The Saarloos Wolfdog isn’t the monster that it sounds like. Find out about this energetic dog in our guide.
The Saarloos Wolfdog is a large dog with wolf-like looks, originating in Germany, where they were used as working dogs.
They are naturally kind and want to please their owners, making them a great choice for anyone who has previous dog ownership knowledge.
Height: Males up to 75cm, females up to 70
Weight: Males up to 41kg, females up to 35kg
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Pedigree Breed: No, not recognized
Positives and Negatives of the Breed
When it comes to discovering the positives and negatives of this breed, we have you covered. We’ve taken them and listed them so that you can be aware of the main issues before you commit to becoming an owner.
- This breed is well known for its loyalty towards its family
- They are incredibly intelligent and are perfectly built for dog sports
- They are easy to train and keen to please their owners
- They are great for those people who love outdoor adventures and will go anywhere you take them
- They love to be groomed and will enjoy this special time spent with you
- They are not good for first-time owners as they will need a lot of input from day one
- They are not great for smaller kids and fit better in families that have older children
- They have a high prey drive and will run off if they have not been trained to heel to command
- They are not suited to apartment living and need a large home with a big garden to be happy
- They shed a lot over the course of the year
- They are prone to many hereditary illnesses, and so vets and insurance can be expensive
The Saarloos Wolf Dog got their name from their very wolf-like looks and were initially bred by crossing an Alsatian with a European Wolf.
The end result of this matching was a dog that was mild in temper, loyal, and intelligent. They are hard-working dogs and need lots of stimulation to keep them happy and occupied.
They are not a well-known breed but are slowly gaining in popularity across the Western world with people who want a dog that can join them with their outdoor work and adventures.
If you want to get one of these beautiful dogs, you will need to do your research and find a breeder that has all the necessary paperwork in place. You can expect to wait a while before getting your puppy as there are not many bred each year.
The Saarloos dog was named after its creator, Leendert Saarloos, a Dutchman who is said to have love Alsatians but who wanted a dog that displayed more natural behaviors.
The result of his breeding scheme did not produce the results he had wanted to achieve because the Saarloos turned out to be much shyer and wary than expected, and it seemed to have lost the instinct to attack potential dangers.
Over time the breed has become popular as Assistance Dogs and are popular choices in America and Holland, although they are relatively unknown elsewhere.
As their popularity grows, more people are extolling the benefits of owning such a calm and loyal dog and love that they have such high energy and intellect.
The Saarloos dog has a wonderful temperament and is loving and obedient towards those it views as it’s family.
If you are considering getting one of these lovely pups, then it is worth checking out the most asked questions about their personality.
Are They Good with Strangers?
This breed is well known for its innate fear of strangers and will want to run away if they are approached. This can lead to them being mistaken as unfriendly when, in reality, they are just scared.
They are not aggressive to those they don’t know as they would prefer to just stay away from the unknown rather than attacking anyone.
They will look to you to protect them and trust you when it comes to introducing them to people they do not know.
Are They Good with Other Dogs?
Not only are these dogs great with other dogs, but they are also better suited to living in a home where there are other dogs due to their pack mentality.
They can become unhappy and depressed if they are the only dog in the house and so it is advisable to not get one unless you can commit to owning more than one pooch.
When it comes to meeting new dogs when they are out and about, they can tolerate them unless they are too boisterous. If they meet a dog they do not like; then they can appear to become aggressive in a bid to warn them off.
How Do they Behave Around Children?
This breed is great with children that live with them but prefer to avoid kids that they don’t live with. Because of their size, it is sensible to only house them with older children as smaller ones are more prone to getting hurt by being knocked over when playing.
An adult always needs to be around if there are kids near a dog just to ensure that no one gets overexcited.
Do They Have a High Prey Drive?
Saarloos do have a high prey drive and love nothing more than to chase any animal they come into contact with unless they have grown up with them.
Training your dog is essential as otherwise, it will be impossible to get them back if they see something they want to chase.
Can I Trust Them with Other Pets?
These dogs live well with other dogs if they have been introduced from a young age.
However, they are not good with other animals, as the desire to chase them could result in catastrophe. If you have other animals in the home, you are much better off looking for a different dog breed altogether.
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As with most dogs, the Saarloos finds itself at risk of developing a range of hereditary illnesses, but with good care and a healthy diet, they have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years.
Aside from the hereditary illnesses they are prone to, they are very healthy and active dogs and rarely get unwell with other conditions.
The main illnesses you can expect to crop up through their lives include:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Retinal Atrophy
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Pituitary dwarfism
As there are so many illnesses in their hereditary line, then you can expect to pay a higher premium for insurance and will need to have enough in savings to cover multiple vet bills when they are ill and for regular checkups.
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This large dog breed comes with lots of energy and a need for regular, intensive exercise.
On average, you can expect to take them for walks that last up to an hour, and they will need plenty of time off the lead to run about and do fun activities with you.
They also need a high level of mental stimulation as they are such an intelligent breed, and this can be delivered in group classes, by giving them problem-solving activities and through dog sports that will use a combination of their physical energy and mental agility to achieve outstanding results.
If you fail to exercise your Saarloos adequately, then you will find that they demonstrate many negative and destructive behaviors around your home and will also look to escape and run away.
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Because this dog is so clever, you will enjoy training them to take a range of commands from you.
That being said, they are also very quick to learn negative habits and once formed, they are hard to stop, and so this breed must be trained from an early age to ensure they are given the best start in life.
When training your new puppy, the important thing to remember is that they need it to be fun and interesting in order to engage. If they find your instruction methods boring, they will not engage, and this can lead to frustration for you and them.
They love to be praised and will work hard at the thought of impressing you. They will not respond well to harsh or heavy-handed instruction and need a firm but gentle approach.
The beautifully thick double coat of the Saarloos wolf dog is easy to maintain with just a couple of grooming sessions a week.
They won’t put up a fight and will enjoy the time with you having some fuss and attention. They do shed continuously throughout the year and would benefit from a professional groom in the Spring when they shed more than normal.
This breed is prone to ear infections, so it is important to keep an eye on any wax build-ups or color changes and take them to the vet if you have any concerns at all.
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