The Å arplaninac, formerly known as Illyrian Shepherd, is a herding and guarding breed from the Å ar Mountains. It was used as a military dog under Marshal Josip Broz Tito. The breed is currently becoming more popular throughout North America due to its guarding and herding abilities. Ancestors of the breed may include livestock guarding dogs from Turkey and Molosser type dogs from Greece.
The breed stands 22 to 30 inches tall and weighs anywhere from 66 to 99 pounds. It is a large, muscular dog with a massive, yet proportionate head. The Å arplaninac has dark eyes and excessively long front legs. The coat of the breed Is generally about four inches long and dense; it can be either smooth or rough. The coat can be tan, gray, white, or almost black. It is typically gray or tan with a pale undercoat and darker areas on the head and back.
The Å arplaninac is independent and somewhat stubborn. Despite its independence, it is extremely protective of its flock or its family. It can be aggressive if threatened. Aside from its defensive nature, the breed is generally quite serene. The breed should be handled with authority and properly trained and socialized at an early age, as it will excel under these conditions.