Aleksa is right. I forgot to mention that even back in the day, the dogs were sepereated by color, size blah blah blah. For instance, the Zlatan, or golden, sar were typically some of the largest while aslo being some of the softest.
While the ridji type were usually the smallest of the bunch, but considerably sharper.
If you all look at the profiles, look for a dog breed called the macedonian karaman and the tetovo sheepdog... both are called sub types of the greater sarplaninac breed.
To answer your question redeagle..
The reasons why i can see that breeds like the tibetan mastiff and co and saint bernard, great dane and mastiffs were crossed in.... is that its plain and simple... Its no secret that in lesser developed countries, people will try to make a living doing ANYTHING. So when they see how the western world is infatuated with the giant fluffy dogs like the leonberger and newfies and such, they decided to throw that into their stock for 2 reason, A being to make them appear ""more interesting to the eye"".. meaning bigger size, bigger mane, much thicker and longer coats... and B, to soften them up, seeing as us in the western world feel the need for everyone to get along and that no dog should act aggressively at all. These 2 reasons worked to make them have a viable PRODUCT that has cashed in as of late.
Also, as with other breeds... Some of the breeders of these and other breeds keep 2 different types of dogs around. One being the softer, more politically correct version that is used to generate revenue, and the Other, Traditional type, being of the true mountain type and temperament.
These guys have changed for the same reason that the co, pitbull and even lab has changed. As a society we are so screwed up that we have NO clue what we want, and when we have a good thing going, we try to add something to it to make it better, inevitably making it worse and shooting ourselves in the foot. If i personally had to choose... my choice in type would be like this... The original type, then arx and gaia and debar, then the karaman and goran.... The others, i dont have too much use for or care about.
The cold hard truth is that this breed is in real danger of becoming a blanket shell of its former greatness, due to how ignorant the breeders are being, slleing gsd co mixes as sarplaninac, the world losing its true value of earning a days wage and earning a living, and as it says in Dan's signature, when confronted by wolves, the Sarplaninac shows us how to stand tall.