Šarplaninac, the Albanian descendant of the Molossian of Epirus

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The Šarplaninac is the breed most closely related to the ancient Molosser of Epirus, one of the most celebrated dogs in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Šarplaninac, the evolution of the Molossian of Epirus

Unfortunately, there is not much information on the origins of Šarplaninac itself, but fortunately, they are for what should be its ancient and famous ancestor: the Molossus of Epirus. The latter was one of the most famous and appreciated dogs in Greek and Roman times, becoming a very precious status symbol for the most important men of that time. The Molosser, which gives its name to the Molossian family, originated from the guardian dogs of flocks that had already spread to the Middle East and Central Asia.

Šarplaninac

This canine type was fundamental for hard and mountainous places and it was no coincidence that it found its dimension in the Balkans, where it quickly became appreciated for its temper and fidelity. According to tradition, it was the army of Alexander the Great returning to his homeland that brought him to Europe for the first time. The Greeks, fascinated by these then unique characteristics, introduced their breeding in Greece, then passing their passion to the ancient Romans. Aristotle, Virgil, Marco Porcio Cato and many other greats were fascinated by it, so much so that we still have an endless series of quotes, statues and other works dedicated to this splendid creature. According to the vast majority of dog experts, the Šarplaninac would be its closest descendant, also thanks to the difficult mountain range of the Šar, which would have de facto protected its genetic patrimony. Until 1957 this breed was known as the “Sheepdog of Illyria” but the then Yugoslavia proposed this new name to bind it more to that specific territory.

Features

The character is the characteristic one of the molossoids already faced previously therefore, in essence: exceptional temperament, intelligence, courage, love towards the master and distrustful towards strangers.

Šarplaninac

The height at the withers is about 62-75 cm for the male and 58-72 cm for the female; as regards the ideal weight, the male is around 45-60 kg while that of the female ranges from 35 to 50 kg. The coat of the Šarplaninac is single-colored but with different shades.

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