The German Shepherd Wolf mix is as beautiful as you imagine them to be. Part wild animals, part domesticated pets, this breed keeps owners on their toes with their energy and temperament.
With the wolf’s mysterious past in combination with the German Shepherd’s impressive development, it seems you get the most of their combined history.
These hybrids are majestic-looking creatures with temperaments to match.
Raise them well to reduce prominent health issues, and you will have one of the most beautiful breeds of dogs on the planet as your faithful companion.
The German Shepherd Wolf mix goes by several names, adopted by their shared past. Leendert Saarloos is responsible for hybridizing these two breeds, which goes back to the 1930s.
Saarloos first bred a Eurasian wolf with a German Shepherd in 1935 to reintroduce wolf characteristics into the German Shepherd that had been lost over time.
Today, the German Shepherd Wolf mix is known as wolf-shepherds, wolfdogs, the Saarloos Wulfhund in Germany, the Lupo Italiano in Italy, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, and the Kunming Wolfdog in China.
The German Shepherd Wolf mix is illegal across several states in the U.S. but is recognized by the U.K. Kennel Club.
If you must own one of these hybrids, do your research if you live in the U.S. Before checking if they are legal in your state, consider the appearance of this breed to see if you genuinely want one as a pet.
#1 General appearance of the German Shepherd Wolf mix
At first glance, it may be impossible to tell whether a Saarloos Wolfdog is a wolf or a German Shepherd. This breed generally has a smaller head than its wild ancestors so do not look like wolves on first glance.
Its ears are pointy, and the eyes reflect the familiar shape and color of the German Shepherd dog.
This animal’s size is comparable to the German Shepherd or slightly larger. Its coat length and colors vary dramatically depending on its genetic background.
However, one thing is without question, and that is that this mixed breed is regal. It is regal not only for its size but it’s bearing and overall appearance, which is stunningly beautiful.
#2 Saarloos WOlfHund size
German Shepherds are a large dog breed, with males weighing anything from 65 to 90 lbs. and reach an average height of 25 inches. Females weigh in at around 50 to 70 lbs. and grow to an average height of 23 inches.
Because wolves are not easily accessible to determine their average sizes, it is impossible to provide these details. But wild wolf measurements range from 70 to over 100 lbs depending on wolf species.
Those wolves that have been measured also reach heights between 20 and 26 inches. Wolf sizes differ between males and females, so these figures are estimates.
Combine the German Shepherd with the wolf, and the outcome falls somewhere between these weights and heights.
#3 German Shepherd wolf mix colors
You can expect this hybrid’s colors to mimic many German Shepherds and wolves. The German Shepherd has 11 recognized colors, and the wolf’s colors also differ vastly.
Wolf colors are typically gray, white, black, brown, or red. When you mix these breeds, they are unlikely to end up with the family black saddle or blanket, but the colors are mesmerizing.
Even if these shades are not apparent at birth, their coats will eventually take on the characteristics of their parents’ dominant genetic makeup.
As you may suspect, wolf-dog hybrid pups all have different colors, with no two looking alike, which adds to their appeal.
#4 Coat texture
The German Shepherd and the wolf share similar coat characteristics. Both these animals have an inner and outer coat.
The German Shepherd’s inner fur is thick, medium length, and straight, while that of the wolf is shorter and denser.
The wolf’s upper coat is coarser and longer than the German Shepherd and is also much thicker in the winter months.
Combining these two breeds results in a blending of their double coats. Their undercoat will be dense, and the top layer will likely remain a medium length.
How the coat turns out relies on genetics, but one thing is sure, which is that this hybrid will shed its coat. Because this German Shepherd wolf mix has such thick fur, it is best to raise them in cold climates.
Hybrid German Shepherd Wolf Health Issues
Like the purebred German Shepherd’s health issues, this wolf-dog hybrid inherits many of those found in the GSD.
Wolves are generally healthy, fit, and strong because of their lifestyle, although they will lead a more sedentary life with domestication by breeders.
Breeders also raise wolves on a completely different diet to what they would eat in the wild.
Consequently, the hybrid is prone to gut issues from the German Shepherd genes, which causes bloating and can lead to death if you don’t treat this issue.
Because the German Shepherd has a long jaw, they are prone to swallowing lots of air with their dog food which causes bloating and twisting of the intestines.
Bloat or gastric torsion is manageable by controlling your pet’s food intake and how quickly it eats. Likewise, the German Shepherd is known for its hip and elbow dysplasia.
While this health problem is common in large, domesticated dogs, this is not common with wolves.
Regrettably, your half German Shepherd half Wolf mix is likely to inherit gut and joint problems, among others.
Similarly, this hybrid may inherit other typical German Shepherd health issues, including:
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Dental problems
- Degenerative disc disease and others
On a positive note, excellent nutrition and healthcare can keep your hybrid healthy for many years. Healthy German Shepherds tend to live up to 12 years, but the wolf hybrid can reach a lifespan of 14 years.
Investing in good pet insurance will help support expensive health bills for this breed, especially for vaccinations or if they need surgery later in life.
Your German Shepherd Wolf mix can live a long, healthy life with careful planning.
When you take on the German Shepherd Wolf mix, you take on a part of the wild. Wolves are wild, so their part wolf descendants retain some of their ancestors’ characteristics.
The wolf half of this hybrid tends to be a wanderer that enjoys exploring. Don’t be surprised if you wake in the middle of the night to your puppy howling at the moon.
Give them enough leeway to exercise their inheritance as their genetic makeup will compel them to dig. If you prize your garden and enjoy your sleep, this puppy won’t match your expectations.
On the other hand, if you can give this hybrid lots of space to wander, forgive them interrupting your sleep, and indulge their desire to dig, this puppy could be an excellent choice.
German Shepherds are prone to barking, whereas the wolfdog mix has its own vocabulary. Wolfdogs seldom bark, but they do have an alternate repertoire of expressing themselves.
Wolfdog’s howl, whine or express themselves with peculiar laughing sounds, inherent of their wolf parent. None of these expressions fit the idea of a guard dog.
Unlike the German Shepherd that is highly protective, your German Shepherd Wolf mix shies away from confrontation. These wolfdogs are neither working dogs nor guard dogs.
If you introduce them to new places and strangers, they will show reserve. Only once they are confident of their safety will they be comfortable.
When wolfdogs sense danger, they tend to protect themselves by hiding or running away. This behavior resembles that of their ancestors.
However, if someone or something threatens them, they will respond when they feel there is no other choice.
Despite this trait, they are loyal and protective of their immediate human pack. They follow the leader and go out of their way to ensure their safety.
Because wolfdogs’ genes are so close to their wild cousins, they do not make good family dogs. Even though their pack is their pride and joy, be cautious of taking this dog into a home where children are present.
These wolfdogs are aloof and wary, and comfortable in a human pack but are not a safe breed to have around children.
Wolfdogs seldom show affection because of their aloof nature and prefer to retain their independence. Additionally, they are unpredictable, aggressive, and therefore dangerous at times.
As cute and adorable as wolfdog puppies are, and even if you think they are more tame than wild, they are primarily wolves. Wolves march to the beat of their own drummer.
They are built to hunt and kill, which is why you shouldn’t put them in a position where there are small children and animals in the vicinity. Their instincts are finely honed, and their temperament drives them to kill to survive.
This also means they do not make good herding dogs.
If you feel that you must own this magnificent German Shepherd wolf mix, know that they do not behave like domestic dogs. Keep them away from public places, and do not keep them with domestic dogs.
As much as they may appear to be docile, they are wild and remain unpredictable creatures.
Training: Who Is It For?
Take what you think you know about a German Shepherd and throw it out the window. The German Shepherd Wolf mix is a breed like no other.
As much as the German Shepherd is highly energetic and intelligent and needs lots of exercise, the wolf walks up to eight hours every day of its life.
Eight hours of daily exercise is extreme, and if you want to keep up with this breed, you must give it what it needs to have a semblance of control.
The wolfdog is as intelligent as the German Shepherd but with additional traits. Its wild part wants loads of exercise, discipline, and stimulation to keep it ‘tame.’
Plan an exercise routine that accommodates the wolfdogs needs rather than expecting it to control itself occupied at home, alone.
Moreover, this animal’s intelligence requires its owner to provide it with meaningful play; otherwise, it will become destructive and potentially uncontrollable.
Not that you have much control in the first place, but training is a means to gain leadership over this animal.
Do for your wolfdog what it would do for itself in the wild. Take this animal out into nature for long hikes as often as possible.
If you are a runner, take it with you to expend that pent-up energy because this is what wolf-like dogs do in the wild.
Always take it out on a leash and keep a firm hand on this leash as any distraction might grab its attention.
Once distracted, you may be hard-pressed to retain control, as your wolfdog may be taking you for a run instead of the other way around.
Some people regard the wolfdog as stubborn, so it will take a lot of willpower to create a training program and stick to it.
German Shepherds are easy to train as they are work dogs and want to please their owners. In contrast, wolfdogs value their independence despite coming from a pack background.
Take your wolfdog to a trainer who has experience working with these dogs. Teaching it to behave on a leash is the first step in controlling your pet, for its sake and yours.
Training will not be a simple pursuit as the wolfdog is intelligent and independent. Persistence, positive reinforcement, and regular intensive training will help keep this animal in check.
Ensure that your German Shepherd Wolf mix receives socialization training. Keep this animal mentally stimulated with plenty of exercise and games to challenge its curious nature.
Provide them with structure and a routine to give them a sense of confidence in themselves and you, for their safety and yours.
Be patient with this headstrong animal, treat it right, and you have a good chance of raising a content wolfdog that makes you proud.
The Saarloos Wolfdog, or German Shepherd Wolf mix is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful crossbreeds available.
The singular beauty of these animals compels people to want to own one. Few people appreciate just how much of the wild wolf genes these animals retain, making them unpredictable.
This unpredictability makes them unsuitable as family pets. These wolfdogs’ instincts also mean that dog owners must provide them with ample space to roam to vent their wild nature.
If you must own one of these animals, ensure that you give them extensive training. Training this breed is the best way to reduce the risk they pose to yourself, your family, and those around you.