In April of 1990 we went with Lola to Serbia. We decided to mate her with Dingo-Ben. Already on the way, in Austria, there showed up interested males that followed her scent. However, the veterinarians at the University of Belgrade told us, based on her smear, that she is still not ready for mating. After two to three days we found an older, more experienced assistant who told us “your bitch is ready for mating today and perhaps tomorrow”. We thus left for Velika Plana the same day. Ben mated with Lola who was obviously ready and “agreeable” but, according to the order of Bjelica, we had to restrain her with a muzzle and hold her firmly.

Dingo-Ben was then four years old and in full strength. About 75 cm tall, with a dark gray coat, her was characterized by an especially tall, proud bearing of the head, particularly when he assumed the “exhibit position”. His other characteristics, we liked particularly well, were his unusually large leg bones and his elegant, light gate. He was able to jump 1.5 meters without a prior start.
After the mating, we were invited to visit the owners. They set us on low stools around a coffee table, took out slivovica, the beer and cheese made by Bjelica’s parents on the mountain. Bjelica soon took up his gusle and sang for us the verses of Vladika Petar Petrovic Njegos, the most renowned Montenegrin poet and philosopher, of all times.
Bjelica made Gusle himself. His wood carving talent impressed us. Among numerous ornaments gracing his walls we noticed the portrait of Njegos and, guess what else, the head of a Sarplaninac.
The older son of Bjelica, Nesa, talks about the Sarplaninac with the same passion as his father. They know all Sarplaninac dogs of Serbia, their origin and their dog show results. 5

During each of our visits, we would find in their yard a younger Sarplaninac, their new hope. At our last visit that was Surda, and now it is Pan. Pan was later sold to Denmark.


We left for Belgrade late that night. Lola got all wet from the rain. We traveled in the semi-truck we bought in 1981, in order to bring home Dilbas, but he instead arrived with our friends. The car was a large, blue-white Iveco. After about 50 km the engine begun to “hiccup” and we finally had to stop at a gas and service station. Unfortunately, the service was closed for the day, and we had to wait until the morning to find about the source of our problems. I moved from the cabin to the back of the truck, wrapped myself in a blanket, and Lola, as wet as she was, sprawled over my legs and kept them warm. The night was awfully cold and we totally froze. After the unplanned interruption, we finally made it to Belgrade, but the car continued to “cough”.
Bjelica advised us to come back in two days for repeated mating. We followed his advice, but Dingo was no longer interested in Lola.


That they we had time to visit the Sraplaninac in the surrounding areas. In the vicinity of Topola we saw young Dingo-Ben’s daughter Brita and her partner Gera.


Brita was beautiful, as was also evident from the results of her shows which we attended as visitors. Gera was very likable, but pretty small and had problems with his jaws.

At Uca’s we saw Musa, the second male he took in after Arap. Musa was a special dog. He had both good and bad qualities.

On the positive side, let us mention his considerable height, his very strong skeleton, rich coat, particularly evident flags and pants, and a good, stabile character. On the negative side, he had reddish fur color, very light eyes (used in my book to illustrate these shortcomings), and a back like a carp. However, these problems did not prevent the curious breeders from using him for breeding stock.
Besides visiting Sarplaninci, we also made an excursion to a cabin-type wooden church, Pokajnica.

This building belongs to the Osacan architectural style. The Osacans were craftsman originating from Bosnia, who specialized in building the sacred and profane wooden objects. The church was built in 1818. The Holy Father of this church was no one else but the organizer of the murder of Karadjordje.

Karadjordje Petrovic was the leader of the First Serbia Uprising for the liberation from Turkish rule, starting in Orasac. He very quickly liberated Belgrade Pasaluk and begun to rule Serbia, which spread from Drina and Timok, and Sava and Danube, all the way to Nis on the south. As the founder of the Karadjordjevic dynasty he ruled from 1804 to 1813.

The following day we made an excursion to the monastery Manasija, the older name Resava.

This monastery was the foundation of Despot Stefan Lazarevic, the son of Prince Lazar, who was buried there. It is located not too far from Despotovac, in the valley of river Resava. The building of the monastery begun in the 15th century and lasted from 1406 until 1418.

Its frescoes, spanning some 2000 square meter, are among the most beautiful, and although work of unknown artists, but are also pretty damaged.
They resemble the frescos in Ravanica, Kalenic and Sisojevac. The floor made of red, blue, and white marble, with a large central rosette, is among the two most beautiful monastery floors in Serbia. The monastery had a strategic role, also evident from the fortresses surrounding the church. That fortress, containing twelve towers, is one of the best-preserved middle age fortresses.

In the course of this visit we also attended two exhibits that will be described in the next episode.