What does it mean to be ALOOF to strangers?

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, June 30, 2023
Shennara Snow
Shennara in the snow

In yesterday’s email, we spoke about the unique large breed family companion dog temperament associated with the American Dirus dog bred by the Dire Wolf Project.

This inherited breed-wide temperament includes dogs that are intelligent, calm, gentle, sweet, loving, have low prey drives, and are aloof to strangers.

Much of those words are pretty easy to interpret, but many people do not understand what we mean when we say “aloof”.

The dictionary describes the term aloof as “removed and distant”.

This is pretty accurate, but more information is needed because some can think about it as nervous or shy.

Aloof dog breeds can turn into nervous/shy dogs around strangers without proper socialization training, but aloof doesn’t mean that.

Instead, aloof means a dog that is disinterested in strangers.

A true family companion dog has eyes for those they love above all else.

They must be able to distinguish between people they have bonded with and others they do not know.

Without this trait, our dogs would enjoy being with anyone and everyone without distinction.

A companion, by its very nature, is someone who can be a friend.

A family companion, is an individual who can be a friend to a particular family.

If they loved everyone equally without distinction… didn’t matter who… then the family companion aspect of the breed would not exist.

Therefore, an aloof dog knows the difference between THEIR people and all others.

This is evidenced by how an aloof dog treats those with whom they aren’t already friends.

An aloof dog doesn’t cower in fear. A nervous or shy dog without confidence or strength of character cowers at the sight of strangers.

NOTE: Undersocialized aloof dogs can find themselves in the fearful category. That is why we frequently remind you for the need to properly socialize your sensitive baby dog so that it grows up with the confidence it needs to not drop into a nervous/fearful state around strangers.

Instead, aloof dogs are simply uninterested.

The ideal is for the aloof dog to accept a friendly stranger’s touch with natural ease, but not desire it.

The American Dirus dog is aloof (uninterested in people it doesn’t know). That won’t change. It is innate, or bred in and is a breed-wide trait.

The confidence level in your puppy is more fluid and can be altered to a great degree through experiences.

Here is a link to an article I wrote on how to properly socialize an American Dirus dog to have the confidence it needs to navigate our human world.


Three more Genius Litter puppies (Essex/Regina) remain available right now.

Here’s the link:


The DireWolf Express is scheduled to leave on July 13th, with our vet health check-up   planned for July 7th.

There is no time to waste.

If you have been approved and are interested in a puppy, reply to this email and let me know. (You don’t have to be on our waiting list.)

If you would like to be considered for our puppies, the first step is to complete our puppy adoption questionnaire.

Click the link below to get started:


Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.