The Sarplaninac (pronounced shar-pla-nee-natz) originated in the southeastern mountainous regions of (former) Yugoslavia. These amazing working dogs were named after the Šar Mountains (Šar Planina), a mountain range within the Balkans that reaches from the NW regions of North Macedonia, parts of Kosovo, and NE regions of Albania. Sarplaninac translates literally to "(Dog) of the Šar Mountains" or "Šar Mountain Dog".
Being an ancient breed, their exact origin is difficult to pinpoint; however, it is believed that the Sarplaninac descended from the ancient Molossian breeds of Greece and ancient LGDs of Turkey. It is also believed that migrating Asiatic people moving towards the Mediterranean also introduced additional breeds into the gene pool, such as the Tibetan Mastiff.
The Molossians were a group of ancient Greek tribes that inhabited these historic regions and were renowned for their fierce dogs, which were used by Molossian shepherds in the mountains to protect their flocks from predators. During the Ottoman Empire, Sarplaninacs would spend their summers with the flocks and shepherds in the grazing meadows of the Šar Mountains, and make a seasonal migration with their flocks to wintering grounds in Thessaly, Greece.
These dogs have been selected and bred over hundreds of years to evolve into what they are today. No matter where the Sarplaninac's official origins lie, it is undisputable that they have been well selected to be a superior livestock guardian type breed.