Sharplanin Shepherd Dog (Šarplaninac)
Dog Breeds

Sharplanin Shepherd Dog (Šarplaninac)

Characteristics of Sharplanin Shepherd Dog (Šarplaninac)

Country of originSerbia, North Macedonia
The sizelarge
Growth58-62 cm
Weight30–45 kg
Age8–12 years old
FCI breed groupPinschers and Schnauzers, Molossians, mountain and Swiss cattle dogs.
Sharplanin Shepherd Dog (Šarplaninac) Characteristics

Brief information

  • hardy;
  • Strong;
  • Independent;
  • Distrustful.

Origin story

The Sharplaninskaya Shepherd Dog is a shepherd dog from the Balkan Peninsula, their homeland is the mountains of Shar-planina, Korabi, Bistra, Stogovo and the Mavrovo valley. Archaeologists have found a lot of evidence that dogs such as Molossians have lived there since ancient times. There are different versions about their origin. One says that these large shaggy friends of man arrived in these parts from the north with the Illyrians who settled in these territories. The other is that they are descended from tibetan mastiffs brought by the troops of Alexander the Great. Locals believe that their ancestors are wolves, whose family was once tamed by hunters.

These shepherd dogs were used by the locals to protect herds from predators, and also as guard dogs. Due to the isolation of pastures and difficulties with communications with other breeds, Sharplanins did not interbreed. In 1938, the breed was registered as the Illyrian Sheepdog. During the Second World War, the number of dogs was greatly reduced, but in the post-war period, dog handlers in Yugoslavia began to actively restore their numbers. Army kennels started breeding shepherd dogs as service dogs for the troops and law enforcement agencies. The export of Sharplanins as a national treasure was banned for a long time, the first dog was sold abroad only in 1970.

Initially, two varieties existed in parallel in the breed – larger dogs that lived in the Shar-Planina region, and less tall ones, which were kept in the Karst plateau region. By recommendation IFF in the late 1950s, these varieties were separated into two separate breeds. The official name of the first branch – Sharplaninets – was approved in 1957. In 1969, the second branch received its name – the Crash Sheepdog.

The current standard of the Sharplanians was approved by the FCI in 1970.

Now these shepherd dogs are bred not only in their historical homeland, but also in France, Canada, and America.


The image of the Sharplanin Shepherd Dog is placed on a coin in denomination of one Macedonian denar of the 1992 sample. In Macedonia, this dog is considered a symbol of fidelity and strength. Sharplanin is a large, powerful dog of rectangular format, with strong bones and thick long hair.

The head is broad, the ears are triangular, hanging. The tail is long, saber-shaped, richly feathered on it and on the paws. The color is solid (white spots are considered marriage), from white to almost black, preferably in gray variants, with overflows from darker to lighter.


These animals are still used to drive and guard herds both in their historical homeland and in America. Sharplanin shepherd dogs are also used in army units and in the police. Such interest in the breed is due to the fact that the Sharplanins have a genetically based strong psyche, the ability to make decisions independently, fearlessness and distrust of strangers. It should be noted that, like many large dogs, they mature quite late both physically and psychologically – by about 2 years of age. They are distinguished by devotion to one owner, they need work, in the absence of proper loading, their character deteriorates.

Sharplanin Shepherd Dog Care

The main care is that the dog receives good nutrition and moves a lot. In suburban conditions, all this is not difficult to provide. The coat of a shepherd dog is very beautiful in itself, but regular maintenance is required to maintain beauty combing. Unfortunately, Sharplanians, like almost all large dogs, have such an extremely unpleasant disease as hereditary dysplasia. When buying a puppy, it is recommended to make sure that everything is in order with health in the line of his parents.

Conditions of detention

It is difficult for Sharplanin Shepherd Dogs to adapt to life in the city. They need large spaces and freedom. But in country houses they will be happy, especially if they get the opportunity to get in and protect someone. These are kennel dogs.


There are no specialized nurseries in Russia, you can look for a puppy from individual breeders. But there are many good nurseries in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, in the USA, Poland, Germany, Finland, there is a nursery in Ukraine. The price for a puppy ranges from 300 to 1000 euros.

Sharplanin Shepherd Dog – Video

Sarplaninac Dog Breed - Facts and Information - Illyrian Shepherd Dog

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