged animal. In many species it is the tallest point of the body, and in horses and dogs it is the standard place to measure the animal's height .-Horses:The withers in horses are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the...
, and the front legs account for approximately 55% of the height. The head is large but proportional to the body, with dark eyes.
The Šarplaninac is a robust, well proportioned dog with plenty of bone, of a size that is well above the average and with a thick, long, rather coarse coat that emphasizes the short coupled appearance. They are about 38–55 kg and 70 to 82 cm. Although much larger dogs do exist which can reach up to 80 kg - most of these "giants" are probably of mixed breed origins and probably not pure.
All Šarplaninac are solid in colour: fawn, iron grey, white or almost black; usually sable or gray with darker "overalls" on the head and back, the undercoat being paler. The colour need not be completely uniform, and most Šarplaninac have several different shades of the same colour fading into one another. There are no bicolours and no uniformly black-coated dogs among purebreds, but odd-coloured specimens do exist. The dogs must not have large white patches in their coat.
The temperament of the breed is described as independent, reliable, protective but not snappy, incorruptible and devoted to its master. The breed is aloof with outsiders, and calm until a threat to the flock presents itself. The breed has a extremely protective nature. In the absence of a flock of sheep, the Šarplaninac will often treat its humans as sheep - herding them away from danger or undesirable areas. They are serene and majestic, gentle with children and smaller dogs. They are also highly intelligent and bred to work without human supervision while guarding the flocks in the high pastures. Young pups can kill small animals until trained not to hunt.
Like many of its cousin Mountain dog
Mountain dog is a generic form of canidae, dog, dog breed or landrace typically from mountain environs.They are often a working dog, particularly a livestock or flock guardian or farm dog. By and large, these dogs tend to have a claimed Molosser dog in their genetic heritage...
s, the Šarplaninac is a very serious and dedicated guard dog. Due to this, they are naturally suspicious of strangers and will need good socializing at a young age to lessen this innate personality trait. They are calm and gentle with their family but when faced with danger they become a formidable foe, not a suitable breed for all. Consistent and firm training is essential to ensure compliance.
The Šarplaninac (Yugoslav Shepherd) is a reserved and intuitive breed, stubborn and undemonstrative, but properly trained and handled with authority, it excels at a variety of tasks. Dog-aggression and wariness of strangers are common traits of the Šarplaninac, which is why early socialization is of utmost importance. Heavily-boned and muscular, the dog has a full top-coat, with an abundant dense undercoat, making it weatherproof and suited for an outside life.
The Šarplaninac has been known to fight or chase off a wolf
The Eurasian Wolf , also known as the, European, Common or Forest Wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf which has the largest range among wolf subspecies and is the most common in Europe and Asia, ranging through Mongolia, China, Russia, Scandinavia, Western Europe and the Himalayan Mountains...
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...
and even Balkan bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...
The breed can also work cattle and serve as a guard dog.
They were first used as military dogs in 1928 by the army of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and later under Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...
in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....
. Today it's used by Military of Serbia
The Serbian Armed Forces are the armed services of Serbia. They consist of the Serbian Army and the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence...
as guard dog in mountain regions.
Since 1975, successful exports have been carried out to the United States and Canada to control coyotes, and is now gaining recognition as a hard-working, able flock guard in those countries.
Its origin is not clear; it is believed that their ancestors were the ancient Molosser
Molosser is a category of large, solidly-built dog that includes several breeds, probably all descended from the same root stock. The name derives from Molossia, a subregion of ancient Epirus, ancient Greece, where the large shepherd dog was known as the Molossus.The proper noun "Mastiff", however,...
dogs of Greece and the livestock guarding dogs of Turkey. The breed was initially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale
Fédération Cynologique Internationale is an international federation of kennel clubs based in Thuin, Belgium. The English language translation, World Canine Organisation, is not often used.Its goals are described in Article 2 of their regulations:...
(FCI) in 1939 as the Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....
n Shepherd Dog, after the Ancient name of the region. In 1957, at the request of the Yugoslav Canine Federation (JKS), the FCI changed the name to Yugoslav Shepherd Dog-Šarplaninac, after the Šar Mountains (Šar Planina
in South Slavic languages
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...
) where the breed is most common. The image of the Šarplaninac is featured on the reverse
Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags , seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse...
of the Macedonian 1 denar
The denar is the currency of the Republic of Macedonia. It is subdivided into 100 deni . The name denar comes from the name of the ancient Roman monetary unit, the denarius...
coin, issued in 1993, and on the emblem of Dragaš
Dragaš is a town and municipality in the Prizren district of southern Kosovo. The population of the town is approximately 33,584, that of the whole municipality is estimated at 33,584...
, a town in southern Kosovo, located in the Šar Mountains region.