American Alsatian Breed Guide: Is This The Ultimate Wolf Dog?

The American Alsatian, also known as the North American Shepalute, is a purebred dog first introduced in 1988.

It was bred to look identical to the now extinct dire wolf.

They have been bred to be companion dogs that are extremely calm, intelligent and friendly – these are not working dogs.

With their incredible coats and massive size, owning one of these dogs is sure to get you plenty of attention. As for their care, they need regular grooming, but they do not have high exercise requirements.

If your interest has been piqued, read on to learn more about these eye-catching dogs…

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What is an American Alsatian? (Overview)

German Shepherd and Malamute
The first American Alsatian was bred using a German Shepherd and a Malamute.

The American Alsatian was born out of The Dire Wolf Project.

This project was started by Lois Schwarz in 1988 and focused on breeding dogs that look like dire wolves but have the personalities of a companion breed. Selections were made based on their intelligence, friendliness and inquisitive natures.

The American Alsatian was originally known as the North American Shepalute.

Its name was changed in 2004 to the Alsatian Shepalute and then again in 2010 to the American Alsatian. They changed the name in order to highlight the fact they are a purebred dog and not a crossbreed as the old Shepalute name suggested.

These dogs make incredible companions for adults and children. They have got a stunning appearance that has been developed from a mixture of different breeds.

American Alsatian Appearance

American Alsatian

Being a purebred dog, the American Alsatian has a clear breed standard that is maintained by the official Breeders Club.

In order to create the right look for the American Alsatian, Schwarz first bred an Alaskan Malamute and a German Shepherd. Other dogs that have been used in the breeding of the American Alsatian are the English Mastiff, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd and the Irish Wolfhound.

This resulted in a broad, powerful dog. They have muscular bodies with large heads and long muzzles. Their noses are always black. Their ears stick straight up and have slightly rounded tips.

Of course the most popular color for these dogs is the silver sable – this makes them look most similar to a wolf.


The height of an American Alsatian should range between 25-32 inches. Females should be between 25-28 inches and males are between 26-32 inches.

Females will weigh at least 85lb and for males its 90lb.

Because of this they are classed as a giant dog and need a lot of space in order to feel comfortable.


The coat color that is most popular is silver sable (this is that classic wolf color coat). Other colors that have been seen are golden sable, tri sable, and black silver sable. You may also find a full silver coat and a full cream coat.

This variety of colors comes from the different breeds that were used when creating the American Alsatian.


As for their coat, it is incredibly dense and long

Their coat is long and dense, especially during winter it has a woolly texture. The fur is thickest around the neck and becomes shorter in the face.

American Alsatian Temperament

An American Alsatian

One of the reasons this dog is sought after is that they are not just stunning to look at, they also have amazing temperaments. If you are looking for a gentle giant, you are in the right place. This breed is known for its calm devotion.

They are really just a giant lap dog. They love cuddles and spending time with you, and are happy to sit and chill on the sofa with you and the family. Their calm nature makes them great with children, although they are not naturally playful dogs.

Unfortunately as they quickly become attached to their, they struggle with being left alone. Separation anxiety is common in dogs that are devoted to their owners, so having a family is a good idea as it’s likely someone will be home more often than not.

Also surprisingly for most people, this is not a loud breed – they don’t bark or howl.

The American Alsatian is a confident, fearless dog. They are happy to explore anywhere, and are not aggressive dog at all. Their size may be intimidating for some dogs and, as they are not naturally playful, you may find they don’t partake in much play behavior with other dogs.

As a puppy, they have a natural love for their owners. They will often try to be near to you as often as possible; however this unstoppable love does not always extend to strangers. The American Alsatian can sometimes be a little aloof around new people.

Is A American Alsatian A Good Family Dog?

The American Alsatian is an excellent family dog. As with all dogs, they will need to be socialized with children from a young age. Their natural calm nature is perfect for young children.

However, these dogs are not a particularly playful breed, so don’t expect much fetch or rough and tumble!

How to Train an American Alsatian

Breeding American Alsatian

With an American Alsatian, you should expect training to be pretty easy.

These dogs have a high level of intelligence and a need to please their owners. You should always use positive reinforcement methods when training as punishment may lead them to behave badly.

They are naturally going to learn ‘heel’ and ‘come’ commands easily due to their strong bond with you. These are not dogs that want to wander far from you or their home, as they have a strong sense of territory – however, this can sometimes make bonding to new people difficult.

Socializing any dog is extremely important and the American Alsatian is no different.

Even though they have an affinity with children, it’s still important to allow them to socialize with kids from a young age. Similar socialization should be completed with other dogs. Puppy parties are one way of socializing dogs in a safe environment.

Although this dog is extremely intelligent, they are not particularly energetic.

They don’t need lots of games and toys to keep them entertained. It is sufficient to keep a few chew toys and soft toys that your dog seems to like. You could introduce some simple interactive feeders, such as Kongs, if you want to keep your dog occupied for a period of time.

Caring for an American Alsatian

Caring for an American Alsatian is not particularly intense.

This dog is well suited to a family setting. They like someone to be home for most of the day to keep them company, and need a big yard or garden to roam around in.

In terms of exercise, around an hour each day will do – this should not be high intensity as they won’t enjoy it.

Grooming is pretty simple for most of the year, however around spring it gets intense and you should expect to be doing plenty of vacuuming.

Exercise Requirements

The American Alsatian will require around an hour of moderately energetic exercise each day

They will be happy to accompany you on a long walk but may not be too keen on hiking up a mountain – this is not a dog that is suited to agility or high energy games.

Thanks to their attachment to you, walking them off leash should not cause too many issues. They are an extremely relaxed breed that will want to stay with you and is not going to run off. They don’t have a high prey drive and are not naturally aggressive.

Grooming and Shedding

Most of the time grooming this dog is fairly easy.

They need brushing twice a week to help keep their fairly long coat clear of mats and looking healthy.

Unfortunately, this can’t last forever.

In springtime, they shed their winter coat and this means extreme fur shedding. You should expect to be brushing them every day, possibly twice a day to help them shed their fur as quickly as possible. You will be vacuuming all the time.

For general grooming, they need their ears checked and cleaned every week. They should have their teeth brushed every day. You should trim their nails every couple of months and flea, worming and vaccinations should be kept up to date.

Feeding and Diet

The most important aspect of feeding your pup is to make sure they have a healthy, balanced diet. You should focus on making sure they eat enough protein and fat as these are the nutrients that aremost important for dogs.

As a puppy, they should stay on the brand of food that the breeder has been feeding them, and eat 4 times a day. As they grow older, they should be moved to two meals a day and an adult food blend. This should be introduced slowly to avoid stomach upset.

With a giant breed dog, you should feed them around 3 cups of kibble a day. Once they are old enough you could introduce gravy, meats, eggs, and other ingredients into their diet to make it more varied and interesting for them.

Known Health Problems

The original breeder of these dogs has talked about the use of hybrid vigor to make these dogs as healthy as possible. In general, this is an extremely hardy breed. They do suffer from a few conditions, but only because of their size.

Hip and elbow dysplasia are common in the breed, so make sure to check the parent dogs have good hip and elbow.

As this is a fairly new breed, it’s not easy to say exactly what health conditions may occur.

The following conditions may have only been seen once before in an American Alsatian but it’s important to consider any chance of a major health problems. These include seizures, myelofibrosis, enlarged heart and panosteitis.

How Long Does An American Alsatian Live?

The American Alsatian has a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years.

Buying an American Alsatian

As the American Alsatian is a new breed, the official Breeders Club only recognizes two official breeders (Schwarz Dogs and Vallecito Alsatians). Anywhere else selling these pups is likely not adhering to the breed standard set down by the Breeders Club.

There is a waiting list for puppies from both breeders of about 6 months.

Both breeders are also quite particular about who they will sell puppies too. If you are accepted as a potential owner, you will have to go out to meet the puppies before picking one up.

How Much Does An American Alsatian Cost?

You could expect to pay anywhere from $1,800 to $3,000 for an American Alsatian.

The price of an American Alsatian is extremely varied – the more a puppy looks like the dire wolf, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:25-32 inches
Lifespan:12-14 Years
Coat:Thick, woolly double coat that is oily and repels dirt
Color:Silver sable, golden sable, tri sable, black silver sable, silver and cream
Do They Shed:Yes – especially during spring
Temperament:Friendly, calm, aloof and confident
Intelligence:Highly intelligent
Socialization:Will need socialization with other dogs and people
Destructive Behavior:Not many destructive behaviors
People Skills:Great with family but can be aloof with strangers
Good with Children:Excellent with children
Activity Levels:Moderate activity levels – 60 minutes of exercise a day


The American Alsatian is a new breed that is suited to someone looking for a large companion dog.

They need company almost all of the time as they will become extremely attached to their owners. This big lap dog needs plenty of cuddles and contact time.

As for exercise, they don’t need intense exercise but will still enjoy a gentle walk. Their grooming requirements are quite low except for when they shed their winter coat (you should expect fur everywhere).

Most of the time this dog is calm, relaxed and confident.

It’s a long process from falling in love with this dog to actually owning one, but if you are committed to this breed we think it’s totally worth it!

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below…