Saarloos wolfdog

FCI-Standard N° 311

SAARLOOSWOLFDOG (Saarlooswolfhond)

ORIGIN: The Netherlands.


UTILIZATION: The Saarlooswolfdog was not bred with any aim for a particular utilization. He possesses qualities which enable him to be a faithful and reliable companion and house dog.

FCI- CLASSIFICATION: Group 1 Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs). Section 1 Sheepdogs. Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: Mr. Leendert Saarloos (1884- 1969) loved nature and also loved dogs. However, he found that dogs had become too humanized and intended, as a lover of the German Shepherd Dog, to breed the natural qualities back into this breed in order to produce a better working dog. For this reason he crossed the German Shepherd Dog male, Gerard van der Fransenum, a dog of classical Prussian type, with Fleuri, a female wolf which originated from the Siberian branch of the European type (1932). Breeding back to the father gave him a basic population of animals with one quarter wolf’s blood. During the course of the following experimental phase with strict selection, a new breed, the “European Wolfsdog” evolved. As selected animals of this new breed gave good service as guide dogs for the blind, they were at first regarded as suitable for this work. Due to the increase in the proportion of wolf blood, however the useful ability, inherited from the original ancestor, Gerard, became gradually lost and it became obvious that the breed was neither well suited to being a working nor a guide dog. The legacy of Leendert Saarloos, is not a working dog, but a dog with attributes close to nature, it was recognized as a breed in 1975. At that time, the breed was named “Saarlooswolfhond” in honour of its founder. Honour to him to who honour is due.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Saarlooswolfdog is a strongly built dog whose outer appearance (body build, movement and coat) are reminiscent of a wolf. His construction is balanced and he has quite long limbs without giving the appearance of being long-legged. The differences in sexual characteristics are well pronounced.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: The Saarlooswolfdog is longer than its height at the withers. The muzzle and skull have a relation in length of 1 to 1.

BEHAVIOUR /TEMPERAMENT: A lively dog, bursting with energy, with evidence of a proud independent character. Known to foremost obey his own will. Towards his master he is devoted and reliable to a high degree. Towards strangers he might be reserved and usually does not seek contact. The reserved and wolf-like manner to avoid unknown situations is typical for the Saarlooswolfdog.

HEAD: The head should give a wolf-like impression and its size should be in harmonious relation to the body. Seen from above and from the side, the head is wedge-shaped. The line from the muzzle to the well developed zygomatic arch is very characteristic. Together with the correct shape and position of the eye, this line gives the desired wolf-like appearance.


Skull: The skull is flat and broad. Exaggeration in respect to width must be warned against as this affects the typical wedge shape. The occiput and the eye socket must not be noticeable. The superciliary ridges should merge with the skull in a flowing line.

Stop: The transition from the strong muzzle to the skull must form a slight stop.


Nose: Nose leather well pigmented. Bridge of nose straight.

Muzzle: Seen from the side not too deep and slightly wedge-shaped; seen from above slightly tapering and harmoniously filled under the eyes. Too coarse a muzzle disfigures the typical wolf-like shape.

Lips: Well closed. Tight fitting.

Jaws/Teeth: Upper and lower jaws are well developed. Upper jaw must not appear coarse compared to the skull. Lower jaw not conspicuous. Strong and complete scissor bite which is also acceptable in the shape of a very close fitting scissor bite.

Eyes: Yellow colour, almond shaped. Set slightly oblique, not protruding and not round, with well fitting lids. The expression is alert, reserved but not anxious. The eye is a very typical characteristic of the breed which emphasizes the desired wolf-like appearance. The desired expression is only achieved by a light eye. A great deal of value must be placed on the colour, shape and correct position in the skull. With an older dog, the yellow eye colour may darken but the original disposition to a yellow colour should be maintained. Brown eye-colour is undesirable. The eye socket merges into the skull in a flowing line; an eye socket that is too pronounced together with a pronounced superciliary arch and a marked stop is undesirable.

Ears: Medium sized, firm pricked ears, triangular and with rounded tip. Hairy on inside. The ears are set on at the level of the eyes. The ears are very mobile and express the emotions and feelings of the dog.

NECK: Dry and well muscled, merging with the back in a very flowing line. Just as flowing is the line from the throat to the chest. The neck can, especially with a winter coat, be adorned by a beautiful collar (ruff). The skin of the throat is minimal and not conspicuous. It is typical of the Saarlooswolfdog that at a relaxed trot, head and neck form an almost horizontal line.


Back: Straight and strong.

Loin: Firm, well-muscled, neither short nor narrow.

Croup: Broad and fairly long.

Chest: The flowing line of the brisket reaches, at the most, to the elbows. Chest and distance between legs, seen from the front, appear moderately broad. Too massive a chest should be avoided as it disturbs the outline which typifies this steady trotter. Ribs well sprung without any exaggeration. The outline is rather slim and very wolf-like.

Underline and belly: Taut and slightly tucked up.

TAIL: Broad and profusely coated at set on reaching at least to the hocks. Appears slightly low set, which is often accentuated by a slight depression at the set on. The tail is carried lightly curved in sabre shape or almost straight. It may be carried slightly higher in excitement or when the dog is trotting.



General appearance: Legs are straight and well muscled. Bone is oval in cross-section and not too coarse. Legs rather show a certain grace in relation to body.

Shoulder : Normal length.

Upper arm: Same length as shoulder-blade; angulation between shoulder-blade and upper arm normal, not exaggerated.

Elbow: Close fitting to thorax without being pressed close. Due to the curve of the ribs and the correct position of the shoulder and the upper arm, the distance between the elbows is moderately broad, seen front on.

Forearm: Straight and parallel, strong bone of sufficient density and length.

Carpus (wrist): Strong carpal joints.

Metacarpus (Pastern): Slightly sloping.

Fore feet: Hare feet, well muscled and arched with strongly developed pads. When standing, slightly outward turned feet is permitted.


General appearance: Due to low tail set on, which is often accentuated by a slight depression, the pelvis often appears to be placed more obliquely. The angulations of the hindquarters are in balance with the angulations of the forequarters. The light movement, typical of the breed, is very dependent on the correct angulation of stifle and hock. The slightest deviation prevents this typical movement. Slight cow-hocks are permitted when standing.

Thigh: Normal length and breadth, well muscled.

Stifle (Knee): Angulation not exaggerated.

Lower thigh: Of proximally equal length to thigh and well muscled.

Hock joint: Angulation must not be exaggerated. Bones and muscles permit optimal stretching of hock joints.

Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Of medium length and slightly inclined when standing.

Hind feet: Well developed and well arched.

GAIT/MOVEMENT: The Saarlooswolfdog is a typical untiring trotter, which can easily cover great distances at his own pace. He barely tires by his natural movement and is reminiscent of the wolf. The Saarlooswolfdog differs greatly from other breeds through his very specific light-footed movement. The correct forward movement is very dependent on different details in the construction of the body; above all, the correct angulations of the different limbs, is of great influence. Strong carpal joints and the lightly sloping pasterns are responsible for good flexible, effortless springy movement. At a free unrestricted trot, the Saarlooswolfdog carries head and neck at almost horizontal level : in this position, the position of the eyes and the wedge shape of the head are particularly characteristic. At an untiring trot, which is the movement typical of the breed, the dog shows no great reach of the limbs because this, as well as too much drive, would spoil the light-footed movement which is a model for energy conserving movement.


Hair: The summer coat differs greatly from the winter coat. In winter the undercoat predominates mostly, which together with the guard hair of the topcoat forms a profuse coat, covering the whole body and forming a distinct collar (ruff) round the neck. With the summer coat, the guard hair of the topcoat predominates. Temperature changes in autumn and winter can have a great influence on the undercoat; but the disposition to this should always be present. It is essential that the belly, the inner side of the upper thighs and the scrotum are covered by hair.

Colour: Coat colours are from light to dark shaded black-tipped game-colour (boar, hare) also called wolf-grey and from light to dark shaded brown-tipped game-colour. Typical wolf-markings are from light creamy white to white. These pale markings, typical of the wolf extends to the underside of the body, the inner side of the limbs; backside of legs, breeches and under the tail. Pigment of nose, eye rims, lips and nails should be black in a wolfgrey, white and white cream Saarlooswolfdog. In brown coloured dogs it should be liver coloured. Both colour varieties show a darker nuance of the colour on the outside of the limbs. They should also have an expressive mask.


Height at the withers: Males 65–75 cm. Females 60–70 cm. Slight deviations upwards are permissible.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

• Too round, protruding eyes.

• Too pronounced eye sockets so that the superciliary ridges do not merge with the skull in a flowing line. This often occurs with a pronounced stop and too round eyes.

• Ears set on too high, and or pointed ears.

• Ears pointing too far outwards.

• Body too deep, too short.

• Curled tail, tail carried over back.

• Too coarse in bone.

• Not sufficiently intense colours.

• Formation of a dark saddle due to poor distribution of.


• Aggressive or overly shy dogs.

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

• Lack of breed type.

• Coat colour other than those permitted.


• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

• Only clinically and functionally healthy dogs with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.