Shoulder height: 60 – 75 cm
Weight: 35 – 45 kg
Age: 10 – 12 years
Colour: wolf grey, brown fawn, cream to white
Use: companion dog
The Saarloos Wolfdog (alsoSaarloos Wolfhound) is a breed of dog that is not only externally similar to the wolf. It also shows many primitive characteristics in its behavior: strong will, little willingness to subordinate, natural flight behavior, and pronounced hunting instinct. Its attitude, therefore, requires a lot of dog sense, a lot of time, and empathy.
Origin and history
The Saarloos Wolfdog is a relatively modern crossbreed between the German Shepherd and the wolf. The founder of the breed – Leendert Saarlos – wanted to create a versatile and little “humanized” working dog with his experiment. However, the mixing turned out to be of little use. Rather, the animals showed shy to frightened behavior and found it difficult to bond with their humans. The Saarloos Wolfdog is therefore hardly suitable as a working or service dog. However, it is a dog with very primitive behavior and natural characteristics. As such, the Saarloos Wolfdog was internationally recognized as a breed in 1981.
The Saarloos Wolfdog is a powerfully built, large dog whose appearance (physique, gait, and coat markings) is very similar to that of a wolf. It is slightly taller than it is long, for example, it has much longer legs compared to the German Shepherd Dog. Also characteristic are the slightly slanted, almond-shaped, bright eyes, which give the Saarloos the typical wolf-like expression.
The Saarloos Wolfdog’s ears are triangular, medium-sized, and erect. The tail is broad and long and is carried slightly saber-shaped to straight. The neck and chest are muscular but not overly strong. Especially in winter, the fur on the neck forms a clear collar. The fur is of medium length and consists of a stock-haired top coat and a dense undercoat, which is particularly plentiful in the cold season. Coat color can be wolf gray, brown fawn, or creamy white to white.
A characteristic feature of the Saarloos Wolfdog is also the wolf-like natural gait – the easy trot. It is a persistent trotter and can comfortably cover long distances at its own pace.
The Saarloos Wolfdog is a very lively dog bursting with energy. It has an extremely independent, stubborn nature and shows little willingness to submit. It is only obedient of its own free will and can only be trained with dog sense and empathy, but not with hardness and severity. The Saarloos Wolfdog is affectionate and loyal to its caregiver. On the other hand, it is extremely reserved or suspicious of strangers. This reluctance towards anything foreign and its strong instinct to flee are characteristics typical of the breed and should not be interpreted as timidity.
The Saarloos Wolfdog needs a lot of exercise, sufficient activity, and freedom of movement. It is completely unsuitable for life in the city with little freewheel. Its ideal home is a large, well-fenced lot or property. Due to its independent nature, keeping and training a Saarloos Wolfdog requires a lot of dog sense, patience and love, and early socialization with people.