The Saarlooswolfhond



In the year 1921, a Dutch breeder by the name Leendert Saarloos began crossbreeding a female Eurasian wolf with a male German Shepherd dog. He desired to possess an improved German Shepherd dog that was immune to any kind of distemper. He thus succeeded in obtaining a European wolf dog.

This dog was very imposing and strong with characteristics that were wolf-like. It lacked the strength to attack and was reserved and cautious. However Leendert Saarloos failed in getting a perfect breed since all the hybrids of the first generation succumbed to distemper.

Later on, Leendert Saarloos managed to acquire complete control over these European wolf dogs. The recognition of this breed of dogs occurred in 1975 by the Dutch Kennel Society. To honor Leendert Saarloos, this Society changed the named of the wolf dog to Saarlooswolfhond. Saarlooswolfhonds are extremely rare and the cost of the purebreds can reach to about $2000.

Characteristics Of The Saarlooswolfhond:

The Saarlooswolfhond is a recognized breed of a dog-wolf hybrid all over the world. The height of Saarlooswolfhonds varies between 60-75 cm and their weight tends to be around 41 kg. The neck of the Saarlooswolfhond is powerful and broad with a tapering muzzle. Its head is moderately broad and is somewhat arched. Its ears are large and erect similar to those of the German Shepherds. Its legs are long and the feet turn outwards slightly. The tail is low set and is thickly feathered.

The coat is rough and weather resistant with an undercoat that is dense. The coat colors may be wolf brown, wolf gray and agouti with a few white markings. It is necessary to regularly brush and comb the coat of the Saarlooswolfhonds. These dogs should be bathed only when required for removing the natural oils present in the skin surface.

The qualities of the Saarlooswolfhond such as a tendency towards shyness, a requirement to have considerable space, a strong pack instinct and so on are similar to those of wolves and ancient canines. Therefore Saarlooswolfhonds require daily pack walks for satisfying their instincts. These dogs are very determined and they thus tend to be disobedient at times. However they need a social atmosphere and a powerful leader since they are pack-oriented. They are definitely unsuitable for a kennel life. Isolation increases their anti-social behavior and thus Saarlooswolfhonds panic if kept in an enclosure. This breed requires a lot of regular exercise and therefore have to be taken for jogs or long, daily brisk walks. The life expectancy of Saarlooswolfhonds is about ten to twelve years.

Owners of Saarlooswolfhonds need to establish a superior alpha position by spending time with them, understanding their behavior and training them with patience. A plus point of owning such dogs is that they are generally quiet, bark rarely and alert homeowners when there is trouble. These Saarlooswolfhonds are also excellent as rescue dogs or as guides for the visionless.

Casual breeding of these dogs is discouraged since they may suffer from problems such as spondylosis of the spinal cord, dysplasia, and temperament problems and so on.

Picture of the Saarlooswolfhound by Orinek7, licensed under GFDL

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