American Alsatian - Rare Dog With Wolf Appearance
The American Alsatian is an ambitious project of one breeder - Lois Schwarz. She started the famous Dire Wolf Project in 1987, where she wanted to create a dog breed that would look like the extinct Dire Wolf. The American Alsatian is the result of that project. It is a designer breed developed in the late 1980s in California.
We certainly understand the appeal of having such a large, wolf-like dog companion at home, but before you do that, there are some things you should know about these dogs. Some future owners get blinded by the Alsatian’s good looks that they forget these large dogs still have specific needs.
25 - 32 in
85 - 110 lb
85 - 110 lb
9 - 13 years
What do American Alsatians look like?
As you can imagine, the American Alsatian is a large dog breed that looks a bit like a wolf. They have an abundant, medium-long, double coat in various colors. The most common colors are silver sable, black sable, cream, and gold. They have pricked ears and a long tail touching the pasterns.
These dogs have large heads, which is a characteristic most wolves have. Their eyes are almond-shaped and can range from brown to yellow. Some owners even described these dogs as having a wolf-like stare. They have deep chests, and the Alsatian is longer than it is tall.
There is no denying that the American Alsatian is an impressive breed. These dogs will remain in your head long after you meet them, and that was the goal of their creator.
Dog Breed Characteristics
How was this hybrid created?
As we mentioned, the American Alsatian results from the Dire Wolf project, but their exact creation is fascinating. Like any other modern-day designer breed, these dogs were created by crossbreeding several breeds to achieve specific characteristics. These days, the American Alsatian is not created by crossbreeding but by breeding within the same breed.
The first cross Lois Schwarz made was the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd. These first American Alsatian puppies were born in 1988, but Mrs. Schwarz was not done improving and creating the breed. She later introduced Irish Wolfhound, Anatolian Shepherd, Mastiff, and Great Pyrenees. All of these breeds had specific traits she wanted to promote.
You will love the Shiloh Shepherd if you are interested in large, wolf-like breeds. Check out this article - Shiloh Shepherd dog breed.
What are these dogs like?
The main goal of creating the American Alsatian is that they have a mild temperament. At that time, wolf-dog hybrids were extremely popular, and people wanted to have pets that greatly resembled the wolf. However, wolves are wild animals, and it was nearly impossible to domesticate them enough for them to become peaceful animals that would act like pets.
Mrs. Schwarz understood that and decided to create a breed with a wolf-like appearance but a dog-like temperament. She crossed only dog breeds and left wolves out of the equation. The main focus of her breeding program was the future dog’s character. She made no compromises and was only included in other breeds when the character was already set.
It is safe to say she achieved that, and American Alsatians are nothing like wild animals. These dogs have a calm and patient temperament; they can even be described as gentle giants. These dogs form strong and close bonds with their owners, and they don’t do so well on their own. They are prone to separation anxiety, so it would be a good idea to get this dog only if someone can always be with them.
They are not too playful but love chilling on the sofa beside their owners. These dogs shouldn’t have an ounce of aggression in them. They should be as calm as possible but fearless and curious. They will love going on adventures with their owners and exploring new things.
If you love the Alsatian, you will love King Shepherd. Check out this article - King Shepherd - Royal German Shepherd Mix.
The American Alsatian base was the Malamute Shepherd mix, so it is not surprising that they are relatively smart. They are quick learners and are capable of learning new things after only a few repetitions. Their calm nature makes them suitable for children, but since they are not too playful, these dogs won’t tolerate rough handling. Plus, large dogs and small kids can be a recipe for accidents. Such a huge dog can easily and accidentally knock a child over.
American Alsatian or Alsatian Shepalute?
There is a slight misunderstanding between these two names; people often think these are two different breeds or strains of a single breed. The truth is - it is the same breed.
At the beginning of her project, Mrs. Schwarz named these dogs North American Shepalute. It is quite clear that the word Shepalute comes from the words Shepherd and Malamute. In 2004, the first name change happened, and the breed was renamed Alsatian Shepalute because the word “Alsatian” indicates a wolf-like appearance.
In 2010, breeders decided they wanted to remove any doubts about this hybrid’s pure-bloodedness and removed the Shepalute part of the name. They claimed it would indicate this is a crossbreed. At that time, the name American Alsatian was given to this hybrid, and as we know, it stuck till today.
Wolfdogs are difficult companions but often bred to create a wolf hybrid. This is one of those breeds - Blue Bay Shepherds - Are They Dangerous?
Getting an American Alsatian puppy
If you love huge wolf-like breeds and would love to get one for your family and home, we have some bad-ish news. This is not a hugely popular breed, which means there aren’t many certified breeders. The best thing to do is to start with the National Alsatian breeding Club.
The critical thing is that there are only three certified breeders at this moment, so you will probably have to wait quite some time. It is an attractive breed with many admirers, but too few breeders that could satisfy the demand for these dogs. There is also a small thing of costs, which are a lot for a giant breed. Even the price of an American Alsatian puppy is $1.800 - $3.000, depending on the pedigree and the breeder.
However, if you do get your hands on a puppy, we are sure you will make a fantastic choice for yourself and your family.
Cover photo source
World Dog Finder team