Alfie is my biggest little brother. Confusing? Not when you see him!
He is a Sarplaninac, which is an LGD (Livestock Guarding Dog). It is the National breed of Macedonia and Yugoslavia, with its name deriving from the mountains of Sar Planina, and means “The mountaineer of Sara”. It is an ancient breed with special characteristics, such as great courage, intelligence, stability and dominance. It is extremely watchful, alert and aloof with strangers. They are mainly used to protect flocks of sheep and the homes of their owners from wolves, bears and burglars. It will not hesitate to risk losing its life to defend its territory. However, due to its character it is not an easily trained dog! It is very independent and will gladly take control if you are not the leader. Unfortunately, the breed has somewhat of a bad reputation due to some unsuitable owners’ inability to control their dogs. It has led to a total ban of the breed in Denmark, which is completely uncalled for. We must remember that it is almost always the owner’s fault, and not the dog’s.
I’d say that Alfie is a typical Sarplaninac. He is everything I mentioned above, but with a much higher level of tolerance than most others of his kind possess. He was brought up in a pack of many different kinds of dogs and through our foster dogs he learns to accept outsiders into the pack. He’s used to people coming into our home due to mom’s job, but even so, he’s still aloof with people. He’s much more suspicious of people than dogs, and I’d say it stems from people taking a different approach to him than dogs normally do. His size and the way he looks at some folks is usually enough to scare them off or handle him with fear, although some are unwilling to admit it. If you people only knew how much your body language gives you away…
For a while there we had to keep our eye on Alfie when he was with Yoshi because he would treat him like his personal toy! He’d wander off with Yoshi dangling from his tail, and poor Yoshi wouldn’t say a peep! Eventually he got bored with it and zoomed in on Adela instead. She was fun! He’d wrestle with her and she’d give him a run for his money, and soon enough he’d moved on to Legolas. They played together on the same level but it tended to get too rough. They still play on a daily basis but they need to be supervised. Not because it will develop into a fight (although we’d rather be safe than sorry), but because our folks disagree with them taking it too far. There’s no need for two powerful breeds crossing over to that side of them, end of story. These days Alfie has his eye set on Daysee Mae. She’s very dominant so just like with Adela he’s got to work up a sweat to get anywhere with her! And I love hassling my big baby brother! I’m not great at playing with other dogs because I have trouble with turning down the bulldog side of me… But Alfie handles me like a piece of cake! He’s got me playing almost like a normal dog! My favorite thing to do with him is to nibble on his legs and paws while he’s resting. He doesn’t always appreciate it but like a good brother, he throws me a bone now and then…
It’s hard not to be impressed by this goofy giant!
Alfie Jovan Cassius, our pride and joy!
Jovan is his pedigree name, inspired by his breeder, Dr Marija Jovanovic. To fit his big personality he was given the name Cassius. Alfie just seemed to fit!