The Dutchman Leendert Saarloos (1884 – 1969) wanted to create a dog breed with no degeneration. His aim was to create a useable dog, which could be trained quickly, based on its excellent nose, to a trackhound and its innate caution and its quick power of reaction, as well as a police dog, rescue dog and seeing-eye-guide. In priority however Leendert Saarloos concerned a thoroughly healthy “not degenerated” dog. Because the wolf possessed many of this desirable characteristic, he selected a she-wolf called Fleur, a European wolf.
Saarloos bought her from the zoological garden Blijdorp in Rotterdam, and crossed her in 1935 with a German shepherd male called Gerard von Transrhenum. Saarloos named his new created breed “The European Wolfdog.” Later in 1975 this breed was renamed in Saarlooswolfhond (Saarlooswolfdog) by the Dutch Canine Organisation (Raad van Beheer) in honor of its creator, who unfortunately did not experience this official acknowledgement. Leendert Saarloos died in 1969 at the age of 84. The Saarlooswolfdog is not a working dog. Saarloos’ efforts to instruct his dogs as police dogs failed completely.
At the beginning of the ’40s the first wolfdog had graduated successfully the seeing-eye-guide-dog test. This breed had the nimbus to be especially qualified to a seeing-eye-guide dog. But the wolfish origin made oneself conspicuous. The dogs were still very carefully and shy like wild animals. Today the Saarlooswolfhond is a pleasant family dog, a companion to enjoy and a big friend of children, but not a dog for anybody. In care, health and feeding, they are conceivably unpretentious, but you must know to go around with them. With extraordinary patience and love, it lets itself be raised to the obedience over positive motivation.
It does not price itself at all through slavish obedience, but through total independence. More than other breeds the Saarlooswolfhond needs its bunch order. The owner must be the boss and must be appreciated by the dog as such. That requires some studies of the wolf- and dogpsychic. Because these dogs have a an expressive body language, you can “read” them very well. These dogs are extremely bond to their family. One must be able to bear it to have the dog permanently around oneself. The Saarlooswolfhond does not endure solitariness at all! They got very angious at seperation so that can cause an incredible destructiveness. For a kennel maintenance, they are also not suited: the bunch tie is to strong.
The Saarlooswolfhond can not bear more than some hours alone in his kennel. Finally in the wilderness it means death and ruin. A cub with healthy instinct will set all in motion in order to be at its family and therewith in security. Even so-called “outbreak neutralizing dog-kennels” are subdued in shortest time. As a watchdog the Saarloos Wolfhond is not particular suitable. He hardly barks although he can. For defending he is not suitable at all. Any forceattack is missing… Saarlooswolfdogs behave reservedly and shy in unaccustomed situations and with people they are not familliar with. So it is very important that you will bring the dog into such situations again and again, so that the dog will learn, that there are no threatening circumstances. At the same time the own appearance is important: quiet and determined!
In no case the dog should get any mercy or stroked! The Saarlooswolfhond would interpret this behavior only as a confirmation of its anxiety and would become softened. The behavior would be reinforced instead of muffled! Towards children the Saarlooswolfhond is very patient. However you should consider its size and corresponding power. Together with its powerful temperament showing his friends, it is able to throw down a man. In spite of its wolf blood, the Saarlooswolfhond is a dog and not a wolf. You can’t live together with wolves without danger. The Saarlooswolfhond has also nothing to do with the wildly produced wolfhybrids and bastards of them, that unfortunately come now more and more in fashion. This is a purebreed race with a special character.
The beginner will be advised to inquire of several breeders and many owners in detail before he decides on the adoption of a Saarloos wolfdog. Get as much informations as you can. It is worthwhile to listen attentively to owners and breeders. Notice that Saarlooswolfhond owners do not need to exaggerate! Do not buy a wolfdog because they are so seldom, beautiful and imposing without knowing what problems may occur!
If the dog is alone the hole day, please do yourself and the dog a favour and don’t own a dog. Sometimes the better animal friend is the one who does not own dogs! You also must considder this: the dog needs to know a person well enough, where you can give the Saarloos away, if you are not able to take it with you for any reasons (i.e. business trip, being at hospital etc.) Most Saarlooswolfdogs don’t like to fetch from any strangers! In the F.C.I. standard this breed is written down as Saarlooswolfhond, in one word.
Some photos from the history of the Saarlooswolfdog.
– Thank you Marijke Saarloos and Gerard de Moor –