The dog in “identify the canid” query from a few days ago is a Saarloos wolfhond. (In Dutch, it is “Saarlooswolfhond.” In English, it is sometimes called “Saarloos Wolfhound.”)
It is not a “wolf hybrid” or “wolf dog,” as we typically understand them. Most wolf hybrids and wolf dogs are the result of rather haphazard crossing wolves with GSD’s, huskies, and Malamutes.
This particular dog is part wolf, but it has been selectively bred to be a relatively tractable animal. Saarloos wolfhonds have even been used as guide dogs for the blind, and they are known for having relatively low levels of aggression towards people.
They are the result of a Dutch German shepherd dog fancier named Leendert Saarloos thought the GSD was a doomed breed. Many of the dogs were dying of distemper, and they were losing their guarding abilities.
To solve this problem, Saaloos began breeding his GSD’s with wolves, including some Canadian wolves. He then began to breed them to be more like dogs.
However, most of the dogs were very susceptible to distemper. Most of the original dogs in his breeding program died.
And the dogs were useless as guard dogs.
However, fanciers became interested in them in Germany and the Netherlands, because people thought it was awesome to own a dog that had some wolf in it. It was believed that German shepherds were very close to wolves, and owning a dog that was part wolf and shepherd was a way of reconnecting to those “wolf dogs of the Rhine” that Tacitus wrote lived among the Germanic tribes.
Although I am opposed to keeping casually bred wolfdogs, I am not opposed to keeping this breed or the similar Czechoslovakian wolfdog. These animals do have wolf in them, but they have been selected to be more like dogs. They are not as unpredictable as casually bred wolf-hybrids can be.
However, I don’t think either of these breeds should be kept by owners who don’t understand dogs very well. These dogs need mental and physical exercise and respect as “canine beings.”