The Furry Critter Network

Yugoslav Shepherd Dog Breed Description

Back to Canine Breed Menu


Breed Organization

United Kennel Club (UKC)

Native Country
Former Yugoslavia

Other Names
Sarplaninac, Sar Planina Sheepdog, Illyrian Sheepdog, Charplaninatz, Sharplaninec, Yugoslav Mountain Dog

Life Expectancy
Approximately 11-13 Years

Litter Size
Average 5-7 Puppies

Breed Group
FCI-Flock Guard

General Description

The Sarplaninac is a large, strongly built dog. The body is slightly longer than the height at the withers, and the front legs account for approximately 55% of the height. The head is large but proportional to the body, with dark eyes.

The Sarplaninac 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. According to the FCI breed standard males should weigh between 77-99 lbs. with females slightly smaller at around 66–88 lbs. The average height is quoted as 24 in for males with females at 23 in. The coat is dense, about 4 inches in length, and can be rough or smooth.

All Sarplaninac are solid in color: fawn, iron grey, white or almost black; usually sable or gray with darker "overalls" on the head and back, the undercoat being paler. The color need not be completely uniform, and most Sarplaninac have several different shades of the same color fading into one another. There are no bicolors and no uniformly black-coated dogs among purebreds, but odd-colored specimens do exist.

Breed Standard

Head: Size in proportion to body. Slightly convex skull. Straight bridge. Stop not pronounced. Broad muzzle.
Ears: Medium size. Drop, v-shaped, hanging flat against the cheeks.
Eyes: Almond-shape. Dark or light chestnut color. Black rims.
Body: Slightly longer than tall. Broad neck without dewlap. Deep chest. Ribs moderately well sprung. Belly well tucked up. Sloping croup. Topline slightly sloping from withers to croup. Broad back.
Tail: Long, narrowing at the tip, curving in the form of a saber. Thick feathering.
Hair: Long, thick, fairly coarse on the neck (collarette), body, back of legs and tail (feathering). Short on the head and the front of the legs. Short, fine, very thick undercoat.
Coat: Solid color. Any shade ranging from white to dark brown. Greenish gray (iron gray) and dark gray preferred. Pied or white markings not permissible. On all pigmented dogs, the darkest hairs are on the top of the head, neck, and body, lighter shades on the lower body and on the legs.
Size: Dog: average 62 cm. (24.5 in).Bitch: average 58 cm. (23 in).
Weight: Dog: 35 to 45 kg. (77-99 lb).Bitch: 30 to 40 kg. (66-88 lb).


This breed's name is taken from the mountain in southwest Yugoslavia where it originated, the Sarplanina. This breed is believed to have been bred by shepherds in the region around 2,000 years ago to protect their flocks of sheep from predators such as wolves and bears. Some writers hold that this breed was brought to Europe from Asia during times of migration and may be descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. Registered by the FCI in 1939, first under the name "Illyrian Sheepdog" and later, in 1957 as "Sarplaninac", this breed has spread throughout all of Yugoslavia and is becoming more popular in other countries, particularly France where it arrived in 1980.


This loyal, gentle, calm, sensible dog is completely devoted to his owner. He is not easily swayed. Alert, with a strong defensive instinct, and distrustful, even potentially aggressive toward strangers, the Sarplaninac is an exemplary guard dog. Be aware that this extraordinarily courageous dog will never retreat. He also exerts his dominance over other dogs. His strong personality demands early training.

This dog can adapt to living indoors, but he needs access to wide, open spaces and a lot of exercise. This dog despises solitude. Weekly brushing is required; daily brushing during seasonal shedding.


Flock Gaurd, Herder, Pet.


No Information Available

Back to Canine Breed Menu

Featured Rescues

"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"

laptop pro


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

laptop pro


If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)

laptop pro

Rescue Me

Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.