Other names: Saarloos Wolfdog, European Wolfdog
The Saarloos Wolfdog is a cross between the German Shepherd and the European Wolf. She is a large, powerful, and athletic dog that still looks very much like a wild wolf. This can be quite intimidating at first, especially for those who are naturally nervous around big dogs. However, the wolfdog is surprisingly calm, and even a little reserved. This is not the outcome breeders were hoping for, but the pairing still created a very unique animal. Despite being a bit of a gentle giant, a wolfdog is not the best choice for inexperienced owners.
Key facts about the Saarloos Wolfhound
Origins and history
The Saarloos Wolfdog is quite the enigma. Despite being the cross of two fearless animals, the Wolfdog failed to inherit many of their characteristics. She certainly looks the part, but Wolfdogs have a very different personality from either parent breed. She is more reserved than brave, more shy than confident, and more passive than aggressive. This has lead to her kind being used as companion dogs and assistance dogs rather than what they were originally bred for, which was hunting and herding.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Saarloos Wolfhound
Female : Between 24 and 28 in
Male : Between 26 and 30 in
Female : Between 75 and 79 lb
Male : Between 84 and 90 lb
Grey, white, silver, sand and fawn.
Type of coat
Thick, dense, double-layered.
The Saarloos Wolfhound is a strongly built dog with a striking resemblance to a wolf. She has pointed ears and almond eyes, and an attentive, though somewhat reserved, expression. The Saarloos is big-boned with a proud posture. She has long shoulders and lean, muscular hindquarters, with a long muzzle and tail. Males are much larger than females.
Good to know
The Saarloos is much better suited to living in the countryside, as she needs lots of space to fully express herself.
Some of the Saarloos’s health issues can be very expensive to treat.
She sheds a lot of hair.
She is an affectionate pet, and particularly attached to members of her social group.
Puppy wolfdogs are very playful but they become much more reserved as they get older.
She is lively and full of energy, but knows how to calm down if her activity needs have been met.
The Saarloos is a combination of two very intelligent animals, so it’s unsurprising that they’re highly intelligent dogs. But unlike many other smart dogs, they don’t feel a need to show off to their owners.
Like her ancestors, she has kept a strong instinct for predation.
Fearful / wary of strangers
These dogs look fearsome, but they’re actually quite shy, nervous, and even timid. They tend to stay away from strangers.
She is a very independent dog who likes her own space, but nevertheless remains close to her master. She can even get overwhelmed is she gets too much attention.
Behaviour of the Saarloos Wolfhound
She is bred to live in a pack, and long periods of solitude will have a negative effect on her mental health. A lonely dog will become bored and frustrated.
Easy to train / obedience
In the right hands, she can be well trained, but a relationship of mutual trust must first be established to get this willful dog on board.
She is a generally quiet breed.