Life with SWH

Everything started when a friend at my boyfriend's job showed  some pictures of Saarloos Wolfhond and Ceskoslovensky vlcak that he had printed out from internet. I didn't know anything about this dogs, where you could buy one, how they where mentally or if it was even possible to get one but I was REALLY impressed by their beauty. So the search began. Page up and page down on the internet was checked, we read pages on English until our eyes bled, pages on German and other languages was impossible to read but to look at pictures doesn't require that you know the language. Time after time we ended up at a page from a certain Kennel, Wolfsirius.

The kennel is located in Finland and my boyfriend speaks Finnish... Just luck or??!! After a few months of mental preparation my boyfriend took the big step and made that phone call, the call that probably change our whole life. All we wanted was to get more information about the breeds. Internet didn't provide us with enough information and every page was a the same as the other, and I wanted to know EVERYTHING...and a little bit more. The breeder was wonderful and gave us as much info as we wanted. We called several times, asked more silly questions and finally we made a appointment to come and se the dogs in real life. At this time we weren't planning a puppy or anything like that, we just wanted to SE the dogs. 2 September 2004 my boyfriend made the trip to Finland by him self, I had to stay home and look after our other dogs. Do I need to say that he fell in love.....?? *smile*

We continued to have contact with Suski, told her about ourselves, how we lived, what we did with our dogs and asked if it was possible for us to become Saarloos owners...If we where suitable for it or not. It seemed like we where and we hoped that one day our dream would come true.

So, on the 16:th of February 2005 a litter of Saarloos Wolfhond  was born at Kennel Wolfsirius in Kotka Finland. My boyfriend visited then when they where 4 weeks old and the decision was made... WE WHERE GOING TO GET A SAARLOOS PUPPY!!!! 9:th of April he arrived at Landvetter airport I for the first time of my life I was able to lay my hands on one of these wonderful dogs.

When I stood there on Landvetter airport and for the first time in my life held a shaggy 7 week old Saarloos puppy in my arms I couldn't understand how such a tiny creature could cause so much stir. That such innocent little dog could evoke so strong feelings among total strangers was totaly incomprehensive to me, so much hate, fear, prejudices and contempt. Neither did I,  right then,  realise how much our choise of dog breed would affect my life in the future.

Saarloos Wolfhond really HAVE turned my life up side down, no doubt about that, and it actually started long before we got our first one. The day I went public on a dog forum and told people about my interest in the breed I got a foretaste of what would come...and it was a bitter taste. I was more or less attacked and they told me I was insane. People who never met a Saarloos in real life nor me claimed that all I wanted was a cool dog, something to increase my confidence or that I was stucked in some romantic fantasy about the wilderness. They explained to me that Saarloos was a total flop, a breed that shouldn't exist at all, it didn't fit in in todays society, and was a rabid, uncontrollable, childslayer.  AND,  if I against all odds would cope with the dog until it reached sexual maturety then, when I least expected it, it would turn against med and rip my throat of.

I could have defended my self to the death then but I chose a diffrent strategy, a strategy I still hold on to. To answer all questions calm and sober, to deliver information about the breed as honest and openly as I can and to never glorify it. I think that both the breed and I will benefit from this.

Sure, it's very tiring to always have to explain / defend why you have choosen the breed you have and to constantly deny false information but it seems like this is something you have to get use to as a Saarloos owner. We chose to take the breed to our hearts despite the negative attitude from others and with this our fight for the establishment of the breed in Sweden began.

Spring 2005, when Cloud arrived at Landvetter airport and life with Saarloos began, the breed wasn't acknowledge by the Swedish kennel Club (SKK) but had been it by FCI since 1981. So it seemed natural to question SKK right from the beginning and start working for the acknowledgement the breed so well deserved. Since Saarloos already was a FCI breed it should have been an easy task but I was wrong, the negative attitude and the prejudices seemed to permeate SKK to. I sent the first letter to SKK May/June 2005 and then two years of hard work followed before the breed finally got acknowledge spring/summer 2007. I do not dare to count how much time I put into this, all the hours in front of the computer, the gathering of information, translations, all the mails to SKK, all the setbacks an all the times I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die or blow SKK to pieces. But all the hard work finally paid of and today we don't have expensive mix-breeds but pure breed dogs. Hopefully we paved the way for new Swedish Saarloos owners who don't have to sacrifice a lot of time and energy on those things and instead focus on their dogs.   

Everyday life changed pretty radical to and today there is one word that permeate everyday, planning! We can’t do anything without planning. To impulsive go to town for some shopping, go to the pub or just go home to someone for a coffee is impossible now days. Ans it's both good and bad.

We never leave our dogs alone today and if one of us has to go some where the other one have to stay at home, we don’t do a lot of things together so to speak. When we bought our second Saarloos I went from a fulltime job to a part time and I can also chose WHEN to work so I do it when Kim is home. Of course this means that we get less money but considering that we can’t go to the pub anymore it even itself out I guess. ;) Since Saarloos in general get car sick it’s not so easy to just pack them all into a car and go away either, you have to plan for that to. To go by bus is something I avoid as much as I can, it feels a little bit mean towards the other travellers when you sit there with a dog that drools, puke and sometimes do number two... 

According to me a Saarloos really demands a whole lot of time, patience and engagement, Probably more than other breeds overall and you really need to be aware of that before you get yourself one. I'm not saying that I was totally aware of HOW demanding they really where before we got our first one but I have slowly "grown into" the breed and its peculiarities and I wouldn't trade them for all the things in the world. You could say that I today more or less eat, sleep and breathe dog 24 hours a day and that is most of the time exactly how I want it to be. It can be frustrating sometimes but it's a choice I have made and I stand for it. 

These dogs are without question very special, wonderful companions with great personalities and definitely a challenge to live with sometimes. Their intelligence, independence and shy behaviour make them dogs that are not suitable for everybody and you should really be aware of what you get yourself into. I often say that you don't buy a Saarloos, you marry one.... ;)