Saarloos Wolf Dog: Your Ultimate Guide to this Fascinating Breed

Saarloos wolf dogs are a fascinating breed that has gained popularity in recent years. These dogs have a unique history and are known for their wolf-like appearance. If you are considering getting a Saarloos wolf dog, it is important to learn as much as you can about the breed to ensure that you can provide them with the proper care and training they need.

Based on their temperament and boundless energy, Saarloos wolf dogs are probably not the right fit for a family with small kids.  Although not directly bred from wolves, this breed is not far removed from wolves and could engender some of the unpredictably associated with true wolf dogs.

In this complete guide to Saarloos wolf dogs, we will cover everything you need to know about this breed, including their history, appearance, temperament, and care requirements.

Whether you are a first-time dog owner or an experienced handler, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether a Saarloos wolf dog is the right pet for you. So, let’s dive in and learn more about these magnificent animals!

History and Origin

The Saarloos Wolfdog is a breed that originated in Holland in the early 1930s. The breed was created by a Dutch breeder named Leendert Saarloos, who was passionate about the German Shepherd breed but believed that the dog had become too domesticated.

Saarloos mated a German Shepherd with a captive Eurasian Grey Wolf, which resulted in the first-generation Saarloos Wolfdog. He then mated the offspring with the German Shepherd father, which further developed the breed.

The Saarloos Wolfdog was initially bred with the intention of developing a more natural German Shepherd. However, due to its wolf-like appearance and behavior, the breed quickly gained popularity as a companion animal.

Despite its popularity, the breed has faced some challenges throughout its history. During World War II, many Saarloos Wolfdogs were killed due to their association with the German Shepherd breed, which was used by the Nazis.

In 1981, the breed was recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which is the largest international organization that regulates dog breeds. Today, the Saarloos Wolfdog is still a relatively rare breed, but it has a dedicated following of enthusiasts who appreciate its unique appearance and personality.

Overall, the Saarloos Wolfdog has a fascinating history and origin story that is closely tied to the vision and passion of its creator, Leendert Saarloos.

Appearance and Characteristics

Saarloos wolf dog; close up of head

The Saarloos Wolfdog is a large breed of dog that closely resembles a grey wolf in appearance. They have a wedge-shaped head with a long muzzle, almond-shaped yellow eyes, and medium-sized triangular ears on the top of their head. They are muscular and athletic, with a sturdy build and a thick, dense coat that provides excellent protection against the elements.

Coat Color

Saarloos Wolfdogs can come in a variety of different colors, with grey being the most common. Other colors can include brown, red, or white. Their coat is typically thick and double-layered, with a soft undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat that is water-resistant.


The Saarloos Wolfdog has a long, bushy tail that is typically carried low and straight. Their tail is an important part of their body language, and they use it to communicate their mood and intentions to other dogs and humans.


One of the most distinctive features of the Saarloos Wolfdog is their large, erect ears. Their ears are triangular in shape and sit high on their head, giving them excellent hearing and allowing them to pick up even the faintest sounds.

Overall, the Saarloos Wolfdog is a striking and unique breed of dog that is sure to turn heads wherever they go. Their wolf-like appearance and impressive size make them an excellent choice for anyone looking for a large, athletic dog with a strong, independent personality.

Temperament and Behavior

The Saarloos Wolfdog is a highly intelligent breed that is loyal, independent, and protective of their families. They are pack animals and thrive in a home where they are treated as part of the family. However, they may be wary of strangers and need to be socialized from a young age to prevent any aggression towards unfamiliar people.


Socialization is crucial for Saarloos Wolfdogs. They need to be exposed to a variety of people, animals, and situations from an early age to help them develop into well-adjusted dogs. Without proper socialization, they may become fearful or aggressive towards strangers, making them difficult to handle.

Prey Drive

Saarloos Wolfdogs have a high prey drive due to their wolf ancestry. They may be inclined to chase smaller animals, so it is important to keep them on a leash when outside and to teach them proper recall commands. It is also important to supervise them around young children and smaller animals to prevent any accidents.


Saarloos Wolfdogs are not naturally aggressive, but they may become aggressive if they feel threatened or if they perceive a threat to their family. They need to be trained and socialized properly to prevent any aggressive behavior. They are not recommended for novice dog owners, as they require a firm and experienced hand in training.

In summary, Saarloos Wolfdogs are intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs that require proper socialization and training. They have a high prey drive and may be wary of strangers, but they can make great family pets with the right care and attention.

Training and Exercise

Training and exercise are crucial for Saarloos Wolf Dogs to maintain their physical and mental well-being. This breed is known for their high energy levels and need for regular physical activity. In this section, we will discuss the importance of training and exercise for Saarloos Wolf Dogs and provide some tips on how to keep them active and healthy.


Saarloos Wolf Dogs are working dogs and have a high prey drive. They require a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy activities such as running, hiking, and swimming. It is recommended to give them at least 60 minutes of exercise per day. This can be split up into two or three sessions throughout the day.


Saarloos Wolf Dogs have a lot of energy and require an outlet for it. They are not suited for apartment living and need a large yard or open space to run around in. If they do not get enough exercise, they may become destructive and develop behavioral problems.

Physical Activity

Saarloos Wolf Dogs are highly intelligent and excel in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and tracking. They also make excellent service dogs due to their stamina and ability to perform tasks. Training should begin at an early age and should be positive and reward-based.

Working Dog

As a working dog, Saarloos Wolf Dogs need a job to do. They enjoy tasks that involve physical activity and mental stimulation. They are often used in search and rescue, law enforcement, and as therapy dogs.

Train Early to Maintain Control

Due to their high prey drive, Saarloos Wolf Dogs should be trained to obey commands and to stay under control around small animals. They may chase after squirrels and other small animals if not properly trained.


Saarloos Wolf Dogs have excellent stamina and can keep up with their owners on long hikes and runs. They are also great at endurance activities such as backpacking and bikejoring.


Saarloos Wolf Dogs are agile and excel in dog sports such as agility and flyball. They enjoy the challenge of navigating through obstacle courses and performing tricks.

Apartment Living

Saarloos Wolf Dogs are not suited for apartment living. They need a large yard or open space to run around in. They may become destructive and develop behavioral problems if they do not get enough exercise.

Easy to Train

Saarloos Wolf Dogs are intelligent and eager to please. They are easy to train using positive reinforcement and reward-based methods. They respond well to praise and treats and enjoy learning new things.

Training and exercise are essential for Saarloos Wolf Dogs to maintain their physical and mental well-being.

They are highly active dogs that require a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and happy. They excel in dog sports and make excellent service dogs due to their stamina and ability to perform tasks. Training should be positive and reward-based, and should begin at an early age.

Grooming and Health


The Saarloos Wolfdog has a thick, double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its health and appearance. Brushing with a slicker brush once or twice a week is recommended to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Bathing should be done only when necessary, using a mild shampoo and conditioner. Trimming of the nails, cleaning of the ears, and dental care should also be included in the grooming routine.


The average lifespan of a Saarloos Wolfdog is between 10-12 years. To ensure a long and healthy life for your pet, it is important to provide regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular visits to the veterinarian for check-ups and vaccinations.


The Saarloos Wolfdog is a moderate to heavy shedder, especially during the spring and fall when they shed their undercoat. Regular brushing can help to control shedding and keep your home clean.

In addition to regular grooming, maintaining a healthy and secure environment is essential to the overall health and well-being of your Saarloos Wolfdog. They are natural hunters and have a strong pack mentality, so it is important to provide plenty of opportunities for exercise and socialization.


Owning a Saarloos Wolfdog can be a rewarding experience for those who are prepared to provide the necessary care and attention. They are intelligent, loyal, and make excellent companions for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to train and socialize them properly.


It is important to note that the Saarloos Wolfdog is not recommended for first-time dog owners or those who are not experienced with large, strong-willed breeds.

They require a firm and consistent hand in training and can be challenging to handle if not properly trained and socialized. Additionally, they may not be suitable for households with small children or other pets, as their natural hunting instincts can make them unpredictable in certain situations.

In conclusion, the Saarloos Wolfdog is a unique and fascinating breed that requires dedicated care and attention to maintain their health and well-being. With proper grooming, exercise, and socialization, they can make excellent companions for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to provide them with a secure and loving home.