Meet Our Family
Lois is the creator of an amazing new breed of large family companion dog.
Lois Schwarz was born in 1954 in Panama where her father worked as a civil engineer on the Panama Canal as a civilian in the Navy. After her parents moved to Port Hueneme to work at Point Magu Naval Base, she spent her adolescent years in Southern California where her parents helped her develop a strong love for animals and all of life. Lois was a curious, passionate child. She relished the opportunity to learn all she could about the animals her father would bring him for the family to enjoy. She spent hours in the library researching her passion and learned all she could about genetics and how inheritance worked.
As an adult, Lois's mind remained unsettled. She graduated as a police cadet and began working with protection dogs around the cities where she lived. She took care of many guard dogs stationed on small business properties in order to parol shops and businesses in the area. Still, something was missing in her life that would not allow her mind to find peace.
After a year of working with protection dogs, she received a loan to start her own business as a dog groomer. She became one of the first woman entrepreneurs in Port Hueneme in the early 1980s. Working with dog families all across the area, she noticed many people had serious difficulties with their large working dogs. Constant barking, digging, chasing, escape behaviors, and jumping caused owners to frequently give up on the unruly large, energetic working breeds they housed in their small backyards.
In an effort to help them, Lois taught dog training classes to help owners get in touch with their dog's mind. Some owners thrived with the new knowledge she provided, but some still struggled to get a handle on their dog's seemingly uncontrollable working dog behaviors. Clearly, teaching dog training classes was not going to be enough.
Finding herself increasingly concerned for the mismatched large breed working dogs and their well-meaning families, she decided she would not stop until she found a solution that worked. She spent many sleepless nights jotting down her ideas in notebooks until one night, a new thought arose from the depths of her soul. Something was seriously lacking in the dog breed world and she knew how to fix it. Her life's focus shaped itself in an instant into what would become a lifetime's work of an extraordinary pursuit. Instead of struggling to train out or breed out the amazing inherent talent of large breed working dogs, she would breed her own large dogs without those unwanted working dog traits for the average families living in cities and towns.
The first litter of puppies from a purebred Alaskan Malamute and a purebred German Shepherd Dog was born in 1988. She initially called her mixed dogs, North American Shepalutes. Eventually, she added the lumbering English Mastiff, the fiery Akita, the outgoing Golden Retriever, the willing Labrador Retriever, the protective Great Pyrenees, and the gentle Irish Wolfhound in a melange is large to extra large genes.
All the while, she focused solely on breeding out working dog behaviors, disregarding looks completely, to arrive at a large breed of dog that was mellow, gentle, calm, quiet, and bonded. She called these finally consistent large breed family companion dogs, Alsatian Shepalutes.
Now in the 18th generations of her own stock, she had a wonderful gentle large breed companion dog temperament, but the look was not where she wanted it to be. She added several new dogs from unrelated breeds to increase size and overall stature, as well as, capture the slanted yellow eyes, and wolf mask of the wolf. She changed the name again to reflect her new direction. She now called her dogs American Alsatian™ dogs. While Lois no longer oversees the breeding of dogs bred by the Dire Wolf Project™, she continues to breed her original American Alsatian dogs in cooperation with her daughter, Amey through Lois's website: Schwarz Kennels.
Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT, OFS began working with Lois in 2006 to help her achieve her goals of a large breed family companion dog breed with the wild look of the largest canid to ever roam our planet. She immersed herself in everything she could to catch up and be a support to Lois in her mission. Jennifer created and maintains the Dire Wolf Project website, writing each page with care for Lois's ideals. She works tirelessly to help the dogs bred under the Dire Wolf Project thrive well into the future. Breaking away from her mother when her sister, Amey, took over much of Lois's work, Jennifer now calls the dogs bred under the Dire Wolf Project the American Dirus™ dog. Jennifer seeks to further solidify the Dire Wolf Project as a clear answer for many families wanting a beautiful large dog, but without the unwanted working dog behaviors of the founding breeds.
Jay Stoeckl, MAT, OFS found himself thrust into a business that he was not quite prepared for. After years of working along side his wife, Jennifer, Jay finally came to understand the incredible message of hope the Dire Wolf Project and the American Dirus dog brings to the dog breeding world and families just like yours. Jay is a published author and an invaluable support to the project, including lending his incredible storytelling abilities to become editor-in-chief for DireWolf Publishing. He continues to write fiction works for wolf and Dire Wolf enthusiasts around the world.