Standards of the Breed
What to expect in an American Alsatian Dire Wolf
The American Alsatian is a large Dire Wolf looking dog that stands calm and alert. He possesses thick, dense bone, a broad stature, and an impressive head. His look includes that of a gentle intelligence with a bit of secrecy in his slanted yellow-eyed stare. He is powerfully heavy; aware of his surroundings; well muscled and calmly alert. He is well balanced and longer than he is tall. Exhibiting a unique combination of a wolf-like appearance and a calm, gentle disposition, his soundness of mind and body gives the impression of stability and loyalty.
The American Alsatian is fearless and bold but never hostile, moving slowly in a sleek manner sniffing the air currents. He is self-confident, poised and inquisitive, but may possess a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate friendships. He should never be timid or nervous, but hold a more solid and laid back temperament of curiosity. He should be approachable, quietly standing with confidence and willingness.
Developed solely for companionship, he is not a working or herding dog and does not possess high prey drive or the extreme willingness to work or do work. He does possess a strong desire to be close to his master. Therefore, he cannot and does not wander or roam.
As a puppy, this breed is clownish and loving with a tendency to get as close to his owner’s body as possible even leaning into his master to be sure of his master's attention and presence.
The Alsatian has a deep and low pitched guttural tone. Barking is infrequent. They do not have a tendency to whine. A high-pitched bark is undesirable.
Serious Faults: Elaborate barking for no reason and/or a high-pitched, yippee, amplified vocalization is a serious fault. This does not mean that the pup is undesirable to the adopter, just that the pup is not desirable to the breed and as a breeding dog.
Size, Proportion and Substance:
Size: The height at the highest point of the withers should be no shorter than 26 inches in males and 25 inches in females. Dogs may reach as tall as 32 inches in males and 28 inches in females. The weight should appear heavy due to the large bones, with a minimum weight of 90 pounds in males and 85 pounds in females.
Proportion: The length of the American Alsatian is longer than tall. He is a balanced dog with a solid structure. The overall length of this breed is to be measured from the chest bone to the tip of the tail.
Substance: The American Alsatian is a dog of considerable substance, which is determined by a broad back, chest, and thigh area, heavy bone, and strong muscle.
Serious Faults: Small or thin bones, a shallow chest, and/or a thin chest or rump are serious faults. Again, these are flaws for a dog held to continue breeding, not for the adopter.
The Head of an American Alsatian is very broad and large sloping slightly from between the yellow eyes down to the deep black nose, closely resembling the wolf of yester-years. The head is of distinctive importance, as it is this head that holds the wolfy yellow-eyed stare. The head is broad and deep, never thin or small in proportion to the body. The skull is longer than the muzzle. This head must rest on a large, short, thick neck and must be held parallel with the ground almost on a level with the shoulders and the back. The American Alsatian should have a short coat of hair on the head and face. The coat should begin to lengthen as it starts down the neck to the shoulders where the hair is the longest.
Skull: The skull is measured from the point of the stop to the far most point of the occiput. From the occiput to the stop should be 6 to 8 inches. The skull is broad and should allow an extended hand between the ears. From the broadest part of the skull around the head closest to the throat should be 18 to 22 inches. It is slightly rounded, never domed, gradually narrowing and flattening as it approaches the eyes. The stop should slope gently from the eyes down to the muzzle.
Muzzle: His muzzle should be large and thick, the lips should be close fitting and deep black in color with large white teeth. From the stop between the eyes to the front teeth should be 4.5 to 6 inches. The upper and lower jaws should be broad with his large teeth closing in a scissors bite. The total muzzle should be slightly shorter than the head is deep. The circumference of the muzzle should be between 11 to 13 inches.
Eyes: His eyes are an almond shape, medium to small, and set obliquely. Light eyes are preferred with colors ranging from yellow to light brown that gives him the unique wolfish stare. The eyes should have a look of deep black eyeliner around the eye and out from the outer corners of the eyes.
Ears: His ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart and set on the outside back edges of the skull. The ears are wedge-shaped, erect and small in comparison to the head as well as tipped with deep black hairs to form an outline around the ear. When alerted his ears turn forward. When shamed his ears will turn sideways and lay back along the sides of the skull. From the inside of the skull to the tip of the ear should not be more than 5 inches in length.
Teeth: 42 in number, 20 upper and 22 lower, the teeth are strong and large and come together in a scissors bite in which part of the inner surface of the upper incisors meet and engage part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. The jaw should never be over or undershot.
Serious Faults: A large round eye is a serious fault, as is a small, refined head, dark eyes, or a long narrow muzzle.
Neck, Top line, Body:
Neck: The neck is robust, well muscled, strong and powerful. It is short in length and thick in circumference. The carriage of the head is forward and in line or slightly higher than the shoulders, never held high with extended reach or propulsion.
Top line: The top line is level from the back of the withers to the croup. The back is solid, broad, and muscular. When gated, the back should remain level, with the dog seeming to float across the ground.
Body: The chest is broad. The rib cage is well sprung and of sufficient depth to reach below the elbows. The back and loin are broad and strong. The tail is an extension of the body and comes out from the top of the croup. The impression is solid and well-built.
Serious Faults: Long tail
Shoulders: The shoulders should be slightly sloping, wide apart, heavy and muscular without any tendency to looseness of shoulders. The shoulders are well muscled, and lie close to the body. They may be slightly more pronounced and therefore slightly taller than the straight level of the top line.
Forelegs: The leg bones are straight to the pasterns, which are short and strong being bent only slightly. The black coloring may extend upward from the pads into the leg. The forelegs are heavily boned and set wide apart because of the width of the chest. When walking or trotting, the forelegs should not come together in the middle of the body, but should fall straight down as much as possible to be in line with the shoulders.
Front Feet: The feet are large, heavy, round and slightly splayed or wide with well-arched toes. The pads on the bottom of the feet are black as well as thick and tough. They should have black toenails. The American Alsatian is sure footed even when stalking. The imprints of this breed’s feet are huge and spread out well to carry the heaviness of this dog. The imprint can be measured as wide as 7 to 8 inches.
Serious Faults: Small feet. Any indication of unsoundness in legs or feet standing or moving is to be considered a serious fault.
The Alsatian is broad and powerfully muscled through the thighs. The rear assembly is powerful, muscular, and heavily boned. Viewed from the rear, the legs are straight and parallel. Viewed from the side, the thighs are broad and fairly long. His stifles are moderately bent. His hocks should be set wide apart.
Rear Legs: The legs of the Alsatian must indicate an unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. They are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs. When viewed from the rear, the hind legs come straight down from the hips to the ground.
Hind Feet: The feet are very large and wide with compact toes, well-arched pads, thick and tough. He is sure footed even when stalking. The pads of the feet are always dark in pigmentation. The imprints of this breed’s feet are huge and spread out well to carry the heaviness of this dog.
Tail: The tail should only reach down to the hocks, never sweeping, curling or long. Shorter is more acceptable than longer. The tail should be wide at the root, tapering to the end. The tail should be well furred, hanging down when at rest and not curved. The tail should never hide under the body or between the legs in a gesture of fear or discomfort. He may carry his tail high when excited yet never curling tightly and never curled over the back. A straight tail is the ideal.
Serious Faults: Rear legs too close together
There are almost two distinct types of coat on the same dog depending on the weather.
The outer coat is moderately coarse (harsh) and thicker during the winter months. It should not be too long, but moderately dense, slightly oily and slightly woolly with the thickest and longest fur around the neck. The winter coat is the prize of any fur trapper as it is full and thick.
Fault in the winter coat: too long
The coat is shorter and thinner during the summer months as the undercoat almost entirely sheds out. The head, inner ears, face, legs and paws should be covered with short hair.
Serious Faults: Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, too woolly, too much undercoat and/or curly
Shedding: This breed sheds heavy during the longer days of the years cycle. Usually beginning to shed in May or June. Shedding takes about a month and ALL undercoat is shed completely out leaving only the top coat. The dog will appear darker in color and much thinner because of the complete loss of the undercoat.
Shedding will begin at the hocks, legs and rear of the dog. The soft lighter colored undercoat will die out and will be seen as clumps of hanging fur caught up in the dogs coat. This shedding will make the dog itchy and he/she may rub up against trees, bushes or kennel wire to remove this undercoat. The owner can help the breed shed by using a wide tooth comb and combing only the dead or loose undercoat out as the dogs coat is shedding on the different sections of his body.
The next section of the body to shed its undercoat is the belly and up into the back or top line and the tail. This section will take about two days to fully come out and may linger as you continue to comb out the undercoat every other day.
The front legs , chest and back of the neck are the next to come out and the last is the throat area.
This process is a slow one and an owner needs to realize this and may help by combing once a week or once every other day.
Once all the undercoat is gone, no shedding is left and the dog is practically shed free. The undercoat will come back in and thicken the dog up with the shorter days of September and October.
There are no health or mental concerns and your dog should be his normal everyday self. This breed sleeps mostly during the afternoon heat and is most active in the very early mornings and late evenings.
Color and Markings:
The American Alsatian varies in color, but the silver sable is the most desirable. Colors are as follows:
Wolf Gray Silver/Sable: Preferred over all other colors. Dark tips on a lot of the guard hairs, tips of the ears, eye liner markings, dark tipped tail, dark v on the neck and a marked scent gland. The muzzle may be slightly lighter than the dark muzzle giving the dog a wolf like appearance. This dog will end up looking very wolfy.
Gray Sable: A tad darker than the wolf gray silver. Has a dark muzzle, may have dark leggings. Black leggings are unique and are a reverse of the cream legs of some coyotes and wolves. Black leggings are seen on some foxes.
Silver Sable: The undercoat is the lightest in color (or non color). Kind of white or silver. The tips of the coat, ears, muzzle may not be very dark and may be sparse. This silver gray is lighter than the wolf gray silver.
Golden Sable: The undercoat shows a soft red/creaminess and the color on the guard hairs is also more reddish/yellow. The dark points are black
Tri Sable: Showing gold and silver with cream legs and undercoat. All three colors being pretty even across the body.
Tri Sable Golden Gray: Is a three color dog (Tri) that is predominately Golden Sable, but may have a silver gray face and some gray colors within the golden body, on the shoulders and around the neck. The undercoat is not as light as a silver sable as the Goldens have more of the cream/reddish undercoat. It is darker than the silvers or grays and sports the red/ylw gene slightly.
Tri Silver Sable: The dog you see will have three basic colors but the silver will be what you will see the most of. The body of the dog is basically a silver, where the head would have some gold, probably behind the ears. The legs may not be as cream as the silver sable, and may show the red or yellow pigmentation on some parts of the legs.
Black Silver Sable: This is the darkest black sable can get yet still classified as a sable. The black on each guard coat is dark and prominent. The black muzzle goes up the face and the leggings may be dark going up the foot and ankle. If this dog has black full leggings it would be described as such on the paperwork or in the color definition.
Silver: A very light dog. The tips of the guard hairs are not a deep black nor are there many of them. This dog has a cream to silver or white muzzle. Has a slight v on the neck of gray. All points on this dog are light in color or gray. This dog is almost a solid and may not appear to be a sable but the guard hairs are banded.
Solid Cream: This is not a sable dog but is solid cream color, almost a white. If this dog has a black muzzle, ear tips, eye liner and tip of the tail, it would be recorded as "with blk/points".
Any Other Solids: These are not sables and do not have banded guard hairs.
Notes: Solid colored dogs are discouraged in our breeding plans only because we strive toward the look of the Wolf or an Agouti (banded) guard hair.
When describing color on animals, the major color or main color, is always placed first. Like ingredients listed on a product, (in describing the color of any object,) the major color of the object is listed first. This is the main color of the dogs’ total body.
This is the out-cross (F-2) foundation stud "Elvis" the King. This dog will never win best in show or any championships. Not because of his ears which do not stand erect but because of his coat. This coat is too soft and the ratio of guard hairs to undercoat is too low. This dog has too much undercoat and an overall cottony look and feel. The coat is rather long but long coats may be over looked as long as they are not way out of proportion. keep in mind that this dog is to resemble a wolf. The legs bones are too thin and the feet too small.
The rear legs should have drive, while the forelegs should track smoothly with good reach, but never a high step. In motion, the legs move straightforward. The fast walk is smooth and the top line hardly moves, but glides along with the dog. The dog’s head should be in line with his body or slightly higher, but never jetting and pulling the owner with unleashed energy. The gait should flow with a sense of caution or hunting, yet never nervous or afraid. Even while trotting or gaiting in a ring this breed shall always be aware of his handler/owner and movements or noises around him. The propulsion should come from the hindquarters while the front takes the thrust, balance and coordination.
The Personality of the American Alsatian:
As in all breeds there are a small variety of personalities, so I shall give you the Standard on the personality of the breed first:
An Alsatian must not dig, whine, bark, jump fences and be hyper active. They are a breed that pays attention to their owners body movement and all that the owners do. They are intelligent in that they learn the sounds, movements and the time of day as they 'pay attention' to all things and in this way they learn about life around them. They are easy to train if the owner also 'pays attention' to the sounds, and movements of the universe. If you have experience with Autistic people or ever been on some hallucinogenic drugs that increase your focus on shiny, fast, things or soft, sounds, then you will know how these dogs 'pay attention' to life. An Alsatian doesn't like to be scolded, he may pout or become upset and find a place to lay down and watch you. In this way it is easy to train an Alsatian.
There are things that an owner may not be able to handle about the Alsatian and this involves his size. Alsatians are large heavy dogs and many people may not be able to handle this large breed if they do not teach the dog as he is a pup to act like he would if he was an adult. If the owner allows the dog to be 'free' then the dog will demand it as he is older and may do as he wants instead of what the owners want, though, if you have a treat or any meat, the dog will easily learn anything you want him to learn so this is not usually a problem.
Alsatians are bred with a strong territorial bond, in that they do not care to be anywhere but in the safety and comfort of their property or directly near the owner. This non-roaming is genetic and is closely associated with the aloofness. When a domesticated canine is too friendly and bouncy this trait coincides with a tendency to roam further away from the den or home-front territory. Our dogs are home bodies for the most part therefore they associate strongly with territory and familiarity. This means that they do NOT like new places, strange places and may be a bit nervous because of this. Without this character trait we would not be able to claim that this breed does NOT roam.
If they get out of the sight of their owners, they will quickly find the owner. This is what I call the Alsatian 'bonding'. Therefore it is difficult for an Alsatian to transfer ownership. We kind of have to trick the dog and include the new owners place and property before-hand as being a safe place and or 'our place too'. They can eventually learn to accept the new terms though it does take some time and a lot of mopping and dislocation or disassociation within the animal. Transferring ownership can be done, but the new owners need to know that it may take three months to a complete year before the dog 'claims' you.
'Heeling' comes naturally to this breed and 'come' is easy enough, unless the owner trains the dog NOT to come by association with negative stimuli.
This breed also grows up slowly. He doesn't mature fast. The females mature faster than the males. Physically they are pretty much mature at about three years old, but they do not stop filling out until about 9.
Now, I have to include OUT-CROSSING as this breed uses out-crossing to keep the breed healthy with that hybrid vigor.
F-1's will not meet this criteria for the most part, but then again some come very close.. one must include the other breed or 'out-cross' into the calculations.
F-2's are much closer to the breed standard as i have described. The litter will be split and i will see some barkers, talkers or some more hyper than what i like which is 'silence' for the most part. There maybe three in this litter nice enough to go forward...
F-3's i will get about 7 out of 10 that are nice enough to be kept for breeding.
F-4's are just about the same as a pure bred and one can not tell much difference, but there will be slight barkiness or talkativeness, or maybe some fetching or retrieving? in some.
F-5's are really Alsatians for the most part.
I hope this explains it all for you, if you have any more questions, just email me... Lois Schwarz and Amey Gage