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Saarloos Wolfhound

Other names: Saarloos Wolfdog, European Wolfdog

Saarloos Wolfhound
Saarloos Wolfhound adult
Saarloos Wolfhound

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

  • Life expectancy : Between 11 and 13 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Hunter
  • Size : Large
  • Type of coat : Long, Hard

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the Saarloos Wolfhound

Adult size

Female dog Between 24 and 28 in
Male dog Between 26 and 30 in


Female dog Between 75 and 79 lb
Male dog Between 84 and 90 lb

Coat colour

Grey, white, silver, sand and fawn.

Type of coat

Thick, dense, double-layered.

Eye colour



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. 



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She is an affectionate pet, and particularly attached to members of her social group.


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Puppy wolfdogs are very playful but they become much more reserved as they get older. 


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She is lively and full of energy, but knows how to calm down if her activity needs have been met.


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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. 


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Like her ancestors, she has kept a strong instinct for predation.

Fearful / wary of strangers

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These dogs look fearsome, but they’re actually quite shy, nervous, and even timid. They tend to stay away from strangers


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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

Tolerates solitude

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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

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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.


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She is a generally quiet breed.

Tendency to run away

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Her predatory instinct will drive her to follow tracks and run away if her environment is not secure.


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This calm, mild-mannered dog is not known for being destructive. However, a bored or lonely dog is likely to become frustrated. This can cause seriously destructive behaviour

Greedy / Gluttony

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This big dog eats a lot of food, but she’s not greedy or glutinous. Treats are welcome for training and socialising.

Guard dog

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She certainly looks like an excellent watchdog, but she’s actually quite reserved and cautious. She lacks many of the instincts that a good watchdog needs.

First dog

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The Saarloos is not a very good choice for the first time owner. Novice handlers may struggle to control this big dog. She requires a more experienced “master.”


Saarloos Wolfhound in a flat

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No! She’s far too big to live in a flat or a small house. Urban spaces may also be stressful for this sensitive dog.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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A minimum of two hours exercise a day in open spaces will keep her happy. She also needs plenty of time off the leash. 

Travelling / easy to transport

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This large dog is difficult to transport. She’s too large to travel by plane and will also struggle on trains. She may get nervous during long car journeys. 


Saarloos Wolfhound and cats

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Her strong predatory instinct does not guarantee successful co-mingling with cats.

Saarloos Wolfhound and dogs

The Saarloos is a pack dog, who must live with at least one other dog (preferably of the same size) to never feel alone. She can get on well with dogs of other breeds, but early training and socialisation is very important. It needs to happen within the first 3 months to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour. 

Saarloos Wolfhound and children

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She has a patient nature, and can integrate with a family with children as long as they respect her nature and give her peace.

Saarloos Wolfhound and the elderly

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This breed is not suitable for inactive and potentially sedentary people.


Around £800 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £60 to £90 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


Fairly low grooming requirements. Two to three quick brushes each week are enough.


She sheds moderately, but more heavily during spring and autumn. 

Nutrition of the Saarloos Wolfhound

This big dog needs 4 cups of high-quality dog food split over two daily meals.  

Health of the Saarloos Wolfhound

Life expectancy

This is a generally healthy breed with an average life expectancy of 12 years.

Strong / robust

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This is a robust animal, who is big, muscular, and very strong. She can develop some hereditary diseases.

Withstand heat

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She sheds her fur during the warmer months. This helps keep her cool but avoid walkies during the hottest parts of the day. 

Withstand cold

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The Wolfdog was designed to thrive in cold temperatures. A British winter won’t bother this dog. 

Tendency to put on weight

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She is not predisposed to putting on weight. 

Common illnesses

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.

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. 


Jack, Buck, Nillie, Dolly

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