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Saarloos Wolfdog Breed Information

The Saarloos Wolf Dog – A Dog Breed Like A Wolf. These beautiful dogs are a mixture of Wolf and German Shepherd. They are initially from Europe but have made their way to North America. Find out all the Saarloos breed information you’ve ever wanted in this dog breed information page.

Saarloos Breed At A Glance

  • Breed: Saarloos Wolfdog
  • Breed Group: Wolf Hybrid/Herding/Cattle Dog
  • Temperament: Loyal, Intelligent, Pack-Oriented
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: 9/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: The Netherlands

General Information And Breed History

The Saarloos Wolfdog is the perfect example of a dog breed like a wolf.  It was originally a mix of German Shepherd and European Grey Wolf. The breed was first created by Mr. Leenert Saarloos (1884-1969) who was an avid fan of the German Shepherd.  Leenert felt that the German Shepherd needed some qualities bred back into it, being too domesticated. Mr. Saarloos wanted to make a better working dog. So, he bred a male German Shepherd with a female wolf of Siberian origins.  


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After breeding the young back to the father, the result was a good group of ¾ German Shepherd, ¼ wolf.


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The Saarloos wolfdog was recognized as a legitimate breed in 1975.  At first, according to the F.C.I. Standard, the breed was utilized as a guide dog for the blind.  However, the wolf in the Saarloos prevailed and the breed proved to be a lesser candidate for this sort of service role.

General Appearance

The Saarloos is a beautiful, and well-built dog breed.  The breed looks more like its wild wolf predecessors than it does the German Shepherd.  And with its heritage, its no wonder the Saarloos is a dog breed like a wolf. And many of its attributes are reflective of this concept.

Saarloos wolfdog puppies are absolutely beautiful.  They look similar to baby huskies but with a more wolf-like look, making them look just like baby wolves.  Absolutely adorable. Finding Saarloos wolfdog puppies for sale can be difficult as the breed is not all that common, at least not in North America anyway.  From time to time puppies become available, but you really have to be patient and do your homework to find Saarloos wolfdog puppies for sale in Canada or Saarloos wolfdog puppies for sale in the US.  Seriously, it can be a difficult challenge. Your best bet is to find Saarloos wolfdog breeders in Europe and have a puppy flown over. Or, even better make it an excuse to fly to whichever country you find a breeder.  At the time of writing, there was a noted breed in Wales.

Differences Between Female And Male Saarloos

The breed has pronounced differences between the sexes.  This is obvious when you see a male and a female together.

Saarlooswolfhond, as it was originally called in honor of the breeds creator, has a beautiful set of long legs, without the pronounced appearance of being overly long.  This graceful length, as I like to think of it, is in appearance a candidate for a good runner. Apparently, this trait was passed on from the wolf who founded the first generation no doubt.  Wolves are fantastic hunters, which is why they have been so successful. A part of that success is due to the ability of a pack to run down and capture prey. And what better way to run down prey, than to have decent long legs to run fast.  Well, the Saarloos is no exception, they are indeed decent runners with their graceful long legs and well built, athletic bodies.


The body of the Saarloos is longer than it is tall, at the withers.  And the body is typically straight and long. The body is taught, muscles are lean and the look should be that of a slender, graceful and yet muscular dog breed like a wolf.

The proportion of the muzzle to the skull is equal.  That is to say that the length of the muzzle should be equal to the length of the skull.  The eyes are usually a yellowish hue, with thick, pronounced eyelids.

The Saarloos Wolf Dog is a slender dog.  The stomach should be slightly tucked and taught with no sag.  The chest should be about twice the girth as the stomach, but not too pronounced to disturb the flow of form.  This dog should appear slender, fit and wolf-like.


The Saarloos coat should hold mastery of the appearance of a wolf.  The coat is medium thickness but the hair is coarse and somewhat soft.  The coat of the Saarloos varies greatly, depending on the time of year. This breed has a natural adaptation to seasonal change and it’s quite obvious when looking at how their coat changes throughout the year.  

The coat changing between winter and summer coats typically is induced by the characteristic temperature change.  That is the temperature change that accompanies a seasonal change such as moving into fall with cooler, shorter days.

The colors of the Saarloos are that of a mix between a lighter German Shepherd and a Grey wolf.  Usually a white to grey background with dark highlights on the back and sides of the chest, stretching up over the shoulders and onto the head even.  But overall the coat is not usually dark like you might see on a chocolate lab or something.

Legs & Feet

As mentioned previously, this breed of dog has long legs, inherited for the Grey Wolf.  However, the legs are not so long as to give the dog the appearance of being overly long-legged.  

The feet have well-defined pads.  The feet are muscular and can even splay outwards slightly and still be acceptable to the breed standard.  Both the front and rear feet are well-arched.


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Tail & Hindquarters

Saarloos has a muscular build and this is, of course, quite apparent in the strong hindquarters.  The thighs are well-defined and quite muscular. The tail is low and even has a slight depression which accentuates the slight angle of the pelvis.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 Years
  • Height (at the withers): 
  • Male: 65 – 75 cm (25 – 30 inches)
  • Female: 60 – 70 cm (23 – 28 inches)
  • Weight:  
  • Male: 36-41 kg
  • Female: 30-35 kg

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 83.8 cm (33 inches)
  • Door Width: 53.3 cm (21 inches)
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 102.9 cm (40.5 inches)
  • Interior House Length: 167.6 cm (66 inches)
  • Interior House Width: 106.7 cm (42 inches)
  • Floor Space: 1.67 meters squared (18 square feet)

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $850-$1100 USD

Starter Costs: $2000

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $1200-$1400

How The Saarloos Wolfdog Reacts To


Proceed with caution with small children.  Extra caution should be taken with less socialized dogs.  We do not recommend close contact with any dog that has not been socialized from a young age.  As a general rule, that is to say. Use common sense.  


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Other Dogs:   

The Saarloos is an intelligent dog and as such should be treated with respect.  The dog is a decent size so caution should be taken when introducing to small dogs.  The Saarloos are very much like wolves and the need for a social pack hierarchy is important to this breed.  For that reason, a dominant attitude of a small indoor breed dog, for example, could trigger a negative reaction from a Saarloos.  However, it should be noted that this is the case with any breed, some dogs will be more aggressive than others. Dogs with greater size and greater killing instincts should be given extra caution for obvious reasons.

Like any breed though, the Saarloos must be gauged on an individual case by case basis when considering introductions to other dogs.  Like people, dogs’ individuality can supersede any breed-related stereotypes.


Use extreme caution whenever you introduce a new pet.  Ideally, you want to get a Saarloos from a young age (puppy) so you can get it used to cats and so on from the beginning.  The older the dog, the more difficult new introductions can be. And the Saarloos have a lot of the pack hunter instinct so use extreme caution.  We do not recommend contact of any kind with cats unless acclimated from a young age and trained accordingly.

Other Animals:

As with cats, proceed with caution.  Wolves are hunters, killing is in their blood.  And the Saarloos is a wolfdog. So, killing is also in its blood.  Keep that in mind before you introduce any other animal to the Saarloos.  Proceed with extreme caution.

Care Requirements


The Saarloos wolfdog breeders will tell you, these dogs have energy.  They are relentless trotters with the stamina to spare. If you aren’t up for a good, long walk/jog/run every single day, at least once, then don’t get a Saarloos.  Don’t get me wrong, the Husky is another dog that has a huge running ability, but any wolfdog is going to need a little extra care.


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Exercising your wolfdog isn’t only good because they need their basic exercise.  It also helps keep them calm and fulfilled. A tired dog is less likely to act out.  And a well-exercised dog will feel healthier and happier which is good for everyone.

Grooming & Coat Info

Like the German Shepherd and it’s wolf beginnings, the Saarloos has seasonal coat changes.  That means that it will indeed shed and will need brushing every so often. The breed isn’t known for an excessive amount of hair, so don’t panic.

Health & Nutrition

Saarloos are not known widely that is, for any major health issues.  There are a couple of things that have crept up for them though. According to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, pituitary dwarfism is a disease that creeps up from time to time with not only the Saarloos but also Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs.

Any recommendation I could make here would be to treat the Saarloos as a German Shepherd when it comes to general nutrition.  The best thing to do though is to consult your veterinarian. They will know best for your dog and they can provide testing to make sure your dog is healthy.


Being a larger breed, and highly intelligent, training is a must.  Again, like the German Shepherd, the Saarloos is a smart dog and can get bored.  It is best to keep the Saarloos adequately stimulated to keep it from getting itself into trouble.

Training is essential with any larger breed dog, simply due to the size.  The fact that Saarloos is a closer relative to wolves than most breeds, means the breed may have a stronger killing instinct than more ‘domesticated’ breeds.  

Utilizing good training techniques is essential with the Saarloos.  I like using a training clicker. Amazon had decent ones cheap which you can pick up, and these dog training clickers are pretty decent. 

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Also, remember that you will likely need a muzzle for your wolfdog.  There’s a really great article on muzzles by Christine Valitutti you should read too.

Saarloos has a strong sense of purpose.  They are a curious, intelligent and pack oriented dog.  This makes them a good addition for an active family who has the time and energy to dedicate to good training and lots of fun and exercise with their wolfdog.

“The Saarloos is an awesome wolfdog.”

Farmer Jer, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Saarloos wolfhounds good pets?

To answer this question, you have to ask yourself a few questions.  If a wolf-like, intelligent, German Shepherd type of dog is what you want, then this breed might be right for you.  They need a decent amount of exercise and you have to be ready to accept that responsibility. As long as you are a responsible dog owner, a Saarloos can make a wonderful, energetic and loyal addition to your family.

What are wolfdogs mixed with?

The Saarloos wolfdog is part Grey European Wolf and part German Shepherd Dog.

Can wolves and dogs interbreed?

I think we’ve covered the answer to this one already, but let’s give it a go from another angle.  The answer is yes (technically that is), but it would be weird to try to breed a small breed like a chihuahua to a wolf.  So, in some cases, the dog could become food if things go really wrong. It makes sense that the dogs must be of the same basic size as the wolf for this to work at all in the first place. Unless artificial insemination is the method being used to breed the dog to the wolf.


  1. F.C.I. Breed Standard #311
  2. A.K.C. –
  3. Wikipedia –
  5. Pituitary Dwarfism in Saarloos and Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are Associated with a Mutation in LHX3 A.M.W.Y. Voorbij  P.A. Leegwater  H.S. Kooistra  First published: 01 October 2014

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