Saturday, 28 January 2012

Colours of the sarplaninac

 With the litter we have at the moment,
 I am getting a few questions about colour and particularly what colour these pups will be.
It is really difficult to say exactly what colour they will be
(except when they are born white, they stay white...).

How grey they will end up is hard to say,
when the pups are born,
they are dark,
they then lighten up (even the dark ones) to  blond,
and then after that get darker again.

The United Kennel Club has the following to state about the colour of the coat:
All solid colors are acceptable from white to a very dark brown that is nearly black. The most common color is an iron gray. The color may vary from a darker shade on the top of the head, neck, and body, to a lighter shade toward the extremities, but the change must be very gradual so as not to give the impression of spots or patches of color. The hairs of the outer coat may be tipped in black resulting in a sable color pattern. Tiny white markings on the chest and toes are allowed but not desirable.

Here are some examples of the various colours:

Traditional colour is the iron grey or otherwise called Murdjo:
Katcha, Vuk and  Alaska are examples of the darker grey colour.



Some sarplaninac's end up a lighter shade of grey.
These are very blended in colour.
Our Fena and Lucy are good examples of the lighter shades of grey.



Going from this lighter shade, we get into the Karabash colours.
Some of the end  hairs are black tipped giving a sabled appearance.
These are dogs generally have a blond body and a black (ish) mask,
but here too some can be more blond than others.
Tosoxs is a karabash.
The completely white sarplaninac is fairly rare, these are referred to as Merdjan
Beli, Snowy and Molly are Merdjan. 
There are other colours that are not as well known,
some breeders regard them as unacceptable or inferior.
I do not have these concerns.
This dog is not mine,
he is Vuk from Parker Adams,
this colour is referred to as
Sari or ridji which means rusty.

Vuk ~ Parker Adams, USA
Some sarplaninac are completely black, but I do not have a photo of one.
Too me, the colour is not really of importance,
a good horse or dog does not have a bad colour.

What I regard the most important qualities are
is  what the breed standard states here:
The Sarplaninac should be evaluated as a working livestock guardian capable of protecting stock in mountainous terrain, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they interfere with the dog’s ability to work.

Despite being slightly smaller than many other livestock guarding breeds, the Sarplaninac is characterized by extraordinary strength and large teeth, making it a formidable adversary of predatory animals. This breed has a typical livestock guarding temperament: highly intelligent and independent; devoted to family members and wary of strangers; calm and steady but fearless and quick to react to perceived threats.



  1. Thank you so much for the explination of colour. I agree colour shouldn't be important. Although a dog with some colour on it's face is a little intimidating to a human. My Pyrs are just too friendly.

    1. Sarplaninac are fairly tough dogs, they are formidable guardians. I do like the colour, they blend in way more with the sheep than the white one do. However, with this said, the white ones blend in with the snow... Well, a friendly Pyr is great, my dogs are very friendly to us! As long as they do the job and keep the coyotes away then your pyrs are doing their job, right?

  2. They seem similar to my Belgian Shepherds in the respects that we cannot really know how much charbonnage (blackening/overlay) they will have as adults, when we first look at the puppy. With our fawns and mahogany, we can discern the color, but with our creme/sable ones, it's hard to know if they will appear creme or sable/grey as adults. The sable is really determined by how much charbonnage overlays the creme underneath. I love your dogs.


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