Sarplaninci and sheep from Boban Arsic

Boban Arsic, author of this text and the wonderful pictures of Sarplaninci guarding flocks of sheep, lives in Kumanovo. Kumanovo is the second biggest city of Macedonia, it is located in the far north, near the border with Serbia and not far from Skopje. Kumanovo is located on two small rivers: Lipovka and Konjarka.
This city with its municipalities counts about 130 000 inhabitants. The population is multiethnic.
Kumanovo was first time mentioned in 1519, but it was founded by the Asian tribes of Turkish origin somewhere between the 12th and 13th century. Among those tribes were also the Couman people, and as per them Kumanovo got its name.
The region of Kumanovo is an agricultural and stock-breeding region, the city is also known by the tobacco industry.
Boban keeps its herds and dogs on the mountain Kozjak, 1288m high, on an altitude of 800m. Here's what Boban wrote:

"Let me introduce myself with some pictures of me and my dogs while working. I fell in love with Sarplaninci about 10 years ago, but I breed them since 4,5 years. I started with those two dogs, sister and brother that I have received as a gift from a friend (picture nr 1). Thanks to these noble and brilliant animals I fell so much in love with this breed that I bought a flock of 450 sheep and a few puppies, a few months old, which today have 12-23 months, specifically to see them carry out their work in nature. I also brought two urban adult dogs in the mountains. It’s only when I let them free in the mountains that I understood what it is “the Sarplaninac” and everything it can do for its master and for what you are giving them as responsibility. My dogs which, like all the Sarplaninci and other dogs have their imperfections, except for their perfect character, they will never turn against humans, except in the yard or when people come to 50-100m. near the herd. However for the wild animals, I do not know what word to use, they are true heroes. I would not exchange them for anything in the world. In the past, when I visited the mountains, the shepherds told me things related to the Sarplaninci and about their behaviour, I did not believe them, now, I realized myself. When it concerns wolves, they are extremely brave and Alfa of my small courageous group has an injury, from the wolf, but he remains a courageous fighter in this region. I love all the Sarplaninci, especially very temperamental ones, but mostly mine.
My dogs originate from the original bloodlines from the mountains, they were purchased from peasants and by their nature they are ideal for the defence of the flock against wild animals. This is my first goal for the moment. I think that you have not yet understood my true intentions concerning the breeding of Sarplaninci in freedom.
I do not participate at dog exhibitions; I visit them from time to time. I will start going to those exhibitions when I breed an « external » perfect dog, but in the first place with a character that my dogs posses : they do absolutely not attack the humans and they do not react on them as long as they respect a distance of 50-100m. from the sheep or from the yard, but towards wild animals, they are real heroes.
The first two, raised in town had an exceptional food, TOP. This is completely different for those that are in the mountains, their food is more modest: stale bread, polenta, minced meat from the leftovers of the meat and whey (leftover after processing milk), that you can see at the quality of their fur. Puppies receive the sheep milk and industrial food up to the age of 6 months, after they eat like the adults and my shepherds sometimes forget a meal.
It is normal that not all dogs are capable of fighting with the wolf, but when they have a good leader, they all jump and then, the wolf manages to escape thanks to an exceptional skill. When there are several dogs in the herd, the wolf rarely dares to attack, never the dogs but the sheep. I have my Meda, the legend and also my female dog and another male for which I am sure they are not afraid and if necessary they would give their life, for the others, I am not sure although they chase the wolf, but they only chase him, which is their duty. The chase, I saw it several times. Here, with us, it’s a real invasion of wolves. Those old farmers say, that a few years ago there were not as many wolves as now.
To make it clear to everybody, to those who do not know, though there is no need for a lot of knowledge, a wolf, is a wolf, an animal to respect because of its intelligence, by its power, but I am especially fascinated by the courage of Sarplaninci, not all, of course.
The young ones, which I took last year, 3 puppies from different litters fought with a lot of blood an it was very difficult to separate them, especially for the food. This happened at the moment they were in the yard. As soon as I released them with the sheep, after tree months, this did not happen anymore.
My dogs exactly know which animal belongs to our yard, also with our cats : ours can climb on them, sometimes they even sleep together, but those from the neighbour are immediately chased away. One cat was even killed.
When a new animal arrives in the yard with its owner, which he caresses, the dogs accept it, but they need some time to adapt.
When they are with the grazing herd, when some strangers approach, which is rare, the dogs do not react as long as they keep a distance of 100-200m. sometimes they only bark from their place. When they are young, they run behind anything that moves. After a few trials to make them come back, they learn and there are no more problems. They are mainly problematic at the age of 7-8 months, afterwards they are super! Compared to the flock the Sarplaninci take the following positions: one walks at the end, one in the front, and one or two on the side, because I have 4 dogs per flock of 220 sheep. Some complain that their dogs, by a heat of +35-40°C, do not want to follow the sheep, it depends on the dogs, I have not had such a problems, but it is a fact that they are less active, which is understandable. Another interesting behaviour, my night, if I or my shepherds get up to go to the outside toilet, it's incredible how they stay without any reaction, but if it are my neighbours that move, the dogs notice them at 500m!"