American Alsatian

The American Alsatian (English pronunciation: /ælˈseɪʃən/), formerly known as the Alsatian Shepalute, is a large breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) originating in the United States of America, bred back to resemble the Dire Wolf's bone and body structure. It was developed from purebred Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, English Mastiff, Anatolian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees lines, through selective breeding. The breed was developed as a large companion dog, making it the only large breed of dog originally bred for this purpose. Although the American Alsatian can be trained to work and some have been successful as wilderness search and rescue dogs, this breed does not possess a strong desire for the physical demands of most working dog endeavors. The American Alsatian is most suited for the gentle work of therapy dogs or Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ).


This dog breed's well-muscled neck is short in length and thick in circumference. Its shoulders are slightly sloping and set wide apart to accommodate the depth and width of its chest. It has large, heavy feet that are slightly splayed to support its weight and its legs are massive and round reflecting this breed's desired resemblance to the sturdy legs of the Dire Wolf. Any indication of unsoundness in the legs is considered a serious fault. This dog breed has a well-furred tail that lies flat and does not curve over the back of its body. It is tipped with black and reaches to the hock. American Alsatians have a thick, dense undercoat, which completely sheds out in the spring and summer. Along with the undercoat, they also possess a longer, coarser outer coat with a light color and black tips Al.l skin pigmentation should remain dark. Pelt colors range from gold to silver sable, timber wolf gray being the most desirable. Cream and black sable colorings have also been seen in a few dogs, but remain very rare overall.
The American Alsatian is bred to resemble, in size and bone structure, the extinct Dire Wolf of the Middle to Late Pleistocene. This breed is a large sized dog standing on average between 24 to 28 inches (61 to 71 cm) at the withers and weighing between 75 to 120 pounds (34 to 54 kg). The overall length of the American Alsatian is longer than tall. As with the Dire Wolf, the head is very broad and large, sloping slightly to a wide dark muzzle. This dog's nose is deep black, with any color variations faulted. The color of the eyes ranges from light brown to yellow with a desired almond shape. Its black-tipped ears are set wide apart and are erect and short in comparison to its solid stature. However, they can move in many directions when listening and also pull back to lie flat against the sides of skull when ashamed.


The American Alsatian is a calm dog with a low working drive. It does not initiate play unless encouraged. True to the personality of dogs bred for companionship, the American Alsatian enjoys being close to and affectionate with its owners. The American Alsatian is generally friendly, but has a tendency to be more aloof with unknown children and pets. However, the American Alsatian is rarely aggressive or fearful.While outdoors, these dogs generally will not wander or roam the neighborhood, choosing instead to stay close to their pack and their home. True companions, these dogs are sensitive to voice and respond well to light correction. Due to their calm nature, thunderstorms and loud noises do not generally bother them.


The American Alsatian lives an average of 12–14 years. Eye and ear problems have not been experienced in any American Alsatian and panosteitis, a genetic disease causing limping in young dogs, has not been seen in any dog since 2004. To date, hip dysplasia has not existed within this breed. Elbow dysplasia and severe arthritis currently have a 0.1% incidence rate. In 2009, one 4 month old puppy was shown to have seizures for one week immediately following the rabies shot. Seizures, in general, has an occurrence rate of 0.5% and is the most prominent health issue within this breed at this time.


The American Alsatian was developed by Lois Denny (now Lois Schwarz) in Oxnard in southern California in 1987. At that time, Lois encountered a number of clients who could no longer keep their pets because of the working behaviors they exhibited. In time, Lois acknowledged the need for a large breed of dog without working qualities that could live with limited boundaries and minimal exercise. In 1987, Lois developed a standard of a large breed of dog with a companion dog disposition and the look of a wolf. The name of this breed of dog has gone through many changes over the years. At the onset of the first breeding in 1988, the breed name was originally the North American Shepalute. In 2004, the name was changed to Alsatian Shepalute. Now, as of February 21, 2010, the breed club has again opted to change the name of this breed. This was done in order to drop the portmanteau word, Shepalute, which no longer reflected the breed and portrayed the breed incorrectly as a hybrid dog. The first generation of American Alsatian was registered by the North American Shepalute Club (since renamed the National American Alsatian Club) in 1988 with purebred Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd Dog lines.Later, the purebred English Mastiff entered the gene pool in order to establish larger bone structure, a broader head, and a deeper chest. Each dog was specifically chosen for its health and personality. Only certain chosen pups were selected to continue in the breeding that exhibited the desired traits of a family companion dog. No hyperactive, whining, or barking traits were bred. In the year 2000, the American Alsatian was first introduced to the American public as they finally conformed to the breed standard in both looks and personality. Since that time, a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix, with its laid back, mellow attitude and large bone structure was used in several lines in 2004. The American Alsatian is not recognized by any multi-breed kennel clubs and the National American Alsatian Club has stated that it is not currently seeking recognition in this way.




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