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Saarlooswolfhond

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Is the Saarlooswolfhond right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): European Wolf Dog; Saarlooswolfhound; Saarlooswolfdog, Saarloos Wolfdog

The basics:
The story of the Saarloos Wolfdog may be something of a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about getting started with wolf dogs. In 1921, Dutch Breeder Leendert Saarloos believed the German Shepherd Dog had become a bit too domesticated to be the ideal working animal, so he began crossing wolves with GSDs to create the breed that became the Saarloos Wolfdog. At first, some dogs appeared to make excellent service animals for the blind. However, the outcome of a cross is never pre-determined or guaranteed, and it soon became apparent that this breed wasn't reliable enough to be a suitable working or guide dog. Like other wolfdogs, this animal is for the experienced trainer who has a firm grasp on dog psychology. You must know how to establish yourself as a firm but kind and consistent alpha who commands loyalty from a breed with a strong pack instinct.

In some areas, wolfdogs are banned. Know your breeder, know your local law, and check with your insurance agent to be sure you are allowed to hold this animal. On the plus side, if you would like a breed-recognized wolfdog, this is a potential choice, as it was recognized by the FCI in 1981.

Appearance / health:
The Saarloos Wolf Dog is a strongly built dog with wolf-like features. They are longer than their height. The head is wedge shaped. Eyes are yellow and almond-shaped, set slightly oblique. Expression is alert but reserved. The eye is a very typical characteristic of the breed, which emphasizes the desired wolf-like appearance. Ears are medium sized, triangular in shape with rounded tip. Tail is broad and profusely coated. It is slightly low set and is carried lightly curved or almost straight.

Saarloos Wolf Dogs shed a lot. They shed heavily with the approach of winter. Regular brushing or combing is necessary to remove dead hair and keep them clean. Standard care is needed for eyes, ears, pads, and nails.

Saarloos Wolf Dogs are large dogs that need considerable exercise in the form of long walks and jogs.

Saarloos Wolf Dogs are prone to hip dyplasia (a hereditary disease that eventually causes lameness and arthritis of joints) and spondylosis (fusion and immobilization of the vertebral bones of spine).

Behavior / temperament:
They are pack oriented and need a strong owner and a social atmosphere. They are reserved and suspicious towards strangers. They also have a wolf-like tendency to flee when confronted. Extensive socialization at early age prevents undue shyness and restrains this tendency.

Saarloos Wolf Dogs do not make good working dogs. Yet they are trainable. They lack the will to please the owner and training is more of submissiveness than obedience for them. They require firm, consistent, and ongoing training, as it can be difficult to handle dogs of this size.

They are below average barkers and do not bark even in situations where they are expected to.

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