The Saarloos Wolfdog was originally developed and bred in The Netherlands by Leendert Saarloos (1884-1969) who 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 male German Shepherd Dog, Gerard van der Fransenum, a dog of classical Prussian type, with Fleur, a female wolf originating from the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus lupus), which he obtained from Diergaarde Blijdorp (Rotterdam Zoo) in 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 “Dutch Wolfdog” evolved.
As selected animals of this new breed gave good service as guide dogs for the blind, they were regarded as suitable for this work. 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 but instead a companion pet.
The legacy of Leendert Saarloos, not a working dog, but a dog with attributes close to nature, was recognized as a breed by the Dutch Kennel Club – Raad Van Beheer in 1975, 6 years after Leendert’s death. At that time, the breed was named “Saarlooswolfhond” in honour of its founder.
The Saarloos Wolfdog is now also recognised throughout Europe via the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)