The German Shepherd Wolf Mix – The Legendary Wolfdog?

Pet Type


December 16, 2020
German shepherd wolf mix

The German Shepherd is widely considered to be one of the most common dog breeds in the world. Known for its intelligence, its bravery, and of course, its loyalty, the German Shepherd has quickly become one of the top choices for people who want a loyal companion. Dogs evolved from wolves almost 15,000 years ago, and have been domesticated over eons.

Wolves, on the other hand, tend to run wild. They are master hunters, and know how to get their prey. But, what happens if you combine the two together? Mixing a German Shepherd, one of the most loyal dog breeds, with an undomesticated wolf is a pretty outrageous thing, but it does result in a beautiful canine companion. Here’s some more information about the breed.

The Wolf Shepherd

Many people refer to this crossbreed as a Wolf Shepherd, and for good reason too: it’s massive. First things first, the German Shepherd wolf mix is not a dog breed for beginners. It is incredibly active and playful, and shares many traits with the wolf. Therefore, if the animal does not see its master as the alpha of the “pack,” the dog is simply not going to obey your orders.

Despite the fact that it looks unique and shares many traits from the German Shepherd, you should know that this dog breed is actually illegal in many parts of the world. Plenty of states in the USA have also declared this breed illegal. The American Kennel Club also refuses to acknowledge this hybrid as an official breed, primarily because of its unpredictable behavior.

The History

A dog breeder by the name of Leendert Saarloos had the idea of breeding a Eurasian wild wolf with a German Shepherd. His hope was that the dog would be able to retain the traits of the German Shepherd, with the appearance of a wolf. Initially, he named the breed the Saarloos Wolfdog.

His primary objective was to create a working dog that is bigger than your average German Shepherd, and when he achieved success with the breeding, he claimed that the breed was playful, hardworking, and loving in nature. Over the passage of time, he initiated a breeding program, creating multiple hybrids with various wolves, such as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog or the Northern Inuit Wolfdog.

An important thing to understand here is that in the wild, wolves tend to run in packs to find food. As a result, the wolf is always a bit carnal and unpredictable. Socializing them in a humanistic environment is next to impossible, which is why it’s an obvious fact that nobody has been able to successfully domesticate a wild wolf. It’s just not possible.


There’s little doubt in the fact that the appearance of this wolfdog is nothing short of majestic. The dog definitely turns heads wherever it goes. An important thing to note here is that the German Shepherd already has a pretty wolf-like appearance. But, because of their genetic diversity, it’s relatively hard to determine just how a pup will look when it grows up.

So, there could be a pup that looks more like a German Shepherd, and there could be one that acutely resembles a wolf. One distinguishing feature is the fact that the Wolfdog has a much smaller skull as compared to the common wolf. Their eyes are shaped like almonds, and they always have pointed ears.

They are also considerably larger in size. The male German Shepherd usually weighs between 65 and 90 lbs, whereas the females are slightly lesser in weight (50 to 70 lbs). The male usually reaches a height of up to 26 inches. On the other hand, wild wolves don’t really conform to a standard weight bracket: they can go from anywhere between 70 and over 100 lbs. As a result, the Wolf Shepherd can weigh anywhere between 50 and 100 lbs.

Is it a Dangerous Breed?

Absolutely, yes. Talk to any person who knows a thing or two about dog breeds, and they will tell you that the German Shepherd wolf mix is definitely not a good dog to have around family members. The effect of crossbreeding is often quite unpredictable, and it’s the case here.

The wolf mix is known for its skittish and shy behavior. If the dog feels uncomfortable around someone, it is much more prone to attacking that person. As a result, this has given them a pretty dangerous reputation, and the dog also has serious predatory instincts. Needless to say, it’s not a good breed to have around kids.

More importantly, this breed is definitely not suitable for first-time dog owners. The breed will require a considerable amount of time and energy, and you will also have to be constantly observant of its behavior to ensure it doesn’t just lash out. However, one thing you should know is that if you provide rigorous training to the dog, it’s going to remain fiercely loyal to you.

Health Issues

The life expectancy of the Wolfdog is usually 14 or 15 years. But, you should know that the dog is susceptible to a number of health problems, which are primarily passed down from the German Shepherd’s lineage. Some of the health problems that are likely to occur include:

Hip dysplasia: This is a common problem among German Shepherds. It usually reduces mobility and makes the muscles stiffer. More often than not, it results in lameness.

Elbow dysplasia: Another joint deformity that is common among German Shepherds, this can often lead to problems with mobility, and results in severe pain for the dog.

Bloating: German Shepherds usually suffer from bloating issues when gas builds up in their stomachs. This can lead to shock, and can also result in the dog’s premature death.

Cancer: German Shepherds are more prone to cancer as compared to other dog breeds. The abnormal cell growth can be quite harmful for the dog and requires serious treatment.

Exercising the Animal

One of the things that you should know about the Wolfdog is that because of its sheer size and its genetics, the dog requires a considerable amount of exercise on a daily basis. Ideally, you would want a house with a large yard (with fencing all around). This is going to provide enough room for the dog to move around in.

If you live in a condo or an apartment, this is definitely not the right breed for you. Wolfdogs do not do well in closed environments, and you might come home to find considerable destruction in your house. You will need to take it out on a run, and make sure you keep it on a short leash at all times.

These are just a few things that you should know about the German Shepherd Wolf mix. It is obviously a more complicated breed to train when compared with others, but for people who want a challenge, this is the one to choose. So, it’s really not a recommended choice for people who are new to the world of dogs.