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Walking with Wolves?

Walking with Wolves?

The Saarloos wolfshond (Dutch for "Saarloos Wolfdog") is an established breed of wolf-dog hybrid. History

In 1921, Dutch breeder Leendert Saarloos started crossbreeding a German Shepherd Dog male to a female Mackenzie Valley Wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis). He aimed for an improved version of the German Shepherd Dog which would be immune to distemper, and succeeded insofar that the Saarlooswolfdog we know is a strong imposing dog, but it kept its wolflike characteristics; it is cautious, reserved and lacks the ferocity to attack; it is not the dog that Leendert Saarloos hoped to get. His theory was also proven wrong, as nearly all the first generation hybrids succumbed to distemper. Until Leendert Saarloos died in 1969, he was in full control over the breeding of his "European wolfdog". The Dutch Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1975. To honor its creator they changed the name to "Saarlooswolfdog". In 1981 the breed was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). In the past, some Saarlooswolfdogs were trained as guide dogs for the blind and as rescue dogs.

Size/Appearance

The Saarloos wolfhond is a fairly large dog, up to 76 cm at the shoulder and weighing up to 40 kg. The muzzle is wide, and the ears pointed and held erect. It is an athletic dog in build, with medium bone, and a strong and muscular body. Its coat is short and dense, providing superb protection from the weather. The colour of the dog's coat, however, can vary between black, tan, red, white, silver, or blue. The Saarloos has wolf-like expressions, as well as a wolf-like head.

Ownership

Due to its size and strength, the Saarlooswolfhound is only recommended for experienced dog owners. Most owners have at least two Saarloos to provide the necessary pack, because the animals are still pack-oriented. The breed is very intelligent. Isolation intensifies anti-social behavior, and these dogs will panic if locked in an enclosed space.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 22, 2011
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    by Erik van den Ham