Living with an Saarloos Wolfdog
The double coated fur should be brushed once a week; the dog does rather not smell.
Raising the young dog requests patience: the dogs grow very fast and seem & look to be far more grown up than they really are. That makes the owner tend to ask too much of the young dog both in obedience and endurance. You should stay to short walks with long breaks; additionally do a lot of playing (in and outside the house).
Why do so? A puppy with healthy instincts will do everything to stay with you. Even if it's really exhausted, it will struggle with all ist power to follow you. By the time the pup lies down and refuses to go any further, all jonts and ligaments are very outpowered and it is possible that irreversible damage has happened! The pup behaves this way because the instincts tell "you'll be left alone for dying!". If you read or see documentational material about wild dogs or wolves, you'll soon to learn that the youngsters stay "at home" until they are about 7 months old. Therefore stick to playing in and around your house - the puppy will quit playing as soon as it is tired, then.
Since the adult Saarloos is a tall dog (75 cm), his need for moving (trotting) makes him an ideal dog for the countryside or the outer urban areas, where there is lot of free space to run. There it can be what it is: a dog, and satisfy his great need for running. Unfortunately the Saarloos often is a very passionate hunter, able to catch small animals and game( e.g. sick rabbits or mice). Fortunately he never makes the mistake to think a child being "dinner"! The Saarloos is absolutely peacful against humans! As long as not threatened to death, with no escape to see, he will not bite but always run away!
This long-legged dog needs lots of mental and pyhysical activties. Walks cannot be long enough. His body is shaped for long endurance work. Long distance Tests (20 km = 13 miles) are nothing but jokes!
The Saarloos is a very late developping dog - due to his wolf-ancestors. The femaleīs first heat seldom takes place before age of 1, often not before they reach their 15th month of lifetime. The interval between two heats is more or less 12 months, lasting longer than normal: up to 6 weeks. Males are late in maturing. Often they do not rise the leg while urinating before they are 1 year old. In a pack - if the male has a low rank - he may never lift up a leg.
But nevertheless a Saarloos Wolfdog is a DOG and not a wolf! It is a breed with a strong selection on character. Competently risen, the Saarloos will doubtless respect the dominant positions of his human pack members. Problems with dominating Saarloos are very rare.
They show a very good social behaviour and they totally lack the will to attack humans. Towards strange persons and / or circumstances they react suspicious or even shy. They adore their family and like to be with them all the time and everywhere! They cannot stand being left alone for longer periods - except they have been trained to from the first day on. Otherwise the can show very strong separation anxiety and turn to be very destructive then. They are no dogs to be locked up in a kennel: the pack-bondage is very strong, they need to have close contact with their human leaders. (Keeping dogs in kennels for main time is antisocial and a cruelty anyway!)
This separation anxiety, when suddenly left alone, must be understood: a dog is in his psychological developement like a young wolf: dependent on the care of his adult pack members. Being lost means injury and death, so the young wolf will move heaven and earth to stay with his pack, to be safe.
They are very peacful with other dogs, they do not like fighting but love to play with all friendly dogs. Having some damīs will make it different. Obviously breeding means climbing up the ranking, so the dam will not stand any other female with the same ranking. Most of the time these females must be seperated from each other for all time when not supervised by humans.
Its strategy of survival is to keep itself away from risky situations with humans. You cannot count on it to defend you. But therefore you can be sure it will never attack anyone. Maybe he will chase bikers, but does no harm to them. Believe it or not: Saarloos Wolfdogs are no fear-biters! Nevertheless will the self-confident Saarloos try to become leader in his family, if it has the impression that the humans fail. But even then their aggression is very low.
Normal reaction toward strangers: coming into the house, they warn you with "barking" (sounds like this coughing wolves utter in similar situations). If the stranger does not leave, they back off. After a period of time it will come near to sniff on the strangers clothes. Same thing on a walk: after passing the stranger in a wide circle, they will follow him, to reach his rear end and shortly sniff at the clothes.
As a family-companion the Saarloos is an ideal dog. Very indulgent with children, enduring their "caresses" without growling. If it gets too hard, they simply walk away or seek shelter at their owners side.
With the own familiy and close friends the Saarloos shows nothing of the caution that it shows towards strangers. At home it bahaves as normal as any dog, asking for lot of love. It can also be a very cheeky fellow : respectless. It is important so mention this, because many guys think the Saarloos being as shy with me as it is with them. far from that!
The relationship is bulid up with trust on both sides. The Saarloos is sure, nothing his owner asks of him will embarras or even endager it. With this base, a Saarloos will do all for you!
Without this trust, the Saarloos Wolfdog will miss lot of self-confidence. It is hard work, but it pays! Plan the learning period, avoid any uncontrolled conditions and protect the puppy.
Meeting new people, the Saarloos wants to take the first step! Best is to ignore the dog until it cannot stand any longer to come near. Although it is very cautious, the Saarloos is very curious too. Besides they recognize immediately wheter someone likes them or not or if he even is scared.
In general (without being sexist ;-), Saarloos tend to like women more than men. Maybe this is caused on the higher tone of voice and the womenīs more intuitive acting.