Dog Breeds

Saarloos wolfdog

Saarloos wolfdog is one of two breeds resulting from the cross between a German shepherd and a wolf. This dog exhibits many features of its wild ancestor, often reacts with anxiety to unknown situations, therefore it requires careful socialization. He has strong ties with his family flock.


Saarloos wolfdog has many wolf traits. He has a strong herd instinct, so he is strongly associated with his family and does not like to be left alone. Of course, you have to get used to it, but a representative of this breed should not go to people spending many hours away from home. It can cause damage from boredom or longing.

Saarloos wolfdog

Saarloos get along well with foreign dogs, because they have a well-developed body language and read it well from their brethren. They can live in a herd of both sexes. It happens, however, that two bitches, which have already had puppies, become averse to each other – and this is because of only the alpha female breeds in the wolf pack.

Saarloos also show strong hunting instincts, and cooperate as a pack during hunting. The same dog at home may be a friend of the purr, but outside, when instincts wake up, it turns out to be dangerous for him.


Saarloos wolfdog is great for sled sports and as family dogs. They are endowed with a great sense of smell and physical endurance. They occasionally train agility or sports obedience.

Saarloos wolfdog. Training and education

People used to train sheepdogs may feel disappointed when saarloos refuses to repeat the same command over and over again. He is an intelligent dog, requiring mental activity, but he is not particularly focused on carrying out human orders.

In addition, he hates coercion – he can close himself and start reacting to the trainer with anxiety. Training requires patience and gentleness. Saarloos is stubborn and easily adopt patterns of behavior – the trainer must be more stubborn than a dog!

The dog’s reactions to strangers and new situations can be problematic. That is why careful socialization is already very important for the breeder. Puppies up to eight weeks old should not yet show mistrust that is natural to the breed. If they hide in the corners, it is better to give up the purchase.

Saarloos wolfdog

However, even well-socialized Saarloos wolfdog may suddenly begin to react with uncertainty to unknown situations. It is good to know that when you get scared of something, its natural reflex is escaping, not aggression. On the other hand, it is a very family dog. For children he knows, he is usually gentle and patient, as is the wolf for young.

Who is this race for?

Saarloos’ wolfdog should go to a person who will devote a lot of time to him. This dog feels a great need for movement, so it’s best for the owner to be active and provide him with at least long walks. You can also do sled sports with him.

Saarloos wolfdog. Advantages and disadvantages


  • manifests a lot of wolf features – such as distrust and even fearfulness and reluctance to repeatedly follow orders
  • hates coercion
  • requires intensive socialization
  • has a strong hunting instinct
  • out of boredom he can be a destroyer


  • in case of anxiety, he responds by escaping rather than by aggression
  • gets along well with other dogs
  • is tolerant of children from his own “herd”
  • uncomplicated in care

Saarloos wolfdog. Health

Bitches of this breed usually have heat once a year, which is a legacy of the wolf and connects Saarloos with the original breeds. It can last up to six weeks. Also, males, like wolves, tend to be seasonally fertile (when there is no fertile bitch in the herd, their sex hormone levels decrease). Both sexes ripen late (the first liquid at the age of 15-18 months).

Saarloos wolfdog

Saarlooses are healthy and resistant, but there are genetic problems – mainly eye diseases (e.g. progressive retinal atrophy). That is why breeding dogs should be tested in this respect. Caution should be used in Saarloos wolfdog anesthesia. Motion sickness is a common condition.


Saarloos wolfdog is not particularly demanding in terms of nutrition. The diet serves him well.

Saarloos wolfdog


The care of saarloos is not bothersome, but twice a year this dog molts abundantly. Especially dropping the winter undercoat can be a nuisance. The animal then requires daily combing. Outside of this period, he only needs brushing about once every two weeks.

Saarloos wolfdog. History

This is the second breed next to the Czechoslovakian wolfdog, created from a cross between a dog and a wolf. Its creator Dutchman Leendert Saarloos (1884-1969) dreamed of breeding a quadruped combining the best dog and wolf features. In practice, this proved difficult.

And although initially the breed was set up with similar aims to those of Czechoslovakian wolfdog (they were supposed to be working dogs), this changed over time and today saarloos is only a family dog.

Saarloos wolfdog

The original name Saarlooswolfhond means: Saarloos wolf-dog. Among the lovers of the breed the term “wolfdog” has been adopted – by analogy with the Czechoslovakian wolfdog. Leendert Saarloos believed that dogs were too civilized in the course of breeding, which negatively affects their health, build and psyche.

He dreamed of a quadruped with predispositions for utility training, similar to a German Shepherd, who would, however, be more naturally built, healthier and endowed with sensitive wolf senses.

In 1920, Saarloos began a breeding project to which he devoted the rest of his life. He crossed the German Shepherd Gerard van der Fransenum from Fleur – a she-wolf purchased in the zoo, which came from the Siberian branch of European wolves. He repeated this crossword three times (the first litter fell).

Then he associated some of the daughters with his father and received animals in which a quarter of the wolf’s blood flowed. As a result of further selection, he created a breed that he called Europese Wolfhond. Because some of its representatives proved themselves as guides for the blind, Saarloos, who trained the dogs himself, decided that the initial assumptions were met.

Unfortunately, he constantly struggled with strong distrust and fear of strangers and unknown situations appearing in the breed. It is a wolf trait that dogs have largely eliminated and which is strongly inherited. Wolves enable survival, but it is troublesome for human companions and disqualifies such individuals as guard dogs or service dogs. Saarloos’s quadrupeds did not want to attack, they were also bad guards, because – like wolves – they barked little.

So Saarloos wolfdog focused on improving the psyche, choosing dogs that had more Gerard’s characteristics for breeding. Outwardly, these animals also resembled a dog more than a wolf.

Some fans of the breed did not like this, because the most important thing for them was the wolf appearance. At their urging, Saarloos added the blood of the wolf again. The last cross with a European wolf took place in 1963. It is also suspected that a Canadian wolf was used in breeding because modern saarloos resemble these wolves more than European ones.

Unfortunately, refilling the wolf blood again made my fearfulness worsen again. Saarlos finally had to accept that his wolfdog would never be a service dog.

The creator applied for recognition of the breed twice: in 1942 and 1963 – the application was rejected, including because Saarloos did not want to entrust anyone with breeding. When he died in 1969, his wife and daughter gave the dogs to a friend. Six years later, lovers of the breed turned to the Dutch cynological association, which this time agreed to register. To honor the creator of the breed, its name was changed to “Saarloos’ wolfdog”. Finally in 1981 it was recognized by the FCI.

Saarloos wolfdog. Template

Saarlooswoldhond (Saarloos wolfdog) – group I FCI, section 1, reference number 311

  • Origin: Netherlands
  • Character: exuberant dog; attached to the guardian, but not blindly obedient; full of reserve towards strangers; distrustful, reacts to unknown situations by trying to escape – so requires careful socialization
  • Size: dogs 65-75 cm, bitches 60-70 cm
  • Weight: 36-45 kg
  • Coat: short, two-layer; in winter thick, thick undercoat and abundant orifice on the neck dominate, in summer bony groundcoat
  • Ointment: wilted, with black pigmentation of the ends of the hair, nose, mucous membranes and paws; forest-brown (brown instead of black pigment); white to pale cream-white; the desired eye color is yellow – typical for a wolf
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Vulnerability to training: moderate
  • Activity: high, but not a hyperactive dog
  • Resistance/susceptibility to diseases: very resistant; eye diseases, sporadic spondylosis and dysplasia in lines mixed with Czechoslovakian wolfdogs)

Interesting facts

Unlike the Czechoslovak cousins, saarloos are found not only in the classic willy ointment, but also in the forest-brown and white to pale cream color.

A fairly popular forest-brown ointment is a wilted ointment, in which the black pigment has been replaced with brown. For this, white ointment is extremely rare today.

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