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Old 01-15-2011, 09:07 AM   #1
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Default Macedonian Sharplaninec

I thought I'd start a thread on the SHARPLANINEC Dog..
There has been a lot of interest about this beautiful breed the SHARPLANINEC and I think we should learn more about it and the History of this Macedonian Sheppard..
Why I say Macedonian SHARPLANINEC is because like anything that has Macedonian is controversial with our Neighbours..and the origin of the breed remains controversial

The Albanians call it ILLYRIAN SHEPHERD and like to claim the SHARPLANINEC as theirs , the Serbs call it Yugoslavian Sheppard
Even the Greeks think it's a Greek dog, (which is funny in so many ways)..


I would like people's opinions, and any information they have on this Dog , including any experience with this breed
Mind you I am no expert and never owned a Sarplaninec so I would like to know more about them..
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:09 AM   #2
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SHARPLANINEC, the Macedonian Shepherd Dog
The Sharplaninec (pronounced shar-pla-nee-netz) is an ancient livestock guarding breed from the mountain region of Macedonia,Shar Planina. The Macedonian Shepherd Dog Sharplanina, is named after the Shar Planina mountain range where the breed is most common. The Sharplaninec was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1995.
http://www.mymacedonia.net/links/sharplaninec.htm


the Sharplaninec was officially registered in 1939 under the incorrect and in retrospect very misleading name “Ilirski Ovcar” (Illyrian Sheepdog). Beginning in 1947, they were systematically bred in professional breeding farms such as the Cattlebreeding Cooperative in the village of Gari on Stogovo mountain. After World War II, these phenomenal dogs eventually sparked the interest of the Yugoslav Army, which even promoted them as national icons. The renowned military kennel “Marshal Josip Broz Tito” methodically bred and utilized them as very capable service dogs.
In 1995, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Sharplaninec as a pure breed in the United States. In 1996, the FCI breed standard was changed once again to include a slight name change, mainly to pay tribute to the breeds Macedonian origin. Today the breed is rightfully known as Macedonian-Yugoslav Shepherd dog – Sharplaninec.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:13 AM   #3
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Sharplaninec
The Sharplaninec is an autochthonous dog breed of Macedonia. These rustic sheep dogs are really phenomenal and unique in that they are genetically predestined to assume a life as dependable guards without any specific protection training of some sort. Their loyalty to their master is simply unparalleled in the canine world. Furthermore, their physical strength and mental determination are truly awesome.

This breed is what cynologists today consider “self-evolved”, almost circumstantial as a tribute to the rough Balkan terrain and the hard life as a livestock guardian over many generations. In the beginning, it was merely natural selection, which favored big dogs that were powerful enough to stand their ground when confronted by predators such as wolves or bears. At the same time, these dogs were required to cover huge areas of mountainous pastures as they accompanied their sheep flocks in the transhumance of a predominantly semi-nomadic lifestyle. In the old times, shepherds would keep only those dogs that could sustain such harsh conditions. Negligence of those responsibilities or the abandonment of their assigned flock at any time would be an unforgivable recklessness. Only strong and reliable dogs were allowed to live and procreate. While their job demanded extraordinary physical and mental strength, food for these dogs was usually very scarce as the socio-economic situation of their human owners was usually rather impoverished. This combination of tremendous selective pressures yielded extraordinarily healthy dogs of exceptional loyalty to their family, incredibly powerful and yet very modest and rustic in nature.

Phenotype
Sharplaninci come in a considerable variety concerning size, color and to a limited degree even shape. Colors can vary drastically from completely white to entirely black, with all shades of gray or fawn. This is mostly due to the fact that shepherds in the past exclusively looked for performance. The dog's color was of very little significance as long as the dog did what it was supposed to. Even though certain colors, such as completely black or brindle, are disqualified from dog show competitions, it doesn't mean that these dogs don't exist. Sharplaninec dogs of today are for the most part iron-gray (called murdz type). This is mainly rooted in the fact that from 1939 on, when the breed was officially registered, the favored color for the breed officials was iron-gray. In the Macedonian mountains however, the predominant phenotype has been uniformly fawn with a black muzzle or head (called karabash type). In the south-western region of Macedonia, many pure white specimens could be observed as well.

Even though these magnificent livestock guardian dogs are found in all parts of the region, they can be differentiated into local subtypes. These regional strains initially resulted from long standing isolation of small rural villages, which in turn led to separated selection and breeding of their existing working dogs. Early on, these subtypes were recognizable by clear differences in phenotype and perhaps even some slight personality distinctions. However, with the formation of the official breed and subsequent standardization, these regional subtypes were eventually merged into one. The modern Sharplaninec breed consequently represents an amalgamation of those primary pockets of isolated genepools - nonetheless, the Sharplaninec is true in its physique and soul.
http://www.sharplaninec.com/sharplaninec.htm

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:16 AM   #4
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The History of the Sharplaninec
The mighty Sharplaninec is a breed of true antiquity and probably the oldest genuine molosser in the world. Modern scientists agree today that these legendary guarding dogs are indigenous to the territory of Macedonia and Southern Serbia, specifically the Sar mountain range in natural southward extension into Mavrovo and the northern Pindus mountains. Dogs of this general phenotype have existed in the region since the Neolithic, when first agricultural civilizations discovered sheep farming and established lifestyles of fixed transhumance with an implicit need for big and courageous guarding dogs. This created a new selective regime on domesticated village dogs, yielding a fundamentally distinctive gestalt that remained nearly unchanged in the Sharplaninec ever since. By the time of the bronze age and explicitly during the era of Alexander the Great, the revered sheep guarding dogs of this region have been noted for their unsurpassed loyalty and bravery. Aristotle writes in “History of Animals”, Book IX, 350BC, “Of the Molossian breed of dogs, such as are employed in the chase are pretty much the same as those elsewhere; but sheep-dogs of this breed are superior to the others in size, and in the courage with which they face the attacks of wild animals”. Indeed, the molossers of the Balkan peninsula quickly acquired an outstanding reputation as being such extraordinary canines that by the time of the Roman Empire, these massive gladiator dogs of the amphitheaters were consistently referred to as Molossians. Ultimately, their esteemed status further accelerated their spread throughout the known world, where they have undoubtedly influenced many of the native dog types. While many of those relocated dogs subsequently underwent substantial permutations, the sheep dogs of the original mountain ranges maintained true to the steadiness of their respective local ecosystem. Well into medieval times, the Sharplaninec is said to have been repeatedly exposed to wolf blood. This was primarily carried out to maintain that certain untamed core of these dogs, but also to improve the breed's overall health. Residual manifestations of such recurrent hybridizations with East-European wolves are for example the unusually large teeth of Sharplaninec dogs, which set them apart from most other dogs, as well as late maturity and periodically prolonged heat cycles in female Shars that can last 9 to 12 months.


During the 500 years of Ottoman oppression, the turks likely brought their own dogs with them, which occasionally interbred with the local breeds, but more often than not forced the villagers to keep their own working livestock guardian dogs in strict isolation within the respective boundaries of their Christian villages. This segregation along ethnic lines in turn resulted in the strict breeding separations with dogs of varying phenotype. In the early 1900s, the ruling Serbian army decided to recruit these ferocious sheep guardian dogs from the Macedonian mountains and employ them as reliable guards and war dogs for the military. Once again, these dogs were revered for their bravery and strength. In 1931, a Slovenian cynologist and dog enthusiast named Franjo Bulc selected several specimens from Macedonia, which he at the time considered to be exemplary specimens, and brought them to Ljubljana. Originally, these giant dogs from Macedonia were mainly intended to improve the diminishing numbers of the smaller Slovenian Kraski Ovcar, as they were initially falsely considered to be of the same breed. Together with the Krasevac, the Sharplaninec was officially registered in 1939 under the incorrect and in retrospect very misleading name “Ilirski Ovcar” (Illyrian Sheepdog). Beginning in 1947, they were systematically bred in professional breeding farms such as the Cattlebreeding Cooperative in the village of Gari on Stogovo mountain. After World War II, these phenomenal dogs eventually sparked the interest of the Yugoslav Army, which even promoted them as national icons. The renowned military kennel “Marshal Josip Broz Tito” methodically bred and utilized them as very capable service dogs. The Sharplaninec dogs were in fact of such importance that until 1970 it was absolutely illegal to export these dogs out of the country. It wasn't before 1975, when the first Sharplaninec puppy was brought down from the mountains on a donkey's back to be exported to the United States. In 1995, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Sharplaninec as a pure breed in the United States. In 1996, the FCI breed standard was changed once again to include a slight name change, mainly to pay tribute to the breeds Macedonian origin. Today the breed is rightfully known as Macedonian-Yugoslav Shepherd dog – Sharplaninec.
http://www.sharplaninec.com/history.htm

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:18 AM   #5
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The History of the Sharplaninec -Neolithic Era
Even though the Sharplaninec was officially recognized as a pure breed as early as 1939, the history didn't quite begin there. One has to ask, where these first registered sheep dogs themselves really came from? In order to answer that question and to look at the entire history of the Sharplaninec, we have to go further back in time - a lot further back actually. The history of the Sharplaninec is really intertwined with the history of early mankind.


Development of the Proto-Molossers

Modern scientists agree today that the sheep guarding dogs of Macedonia most likely are fundamentally autochthonous to that very region. Thanks to a plethora of archeological discoveries, it could be well established that this part of the world has been inhabited by one of the oldest civilizations of mankind. The Vinca culture (6000 BC – 3000 BC), which stretched over the territories of Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania (and even small parts of Asia Minor), is considered to represent a most advanced agricultural civilization of the Neolithic era. Deep archeological excavation levels of the oldest Vinca settlements reveal both, a life of hunting and fishing as well as agriculture and breeding of domestic animals. It is this intermediary culture that is of the greatest interest – in so many ways. It is also worth mentioning that these first European settlements even precede the cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt. The cradle of humanity lies not necessarily in movements of nomadic populations (as so many believe) but rather in the emergence of such archaic civilizations as can be found in the Balkans and Mesopotamia. With the emergence of agriculture, the selective regime for dogs has changed forever - it was the birth of the working dog.

The further back we go in time, the harder obviously it is to establish concrete evidence of those early cultures or their achievements. From an archeological standpoint, it is therefore extraordinarily fortunate that the remains of the Vinca civilization could be found in sizable amounts since their huts were mostly built of wood, which in turn was covered with mud. Nevertheless, their great agricultural skills are reflected in many remnants of cultivated grains, sophisticated tools as well as craftsmanship of artistic artifacts as testimony of their ability (and eagerness) to modify their living environment and livestock in an attempt to better control their physical world. It is very important in this context to point out that the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural civilizations is said to have created a new paradigm for the role of “domesticated” dogs as well. Settlers started to utilize their dogs beyond companions at the hunt as actual farm workers, which consequently changed the requirements for their physique and behavior. Village dogs per se have been around much longer than that, as excavations around the world have unearthed dog remains in Germany (12000BC), Israel (11500BC) and even in America (8500BC). Sheep, pigs and cattle came much later, but once they were farmed in sizable numbers, dogs needed to adapt and assume novel tasks to remain useful to humans. They evolved into the new niche and the respective ecosystem.

When we look at the terrain of the south-eastern Balkan peninsula, one will predominantly find mountainous terrain, reasonably forested and occasionally interrupted by a stretch of moderately leveled fields; all of it surrounded by the Adriatic and Aegean Sea. In short, rough but bountiful conditions with regard to the abundance of food and resources. Ideal conditions for early human settlements, one could say. Even better conditions for the development of extraordinary dogs. People could actually afford to remain more or less in the same location and live of the adjacent land, much unlike nomadic people elsewhere, who were still forced to cover huge areas of steppes in order to find food for themselves or their livestock. The settled livestock farmers would only move their animals vertically into higher pastures in summer and lowlands in winter; they still continued to live in their settlements. This form of fixed transhumance is still practiced today in Macedonia. The key difference to a nomadic lifestyle is the lack of extensive migration, with its severe consequences on livestock and moreover on dogs. Inhabitants of early settlements could actually afford to spend a portion of their energy on improving their "food resources" or "tools" for the future. They could learn from each other, what it takes to produce better offspring etc. Such a setting was crucial in the endeavor to modify dogs for their newly identified role. Genetically speaking, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to establish a particular dog type in an environment of constant fluctuation of the genepool. Particularly for dogs in a nomadic setting. Semi-isolated Neolithic civilizations on the other hand were likely much more capable of breeding and improving their domesticated animals in a controlled fashion. Furthermore, once settled they would have an increased interest in doing so, as they couldn’t just leave and move on when food ran out. Locking-in the genepool was imperative for such undertakings. The aforementioned fixed transhumance in combination with a profuse abundance of large predators in the region eventually yielded large and powerful dogs. These were the proto-molossers that would ultimately influence the entire world of canines.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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SHARPLANINEC, the Macedonian Shepherd Dog
http://www.mymacedonia.net/links/sharplaninec.htm

SHARPLANINEC A PEARL IN THE SEVERE WORLD OF SNOW AND GREENNESW
http://www.unet.com.mk/sharplaninec/history.htm
STANDARDS OF THE SHARPLANINA SHEPHERD DOG
http://www.unet.com.mk/sharplaninec/standard.htm
FEATURES OF SHARPLANINA DOGS
http://www.unet.com.mk/sharplaninec/features.htm
MACEDONIAN SHEEP DOG - SHARPLANINEC
http://www.kef.com.mk/KEF/History/history.html

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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Sharplaninec od Makedonija








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Old 01-15-2011, 09:38 AM   #8
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Documentary on Sharplaninec




In the actual movie is mentioned that the breed is"Sharplaninec"-and not Yugoslavian sheepdog or Deltari or something else!
And the location of the villages were this movie is taken are also mentioned.They are the villages of Gurgrunitca and Sedlarevo,and their location is in the R.Macedonia,at mountain "Suva gora"-near the city of Skopje-the capital of Macedonia!
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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Sharplaninec used in the film krvava svadba 1967

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:50 AM   #10
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Two large SARPLANINAC

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