It is debatable whether the Carpathian Wolfdog is really a breed, or simply a term used to describe any cross between a dog and a wolf in Romania. To add even more confusion, this name is sometimes used for the Romanian Ciobanesc Carpatin and even the Bukovina Shepherd, as well as some other breeds of the region. It should be noted that Caine Lup is also one of the common names for the German Shepherd Dog in Romania. Unlike the Czech or the Saarlos Wolfdog breeds, the Carpathian Wolfdog reportedly wasn't developed by man in order to improve upon the German Shepherd or any other breed, even though the GSD influence is evident in some strains. Some authorities dismiss these dogs as leftovers from the Romanian Carpatin re-creation programme which didn't turn out as expected, possibly showing too much of the GSD heritage. The original Caine Lup Romanesc population consisted of common shepherd dogs which are believed to had been isolated strains of indigenous livestock guardians developed through matings with wolves in various mountainous regions of the country, without any deliberate effort aimed at establishing a specific breed, but rather as a natural "by-product" of selecting local LGD stock strictly based on their working qualities, without purposely striving for the wolf-like appearance these dogs naturally exhibited. Some believe that the Carpathian Wolfdog of ancient times was a result of planned matings between Armenian Gamprs introduced to the area by nomads and indigenous Carpathian mountain wolves, but this theory requires more research. What is known for certain is that female shepherd dogs at times mated with the more courageous wolves and that their puppies were kept and raised by many curious peasants who bred them back into their stock of working sheepdogs. Over the centuries, these dogs reportedly proved themselves to be excellent workers, used as herders, guardians and hunters. This led to the introduction of the Wolfdog blood into many Romanian dogs, the effects of which are said to be felt to this day.
The modern incarnation of this Romanian breed was reportedly developed by a number of enthusiasts who had decided to revive the old Caine Lup by breeding German Shepherds, captive wolves and various nondescript working sheepdogs of appropriate phenotype to their pure Carpatins. Unfortunately, the breeding selection was primarily based around physical appearance in order to establish a somewhat uniform foundation stock, with very little emphasis placed on temperament or working ability, which led to these modern crossdogs being largely ignored by both the rural herdsmen and the urban Romanian dog fancy. While there were occasional attempts by the fanciers of this breed to standardize the Romanian Wolfdog and gain official breed recognition in the late 1990\'s, the interest for both the original Caine Lup and the newly developed breed carrying its name has diminished in recent years. As is the case with most wolf hybrids, the Carpathian Wolfdog can be overly shy and independent, bonding only with one master while being aloof, and even unfriendly towards strangers.
Erect-eared, densely coated and fairly large, the breed is decidedly lupine in appearance, displaying a range of colorings, from white, cream and fawn to red, brown and gray, with or without white markings on the legs and chest. Average height is around 28 inches, with smaller examples being quite common.