The Sarplaninac is a naturally protective breed. They are suspicious and aloof with strangers, and make excellent home and family guardians. However, they can easily become overprotective and territorial; early and thorough socialization and training is essential in ensuring they do not become overprotective and dangerous. The Sarplaninac is a formidable guard dog that cannot be bribed or coerced; they will not hesitate to defend their charges with their life.
The coat of the Sarplaninac is about 4 inches (10 cm) long. The hair is dense and evenly distributed. Colors include: gray, white, tan and black. Colors can be solid or blended. The Sarplaninac is one of the few flock guards that come in solid colors other than white. The body is medium in size and bone. The feathering on the underbelly and legs and the bushy tail, however, give the appearance of a much huskier dog. The tip of the nose is quite large, but not protruding. The tail is slightly curved in repose. The forearm is well-boned, well-muscled and almost vertical. The eyes are dark and almond-shaped. A keen, discriminating expression is characteristic.