The American Alsatian is a large dog bred to be a domesticated Dire Wolf, meaning it’s much bigger and much more wolf looking than most shepherds. Yet it was really just bred by combining an Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd along with some other breeds, making it have very similar qualities to both. Get this straight though, the American Alsatian is not a mix, it’s classified as its very own breed.
American Alsatian Dog Quick Stats:
- Breed Popularity: Rare
- Life Expectancy: 9 – 13 years
- Group: Shepherd
- Height: Male 26 – 32 inches Female 25 – 28 inches
- Weight: Male – at least 90 lbs Female – at least 85 lbs
- Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, intuitiveness
- Coat colors: Silver sable, golden sable, gray sable, tri sable, tri sable golden gray, tri silver sable, black silver sable, silver along with solid colors like cream
History of The American Alsatian Dog:
Bred and developed in California in the 1980’s the American Alsatian dog is relatively new. That is why not many people have heard of the breed. People wanted to breed back the extinct Dire Wolf. Yet they knew Dire Wolves are challenging pets to have, so they decided to breed a dog that had the looks of a Dire Wolf, but the personality of a companion dog. A woman named Schwarz was the one who put this into motion, this was known as “The Dire Wolf Project.” The very first developed American Alsatians were whelped in 1988.
Lois Denny / Lois Schwarz-
Every bit of credit for creating this dog breed can go to Lois Denny also known as Lois Schwarz. Her entire life she was interested in breeding animals. It was all because of a German Shepherd mix she had in her childhood. She loved this dog and it inspired her. At only nine years old she began breeding animals like guinea pigs, rats, mice, and pigeons. Yet over all those animals it was her dream to create a new breed of dog, what she didn’t know was that dream was going to come true!
She began as a dog trainer, groomer, handler, and breeder to get there, taking in all the different mixes, learning how it worked. Once she learned what she needed she began to think of the perfect new dog breed to create, a breed easy to train, a good companion, intelligent, along with adding some German Shepherd in. She also wanted the breed to resemble the Dire Wolf. Even though extinct, she was fascinated in this North and South American breed and researched more about them.
After knowing everything about the breeds she got to work. The main breeds she would breed would be an Alaskan Malamute and a German Shepherd. Throughout the years she added breeds like English Mastiff, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, and Irish Wolfhound into the breeding lines. After these years of perfecting, it finally became perfect, the American Alsatian Dog we know of today.
American Alsatian Dog Breed Standards:
With a large and wide head, the skull is fairly longer than the muzzle. The head should not be a dome shape, but slightly rounded. The skull flattens as it reaches to the nose. The muzzle is long and tightly fitted with black lips and a black nose. The mouth of the dog is full of strong teeth put at a scissors bite. The ears are triangles yet round right at the peak, standing straight up, separated widely apart. The eyes of the American Alsatian are almond and usually a light color like yellow or light brown. The overall size of the eyes is small to medium. Their eyes should hold a tight “wolf like” glare.
Body, Neck, Topline:
The body of the American Alsatian overall is very broad and muscular, but not too bulky looking. Their rib reaches down below their elbows well sprung. The dogs back and loin are also broad and stable. The neck is sturdy and powerful. It has a thick circumference yet a short length overall. The head is carried forward and in line or slightly higher than the shoulders, never overextending. The dog’s topline is aligned from the back of the withers to the dog’s croup. Overall, a broad muscular appearance.
At a slight slope, the dog’s broad shoulders lay widely apart. They lie close to the body. They may be fairly taller than the top-line if not level. The forelegs stand sturdy and straight to the pasterns with heavy bones. The black coloring may come up the legs from the pads of their feet. The forelegs are spread wide apart due to width of their chest. When they move around the forelegs should never come together in the center of the chest. They should fall straight down, staying in the shoulder line. Like wolves they have very large, wide feet. They should be a heavy weight with well arched toes. The thick pads of their paws and also their toenails are a black shading. The dog should always have a sturdy hold when moving around.
Much like the rest of the body, the hind legs are a muscular build. They come straight down from the hips, never coming into the middle. While their hind feet are like their forefeet, large and wide with well arched toes, along with thick and strong pads and nails. The tail is not too long, coming down only to the hocks of the dog. It should not be overly long or curled in any way. It should be straight, thicker by the roots, then smaller as it goes down.
Caring For an American Alsatian Dog:
For such a big breed these dogs are actually very chill and don’t need much exercise throughout the day. At Least an hour is good for this breed. I wouldn’t recommend taking them on long challenging hikes, but they do enjoy long, yet simple walks. You will still need a big yard for them to roam around in though. They may not need too much exercise, but they are big and need exercise off the leash too. If you wish to adopt this breed, don’t be living in an apartment.
Larger dogs like the American Alsatian are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, so you want to try to prevent this early before it forms. The way you do this is avoid letting your young dog take too many trips up and down the stairs. Also, when giving your dog off leash exercise make sure the surface is most preferably soft and that they don’t move around too much. This can help reduce the chances of your dog getting a joint dysplasia.
The American Alsatian has a rough, thick outer coat. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are, because of the density of the coat, it drives away dirt and is mostly odor free. The bad news is that they shed very heavily around May or June every year. Your furniture, clothes, and other things will be covered in hair. Try to brush them daily.
The reason they are shedding through the month is they are getting rid of their undercoat hairs. After that month they will seem much thinner, but it’s just because they just have their top coat. Beside that shedding month, this breed is almost shed free, and only need to be brushed every one or two weeks.
This breed for its size actually lives a very long life. Even though a generally healthy breed, every dog has their own health problems they are prone to.
For the American Alsatian the most prominent problems include:
Hyperthyroidism in dog’s is when a thyroid gland in the dogs neck produces too much of a hormone called thyroxine, which controls the dog’s metabolism. It can be caused by your dog eating certain raw meats and proteins. You want to vary the proteins your dog consumes to prevent this condition and avoid the raw foods like gullet, head meat, and animal necks. This condition can lead to kidney and heart failure in the future if not treated.
This condition in a young dog affects their bone as they grow. It’s believed to be a genetic condition in this breed. The bone grows faster than the bone marrow inside the bone. The differences between the growths can cause severe pain. Yet the reported cases of this condition in the breed have both just been mild and lasted about two weeks tops.
Less prominent problems include:
Elbow and Hip Dysplasia:
Dysplasia in when joint pain occurs in these joints from abnormal development or from wearing down the bone cartilage too much. This can be genetic or environmental. It’s important to not breed a dog with this condition so there aren’t any chances of this severe discomfort in the dogs to come. So read more about this health condition at our German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia article. This is a more detailed overview of the condition.
Alsatians have only had an .88% diagnosis for hip dysplasia, with just three reported cases along the breeds history. While elbow dysplasia only has two reported cases.
Dog epilepsy is a disorder which causes your dog to get seizures. It can be completely genetic. It’s when abnormal, uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity occur in the dog’s brain. This causes your dog to have the seizure, effecting the way they look and behave.
Rare conditions include:
- Autoimmune Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Eye Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Heart Conditions
For a complete list of the American Alsatians health conditions and percentages check out DireWolf Dogs Health page.
American Alsatians are very large dogs, meaning they need their fill of food daily. Yet you don’t want to over feed them. The average amount to feed them a day is 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Also, you need make sure you feed them a healthy diet. Here is an article to make sure you are feeding your American Alsatian the right foods.
This breed is intelligent and eager to please, making the training an easy process. Start with obedience training, housebreaking, and crate training, then go on from there. This dog breed should catch on quick. There is a list of tricks to teach them in this article if you run out of ideas!
Are American Alsatians Good Family Dogs?
Specifically bred to be a good companion dog, this dog is perfect for families. They are gentle with children and not too playful, so they won’t be running all over them.
They aren’t very good guard dogs like German Shepherds are, but they just love to cuddle and spend time with you.
The American Alsatians are not only gentle to children. This goes for small pets as well, but make sure to socialize them with the pets first before rushing into it which might cause aggression.
How Much Do American Alsatians Cost?
The average puppy price from a breeder ranges from about 1,800 to 3,000. Schwarz Kennel is one of the most popular breeding places to get a American Alsatian from. They even help you out when you adopt one by giving you some key tips. Since they are so rare you most definitely won’t find this breed at a local shelter. So, a professional breeder is the best place to look!
5 Interesting Facts About The American Alsatian Dog:
- Their original name was the North American Shepalute then the Alsatian Shepalute. The name Shepalute was used because it was a mix of the two words Shepherd and Malamute, the two main dogs that were bred to make the breed.
- This breed is actually not registered with AKC! The American Alsatian dog is a fifth-generation breed, a new crossbreed. Yet AKC is looking into the breed.
- This breed has very unique eyes. Unlike most domesticated dogs, they have very light brown, or even sometimes yellow eyes. They can even glow a little in certain lighting. This is due to it being bred to look almost like a wolf.
- They don’t tend to suffer from separation anxiety. Lots of dogs suffer from separation anxiety and go crazy when your away. Now this doesn’t mean that the American Alsatian dogs don’t love you. They just don’t become so destructive when faced with fear. Just another plus to having this dog for your pet.
- They are relatively quiet dogs. This is another plus to having this breed. Since they are so laid back, they don’t tend to get super worked up over things. They usually never make a sound, so if you do hear you American Alsatian barking you should probably go check it out.
American Alsatian Dog In Closing:
Now that you know more about this breed, look into adopting one. They seem perfect for a family that need an easy dog who doesn’t get into trouble or is noisy. They are especially a good breed if you have babies due to them being so gentle and loyal. I’m sure if you got this breed, you wouldn’t regret it.
Go check out some more articles on our home page that could help you choose the right dog for you, or just for some more doggie tips!
Photos courtesy of Vader the American Alsatian.