Sharplaninac... and the variations

Wolf's Breed profile is probably the most accurate complete summary of the breed and the breed types that you will find anywhere. I have a forum post "A Few Words about the Sarplaninac" in which I summarized some of the contradictory and misinformation I have been told about the breed based on my travels in Serbia and discussions and personal meetings with several people very knowledgeable about the breed. Some of the issues that are controversial and contradictory kind of parallel those of the CO. These would be two good places to start to get the Cliff Notes overview of things.
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    • Wolf's Breed profile is probably the most accurate complete summary of the breed and the breed types that you will find anywhere. I have a forum post "A Few Words about the Sarplaninac" in which I summarized some of the contradictory and misinformation I have been told about the breed based on my travels in Serbia and discussions and personal meetings with several people very knowledgeable about the breed. Some of the issues that are controversial and contradictory kind of parallel those of the CO. These would be two good places to start to get the Cliff Notes overview of things.
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        • Well... Im not the best person to do this, but i will get it started. You have the Military type: The working type: The obvious mix bred type: The fighting variety: You have the Albanian variety: Goranian variety: They are all so different, that we would need Wolf, Aleksa, Dan and some others to go into the nitty gritty differences between the types, other than what meets the eye. I hope this has helped in some way to get this started. Mike
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            • Well babs, Considering that this dog is of the original sarplaninac type... what do you think??? :wink: As far as them all being sar's... id have to say, yes. I mean, in the most basic meaning of the word Sarplaninac, any dog from the Shara mountain is a sarplaninac, as it means dog of Shara mountain. As for them all being of the same actual sarplaninac breed.... id say no. I mean, the militray dogs do not look like arx or gaia or debar, in turn arx and gaia and debar do not look like the albanian variety or goranian variety, and do i really have to mention the mix breds?? Now, in order for you to truly get your answer, you'd have to actually read the profiles for each Sarplaninac, Albanian Shara mountain dog, Goran Shepherd and the Karst sheepdog. They all come from the same basic ancestors, but they have ALL had different ""additions"" based upon their regional differences, the differences in the cultures of the people who kept them, and their uses. It is known that the military Shars have GSD blood and Co blood running through their veins. It is known that the Albanian variety has had fighting mastiffs and bull and terriers mixed in for the fighting aspect. It is also known that there are breeders crossing spanish mastiff and all kinds of other monsters into their lines to make a more impressive and interesting looking dog to win shows, which in essence, is the TOTAL OPPOSITE of what a sarplaninac is. The Sar is one of the SMALLEST LGD breeds out there. Back not to long ago, big males were only 26-27 inches,and now we are seeing them as tall and taller than Co. The sarplaninac having to fight off wolves and bears and dogs and people much larger than itself developed what only real Sar fanciers have seen... a Certain controlled rage that is 2nd to none when the have been pushed into the need to protect. In fact, i have been told by MANY sarplaninac fanceirs that the main difference between a co and a sar is that when in a fight or confrontation, a co gets mad and as the fight goes on, it gets tougher... while the sarplaninac starts out as tough as it will ever be, but gets angrier and much more punishing when the fight goes into ""extra"" rounds if you will. They also developed HUGE canine teeth, which combined with the sar rage while in a fight, does MASSIVE amounts of damage very quickly, causing them to be VERY successful LGD breed. Also, Sarplaninac has been and still is used for not only guarding, but Herding. I hope that this has been helpful. Mike
              • Wow, I can't believe thsi breed has undergone such changes! How did the original dog defeat wolves!? In another thread I read that Sars weigh(ed) around 80 lbs. and crnosrce1 says the seldom exceeded 27 inches! How big are wolves in the Balkans?
                • From what i have seen on tv and heard from people... The wolves in the balkans are very different than their north american counter parts. They are not as tall, but they have much more powerful builds overall, thicker neck and shoulders, broader more powerful jaws, and they are NOT afraid of man... It is quite cool to see though, that dogs bred as Livestock Guardians, their size, builds and attitudes go hand in hand with the predators they will encounter. Look at the co, the bears and wolves are bigger, and have harsher environment than in the balkans... making a bigger, more ""on"" dog. Mike
                  • though shorter, the more powerful build of balkan wolves sounds like even more a reason for the Sar to be a larger dog. Timber Wolves and their southern variants have long legs for covering wide tracts. Think about the danger they present. The topography of the Balkans sounds like it makes for more robust creatures. Also, while 2,000 years means a lot more for dogs than it does man, LGDs of that region used to also contend with bears, as well as lions. Add to the fact that it's much more competitive in Europe than NA, and you realize what a bad ass that "little" dog is.
                    • Redeagle, the sarplaninac is NOT the only LGD from the balkans. You have the carpathian, the tornjak, the karst, durimitorac, and most importantly the Serbian Sylvan. All these dogs are LGD, and while some are the same size and even smaller than the sar, there are lgd like the Sylvan which are MUCH larger. It all depends on the particular regional beliefs and preferences AND the current dog population which usually determined which ""breed"" they ended up with. How ever, most common, was just a generic ""sarplaninac"", or any lgd of mix breed heritage, just so long as the damn thing would work successfully. Some were giants, some weren't much bigger than rottweilers. Also, there were different TYPES of lgd. Meaning, you had the LGD who would WARN of attack, and keep the predators at bay the best they could, and then you had the Volkodav/Vukodav type, which were usually kept leashed to the shepherd himself, and when alerted by the warning barks of the others, they would be set loose to actually engage, and many times kill, the threat. Not every LGD has what it really takes to fight a wolf or bear. Sometimes their barks work, and sometimes they don't, the heavy artillery is let loose, if you will. Also, when comparing the size of the wolf to the size of the sarplaninac... they are pretty much the same. Meaning that a combination of man's knowledge, natural selection and genetics came to the conclusion that the size of the sarplaninac was substantial. Also, seeing that these dogs are longer than they are tall, and do have slightly wider chests than most lgd for their size, that equates to MASSIVE power combined with great leverage, making it VERY effective at what it is meant to do. This was a point i meant to bring up earlier, but forgot. Just because WE, as modern day humans, THINK that dogs need to be bigger than they are to succeed at certain jobs, does NOT mean we are right. Just because you can get a 39 inch tall 270 lbs CO, does NOT mean he will be effective as an LGD. Just because you can get Sarplaninac 32 inches and almost 180 lbs, does NOT mean he can cut the mustard in the mountains. This massive size will be the dogs ultimate demise, as the environment, topography, lack of massive meals, the threat of life and death fights, and the having to make the 300 mile or so trek 2 times a year to the winter/summer pastures dictates inevitably what sizes are conducive to getting the job done, and getting it done right, AND being able to do it for MANY years. I hope that this is making sense and helping everyone understand what is really going on. Mike
                      • Mike, that was especially insightful! Thank you. I didn't realize how large the Sylvan is, either. The dog in your avatar is beautiful, but clearly very intense. I have to ask, though, how the Sar that once was became the Sar that is. If they're used for the original purpose why were changes made, and what changes were they? In another thread, images of the modern, "standard", Sar are compared with pictures of the original Tibetan Mastiff. For reasons apparently touchy and political people that issue went hush quickly. I'd like to know what happened...
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                          • Mike, you forgot something important... Autochtonous Sarplaninac stock from mount Sara, Pastrik, Bistra, Korab ect. was divided into several genuine types even in ancient time. Some of those types were extremely large, so it is not quite true that Sar's are or were one among smalest LGD's. Standardized variation was (just one of many other genuine types) strictly selected by military authorities and with influx of few other breeds. It is disputable whether the GSD's were used into breeding program or was it something else, however, we must not forget that even Serbian army has two different breeding programs, one for show, one for work, and among working stock you can still find one of the oldest and purest lines. There is much, much more to it but I really don't have time to write it down... some other time maybe.
                            • I spent some time in the mid 90's in Macedonia (FYROM) and in Bosnia and Croatia. I have spent more than a small amount of time in the Balkan mountains in particular on the borders of Serbia. And in the cities, towns and villages, and countryside. Unfortunately I did not see the Sarplanenic type dogs, I feel like I was cheated now. The only dogs I ever saw were small mutt/mongrel mixes running around, I didn't even see any big dogs. And I used to see sheep and goat herders all of the time. What gives with that? Now I want to go back there sometime for a vacation or something and see if I can find any of those type if dogs.
                              • 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. Babs, 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. Mike
                                • Although not about sarplaninac, [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=tsFmPnRSRT4]this video[/url] does show a very good shot of the balkan wolf. And although it is young, you can see the differences between them and their north american counterparts. The dogs in the video are Homoljac, another serbian lgd. These guys are quite small, but as you can see, they have the tools and the heart to get it done. And when you see them in action, then there can be no more question as to why the sarplaninac is so affective at its job. Mike
                                  • For well known political reasons it was not revealed that this kind of dog comes from Kossovo.
                                    • Mendi, how is that in any way a productive contribution to this discussion?? I mean, other than derailing the thread with your political nonsensical talk, whats the reason for it??
                                      • [quote=mendi]For well known political reasons it was not revealed that this kind of dog comes from Kossovo.[/quote] Ugh, Kosovo is the heart-land of Serbia... Unless of course your an American president looking to misdirect attention away from problems at home.
                                        • http://youtube.com/watch?v=tsFmPnRSRT4 That ^^ is ONE POOR LGD. If that wolf was slightly more aggressive that dog would've been food, nor it would protect the livestock.You could see how he stopped fighting the wolf and started baring it's teeth.He couldn't even get a good hold on the wolf. That dog wouldn't even be fed if he was owned by shepherds in Turkey.
                                          • Ummm.... did the wolf NOT stop fighting as well?? The job of the LGD is to protect the sheep or livestock... If all it takes for the dog to do that is fight a wolf and not kill it, then thats all the dog will do. These are not pit fighting dogs bred to fight for killing... These dogs, as well as the wolves they fight, understand DOMINANCE. In this video, the dog FOUGHT the wolf, Won the battle of dominance(as the wolf dropped its tail and pinned its ears back, while the dog kept its tail up high and was the aggressor), the man came out and shot the gun into the air, and the wolf ran away. He only lost 1 tiny lamb, not THAT big of a loss when taken into account the amount of other sheep around. So what is it that you are trying to say?? I mean, we all know where you are going with this, so why not NOT go there??
                                            • [quote=crnosrce1]Ummm.... did the wolf NOT stop fighting as well?? The job of the LGD is to protect the sheep or livestock... If all it takes for the dog to do that is fight a wolf and not kill it, then thats all the dog will do. These are not pit fighting dogs bred to fight for killing... These dogs, as well as the wolves they fight, understand DOMINANCE. In this video, the dog FOUGHT the wolf, Won the battle of dominance(as the wolf dropped its tail and pinned its ears back, while the dog kept its tail up high and was the aggressor), the man came out and shot the gun into the air, and the wolf ran away. He only lost 1 tiny lamb, not THAT big of a loss when taken into account the amount of other sheep around. So what is it that you are trying to say?? I mean, we all know where you are going with this, so why not NOT go there??[/quote] I'm not trying to take this anywhere.I just pointed out that the dog you said it can get the work done, is a MISERABLE lgd. One who would be considerd not worth to feed.Who would just be kept at the front door. In this case,the wolf stopped, but anyone should be able to tell by that dogs body language that he was very scared of the wolf.He WOULD stop if the wolf was aggressive. This wolf yelped on first contact.Most wolves won't do that. In a worst case,that dog would just flee and leave the flock unguarded. An LGD doesn't need to be a pit fighting dog to kill it's opponent. That dog CAME in a fight with the wolf. But he let the wolf go.It doesn't matter if the wolf stopped.A working LGD would probably stop if this was a dog vs dog fight,but with a wolf it shouldn't.This is simply a example of what a poor LGD is.
                                              • I don't necessarily agree that it is a terrible example of the LGD. I believe it is an great example of what is known as the ALARM lgd, meaning it will engage, but only to keep the animal busy till the big dogs get there... ALSO, it does do a great way of showing the difference between the alarm LGD and the VOLKODAV/VUKODAV lgd. It DOES illustrates the point i was making in another thread, that it takes a [color=red]SPECIAL[/color] dog to really go toe to toe with a wolf, and go all the way if need be. I DO agree in thinking that this dog would have stopped, or died, if the wolf really turned it on, HOWEVER, since that didn't happen, thinking that is only theory. As you know, too many people like to make too many ABSOLUTE decisions based upon what MIGHT have happened. I do, however, commend this old man for keeping that dog and feeding it, because sometimes you HAVE to accept something of lesser quality when dealt a certain hand, if it can still get the basic job done. Also, maybe its just me, but i think that that wolf in the video could be a wolf dog hybrid. Also, this video was a setup as well, a documentary on the SPP, or Srpski Pastirski Pas.
                                                • It just depends what you search for in a dog.IMO it is a poor LGD, cause if it would get hot, the dog wouldn't be able to protect the livestock. The best is a dog who has is a loud mouth,but got ability to back it up. Just "alarm" isn't always enough.For this dog it was, but that's got to do with the wolf. I also was thinking this could be a hybrid.It's hard to imagine they'd use a real wolf for such a documentary,and risk a dog with such poor ability against a true wolf. Anyhow,back to the original topic.I'd also like to know more about this subject.
                                                  • Maybe if the dog had one of those metal spiked collars you see on some LGD's dogs, things might have been alot different. . .I reckon he did alright.
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                                                      • A lot of breeds are much bigger than the Sharplaninec. But bigger doesn't translate into grander. Generally speaking, the Sar is as big as functionality permits. Not more, not less.
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