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26 Impressive Wolfdog Breeds High, Mid and Low-Content Wolfdogs 10 Ways to Tell if your dog is a Wolfdog 19 Wolf-Dog Temperament & Behavior Truths 9 Facts about Czechoslovakian Wolfdog Wolfdog Puppies Care Wolfdog Personality The History of Wolfdogs Raising & Training the Wolfdog How to Train Wolfdog How To Take Care Of A Wolf Hybrid Puppy Wolfdog Classification, Types & Breeds Wolfdog Behaviors & Care The Ownership & Breeding of Wolfdogs Wolfdog Names Are Wolfdogs Legal? How to become Wolfdog Breeder? DNA tests of Wolf-Dogs Wolfdog Body Language Wolfdog Size Chart Are wolf dogs Dangerous? Wolf Hybrid Laws (USA) Wolfdog Phylogeny & Genetics Is a Wolfdog a Good Pet? Which states allow Wolf Dogs? Wolfdog Myths & In-Depth Facts Dog vs Wolf: Difference & Similarity WolfDog Breed Specifications Wolfdogs Temperament & Behavior Wolfdogs in the Wild Wolf-dog Hybrid Wolfdog vs Wolf Czechoslovakian Wolfdog Saarloos Wolfdog Kunming Wolfdog Can you own a wolfdog in Canada? Blue Bay Shepherd Dog vs Wolf
A wolfdog is a canine produced by the mating of a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) with a gray wolf (Canis lupus), eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), red wolf (Canis rufus), or Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) to produce a hybrid.
Pomeranians Were the First Dog Breed to be Crossed with Wolves
The domestic dog is an extremely close relative of the gray wolf, differing from it by at most 0.2% of mtDNA sequence
Recognized wolfdog breeds by the FCI are the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and the Saarloos Wolfdog
A statistic shows that almost 65% of all bought wolfdogs end up in a rescue or are euthanized by the age of three.
Intelligent, strong but obedient these gorgeous wolf-dog breeds will be happy to become part of the family. Find out more about their personalities and what it takes to be their owner. There is some irony in the fact that humans are breeding the wolf back into the dog! Wolf-type dogs have a special place in our hearts. They are large, beautiful, powerful animals that possess a "cool-factor" that some people can't resist.
There is just something about owning such an impressive animal that appeals to certain people. Dogs and wolves come from the same family, thus they tend to have similar physical traits except for the fact that wolves are understandably stronger and difficult, if not impossible, to train. Wolves are not to be domesticated in any way and people are discouraged from keeping them as household pets. On the other hand, wolf hybrids or wolf dogs are quite easy to get nowadays. Wolf-dog hybrids are bred with certain characteristics in mind. The idea is to end up with a wolf hybrid that has a good combination of wolf and domestic dog looks and disposition. These are carefully cultivated hybrids that have actually become named breeds.
Wolf hybrids are available, too, and there are many combinations from which to choose. For those of us who prefer to go with a tried and true domestic dog, there are lots of breeds that have that cool wolf look without the wolf disposition. There is the Lupo Italiano, Kunming wolf dog and others that have cross-bred with wolves over the years. These animals are not for the average dog owner either mainly because of their wild genes, which can pose as a threat toward other animals or small children. So in case you really are fascinated by wolves, you can settle with something that looks just like it but are in no way directly related to wolves at all. Wolves are social by nature and demand a great amount of attention and interaction from their pack. This expectation translates onto the owner when a wolf is kept in captivity.
When looking for wolf dog breeds to have as a pet, there are quite a few breeds to consider. Wolf hybrids are available, too, and there are many combinations from which to choose. For those of us who prefer to go with a tried and true domestic dog, there are lots of breeds that have that cool wolf look without the wolf disposition. Some domestic dogs have been bred intentionally to look like wolves, while others just look that way naturally. You need to know the difference between all of these breeds and do some research. You may want a dog that looks cool, but you need to select a breed that is going to fit with your lifestyle as well.
1. Alaskan Malamute Alaskan Malamutes were bred to be sled dogs because of their power and size. They have incredibly high endurance and strength levels. But despite all this, they make excellent pets and are a popular breed among pet owners. But do know that Malamutes may not sit well with families who have smaller pets, as their prey drive can sometimes get the best of them. Malamutes come in a variety of colors including gray and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. They also have facial markings that resemble that of an actual wolf. Overall, they should be raised in places with cold temperature as their thick double coat makes them susceptible to overheating.
2. Siberian Husky According to the American Kennel Club, the Siberian Husky is a loyal, playful, and athletic breed that dates back to the ancient times wherein they were used as working dogs. With that, they require constant outdoor exercise especially during the cold weather. Lack of exercise may result in destructive behavior, so it is recommended that owners fence their lawn. Their similarities with wolves transcend more than just their physical appearances, as their characteristics include the need to be with a pack and their tendency to howl more than bark. They are generally a medium-sized breed too, weighing up to 27-28 kg in average. Like many dogs on this list, they must be introduced to smaller dogs or other animals at a young age because of their high prey drive. Despite that, they remain to be one of the ideal breeds for families and are especially good with children.
3. Akita The Akita is often compared to a Bear, however another animal that he resembles more closely is the wolf. Both are fierce protectors, strong and resilient. Let's take a look at side by side comparisons of the Akita VS Wolf. We will see how the two stack up in regard to: appearance, size, color, aggressiveness and stats. There are a lot of different wolves, all part of the Canidae family which includes dogs, so we will look at the Akita and the popular Grey Wolf. The Akita is an omnivore, eating meats, vegetables, fruits and grains. The wolf is primarily a carnivore. The American color is always 2 toned, sometimes 3. The Japanese Akita color is a bit simpler. It includes: Brindle, red and white. Despite the name, the Grey wolf can vary in coat color. Roughly 33% are black. A small percentage are a brown or white with brown markings. Those in Europe tend to have a black saddl, coloring across the back. For the Akita Inu, average life expectancy is 11 years. Health issues that eventually cause fatalities are cancer and heart failure. Bloat is also a risk for this breed and that is why feeding a proper diet is so important. For the wolf, the life span out in the wild is very short - only 8 years on average. This is due to wounds received including human traps, starvation and fatal injuries from other wolves while fighting for Alpha positions. A smaller number succumb to parvo and mange.
4. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog This relatively new breed has not many owners around the world. But its close resemblance to real wolves is enough to draw attention. The Czechoslovakian wolf dog is distinguished mainly by its iconic amber eyes and triangle-shaped ears that are erect like that of a wolf. They were reportedly first bred in Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary and then were imported to other countries not long after. They are actually a bred from German shepherds and Carpathian wolves with the goal to create a breed mixed with the strength of a wolf and the temperament of a German shepherd. While they may not be easily available, they are actually great house dogs and are fiercely loyal to their families. However, smaller animals should be introduced at a young age and socialization with other dogs should start early as well.
Instead, they created something much different. The Czechoslovakian wolfdog looks like a wolf, which might be scary, but in reality they have lively, playful and curious personalities. Nowadays the breed is much loved and people worldwide are proud owners of the dogs that everyone looks at and double-takes, because it looks "just like a wolf". The Czechoslovakian wolfdog is even used in British Search and Rescue operations.
5. Kugsha Kugsha or known by the other name Amerindian Malamutes are wolf hybrids that are larger than the Siberian husky but smaller than a Malamute. The Kugsha has high energy and therefore needs a lot of exercise, an example of which is long daily walks. They need to keep busy or the tendency is they will get destructive. A Kugsha should not be kept indoors for so long, they can be trained to do some work like assisting with carrying heavy loads. Training and socialization with other animals and children should begin at a young age because of their predatory nature.
6. Samoyed Originally, Samoyed dogs were bred to herd reindeer and haul sledges. They got their name from the Samoyede people that resided in Siberia that regarded them as loyal companion who would keep them warm with their thick coat of fur. Modern Samoyed dogs are often kept as house pets because of their warm temperament and friendly personality. Owners should be aware of their health problems, which include kidney disease, hip dysplasia - a common ailment for large dogs, and diabetes. Other than that, they are excellent with children but will need training at an early age. The Samoyed is not related to the wolf or fox at all, instead their roots can be traced back to the primitive dog. A distinctive feature is their "Sammy Smile," which is described by their signature black lips pointing upward.
7. Tamaskan Another relatively new breed on this list is the Tamaskans. In fact, there are only 600 of these dogs around the world, but expect the numbers to grow over the years because of their popularity. They were fully recognized by the American Kennel Club last 2013 and were bred to look like wolves. The Tamaskan is known for its large, athletic body that is slightly bigger than that of a German shepherd. They have a variety of coat colors, ranging from red-gray to black-gray. These dogs are incredibly social and need constant exercise.
8. Canadian Eskimo Dog This rare dog is at the brink of extinction with a 2008 estimate of only 300 registered purebred around the world. The Canadian Eskimo goes by several names: Qimmiq, Canadian Husky, and Canadian Inuit Dogs and are an ancient breed that dates back to the time of indigenous canines. This dog has a powerful built and are extremely athletic. Like most spitz breeds, they have triangular and erect ears with a feathered tail. Their high predatory instincts do not make them an ideal family pet. But if you happen to own one, make sure they are placed somewhere cold to prevent any heat strokes.
9. Northern Inuit Dog Game of Thrones fans will know that these breeds are used to portray the Dire Wolves from the hit television series. They are a crossbreed of Siberian huskies, German shepherds, and Inuit dogs. They resemble wolves, but they are very friendly and are unlikely to show any signs of aggression. However, these breeds are not suitable for inexperienced owners. Training must begin at a young age to address behavioral problems like separation anxiety. Do note that these dogs are very smart and sociable, so getting along with other family dogs should come at ease.
10. Utonagan The Utonagan is a crossbreed between three dogs: Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, and Siberian Husky. They originated from Finland and are part of the Spitz family. At first glance, they look like wolves but are not directly related to them at all. This type of breed is strong and energetic, so a daily walk will do the job and avoid any destructive behavior. The Utonagan will do best in areas with cold weather because of their naturally thick coat. If you are to consider getting one, then make sure your house has an ample place to stretch their legs outdoors.
11. German Shepherd The German shepherd is undeniably one of America's favorite dog breeds. It is intelligent, amazingly versatile, loyal, and courageous. They are also known to defend their owners to death. With that being said, these dogs have been used for military, handicap assistance, and police work. The main problem with German shepherds is that they tend to be overprotective and remain loyal only to their family. This can be addressed by socializing at an early age and constantly doing so as they are grow up. So generally, the German shepherd may be an impressive dog for those who want something that resembles a wolf, but these dogs are not ideal for inexperienced owners. Their aloof personality tends to be an issue as well, they easily get suspicious, and while they do love their family, they tend to be not very welcoming toward guests.
12. Saarloos Wolfdog The last wolf hybrid on this list is the Saarloos Wolfhound, which is distinguished from other breeds by its powerful neck, long legs, broad head, and facial features that are very similar to that of wolves. It is as strong and energetic like the other wolf like breeds and will not fare well in apartments. They require daily exercise and need to be trained at a young age to instill discipline. The Saarloos Wolfhound actually show genetic associations with the gray wolf and it has been documented that it has indeed originated from them through years of crossbreeding. They come in three colors namely: red, white, and the most common wolf-grey because of their close connection to the gray wolf. These dogs are not recommended for inexperienced dog owners at all, and they are ideally kept with a pack of the same breed.
13. Alaskian Noble Companion Dog Temperament: Loyal, Curious, Anxious, Alert, Active. Alaskan nobles are a new breed, recognized for their stunning appearance and close resemblance to wolves. They are a crosbreed of Siberian Husky, German Sheppherd, Alaskan Malamute, along with other breeds. There are conflicting reports about whether or not these dogs carry wolf content. Do they make a good family pet? Not enough is known about this breed at this point. Alaskan nobles have been reported as being very affectionate, laid back, and playful with their owners. However, these same owners have also reported apprehension, and even aggressiveness towards strangers and children. Beyond these reports, Alaskan Nobles are known as being extremely loyal to their owners. They are very active dogs that love to explore and roam in free open space. Daily stimulation is required to occupy their intelligent minds. Just like any breed, they require early socialization to avoid becoming aggressive as they mature. They are also known to have very high separation anxiety.
Wolador dogs are a cross between Timber Wolves and Labrador Retrievers. These are large dogs that mature to 100 to 175 pounds. They tend to have black, black/tan, brown or red Labrador Retriever-type coats.
15. Wolamutes Wolamutes are Malamute X Timber or Gray Wolf hybrids. They are large animals, commonly weighing between 115 and 175 pounds. Wolamutes can look very wolf-like or could look more like a Malamute.
16. Kunming Wolfdog Also known as the Kunming Wolfdog or the Chinese Wolfdog, these canines look very much like a German Shepherd. The difference is noted in the Kunming standing higher and having shorter fur. These pups need a yard, daily exercise, and pack leader and socialization training to be a successful companion. Like other dogs on this list, they are not lapdogs and need jobs to perform to keep from becoming aggressive and destructive.
17. American Shepherd Tundra Dog Created from wolf hybrids for the US Army, this breed was created to be a working breed. There are not many of these canines, but lovers of these giant animals are desperately trying to keep the breed pure. A newer breed, it is not recognized by the AKC, but that does not diminish its individuality. Although it does have a wolf-like appearance, it is not as aggressive as some of its doggy cousins.
18. Greenland Dog Still being used more as a hunting dog than a companion dog, this canine lives with the indigenous people in the Artic. With thick fur and small ears, everything about this breed is designed to withstand frigid temperatures. Not protective or territorial, these pups retain the ability to work in a pack. They do not do well in hot temperatures, nor do they do well lying around the house. They need to be kept busy to keep from becoming destructive.
19. Seppala Siberian Sleddog With the ice blue eyes of a Husky or Australian Shepherd, these wolf dog breeds (pictured above) are commanding in appearance. However, like those breeds, they can have brown or combination eyes as well. It is a rare breed still existing in isolated areas of the Arctic Circle. Serious minded, these pooches work well in packs as long as the human as established himself as the Alpha wolf.
20. Alaskian Malamute The largest of the Artic sled dogs, you can easily see the wolf inside this stately creature. Their personality is not far off, either. Theses fur-babies still love to be dogs with digging, barking, howling, and chewing. If bored, these wolf dog breeds can become aggressive or destructive. When this pup "talks", you can easily imagine a pack in the woods using sound to work together and get that kill. The double-coated fur on this animal is great for the cold and snow, but they cannot be healthy in warm climates.
21. Northern Inuit Dog If you watched Game of Thrones and found yourself wanting a direwolf of your very own, look no further. HBO filmed all the GoT direwolf scenes with Northern Inuit dogs, which tend to be friendly and intelligent pets. They will make a good running buddy too - Northern Inuit dogs are very active, according to Pet Guide.
22. Shikoku According to AKC, Shikokus hail from Japan, where they were highly valued by the Matagi (Japanese hunters) for their ability to track wild boars. But even if you are not regularly boar-hunting in your neighborhood, this breed can still be a great companion: AKC says they are known to be energetic and very loyal to their masters.
23. Native American Indian Dog A historic working dog, the Native American Indian Dog is indigenous to America and are extremely athletic and strong. To this day these pups are still used as working dogs, primarily as search and rescue dogs, police and military dogs, therapy dogs and hunting dogs. Unlike many of the dogs on this list, the Native American Indian Dog is a dog that does very well with children! A great family dog, they will fit in best with an active family who will ensure they get the right amount of exercise. They will love to accompany you on hikes and runs too, making the perfect exercise buddy. Unfortunately, as a large dog breed, these pups can be prone to elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. Dysplasia is a condition that is seen in many large dogs and is a disease of a malformation of the joints. The joints can become very painful and may worsen over time causing lameness. Ensuring you buy from a responsible breeder can help ensure your dog is less prone to any health issues.
24. Swedish Vallhund This dog looks like a wolf but sports the size of a Corgi. With a great personality to match their dual looks, you will get the best of both worlds. The Swedish Vallhund's herding background makes them an intelligent dog that's always on the lookout, announcing guests well before they even have a chance to reach for the doorbell. They are also lively and playful wolf dogs, looking for hugs wherever they can get them. They are high-energy dogs constantly running around and barking up a storm, which is why you need to be an active owner to thoroughly enjoy their charm. But many Swedish Vallhund owners will tell you there is plenty of fun to be had with this dog. They are game masters and veritable canine comics that will put their playful side on full display whenever you need a smile on your face.
25. Blue Bay Shepherd The Blue Bay Shepherd is an up and coming new breed that many people are not yet aware of, but this is one to definitely keep an eye on. With mesmerizing eyes and an almost mystic aura, the Blue Bay Shepherd seems destined for greatness. The Blue Bay Shepherd resulted from the pairing of wolf dogs to blue Old German Shepherds and features a long, blue coat. Despite their large size, high energy levels, and distinct lupine appearance, these dogs have a gentle, affectionate disposition and are ideal family dogs.
26. Calupoh Here is a breed of canine that is as Mexican as the gray wolf and the xolo. The Calupoh or Mexican wolf dog is a hybrid breed that originated in Mexico. This very peculiar canine emerged in pre-Hispanic times, the result of the mixture between the Mexican gray wolf and the dog. Several centuries were needed to achieve the domestication of the Calupoh. In 1999 was recognized as the third breed of Mexican dogs, after the Chihuahua and Xoloitzcuintle, by the Mexican Canola Federation. Since the mid-1990s, lots of work has been done on the research, recovery, breeding and conservation of this ancestral species.
The genetic project was based on crosses between dogs and wolves in order to make a cultural and historical rescue of this important breed. Calupoh is a strong, agile dog. Males measure between 62 and 75 cm in height, while females from 58 to 70 cm. Its coat is commonly black, although there is also silver, smoked black and white. The main characteristic of these species are its imposing yellow or orange eyes. As for its behavior, it is a very noble dog, loyal and stable, with great tolerance. Usually used to all kinds of activities, so it is the perfect companion for families as it is also very good with children. It lives very easily with other dogs but sometimes is reserved and shy towards strangers.
Wolves have the power to evoke awe and wonder upon observation. Swiftly moving through the trees, their lean forms and piercing eyes create a mesmerizing effect on the beholder and, in some cases, an "I want that" mentality.
Rather than watching and enjoying wolves' beauty from afar, people have tried to bring a piece of their wildness into their homes by breeding domesticated dogs with wolves and creating a hybrid. How many of you have tried to capture the beauty of a field of wildflowers by bringing in a bouquet to display on your table? It may be beautiful for a time, but the origin of its beauty is not there to showcase its true essence. The enjoyment is fleeting.
In the same way, removing a wolf from the natural environment and bringing the animal into a confined human home often results in chaos. Like dogs, wolves are social animals and enjoy traveling as part of a pack. However, whereas dogs may be content to roam around their fenced yards, wolves have not been domesticated through generations of selective breeding and even when held captive, retain their innate nature to roam. A captive wolf or wolf-dog hybrid will search for a way out. The awe that someone once felt for these beautiful creatures will turn to frustration due to the challenges arising from the animals' wild nature. What exactly is a wolf-dog hybrid? Simply put it is a cross between a captive wolf and a domestic dog.
A wolfdog, also called a wolf-dog hybrid or wolf hybrid is a canid hybrid resulting from the hybridization of a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) to one of four other Canis sub-species, the gray (Canis lupus), eastern timber (Canis lycaon), red (Canis rufus), and Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis).
One of the most interesting facts about wolf dog hybrids is that it is not a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, as early as the 18th century, people have already begun to entertain the idea of crossbreeding a wild wolf with a domestic dog. It would be safe to assume that these people sought to cross a wolf with a dog that has almost the same characteristics. For instance, Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes, and Siberian Huskies all bear uncanny similarities with wild wolves. Instead, the very first domestic dog that man crossbred with a wild wolf was a Pomeranian. You'd be interested to know that the Poms a couple of centuries ago were large dogs, instead of the purse puppies we know them today. Eighteenth century Pomeranians looked more like the Artic breeds that pull sleds over harsh snowy terrain.
WOLFDOG DESCRIPTION Intra-hybridization between dogs and other subspecies of gray wolves are the most common wolfdogs since dogs and gray wolves are considered the same species, are genetically very close, and have shared vast portions of their ranges for millennia. Such hybridization in the wild have been detected in many populations scattered throughout Europe and North America, usually occurring in areas where wolf populations have declined from human impacts and persecutions. At the same time, hybrids are also often bred in captivity for various purposes.
Inter-hybridization of dogs and two other North American wolf species have also occurred historically in the wild, although it is often difficult for biologists to discriminate the dog genes in the eastern timber and red wolves from the gray wolf genes also present in these wolf species due to their historical overlaps with North American gray wolves as well as with coyotes, both of which have introgressed into the eastern timber and red wolf gene pools.
At the same time, because many isolated populations of the three wolf species in North America have also mixed with coyotes in the wild, it has been speculated by some biologists that some of the coywolf hybrids in the northeastern third of the continent may also have both coydogs and wolfdogs in their gene pool. Hybrids between dogs and Ethiopian wolves discovered in the Ethiopian Highlands likely originated from past interactions between free-roaming feral dogs and Ethiopian wolves living in isolated areas.
The term "wolfdog" is preferred by most of the animals' proponents and breeders because the domestic dog was taxonomically recategorized in 1993 as a subspecies of Canis lupus. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the United States Department of Agriculture refer to the animals as wolf-dog hybrids. Recognized wolfdog breeds by FCI are the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and the Saarloos Wolfdog.
WOLFDOG HISTORY The first documented breeding of a wolf and dog took place in England in the mid 18th century. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that it became common for gray wolves, along with eastern timber wolves, red wolves, and Ethiopian wolves, to be bred with dogs to create this companion. With the mixing out of genes over several generations, there is likelier more dog than wolf in the gene pool as in the German shepherd, a breed that was originally derived from a wolf. Most of today's hybrids are a mixture of a gray wolf and a Siberian husky, Alaskan malamute, or German shepherd and are considered "low content" wolf dogs.
Prehistoric wolfdogs Evidence for prehistoric domesticated wolfdogs in the Americas dates back at least 10,000 years while fossil evidence in Europe points to their use in hunting mammoths.
Teotihuacan wolfdogs In 2010, experts announced that they had found the remains of many wolf-dogs that had been kept by the warrior class of the Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico's central valley about two thousand years ago, and that, in light of this evidence, certain animals commonly depicted in the art of that culture, which had been thought to be strange dogs or coyotes, were likely instead wolf-dogs.
North American Gray Wolf-Dog In 1998, the USDA estimated an approximate population of 300,000 wolfdogs in the United States - the highest of any country world-wide, with some other sources giving a population possibly as high as 500,000. In first-generation hybrids, gray wolves are most often crossed with wolf-like dogs, such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Alaskan Malamutes, for an appearance most appealing to owners desiring an exotic pet. Purebred Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies are not wolves, or part-wolves, were not bred from wolves, and these breeds were not developed by breeding to wolves anytime recently that is a separate animal called a wolf-dog.
Based on studies by Dr. Robert Wayne at UC Berkeley, sled dogs are no more closely related to wolves than Chihuahuas. There is very little genetic difference between any dog and any wolf, coyote, or jackal, etc., so little, in fact, that genetic tests cannot tell how much wolf is in deliberately bred wolf-dogs. The domesticated canines and their wild cousins CAN interbreed. However, pedigrees on Malamutes and Siberians are available back 20 generations to the early 1930s at least, and these dogs are not wolf crosses - Malamutes are Malamutes, Siberians are Siberians.
British wolfdogs Wolfdogs, as illustrated in The Menageries: Quadrupeds Described and Drawn from Living Subjects by W. Ogilby, 1829. The first record of wolfdog breeding in Great Britain comes from the year 1766 when what is thought was a male wolf mated with a dog identified in the language of the day as a "Pomeranian", although it may have differed from the modern Pomeranian breed. The union resulted in a litter of nine pups. Wolfdogs were occasionally purchased by English noblemen, who viewed them as a scientific curiosity. Wolfdogs were popular exhibits in British menageries and zoos.
MODERN WOLFDOGS Wolf Dog hybrids are bred to be a companion and pet. Currently, at least seven breeds of dog exist that acknowledge a significant amount of recent wolf-dog hybridization in their creation. One breed is the "wolamute", aka "malawolf", a cross between an Alaskan Malamute and a timber wolf. Four breeds were the result of intentional crosses with German Shepherds - one of the original intentionally bred wolf-dog crossbreeds, and have distinguishing characteristics of appearance that may reflect the varying subspecies of wolf that contributed to their foundation stock.
Other, more unusual crosses have occurred; recent experiments in Germany were conducted in the crossing of wolves and Poodles. The intent behind creating the breeds has ranged widely from simply the desire for a recognizable companion high-content wolfdog to professional military working dogs. Typical examples include: German Shepherds, The Saarloos wolfdog, The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, The Lupo Italiano, The Hierran Wolfdog, The Kunming wolfdog.
FACTS ABOUT WOLFDOGS: Wolf-dog hybrids might or might not be registered breeds with set breeding standards that are strictly adhered to. Be extremely cautious if you decide to get one of these animals. Inherited characteristics will vary, depending on the breeds crossed.
They shed A LOT, and will blow their coat twice a year. In which case you will need a good brush.
They experience extreme separation anxiety, and are destructive when left alone.
They all have very high energy, and require high intensity exercise every day or they will become bored and destructive.
They require early socialization to avoid aggressiveness as they mature.
They can be serious noise makers, with lots of barking and howling.
They are best suited for large open areas, or owners who can stick to a regimen of daily exercise and constant supervision.
And, some of these breeds are more difficult to own than others.
HEALTH OF WOLFDOG Wolf-dog hybrids are generally said to be naturally healthy animals, and are affected by fewer inherited diseases than most breeds of dog. Wolfdogs are usually healthier than either parent due to heterosis. Some of the established breeds of wolfdog that exist today were bred specifically to improve the health and vigor of working dogs. There is some controversy over the effectiveness of the standard dog/cat rabies vaccine on a wolfdog. The USDA has not to date approved any rabies vaccine for use in wolf-dog hybrids, though they do recommend an off-label use of the vaccine. Wolfdog owners and breeders purport that the lack of official approval is a political move to prevent condoning wolfdog ownership.
TEMPERAMENT & BEHAVIOR The temperament of a Wolf Dog hybrid can vary depending on the percentages of Wolf versus domestic dog used in its creation. It is important to acquire a Wolfdog from a reputable experienced breeder. Wolf-dog hybrids are a mixture of genetic traits, which results in less predictable behavior patterns compared to either the wolf or dog. The adult behavior of hybrid pups also cannot be predicted with comparable certainty to dog pups, even in 3rd-generation pups produced by wolfdog mating with dogs or from the behavior of the parent animals.
Thus, though the behavior of a single individual wolf hybrid may be predictable, the behavior of the type as a whole is not. The majority of high wolf-content hybrids are very curious and are generally no more destructive than any other curious or active dogs. A wolf's behavior is typically more socially shy and timid toward humans than that of a dog. Due to the variability inherent to their hybridization, whether a wolf-dog cross should be considered more dangerous than a dog depends on behavior specific to the individual alone rather than to wolfdogs as a group.
WOLFDOG TRAINABILITY AND OBEDIENCE Wolf Hybrids are extremely intelligent animals that can be trained with consistent reward based training methods. The Wolf Dog hybrid does not respond well to forceful training methods due to its sensitive natural. The view that aggressive characteristics are inherently a part of wolfdog temperament has been contested in recent years by wolfdog breeders and other advocates of wolfdogs as pets.
Proponents of wolfdogs as pets say that the higher wolf-content animals are naturally timid and fearful of humans, but that with proper human association, training, and responsible ownership nearly all wolfdogs can become good companions, especially if their association and training begins at an early age. Even in cases of wolfdogs displaying consistently dog-like behavior, they may occasionally retain some wolf-like behavior such as digging dens, chewing up household items, climbing fences, and, to varying degrees, displaying some difficulty in housebreaking in relation to how high their wolf genetic content is. Low wolf-content wolfdogs rarely have these problems any more strongly or significantly than any other large-breed dog.
AND CHARACTERISTICS Wolf Dog hybrids have a sensitive disposition. Wolf Hybrids are generally good-natured and entertaining. Wolf Hybrids are however inquisitive independent thinkers that can be rather aloof especially with strangers. Wolf dogs or Wolf hybrids mature slowly and do not reach physical maturity until 3 years of age. Wolfdogs are renowned for their heightened senses. Wolf hybrids have amazing eyesight along with remarkable hearing and and acute sense of smell. Like the Wolf, Wolf Dog hybrids are very athletic and are capable of lightning speed and great endurance.
Wolf hybrids can have quite a varied appearance - some will have more of a wolf appearance, whereas others may look predominantly like a domestic dog. Some wolf hybrids that take more of the wolf genes can be very hard to distinguish from a true wolf, whereas those who take more of the domestic dog genes can be hard to distinguish from a mix breed dog. Wolf hybrids will have medium length fur with a medium to thick coat. The fur will range from a variety of colors to include black, gray, tan, brown, and white. Their coat color is not set in until after 1 year in age. Eye color will range from golden to brown. Ears will generally not flop. They may have larger teeth than a regular domestic dog. Their legs may be a little longer than a domestic dog. The tail may not curl, but remain straight at all times, whether in the air or ducked. At a full grown size, males can weigh between 85 to 155 pounds and females between 75 to 130 pounds.
Weight: - Female Wolf Hybrids typically weigh 70 - 100 pounds. Male Wolfdogs are generally larger than females Wolfdogs and weigh between 80 - 125 pounds at maturity.
Height: - Adult male Wolf Dog hybrids are generally 26 - 33 inches at the shoulders. Female Wolf Dog hybrids are a bit smaller and usually are 25 - 32 inches tall that the withers.
Coat: - The coat of a Wolf hybrid is usually heavy and dense.
Color: - Wolf Dog hybrids come in a variety of colors. The most common colors for Wolf Hybrids are a grizzled sable (agouti), white or black phased. The coloration of all Wolf Hybrids should be well blended.
Children & Pets Compatibility: - A Wolf Dog hybrid's large size and high-energy level do not make it a good choice for families with smaller children. Wolfdogs or Wolf hybrids can do well with other dogs when properly socialized at a very young age and raised together. Wolfdogs are not recommended with smaller sized pets especially cats. If you have young children in the house, you will want to be very leery of every leaving the child alone with a wolf mix. It's a big concern enough to leave a trusted domestic dog with a child, as you never know what may happen to cause the dog to turn, but a dog mixed with a wild animal poses more of a risk. Even as an accident, an adult wolf hybrid could accidentally smother a child easily. Because wolves are very predatory, mixes can maintain this natural instinct, which can result in major problems if set off. Children scream, run, trip, and cry, which can scare a wolf mix. Children are prone to injury, clumsiness, and fatigue, which shows weakness to the mix. These things can set off the predatory response. Even hybrids that have been trained and raised with children, can flip, resulting in serious injury or death.
Activity Level - Wolf Hybrids typically have a high-energy level and require adequate mental stimulation and exercise. Wolf Hybrids do not do well when confined to the indoors the majority of the time. A Wolf Dog hybrid requires a large properly fenced yard where the animal can run and romp.
Life Expetance - The average life expectancy for a Wolf Hybrid is 12 - 15 years.
MYTH: - A wolf hybrid will make a better guard dog.
FACT: Due to the shy nature of wolves, hybrids usually make poor protection dogs. Aggressive tendencies, if any, in the hybrid may be fear induced and as such, can be unpredictable and hard to control.
MYTH: - A wolf hybrid will live longer than a dog.
FACT: The life span of a wolf in captivity is 12-14 years - the same as a large domestic dog.
MYTH: - Hybrids are healthier than dogs, and are less prone to disease.
FACT: Wolves and dogs are prone to the same infectious diseases. There may be some question as to the efficacy of standard dog vaccines in wolves and some hybrids.
MYTH: - Huskies and malamutes are part wolf.
FACT: Huskies and malamutes are breeds of dogs, like any other.
Wolf Hybrid Dog Content and Genealogy There are three main levels of "wolf" in your wolf hybrid dog. These levels indicate the percentage of wolf parentage that your dog possesses. This is an important thing to consider when researching which breeder and parents you want your wolf hybrid to come from. These three levels are low content, mid content, and high content. To determine the content level, you do need to know the parentage of the wolf hybrid dog, which is why it is important to go with a reputable breeder who keeps proper records and registrations.
Low content wolf hybrids contain 1-49% wolf
Mid content contains 50-74% wolf
High content contains 75% or more wolf
Low content wolfdogs - no matter their supposed "percentage" on paper, make much better "pets" in the conventional sense. Low contents have many advantages: They are usually better in the house, if you were wanting a full-time house dog. More likely to enjoy car rides, visiting your friends / family, walks around downtown, therapy dog or agility work, or any of the other things that high contents are often averse to. Most will have a distinct appearance reflecting the dog in their background.
Low contents are normally less timid than highs, and make better "All-Around dogs". It's easier to break your vet in to wd's with a low content, than a high. It's also easier to avoid mentioning your wolfdog's heritage, if need be, until you find a vet who accepts them or teach YOUR vet that they are not "wild animals". These are the wolf dogs most likely to fit well into your family since they often display a willingness to socialize and ease of handling similar to northern breeds or spitz-type dogs.
Mid content wolfdogs - Mid content wolfdogs are the middle ground between dogs and wolves. With them being almost a perfect cross between the two animals you can expect a little bit of dog and wolf in equal quantities from the pups? Their appearance will be more wolf like than lower contents but they will still resemble dogs to some extent. Mid contents will have wolf like qualities, hands down, but will not typically behave like wolves all the time. If you are considering wolfdog adoption for the first time, and thinking a mid-content wolfdog is the perfect for you, you may want to rethink your decision.
These pups require a lot of specialized care that a regular dog owner is not used to providing. I would suggest looking for a low content if it is your first time caring for a wolfdog to minimize the risk and responsibility you'd be taking on. When you are dealing with a mid-content wolfdog you should expect more wolf like behavior than dog behavior, this may not always be the case but will be a majority of the time. As always you should approach every interaction with any wolfdog like you would a lion in the circus. You know the lion is around people on a daily basis but it's still a lion. The vast majority of wolfdogs in this category will be more wolf than dog - you should take that into consideration when interacting with them.
Mid-content wolfdogs will closely resemble wolves. They may not be quite as big or as broad, but they will be close, and in a vast majority of cases no one will be able to mistake them for a regular dog. As with most wolfdogs, especially in the mid to high content range, the first thing you will notice is the color of their fur. A wolfs coat consists of a dense undercoat topped by long guard hairs that give the coat its color - this will be the same for most wolfdogs. The guard hairs are typically a gray or brown color and much more coarse than a dogs fur.
Unlike low-content wolfdogs, you would be hard off to find a mid-content without a coat almost identical to a wolves. Their bulky snout is most likely the next thing you will notice, it is going to be much longer and wider than a regular dogs. Wolves have adapted over time to hunt large animals for food and thus need a larger mouth and set of teeth, this is something passed down to wolfdogs of all contents typically. This trait, although not seen in all low-content wolfdogs, will be very prevalent in mid-contents. The legs on these pups go on for days! Their legs may not actually go on for on for days but they are longer and lankier than a regular dogs, this wolfdog feature will definitely make them stand out among the pack.
With long legs come big feet or big paws in this case. Mid content wolfdogs will have MUCH bigger paws than a regular dog and they will most likely be bigger than most lower contents as well. Big paws means big claws, be sure to keep a pair of nail clippers or a nail dremel on hand to keep their claws trimmed. Keeping nails trimmed will prevent their nails from getting to long and becoming uncomfortable. Unlike low content wolfdogs it is very unlikely that you will be able to avoid any wolf like traits with mid contents. In fact it is very likely that you will see more wolf like traits than dog traits. If you are not prepared to handle these "undesirable" traits I would suggest looking for a lower content if not a regular dog. With all wolfdogs you are going to run in to the issue of a high prey drive, in mid content wolfdogs, this is no different. Hold on tight to the leash because they will give chase if they see a furry friend start running.
High content wolfdogs - True "high content" animals are virtually identical to a pure wolf, in both looks and behaviour. These guys are indescribably fascinating to watch and interact with. Their intelligence & perceptiveness is off the scale, as is their creativity and ability to get whatever it is they are interested in. That includes opening doors, windows, & the fridge.
Wolves play roughly with each other, but are normally gentle and affectionate with their humans if properly raised. The biggest difference between wolves and dogs, behaviourally, is the intensity, awareness, and reactivity if the interaction. Wolves are more "hardwired" to act on external stimuli, dogs have had this suppressed & selectively bred out of them for thousands of years. The amount of wolf in your animal will determine which end of this scale she leans towards. Wolves truly have a mind of their own, their well thought out conclusion on a given situation matters more to them than yours does, and that's something that needs to be considered and accommodated to some extent. The price usually does not vary much depending on wolf content, although sometimes low-content wolf dogs with a very wolfish appearance or individuals with high wolf content fetch the highest prices. In fact, they may even be indistinguishable from a pure wolf.
Their behaviors are also very wolf-like. They may always be very reactive and sensitive to new situations. These dogs will definitely need a large outdoor enclosure, although they may be able to be in the house for brief periods. To the untrained eye, and even sometimes to the trained ones, high content wolfdogs will look exactly like wolves. The type of dog they are mixed with will play less of a role in their appearance because most of the genes they inherited from their parents will be wolf genes, so you won't see many doggie features, if any. Just like wolves, and something you may not notice right away, high content wolfdogs will almost always have narrower chests than lower content wolfdogs; this narrow front is ideal for running at high speeds. The reason you may not notice it right away is due their fur. Their fur, especially in the winter months, will grow out from their shoulders making them appear wider than they actually are.
A high content wolfdog is more of a wolf mixed with dog than a dog mixed with wolf. High content wolfdogs, for the most part, are indistinguishable from wolves except to the trained eye. If you are contemplating adopting a high content wolfdog you will absolutely have to be prepared and knowledgeable about wolfdogs. Wolfdogs in this category are more wolf than dog and should be treated as such. If you have little or do not have any experience at all caring for wolves or wolfdogs, this category is not where you should looking. If this will be your first time caring for a wolfdog, try looking for a low content, they will be much easier to care for, and MUCH easier to train and live with. If you have a bit of experience and feel confident in your knowledge of wolfdog care you can look into a mid content.
If you are planning on having an encounter or adopting a high content wolfdog you should approach the interaction as if you were meeting a full-blood wolf, typically there will not be much difference in the way they behave. As with any category of wolfdog, you should approach the situation acting aloof and allow the wolfdog to escalate the meeting as they see fit - with this category that is ESPECIALLY important. High content wolfdogs are very much like wolves in their behavior, there will be few differences, if any at all from wolves in the wild. There will most likely be no traits that one could attribute to the dog in their bloodline, but although unlikely, it is possible to see some small similarities. You can expect to have most, if not all, of the "undesirable" behavioral traits that come along with wolves.
Knowing your wolf hybrid's content level will be key in determining whether or not that dog will have the right temperament to fit your specific household needs and lifestyle. Wolfdog personalities are often highly unpredictable, too. High-content wolfdogs that is, ones with lots of wolf DNA tend to be more wolflike, while low-content wolfdogs tend to be more doglike. Though wolves and dogs are genetically very similar, scientists are able to distinguish between the two in DNA tests, and can reliably ascertain how much wolf and how much dog there is in a given wolfdog.
But that is not always true. Some wolfdogs look just like wolves but act like golden retrievers, happy and food motivated and snuggly. Some look like German shepherds but act like zoo animals, tortured by confinement. You have no way of knowing what mixture of dog behavior and wolf behavior you have in your animal. You could spend years living with this animal, a beautiful and maybe a bit aloof doglike companion. Then one day your sister or brother brings around your new niece or nephew and snap, there is an incident that is gonna really spoil everybody's afternoon.
These are all great ways to distinguish a wolfdog from a regular dog but the only way to know for sure is to get a DNA test done. A lot of dogs are mis-categorized as wolfdogs either for profit by a breeder or by the owner for the "coolness" factor. For the most part, especially in higher content wolfdogs, the difference will be unmistakable. But it is also possible for a wolfdog to have NONE of these traits and still be part wolf! If you are sure you have a wolfdog and want proof or maybe you are not sure and want to find out, try getting a DNA test. The two most popular ones are:
Wisdom panel is the cheapest but is a somewhat inaccurate with its results, its also a one and done type thing. But if you are on a budget this will for sure do the job! Embark on the other hand, although a bit more expensive, is the most popular among wolfdog owners because it accurately identifies your pups ancestry. They are also always doing updates to its technology and will re-run the DNA you provided at any time. Do not be that guy that tells everyone his husky or german shepherd is a wolf, get the test results and PROVE it to them!
1. SIZE Wolves are typically bigger than dogs, even the "wolfy" looking dogs like huskies and malamutes.Male Wolves vary in size and weight but will normally be between 66 to 180 lbs. While huskies and malamutes, at their heaviest weigh around 60 to 95 lbs. So if your pup weighs as much or more than you do, its possible they have some wolf in them.
2. PAWS Wolves paws are SIGNIFICANTLY bigger than any standard dog breed. As you can see in the picture here. If your pups paws are as big as your palm or bigger, they may be part wolf.
3. EYES Wolves DO NOT have blue eyes, other than when they are puppies. they will eventually change to an amber like or brown color at around 6 weeks. However, some low content wolfdogs may retain the blue color their entire life since they are more dog than wolf. But if your dog has yellowish eyes, there is a good chance there is a bit of wolf there.
4. EARS Wolves ears are not floppy. Their ears are strong and rigid. A wolves ears are thick and furry, to help them stay warm in very cold temperatures. Wolfdogs will almost always ears very closely resembling that of a true wolves. If your pup has thick furry ears that dont flop or fold easily, it may be something passed down from a wolf ancestor.
5. LEGS Wolves and wolfdogs are typically more "leggy" than dogs. Their legs will be longer and leaner than a standard dogs and attached to a narrow chest, perfect for running!
6. SNOUT Wolves have adapted over the years to hunt large prey for food and thus need a bigger broader snout to do it with. The long and wide snout will most likely be one of the first things you notice in a wolfdog.
7. NOSE Wolves noses are black, 100% black, no pink or lighter coloring. Wolfdogs on the other hand, although chances are high they will be all black as well, it is possible they may have a lighter coloring in some parts. Lighter coloring will be more common in lower content wolfdogs, but it is still unlikely.
8. BARK Wolves dont bark that is. At least not typically, they do have the ability to but rarely do and opt to howl instead. Wolfdogs may still bark occasionally though, but not nearly as much as a standard dog.
9. COAT The fur color or pattern that wolves and wolfdogs have is called agouti, it is common among a lot of undomesticated mammals. Essentially this just means that each individual hair is actually 2 colors.
10. PUPPIES Wolves and most wolfdogs go into heat once a year. Either in the winter or early spring time. Wolves will normally mate between January and March, the mother will generally carry the pups for 2 months before giving birth. So if your pup was born between March and May, they may be a wolfdog!
The breed and line genetics of the dog involved is important. Particularly with lows and mids. You may have difficulty finding someone who uses quality dogs, let alone accurately represented wolf!
The breed of dog in the mix is largely up to personal preference, although you do want to stay away from breeds that tend to be overly human or dog aggressive - such as chows, pitbull or any other terriers, akitas, or any of the dogs intended for fighting, livestock guarding, or home defense.
Bear in mind, when choosing a pup, that both aggression & extreme shyness are due in part to genetics. If her parents are terrified of you, or growling and charging you through the fence, she may be the same way. Is this something you are willing to risk? Things like hip dysplaysia and eye defects are also genetic - the parents should be screened for any hereditary diseases that the dog breeds involved are susceptible to.
Doglike aggression combined with the wolf's intensity, reflexes, and physical prowess is a bad recipe! Most breeders also avoid breeds that are not at all wolflike in appearance, after all, even a first generation wolf/lab or wolf/poodle looks far less wolflike than a pure bred malamute dog! All wolfdogs can be wonderful friends, whether they are 10% or 98%. "Wolf Content", or the approximate amount of wolf genes evident in an animal, is a useful way to give an idea of what the animal will look and act like the same way that knowing a domestic dog's breed is useful.
A wolf dog puppy typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000. Wolves have captured our imaginations in fairytales, movies and folklore throughout human history. The similarity of the species to domestic dogs can tempt us to try cross-breeding them with the wild wolf, but the results are frequently disappointing. We must keep in mind that there is a world of difference in that tiny fraction of DNA that separates dogs from wolves - about 1% in the case of the former, versus nearly 2% in the case of humans and apes. The more wolf in a hybrid, the wilder the animal! Socializing a dog with a human or a horse only takes 90 minutes of introduction between the ages of four and eight weeks. After that, a dog usually has little fear of humans.
Training wolf mixes can be very different than dog training, depending on "content level," which refers to how much wolf is in the hybrid. A high content wolf-dog is mostly wolf with a small amount of dog, and a low content wolf-dog is mostly dog with a small amount of wolf. A mid-content wolf-dog, then, would be about the same on both sides. Low and mid content wolf-dogs can be trained like any standard or mixed breed dog. Wolves develop faster than dogs, relying on nothing but their sense of smell in the early stages of puppyhood, while they are still blind and deaf.
As each new sense emerges, they are initially shocked and afraid of the new stimuli. These significant, development-related differences in dog and wolf pups' experiences put them on distinctly different trajectories in relation to the ability to form interspecies social attachments, notably with humans. With a wolf pup achieving even close to the same fear reduction requires 24-hour contact starting before age three weeks, and even then you won't get the same attachment or lack of fear. Many experts agree that wolf-dogs are not ideal pets for everyone.
GENDER Gender is another thing entirely up to personal preference, if this is your only dog. Some folks do better with one sex or the other. Female dogs supposedly listen better to men. Female wolfdogs do tend to be more submissive/"softer" critters and may be somewhat easier to raise. Intact males are often grouchy and disagreeable during the fall & winter months, so consider that also. Intact males love to spray, but higher content intact female wolfdogs are reputed to spray as well. Some people find males to be calmer and less "clingy", and get along better with other dogs. Females, in general, are more likely to get into same-sex fights and do more damage.
Males are more inclined to stop at posturing. Keep in mind that this is all based just on various folks' experiences, and all dogs are different, so your experiences with dogs in the past should guide this choice. If you have other dogs/wolfdogs at home, that should be your primary factor: it is advisable to get an animal of the opposite gender as your current one. In a multi-dog household, have a backup plan/extra containment if, one day, two of your same-sex animals no longer get along.
EPIDEMIC Having a wolfdog appeals to many because of the belief that these animals are the "best" of both worlds. They will have the beauty and looks of a wolf, but the temperament and personality of a loving, doting dog. The desire to own one of these illustrious animals has increased their demand and led many to try and breed them. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to tell how many wolf hybrids are being kept as pets at any given time because some people who have legitimate wolf hybrids choose to register them as Husky, Malamute, or Shepherd mix, to avoid legal issues.
Some who claim they have a wolfdog actually have a mix of dog breeds that end up having similar characteristics to a wolf. Without knowledge of the animal's lineage, there is no way to tell if the dog is a wolf hybrid or not. Experts familiar with phenotypic traits of wolves are the best at making educated guesses as to an animal's background. But it is still guesswork. The issue occurs when a dog who is thought to have wolf genes ends up in a shelter. These animals are considered inherently dangerous, so many shelters do not want the liability of adopting them out and they end up being euthanized. A fraction of these dogs may end up in sanctuaries specifically designed for wolves and wolf hybrids.
You can train a wolf-dog, but you will never be able to 100 percent remove natural instincts. You can socialize the hybrid around other animals and people, but you will never be guaranteed that an animal or human won't trigger some kind of response that could cause injury or death. Wolves have developed their behaviors of millions of years, and even domestic dogs who have been living with humans only thousands of year, still experience natural instincts that can be deadly.
Wolf hybrids have the wolves' genetics, as well as the domestic dog's, but in many cases, the wolf genes are more dominant. When training a wolf hybrid, they are very intelligent. They catch on fairly easy, but don't expect them to obey commands as well as the domestic dog. They get bored easily, and once they are bored, or even frightened, they are not going to obey, which can be common in domestic dogs as well. Younger hybrids are more susceptible to obeying commands and training, but adults will try to overpower you when they think they can. Some hybrids will retain the characteristics of a domestic dog, but you will always see the traits of the wild wolf. You will find that mimicry is the best method of training a wolf hybrid because wolves learn best by watching their pack members and mimicking their behaviors.
Signs of Territoriality The wolf pack will drive off or kill wolves that trespass into their territory. This assures that there will not be other wolves competing for prey. This genetically-embedded behavior does not change in captivity. This is why the wolf or hybrid becomes extremely aggressive with strange dogs. Signs That They Are Marking Their Territory:
Possessiveness Digging Pacing Destructiveness Howling Excessive shyness Chewing Scent marking - can occur anywhere, even inside the home!
You should be aware that wolf and hybrid jaws are powerful enough to crush the femur bone of extremely large animals, such as the buffalo. If they decide that something of yours is for their chewing pleasure, discipline will not help you get the item back. Any attempt to take the item could result in a serious bite. Note: They need a lot of daily exercise: a minimum 3 to 4 hours each day, preferably at dawn and dusk because these are their most active times. Without this daily stimulation, there will be non-stop pacing, digging, and howling.
Wolf vs. Human In captivity, a wolf or a hybrid views the human as the "alpha." They constantly look for clues of weakness so they can dominate the alpha. If the "alpha" human were to show signs of fatigue, frustration, or even a mild injury, it could set off a dominance battle. Of course, this could end up being fatal.
Wolf vs. Dog The same dominance battles will also occur between wolves, hybrids, and canines. In the wild, the subordinate wolf could just leave the battle. But in the confines of an enclosure, leaving the battle is not an option, and captive animals could seriously injure or kill one another. Normal social manners for wolves and hybrids are to lick each others' faces, bite each others' muzzles, or even straddle each other to show of dominance. These animals weigh in at about 100-pounds when grown, so the battles can look ugly.
Dogs, hybrids, and wolves will all accept the human as the dominant one. In the wild, the wolf learns to survive by its willingness to submit to the dominant pack members. Wolves sexually mature by the end of their second year of life. This is about the time the wolf starts to challenge the elder wolves for the dominant role. The wolf has a very strong ambition to become dominant because only the strongest female and male members of the pack get to breed. Thus, if a dominant wolf shows any signs of weakness, it may be attacked by a subordinate younger wolf. Don't expect your relationship with the hybrid to be a master-pet relationship like it is with a dog. It cannot be expected to be obedient, and it is not a good family pet. Hybrids are not and should not be considered a dog - they are in essence a wolf.
Wolfdog mixes retain much of their wild behaviors and can be considered quite erratic and unpredictable. They can assert dominance on children, the elderly, and everyone in between. They can attack other pets, and their predatory instincts cannot be shut off permanently. Another behavior issue with wolf-dogs is the strong natural territorial instinct. Domestic dogs can be quite territorial, but when mixed with a wolf, the behavior can be increased. Wolf hybrids do not like trespassers, whether animal or human. Once the wolf mix has set his territory boundaries, that is his space and if he doesn't think another animal or human is supposed to be there, he will take it into his own account to deal with it.
You will find that basic territory marking behaviors are not going to be the most pleasant to deal with. While being possessive, pacing the area, and being shy may not be as big of a problem for you, having a dog that digs, destroys, howls, and chews isn't that pleasant. Much less scent marking, inside and outside of the house. These may not be dangerous behaviors, but they're not acceptable to most. Despite the fact that wolf dogs are mostly dogs, ownership requires extensive experience, as this canine cross has characteristics that can make it a challenging addition to a family. Some wolf dogs are more like wolves than they are like dogs and their temperament can differ greatly from that of a Siberian husky or an Alaskan malamute. Still, for the right owner, they can be a delightful addition to the family.
Experts have determined that wolves and dogs share more than 99 % of their DNA, but those few strands make a big difference. As a wild animal, a wolf must be selfsufficient, capable of finding and killing prey, fending off enemies and generally preserving its own life - essentially the opposite of what you want in an animal who is sharing your home. Wolfdogs may display any or all of these behaviors to one degree or another, including:
1) Wolfdogs may have a high-level curiosity. Wolves are constantly exploring their environment, says Frank Wendland, executive director of the WOLF Sanctuary in La Porte, Colo. In the wild, that means knowing every inch of a territory that can comprise from 50 to 1,000 square miles. In your house, that means knowing what's inside everything, including the cabinets, appliances and furniture. Wolfdogs have to investigate. We have a TV on the wall of our office, and We have seen them go into the adjoining room to see where the image is coming from. Quite often, this exploration is done with teeth and claws. We have seen them shred barbecues, walls, sofas.
2) Wolfdogs may have a drive to roam. Hard-wired to guard their turf against other packs as well as intruders of other species, they are also wide-ranging creatures, and in the wild have been known to cover up to 30 miles a day. A wolf's genes tell her to hit the road and get out of any enclosure he is been put into and defend his territory. Wolves also mark their territory with urine more frequently and copiously than dogs do.
3) Wolfdogs may have a propensity toward den-building and digging. They can destroy your lawn and furniture in the same exercise and can also dig several feet down in order to escape from an enclosure.
4) Wolfdogs may have a strong predatory instinct. A wolf looks at other animals with the exception of other wolves, as dinner. Pet wolfdogs often make short work of cats and small dogs, and may also attack bigger animals. Unfortunately, that drive can also be directed at humans making them dangerous - children are especially vulnerable. A small child is really just about the size of a sheep or a fawn - bite size. And that small stumbling animal triggers the predatory behavior. In the wild, a wolf would never be close enough to a child to have that instinct triggered, he says. But wolfdogs are regularly kept in homes with kids, with occasionally tragic results. "Wolves tend to avoid people, as most wild animals do. They have the "fight or flight" thing, and most of the time, they choose flight. But when they fight, they are really, really good at it.
Wolf-Dog Hybrids in the Human Pack Young wolves test their hierarchical position. In a social context in which humans are interacting with or raising a wolf-dog hybrid, pack hierarchy is transposed onto humans. Thus, a wolf may challenge a human to determine whether its position within the family hierarchy has changed. Testing rank may manifest in aggressive behavior, sometimes causing harm to the humans with which a wolf coexists. In addition, because lower-ranking wolves tend to uphold the position of the alpha pack members, they may engage in ritualistic fighting with a human who is perceived as being sub-alpha in the organization of pack hierarchy. In many cases, "sub-alpha" humans are children.
Wolf-dog hybrids often display pack mentality and territorial behavior. Wolves in the wild have territories ranging from 30 to more than 1,000 square miles in area, and they mark their territories by urinating and defecating in boundary areas. Hybrids follow these same instinctual practices, and this often occurs within the household, since this represents the central territorial region. Many people, however, misinterpret wolf-dog hybrid behavior. In addition, in contrast to domestic dogs, wolves are unfamiliar with the subtleties of human social interaction, and so it is reasonable to assume that hybrids are subject to misinterpreting human behavior. This web of misunderstanding leads to frustration for the animal and owner and may exacerbate the animal's aggressive or territorial behaviors. When problems escalate to this point, many people resort to caging or abandoning hybrids. Abandonment is particularly problematic, since few animal rescue services will accept hybrids into their facilities.
INTERACTIONS WITH PEOPLE The most important thing to remember about interacting with captive wolves and wolf-dogs is they are still wild animals! Everything that happens is on their terms. That means it should always be their choice to interact with someone or not. You cannot force a wolf or wolf-dog to like you or obey you.
Mouths Wolves and wolf-dogs are very mouthy. They use their mouths for everything: to eat, to communicate, to bite, to play, to hold - much like we use our hands. First, remember that you NEVER take anything out of their mouth. Once they grab it your camera, the pot roast, your shoe, etc., it is their property and it will be defended. Second, realize that wolves and wolf-dogs expect you to communicate in the same ways they do. When greeting you, most will stick their nose on yours, look into your eyes, and lick and clank your teeth. If they are not allowed to do this, some will nibble on your lip, while others will grab onto your face. Wolves and wolf-dogs are shy and skittish around strangers, but very outgoing and boisterous around pack members, including their human family. These situations both provide their own set of problems and requirements.
Strangers To a wolf, a stranger is wholly unpredictable and a constant threat. A wolf or wolf-dog that is pushed into or cornered in contact with a stranger is, after ample warning growls and teeth showing, liable to fear-bite in self defense. It is best to expose a wolf-dog pup to as many people and experiences as possible while very young, in order to socialize it and desensitize it to most strangers. When a wolf or wolf-dog seems particularly upset or tense around a person, do not force the encounter - the animal probably has a good reason. Use the wolf or wolf-dog as an ambassador for its species, showing people that they are gentle creatures when given the chance, but that they do NOT belong in most homes. At the same time, pay extremely close attention to everything that happens during an interaction with your wolf-dog to prevent anything bad from happening.
Your wolf hybrid, like other dogs, is very social. Your wolf hybrid is even more social because they have the pack characteristics of the wolf in much more concentrated levels. If left alone for long periods of time, your wolf hybrid may go a little crazy, and even exhibit destructive behaviors, which is common in domesticated dogs who are very social. You may want to have more than one dog if you are not at home for longer spans of time. Keep in mind, though, that it is best for the wolf hybrid dog to have grown up with the dogs that they live with, so you may want to have another dog before you get your wolf hybrid, or get two puppy wolf hybrids at the same time.
A wolf hybrid dog is probably not the best option for a first time dog owner. They can be a lot to take on because they are can tend to be standoffish, high energy, and escape artists because they are so smart and incredibly high energy. But wolf hybrids have so many amazing characteristics as well! They are fiercely beautiful, incredibly loyal and intelligent, and will be an incredible companion because they have that "pack mentality" so deeply ingrained into their character and nature. They will be very protective of their family, and a great addition to any family that is active and has lots of space for the dog to explore.
Family Conversely, captive wolves and wolf-dogs see their human family as part of their pack. Sometimes, they need lots of attention and companionship from you. If they were raised in the house as a puppy, with constant contact and reassurance from you, it can be very difficult for everyone involved when they grow up. When the wolf or wolf-dog becomes so large and strong that it is moved into an outside enclosure and people cannot always go inside the fence, the animal misses the contact as much as the people. They can end up taking out their frustration by beating up other pack-mates, or trying to grab people through the fence. Be very aware of this problem from the beginning. If you start off by getting your pup used to living in an enclosure with other canines from the day you bring it home, you may not have this problem. If it is too late for this, keep people away from the fence and enclosure at all times, except when you can enter and interact with the animal.
Methods What happens when you do enter the enclosure, and the animal is so excited to see you that it knocks you over and gives you a bloody nose? Or the wolf-dog sees its opportunity to challenge you for leadership? Or acts very scared? These are complicated questions that are hard to answer. The real answer depends on the animal and people involved, their histories and relationships, and the exact context of the situation. There are very different schools of thought on what to do.
Here are a few suggestions for potential solutions: Do not get involved, or rather, turn everything into play when entering the enclosure - get down on the animal's level and be prepared to catch it when it comes flying at you to say hello. When you are challenged or end up scaring the animal, start playing with it, acting goofy to throw it off balance, make it forget about its original intent, and accept you as its leader again.
The dog whisperer approach: when you first enter the enclosure, completely ignore the animal. The theory is that showing disregard is a dominant posture. Watch an adult wolf react to pups, and you will see they ignore the pesky pups until everyone calms down and the adult is ready to deal with them. By ignoring your wolf or wolf-dog, you are showing ultimate superiority. Becoming a dog whisperer is much more complex than simply ignoring your wolf-dog, but it centers on getting in tune with the animal's natural communication and using it to your advantage. And remember, your wolf or wolf-dog is NOT a dog, so the methods may not always work the way you expect them to, but it is a good starting place.
1. Wolf-dogs are escape artists and require specialized containment. They can jump over 8" fences, dig holes under fences, and figure out how to open doors and gate latches.
2. If not properly socialized early in life (2-6 wks of age), they can remain skittish to strangers all their life.
3. They do not make good guard dogs! They are naturally cautious, wary and often fearful animals. They are not aggressive animals and would prefer to retreat, but if cornered or mistreated, they will defend themselves.
4. They are not easily trainable. They have an independent nature, and do not have the desire to please humans like dogs. Even if you can you can train a wolf-dog, you will never be able to 100 percent remove natural instincts.
5. They have a natural prey instinct that can be awakened by a small child screaming or a small animal running away.
6. They are social creatures and do not like to be left alone. They need a canine companion, or constant human companionship. If left alone indoors, they can become very destructive, tearing through door frames and drywall, and destroying furniture.
7. They typically do not do well living indoors because they do not like the feeling of being confined. Wolves in the wild roam for miles every day - captive wolf-dogs prefer wide open spaces and require large enclosures - minimum 1/2 acre for 2 animals.
8. They require an abundance of daily exercise and need enrichment to stimulate their minds or they can become bored which can lead to digging and other destructive behaviors.
9. They steal from you! They make a game of taking items with your scent on it and hiding them from you.
10. They usually bond with one person, which makes it difficult for that person to travel or work outside of the home, which can cause separation anxiety in the animal.
11. They require a specialized and expensive diet consisting mainly of raw meat. If feeding kibble, it must be high-protein and grain-free no corn, wheat or soy ingredients.
12. Veterinary care could be difficult to obtain. Many veterinarians do not offer services for wolf-dogs for liability reasons.
13. There is no approved rabies vaccine for wolf-dogs and there is a real possibility of euthanasia if they bite someone. Organizations like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are against rabies vaccination approval because they believe it will support ownership of wolf-dogs.
14. Wolf-dogs are not legal in all states to keep as pets. Before you get a wolf-dog, you need to check with your state and local laws.
15. If the animal escapes and Animal Control picks it up, it will most likely be euthanized since shelters cannot re-home wolf-dogs for liability reasons.
16. Wolf-dogs average life span is 12-15 years. Where will you be in 15 years? Wolf-dogs are a lifetime commitment. Their love is unconditional and requires the same in return.
17. Puppies of the Same Litter May Show Different Characteristics! Very few people can understand the true behaviors of wild wolves. Hence, one can never be too sure about the temperament and behavioral characteristics of wolf dogs. Everything boils down to the genetic composition of the resulting litter. One has to understand that there is a gene that codes for each characteristic or trait. The emergence of a trait is dependent on whether the gene is recessive or dominant. If the gene is more dominant in the wolf parent, then you can expect this trait on the puppy, too. If a particular trait is recessive, you will need both wolf and dog parents to have the same recessive trait so that this will show in the wolf dog. The bottom line is that there is no way you can predict how your wolf dog will look like until adulthood.
18. Wolf Dogs Don't Bark - They Howl. When it comes to vocalizations, wolves have a very unique way of communicating with others. They howl. While there are breeds of dogs that also howl, the majority of them bark. You might think that the wolf dog will communicate with others using a combination of barking and howling. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Wolf dogs tend to howl a lot. They do this to communicate with either a wolf or another wolf dog. It also howls to warn other dogs not to stray into its territory. In a way, the howling is almost similar to a dog's barking. Your only concern will be that of your neighbors. They may not like the idea of breaking the steely silence of the night with a classic wolf howl.
19. Wolf Dogs Are a Little Controversial. Like many other dogs that are considered "dangerous," there is some controversy around wolf dogs and whether or not they make good pets. While some say they are loyal, loving, and totally trainable animals, others claim they are too wild, aggressive and unpredictable. The truth is, there's no "typical" wolf dog and no way to predict how "wolf-like" it will be. Accordingly, there is much more variety in behavior and temperament than, say, a Golden Retriever, which may be tough for pet parents who are not willing to put in the time and patience to raise a wolf dog.
Wolf hybrids, or wolfdogs, are not the dog for everyone. While the training principles for working with a wolf hybrid puppy are the same for any dog, you will have additional challenges to face regarding local laws and your puppy's behavior. As a general rule, the higher the percentage of wolf in the wolf dog hybrid, the harder they are to keep as pets. If you want to house train a wolf dog, do not expect it to be as easy to train as a dog. Their wild instincts can be hard to overcome. Wolf dogs can be crated, which will make them easier to house train, but they still need a lot of attention and adequate outdoor space.
One of the most critical steps in training any puppy is providing adequate socialization during their early development. Socialization is a particularly challenging part of raising a wolf hybrid puppy. The regulations around owning a wolf hybrid can make bringing your wolf hybrid puppy out to meet people and dogs and experience places difficult, if not impossible, depending on your location. Even if your locale has more lax regulations, finding a training instructor willing to let a wolf hybrid puppy into a socialization class can be hard. Many trainers may fear the liability of allowing the pup in to a class or the backlash from other upset owners.
Fearful Behavior Not every wolf hybrid is the same, but there is a strong tendency for these animals to be shyer and more fearful than your average dog. This makes socialization harder because you must move slowly and carefully in order to not make him more afraid of new things. Always work using positive reinforcement to help a wolf hybrid puppy see new people and places as good things. Work at your puppy's pace which may mean meeting people, dogs and new places from quite a distance. If your puppy is only relaxed when a new person is 20 feet away, work on rewarding them from there and then slowly work up to moving in closer. Consult with a behavior professional who can give you individualized advice on how to socialize a more fearful puppy so that socialization becomes a positive experience.
House Training a Wolf Hybrid Puppy House training a wolf hybrid puppy follows the same principles as training a regular dog. Where you may have difficulties is using a crate as wolf hybrids tend to be uncomfortable with confinement and can be extreme escape artists. One common issue experienced by wolf hybrid owners is related to the need of wolves in the wild to mark their territory with urine or feces. This is done to notify other wolves to stay away from valuable resources such as food or a den. Crate training can help but you will also need to monitor your puppy 24 / 7 to redirect them away from this strongly seated behavior. All puppies are quick to develop preferences for toilet areas. Be sure to establish appropriate outdoor spots right away, and feed delicious treats for the first several weeks your pup successfully uses the right spot. Keep an eye on your puppy indoors at all times until fully house trained. Puppies can develop preferences for eliminating in certain areas in just a couple of accidents. It is much easier to teach your puppy the right place to go than to try to change his mind about the wrong place!
Crate Training and Wolf Hybrid Puppies Crate training can be an option when a puppy is small. Make sure you use a good quality, heavy duty crate such as ones made by the Kong Company. You may want to secure areas of the crate that can be pushed open with bungee cords, carabiners or zip ties to be safe. Provide items in the crate the puppy will enjoy so it is not seen as a bad place, such as a peanut butter stuffed bone, a favorite toy, and some comfortable bedding. Place him in the crate and close the door and toss some treats in the crate. Only keep him in for a few seconds and let him out. Repeat this process until he is eagerly running into the crate and slowly work up the time he is in there before you let him out. If your wolf hybrid puppy is extremely stressed by being in the crate and tries to harm himself getting out or displays anxious behaviors such as drooling, howling and more, consider using a bigger space. You can use the same principles as crate training with a bigger area such as a bathroom or laundry room with a baby gate on the door. In this instance, it is best to use a gate that is secured to the wall with screws and can not be dislodged easily like one placed there with pressure. For some wolf dog puppies, containment in the home simply won't be an option due to anxiety and extreme destructive behavior. In this case you should consider building a fully enclosed run for him to stay in when you cannot be supervising him. Realize as your wolf dog gets larger you will most likely need to move him to a larger outside enclosure for his own safety.
Obedience Training for a Wolf Hybrid Puppy If you have ever trained a dog, the same learning principles apply when training a wolf hybrid to do typical obedience behaviors such as sit, stay, coming when called and more. However, you will probably experience issues related to the hybrid's instinctual behavior that will make this more challenging.
Shyness If you have a wolf hybrid that is very shy, he may be easily distracted learning in outside environments. Work on training him in quiet, low distraction places such as inside of your home. Only move toward going outside in your yard or even to a class when he is doing well with training at home. Note that this applies to training only, and only at the beginning. You do want to take him out for socialization as much as you can and as much as he is comfortable with.
Independence Unlike the domestic dog, wolves have no instinctual behaviors related to working alongside humans. Your wolf hybrid is therefore much less likely to be as focused on you during training and you will have to do more work to convince him to respond to training. Use "high value" treats to keep his focus on being reinforced, such as cut up chicken, hot dogs, or pieces of cheese. Regular dry dog biscuits will likely not be enough to sustain his interest. Work in small increments of time to keep your sessions short. This helps your wolf hybrid puppy from becoming stressed and frustrated.
Positive Reinforcement You should always use positive reinforcement and refrain from punishment when working with an animal. This is definitely true with a wolf hybrid that will need the extra reinforcement to be successful whether he is shy or less interested in people. Clicker training is a great option as it allows you to let the puppy know quickly when he is doing something right. Clicker training is also great for a shyer dog as you can give him more space and reward him from farther away. Click him for doing something right and toss the treat to him and work on moving in closer at his own comfort level.
Wolfdog Body Language With wolves, as with domestic dogs, body language can easily be misinterpreted. In a display of dominance, a dog will stand over another dog, with raised ears and tail, staring intently. Another dog, lowered into submissive position, averts its eyes and holds its ears and tail down. While similar to the posturing of wild canids, this body language usually occurs in play with domestic dogs, and in most cases ends up with the two frolicking together. The combination of selective breeding and cosmetic surgery molds dogs to suit human tastes, but such modifications can have an unexpected consequence: miscommunication among canines.
When dogs are bred for heavy, long coats, for example, other dogs have difficulty seeing their eyes, ears, mouth and raised hackles and the messages they normally convey. Surgically altering a dog's ears to remain erect and forward means that it will look perpetually alert and dominant, regardless of its true personality. And docking a dog's tail eliminates one way of conveying its feelings to fellow canines. Most dog owners can easily differentiate between "I want to go out," and "Somebody's out there," as well as other barks conveying happiness, annoyance or even fear. Small dogs, such as the toy fox terrier, are usually the most vocal of domestic canines, seeming to make up with volume and persistence what they lack in size. The wolf emits a howling whistle to communicate with its brethren while they circle prey in the undergrowth, enabling the group to coordinate the attack.
Wolf dogs, in general, are not easygoing pets and they have the capacity to be quite aggressive. This means they are probably not a good choice for a family with small children or family members who are not able to control an aggressive pet. Wolf dogs also differ greatly from one to the next, while some are lovely pets, others are extremely difficult to care for in a home setting. This diversity can occur even within the same litter. Generally speaking, the more wolf in the mix, the more feral this dog will act. This wildness will also depend on the number of generations that your wolf dog is away from its first breeding. In addition, wolves are pack animals with a natural instinct to guard their food and mark their territory useful traits in the wild, but highly undesirable in the home.
Wolves are not domesticated, so deliberate socialization and training of wolf breeds are needed to assure their integration into the civilized world. Wolf dogs with higher percentages of wolf genetics tend to be destructive, especially when confined to the house, stemming from their natural tendency to dig. They are also escape artists, making them suitable only for those who have adequate time to spend with them. If you work 9 to 5, this may not be the right pet. Wolf dogs benefit from exposure to lots of different people, locations, and situations as pups to prevent them from being skittish and potentially fearful, which can lead to biting. However, training, in general, poses significant challenges: Wolf dogs are not as eager to please their trainer as a domestic dog that is bred and raised to do so. Also, wolf dogs are not good indoor pets. Not only are male and female wolf dogs likely to mark furniture with urine and otherwise create physical problems in the house, but they pose a risk to children and other pets. Hormone changes at sexual maturity can add another layer to a wolf dog's unpredictability, although spaying or neutering a wolf dog may tame some of its wild instincts.In addition, wolf dogs require an enormous amount of exercise - three to four hours per day and will have health issues if confined to a house.
Wolves and wolf-dogs are very social animals. It is best to give them canine companionship of some kind. If you already own one wolf or wolf-dog, consider adopting a strong and sturdy mature domestic dog from the local pound - German shepherd, malamute, husky, rottweiler, etc. Introductions can be difficult, wolves and wolf-dogs are very territorial and slow to trust new members in their pack. When trying to place new animals together, it is safest to divide the enclosure in half with a single layer of 6"-8" chain link with a gate in it. Put the animals on opposite sides of the fence until they become accustomed to each other. Be prepared for fence-fighting.
At the same time, do not get carried away in providing your wolf or wolf-dog with a large pack. While wild wolves live in packs of 2-30 animals, captivity puts limits on the size of a viable pack. According to a study done on captive wolves and wolf-dogs, it is possible to minimize the aggression between animals when there are four or fewer living in one enclosure. Captivity creates abnormal behavior in wolves and wolf-dogs. The fence that surrounds their enclosure and protects your wolf-dog is also the fence that can cause serious problems. Wild wolves use posturing and ritualized dominance to gain and maintain their ranking in the pack hierarchy. When a wild wolf is kicked out of the pack, for whatever reason, it can leave the area and start a new pack. In captivity, the fence prevents them from doing this. Without close monitoring, captive animals can seriously injure each other when they cannot get away. Always keep in mind that you may have to separate animals that have lived together for many days or years. Be aware that you may need to build another enclosure to house the animals that have been kicked out of the pack.
WOLF DOG REQUIREMENTS Fencing and Enclosures Mission: Wolf recommends strict minimum requirements for safe and humane containment of captive wolves and wolf-dogs. Enclosures must be a comfortable size for the animals and of sufficient strength to prevent escape. The following are intended to be minimums. At our facility, we often exceed these standards. We suggest that these minimums be strictly enforced.
Area According to a study done at Mission: Wolf in 1999, captive wolves and wolf-dogs require at least one acre of enclosure space (200" x 200"). When housing multiple animals together, a bare minimum of 1/2 an acre is needed per animal to minimize aggression toward each other.
Height Chain link fencing should adjoin to a ground barrier and extend upwards a minimum of six feet, with a two-foot extension of lighter-weight fence at the top. Overall fence height must be a minimum of eight feet. It is suggested that an electric wire be strung at the top of the fence on the inside of the enclosure to stop jumpers and climbers. At Mission: Wolf, we have double fences so that wolves who might climb or jump one fence can not get enough momentum to jump another. Our fences are angled inward at the top to create an overhang.
Strength All primary fence and gates should be of 9-gauge, 2-inch square chain link.
Ground Barriers Buried concrete with reinforced mesh should extend two feet vertical into the ground and be attached to the base of the primary chain link fence to prevent animals from digging out. In place of concrete, a ground mesh four feet wide may be attached to the base of the chain link and lie flat on the ground extending into the enclosure. Logs, rocks, and soil (3-6 inches deep) should be placed on top of the mesh to act as weight and prevent injury to feet of animals.
Gates All entrances and exits must have double gates and be at least six feet tall. Latches must be secure and lockable.
Perimeter Fence A secondary fence at least five feet tall and five feet away from the primary fence must surround the enclosure. This prevents anyone from having physical contact with the primary enclosure.
Drainage The enclosure must provide adequate drainage to allow animals to find dry ground in wet conditions.
Shelter All enclosures are required by law to contain a shelter. Whether a manufactured dog house or something home-built, the shelter needs to safely provide the animal with space to get away from rain, snow, and direct sun. Wolves and wolf-dogs chew on everything, so keep this in mind. They also like to perch above everything and look down on the world - kind of like cats, so make the shelter sturdy and safe enough for them to climb or jump on.
Vegetation Enclosures should contain enough vegetation and ground cover to provide the animal with shade, hiding places, and grass to eat. However, make sure that no trees or bushes are too close to the fence. A tree can easily fall on the fence, and a wolf can climb up it to escape - yes, wolves and wolf-dogs are capable of climbing trees when given enough time!
WOLFDOG GROOMING The Wolfdog has a double coat that is dense and thick, and he is a heavy shedder throughout the year, especially during shedding season. Being a pack dog, the Wolfdog will enjoy a grooming session with his pack as pack members clean each other in the wild, but just be sure to groom him from an early age so that he can get used to it. Brush him several times a week to keep his coat manageable, and only bath him around 4 times a year when he gets very dirty, as they are self-cleaning dogs.
COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS Wolf dogs are prone to many of the same problems as those experienced by large dogs. Be sure you have access to a local vet who is willing and able to work with your pet. Your wolf dog will need vaccinations as a puppy and should be monitored and provided with appropriate vaccines and medications throughout its life. Like any dog, your wolf dog may also be prone to: Fleas, mites, and ticks, Heartworm, Parvovirus, Infectious diseases such as respiratory issues, Injury, Tumors. You Cannot Vaccinate a Wolf Dog Against Rabies. Rabies vaccines are species-specific. The majority of the formulations is for dogs. However, manufacturers have yet to formulate a vaccine that is specific for wolf dogs. Giving a dog-specific rabies vaccine may only confer protection for the dog component of the hybrid, but not the wolf part. The implications of this are immense, indeed. If someone gets bitten by a wolf dog that has the rabies virus, there is the strong chance that the virus can get transmitted. This is one of the major dilemmas that wolf dog owners and potential pet parents have to think about. Public safety is a paramount concern.
DIET & NUTRITION Captive wolves and wolf-dogs do well eating diets like those of wild wolves. Wild wolves survive on sporadic meals of deer, elk, moose, bison, and other natural prey. Even captive wolves and wolf-dogs are capable of, and benefit from, digesting pounds of raw meat. Their bodies do not need all of the carbohydrates and preservatives that are found in normal dog food. Raw, whole bones serve as a source of calcium and other vitamins, as well as strengthening teeth and jaws. Don't worry about feeding your wolf-dog uncooked bones — it is only when bones are cooked that they become brittle and splinter. It can be difficult to find elk and bison to feed your wolf-dog, so you can rely on raw chicken, turkey, beef, etc. Pre-cooked or pre-seasoned meats, as well as pork and pork products, should not be fed to your animal, as they can cause many digestion issues. Don't forget that your wolf-dog also needs access to fresh grass and vegetation to help with digestion.
Most captive wolf and wolf-dog sanctuaries have found that nutritional supplements help the animals stay healthy. In particular, glucosamine for arthritis and stiffness, vitamin C for infection and the immune system, fish oil for skin and coat problems, vitamin A, B-complex, D and E for various conditions, alfalfa and wheatgrass for internal parasites), pumpkin for digestion, and garlic for internal and external parasites, as well as the immune system are very helpful when needed. Any supplement can be administered as needed by inserting it into a small ball of ground meat. Another thing most people do not immediately realize is that wolves and wolf-dogs will eat, and often enjoy, fruit. Many captive wolves and wolf-dogs have been known to go crazy for watermelon. We have even met a wolf that liked pineapple.
Wolf dogs do not thrive on typical dog food. In essence, they need to eat what wild wolves eat: raw meat. Ideally, you should feed your wolf dog several pounds of raw meat per day. It's fine to feed them chicken and turkey, but avoid raw pork as it can cause digestive issues. Bones are not an issue for wolf dogs, and they will enjoy and benefit from eating raw, whole bones.
In addition, a wolf dog will need access to fresh grass and other vegetation, and many wolf dogs enjoy fruit, although you should check with your vet to see that the fruit you offer is safe for your pet. In addition to regular meals, most wolf dogs benefit from nutritional supplements including glucosamine, vitamins C, A, B, D, and E, along with alfalfa and wheat grass, garlic, and pumpkin. These supplements help to lower the risk of acquiring common health issues such as arthritis, skin issues, parasites, and digestive problems. Wolf dogs need a constant source of fresh water. The best option is to provide water in a trough that is used for livestock. In hot areas, you can offer your wolf dog the option of actually bathing in cool water in a wading pool.
Water All animals must be provided with a constant source of clean water. A horse or cattle water trough secured to the fence is suggested. Wolves and wolf-dogs are capable of tipping over, shredding, or burying metal tubs. Most wolves and wolf-dogs greatly enjoy swimming and wading in ponds, pools, streams, or large tanks. During hot weather, it is necessary to provide the animals with water deep enough to lie down in, as they cannot sweat and have very thick coats.
Are Wolfdogs Legal? When it comes to their legal status, the regulations are literally all over the map. At the time of this article's publication, it's illegal to keep one as a pet in Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota and Rhode Island. However, in some of these states - Alaska, Michigan and North Dakota — a wolfdog can be "grandfathered" in. Other states - Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Utah — don't regulate ownership on a state level, instead leaving it up to individual counties. Among the states that allow wolfdogs, many require the owner to obtain a permit, or mandate registration and / or confinement in specific kinds of cages. In some states (New York, for example), that means getting a "dangerous animal" permit - the same type needed to keep a lion.
And, legal or not, wolfdogs pose significant behavioral challenges for owners, many of whom are unable or unwilling to meet them, thus creating a large population of unwanted animals who wind up chained in backyards, abandoned or euthanized.
We do not recommend that the Average Pet Owner keep a predatory carnivore as a pet, whether it's a wolf, a lion, a bear or crocodile - even if they have been socialized or tamed for generations. We also do not recommend the average pet owner keep a wolf-dog as a pet. Both wolves and wolf-dogs require expert care and facilities and the AVERAGE PET OWNER is unable to provide either.
Wolves and wolf-dogs are not marauding killers, they do not carry children off into the forest and murder them, and they do not disguise themselves as Grandma and hide under the bed covers. But with the average pet owner they can be socially shy, aggressive, and "unpredictable" this last is generally due to ignorance on the part of the owner on the differences between wolf behavior and dog behavior. Many people exaggerate the wolf-content of their wolf-dogs in a sort of macho arrogance. Unethical breeders often flat-out lie about wolf-content to boost the price of their "cubs."
GENERAL TIPS Wolf dogs should not be owned in a city. They should be kept in rural areas. They need a large enclosure, and HC wolves will get nervous and scared in busy environments.
Understand that wolves and dogs are very, very different. Certain breeds, such as Huskies and German Shepherds, are more similar to wolves than others, but they are still completely different animals. Don't get a wolf just because you've owned dogs and assume they will be the same.
Educate yourself about wolves further than wolf care. You need to know the facts about how wolves act, live, and exist in the wild.
Obedience training is essential. Your wolf dog should be taught to follow you, not his or her instincts. This can be very difficult, another reason why only experienced dog owners should own a wolf.
Make sure the wolf has a lot of space to roam around. They can get very stressed in a small place.
No matter how docile a wolf is, it will never be completely tame. Even a wolf hybrid, depending on his wolf ancestry percentage, can have wild instincts.
Wolves can be domesticated. You cannot act "Alpha". These animals will make you earn their love, trust, and respect. Check all local laws and don't jump head-first into something you know nothing about. Even a low content wolf-dogs can be a challenge for people with no northern breed experience.
However, there are many people who have had exactly the opposite experience. Their animals were pets from the beginning, carefully bred for temperament, well socialized, obedience trained, and housed in special facilities, not your average neighborhood, 4', chain-link, yard fence. These owners researched wolf behavior, prepared their containment facility, and were aware that they had an animal on their place that required careful handling.
They are NOT the Average Pet Owner. They do not leave children alone with their pets, and they do not allow them to rampage through the neighborhood trash cans and cat population - good policy for any pet owner. They can be a good pet, but only with a lot of work and a lot of knowledge. Before you go buy a wolf or wolf dog hybrid, do your homework and make sure you understand all that goes into taking care of these animals.
1. What a wolf hybrid is A wolf hybrid, also called a wolf dog, is an exotic animal that is a mixture of a domesticated dog and a wild wolf. Most consider an animal a wolf hybrid if they have a pure wolf ancestor. This wolf should be at the most 5 generations back to be considered a wolf hybrid. They are scary dogs but can be cute if trained well. However, consider why do you feel the need to own a wild animal in a domesticated setting. They are mostly considered companions instead of pets. Low Content (LC) hybrids only contain 1-49% wolf content. Mid Content (MC) hybrids contain 50-74% wolf content. High Content (HC) hybrids are 75%+ wolf. HC hybrids are almost indistinguishable from a pure wolf. They may only contain 1-3 dog traits. While a LC hybrid won't act like a dog, they are better for someone new to wolf dogs. They are more outgoing, easier to train, though they still have the wolf stubbornness and independence.
2. Investigate your local laws. Wolf ownership is not legal everywhere. In the United States, the legality of owning a wolf varies from state the state. Some states completely ban private ownership, some ban only certain exotic animals, others require a license, and others have no laws. Look up your state, region, or country's laws to make sure it is legal for you to own this type of animal. Some states allow up to 98% wolf; others draw the line at 75%, 25%, or "no first generation crosses".
3. Consider the price. Wolves and wolf hybrids are not cheap. They average around $1500 and can go over $2000. This is more expensive than most purebred dogs. Decide if that is the kind of money you would like to spend on an animal. There is no way to prove the animal's pedigree. Experts at Wolfdog Rescue Resources, Inc. state that over half of the wolf hybrids being kept actually possess no wolf DNA. Other experts claim that the majority of wolf dog breeders are selling hybrids that actually are only dogs. When buying a wolf or wolf dog, make sure to get it checked out by an expert if at all possible. This can save you from dropping thousands of dollars on a fake.
4. Remember: Wolves are not domesticated animals! Dogs have been bred to be submissive and to assist humans; they have been bred to be pets. This process has taken 10,000 years. Wolves, on the other hand, have spent the last 10,000 years being wild. Though people keep wolves as pets when they have raised them from a puppy, they are still instinctual animals that can't completely be tamed. Do not take a wolf from the wild. If you are interested in owning a wolf, do not get one from the wild. Instead, adopt one from a wolf sanctuary. Taking wolves out of the wild can be very dangerous and might end in injury or even death.
5. Talk to an expert. If you are still interested in owning a wolf or wolf hybrid, visit a wolf sanctuary. Many sanctuaries have both wolves and wolf dogs that you can observe. Before getting one of these exotic animals, talk to an expert at the sanctuary. They can help answer your questions, give you more information, and help you understand the responsibility that goes into owning a wolf or wolf dog. Try finding wolf and wolf dog owners in your area. Contact them and arrange a meeting. They can be a valuable source of information since they own an exotic animal. Some of these sanctuaries rescue wolf hybrids and may let you adopt one from them.
6. Train the wolf. You cannot get away with buying a wolf or wolf hybrid and hoping it will figure out how to be a good pet. Wolves are not dogs. They need a lot of training to become suitable as a companion, which takes a lot of time and effort on the owner's part. These animals are cunning and extremely intelligent. They pose a much greater challenge than dogs. Some wolf hybrids are docile, while others are essentially wild. If you don't have the patience or time to train and care for the wolf, don't get one. If you have never owned and trained a dog, do not attempt to get a wolf or wolf hybrid. Many owners who aren't prepared for their wolf or wolf dog end up either dropping them off at sanctuaries, which are already overcrowded, or taking them to the animal shelter where they will likely be put to sleep. Letting them go into the wild almost guarantees they will die. Adopting a wolf then getting rid of it does irreparable harm to the wolf. Since they are pack animals, being split from their home and pack can cause the wolf to get extreme anxiety and even fall ill.
7. Know that affection might be confused with aggression. Wolves show affection differently than dogs. Sometimes this affection can be confused with aggression. Wolves greet each other with affection, but since they can't give hugs, they use their mouths. Wolves will chew on pack-mates' faces in greeting or as affection. Wolves may do this to people, too. Most of the time, the wolf will approach you, touch its nose to yours, and then lick your teeth. However, if you get scared and pull away, the wolf will grab your face with its teeth to bring you back so it can greet you and show its affection. Wolves love small children, but they might get excited, jump on them, and try to carry them with their teeth by the head or arm. This could cause injury to the child when the wolf was only showing affection. These demonstrations of affection can easily be confused for attacks.
8. Build the proper living conditions. Wolves like to roam, and they will hop fences, break off chains, and dig their way out of yards. This can be very dangerous, because the wolf might be mistaken for a wild wolf or coyote and be shot. Or it might kill neighbors' livestock or pets. Never let the wolf roam free. LC and some MC wolves can exist in a normal fence without breaking free. MC and HC wolves are most likely to try to break free. They need 6-8 feet fencing, along with other security measures. The fence cannot have any footholds for the wolf to climb because they can climb out of fenced in enclosures. You also need to dig-proof the area you will keep the animal in. Some LC will break free while some HC will stay in the fence. It depends on how bad the animal wants to be free, how bored they are, and how much outside the fence excites them. A large fenced in enclosure is ideal. Wolves and wolf dogs need a lot of room to run and play.
9. Socialize the wolf dog. Wolves are social, pack animals, so they require canine companionship. Just as important is socializing your wolf or wolf dog to people and places at a very young age. This starts training the wolf or wolf dog to be around people in a domesticated setting. The wolf dog needs to be taken from its mother at 2 weeks old and bottle fed. They need to immediately start being socialized to both male and female humans so they will be used to humans for the rest of their life. Wolves need another canine for companionship and to meet their emotional needs. You need to place the wolves with another canine of the opposite sex around the same size. This ensures the wolf or wolf dog will not be lonely.
10. Become the Alpha. You have to be the Alpha of your wolf. When the animal is a puppy, start training them to submit on cue. This doesn't mean that the adult will always submit - wolves are very independent and self-assured. But the wolf or wolf dog will know you are the Alpha and the one in charge. While training the pup, never hit, bite, shout, or pin or shake the puppy by the scruff. Wolf parents don't punish their pups for chewing and biting. They are very tolerant parents. Try to refrain from physically dominating the wolf, because this could damage the relationship.
11. Feed them the right food. Wolves exist on a meat diet. Pure wolves and HC hybrids won't be able to exist on dry dog food. Most wolves and wolf hybrids eat 2-5 pounds of meat daily. Venison is great for wolves. You can feed them fresh road-kill deer, but this requires a permit.
12. Provide entertainment for the wolves. Wolves can get very bored, which could result in them breaking free from their enclosure to find stimulation. Build things inside their enclosure area to keep them active, like platforms. Wolves need to be mentally stimulated on a regular basis. Make sure there are trees around and use old logs to hide treats inside. Another good idea is providing swimming areas, like water troughs, swimming pools, creeks, or ponds, for them to lay in and to dig inside. Sandboxes or dirt piles are great for them to dig in. Leash train them as pups so you can take them out on a leash. You should use two leashes when you walk them - one on the collar or harness, the other a slip leash. You should walk them every day.
13. Make sure you have available veterinarian care. Most vets don't know how to care for wolves or wolf dogs. Many will even refuse to provide treatment on these types of canines. Make sure to find a vet who will care for your wolf before you purchase one.
These suggested names for pet wolfdogs are derived from foreign words from Native American languages, Latin, Spanish, and Japanese. Some mean "wolf" and others have an association with the animal or themes in nature.
Achak: In a Native American language (Algonquin), it means spirit
Kiowa: INative American tribe
Lobo: Spanish word for wolf
Luna: Latin word for moon. Wolves are associated with howling at the moon
Mishka: Famous meme online "Mishka the Talking Husky" or teddy bear in Russian
Okwaho: Iroquois word meaning "wolf"
Okami: Japanese word for wolf
Two Socks or Four Socks: Derivation or reference to a wolf in the "Dances With Wolves" movie
Taima: "Thunder" in the Native American Algonquin language
Tutanka: Native America Lakota word meaning "big beast"
Waya: Means "wolf" in Native American Cherokee language
Some potential names that are derived from places: Alaska Kodiak Tacoma
Potential names that are derived from items in nature: Cloud Newt Pug Shadow Willow
Names of real-life wolfdogs: Deogee Shawna White Wolf Koara Kota Nahina Natani Nakomi Nannu Priscilla Sasha Marie Sun of Malikye Tukkie
Phylogenetic tree of the Canid species: Figure 1 of the 2011 PLoS Genetics paper clusters 509 dogs based on their genetic similarity. In this figure, dogs that are genetically similar to each other are grouped together and, not surprisingly, this grouping corresponds quite well with breed - dogs of the same breed are grouped together.
Some breeds do cluster together - for instance, all the retrievers are clustered together, as are the all the spaniels, but the relatively long branches connecting dogs within the same breed and the relatively short branches connecting the different breeds together is consistent with breeds which originated from a common dog gene pool long ago and have remained quite distinct.
The question of whether dogs and wolves are members of the same or different species is a controversial one. To begin with, species classification is a convention used to help aid in our ability to organize nature and it is anything but definitively objective.
This should not decrease the importance of classifying species, but before we begin to try and understand the question, we will benefit from understanding that the nature of the question is very philosophical. Always keep in the back of your mind that the personal preference of an individual will always be influential in subjective conclusions. Therefore, to try and be objective about the conversation I would like to discuss the big picture, and in biology, the big picture is always evolution.
Evolution is often described as cumulative processes so slow that they take between thousands and millions of decades to complete. This is only part of the picture. We certainly have an in-depth archeological fossil record that shows gradual changes in species over millennia, such as the development of feathers in dinosaurs or the eye-migration of flatfish, however biological changes can also happen in the wink of an eye at least compared to traditionally conceptualized evolutionary timescales. Most simply, evolution can be defined as change over time.
But what kind of change? Does any change constitute evolution? Does any duration sufficiently qualify for "time?" These are important considerations because whatever definition is chosen will create a first premise assumption from which any arguments will flow from the way the lens of a camera manipulates light before entering the camera body and forming an image, so too can a first premise assumption influence our perceptions so that our observations fit a desirable theory instead of the natural phenomenon.
Some evolution happens very slowly, however, these changes arose most probably due to mutation and sexual selection, not because these changes condoned a functional advantage in evading hazards or finding food. Most examples of evolution are due to a change in the characteristics of a group that enable it to survive, thus evolution can be viewed in this light as a response to changes in the environment. Typically, environments change very slowly and significant changes often ride on the back of natural disasters.
The evolution of dinosaurs into birds was due to a two-fold catastrophe. Approximately 200 million years ago, atmospheric oxygen declined nearly 20% causing one of the largest extinction periods in Earth's history. This killed off an unprecedented amount of land dwelling animals and threatened aquatic living organisms as well. As if global suffocation wasn't bad enough, to add insult to injury, an asteroid the size of Manhattan slammed into Mexico just a few millennia later.
Predominantly, it is important to remember that changes to the environment are what drive these kinds of selection processes, especially when these changes create significant mortality rates a concept. The controversy over the classification of dogs and wolves can be seen on numerous levels, but one that stands out for me is the way in which many wolf-dog hybrid enthusiasts are very passionate that the correct term is not "hybrid" but "wolf dog", since both the dog - Canis lupus familiaris, and the wolf - Canis lupus lupus, are according to some scientists taxonomically sub-species of Canis lupus.
While this is a relatively recent distinction - originally, Carl von Line classified the dog as Canis familiaris, a different species than the wolf, the taxonomic nomenclature does not determine whether the mating of two animals qualifies as a hybrid. Hybridization is the interbreeding of individuals from genetically distinct populations, regardless of their taxonomic status (Stronen & Paquet, 2013). Wolves and dogs may be amazingly similar in their genetics, however they are clearly genetically distinct populations.
The supposedly infallible "fact" that dogs are descended from wolves took the world by fire with research into mitochondrial DNA and a publication which appeared in Science titled "Multiple and Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog" (Vila et al., 1997). In this paper, the authors concluded that dogs were 135,000 years old, a conclusion which is sheer nonsense (Larson, 2011; Larson et al., 2012). Over the last decade, geneticists have published paper after paper pointing at different dates and different locations for domestication with very little consensus but most supporting the conclusion that dogs are direct descendants of the wolf.
One important reason for this is because the methodology behind examining mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has a very debilitating first premise assumption: that the rate of mtDNA mutation is constant in dogs and wolves despite a massive wolf population bottleneck and an exploding dog population. This is a problem because both of these population effects cause genetic drift. Imagine if you take a population and reduce it to a mere handful.
How do you tell whether you are looking at the first members of a new species or the surviving members after a population endangerment? Likewise, imagine taking two dogs and deciding you will start your own breed. If your new breed goes through a population explosion, then their DNA will make up a unrepresentative sample of the historical population - this is called the "founder effect".
Genetic research is awesome, don't get me wrong, and it cannot be underappreciated that innovations in genetics have opened up wildly exciting new scientific avenues of investigation into organisms. However, genetic analysis is relatively new to the question of speciation in the animal kingdom and some insight to the Canis lupus dilemma can be gained by looking at the overall ecology of dogs and wolves instead of just their sequence of nucleic acids.
Research that examines genotypes, high-density single nucleotide polymorphisms, epigenetic methylations, mitochondrial DNA, etc., is literally a whole new world, but it is not the whole picture. The expression of a plant or animal's DNA is what creates its phenotype - from morphology to behavior, and it is the phenotype that is thus selected for in the environment and we can learn lots by simply examining the phenotype in and of itself.
When two genetically distinct species reproduce the offspring is called a hybrid. The behavioral isolation of dogs and wolves is astronomical because behaviorally there are almost no commonalities between them. In fact, leaving dogs aside for a moment, very important behavioral distinctions exist just between different groups of wolves that affect their offspring viability.
For example, one of the most important criteria for mate preference in wolves comes down to hunting strategies: wolves with similar hunting and foraging strategies are more likely to mate and teach these strategies to their offspring. Foraging behavior is a phenotypical characteristic that plays a major role in determining the ecological niche of a species, so much so that wolves who employ different foraging strategies also display different types of social relationships.
Very few dogs hunt for food. Even in societies which still use dogs for hunting, such as the indigenous Mayagna people of Nicaragua, dogs rarely make the kill. Their role in the hunt is to bring an animal to ground and make a loud ruckus until the humans can find it and make the killing blow with their machete.
In this capacity, dogs are pound for pound as efficient as a rifle in bringing in meat for the indigenous people of Nicaragua, and the dogs benefit by being given leftovers. It is certainly true that some dogs opportunistically take down and on occasion eat small animals such as rats, possums, cats, etc. However, dogs like other scavengers fill an important role in the grand ecological picture regarding the flow of biomass.
Dogs are frequently labeled carnivores like their wolf cousins, implying a predatory nature, however ecological foraging models are much more nuanced than simply whether or not the food consumed is animal or plant-based. Dogs are detritivores. Whether it is the kibble we drop in the bowl, the dump which feral dogs scavenge at, or even raw meat or table scraps being tossed from the table, dogs do not kill their food.
Whether feral or companion pet, the dog's niche relies on their ability to live in close proximity to humans - a quality which is typically severely impacted by interbreeding with wolves. Dogs utilize a very different and elongated socialization period that enables them to develop interspecies social bonds much easier, and thus the viability of hybrid offspring between dogs and wolves is severely impacted through both prezygotic and postzygotic barriers.
Quite simply, just because two animals are capable of interbreeding, claiming they are the same species does not make sense in light of almost all aspects of their phenotype outside of morphology and even then, calling a Chihuahua a wolf is simply absurd!
Wolf-dog hybrid (hybrid for short) is a term used to describe an animal that is part wolf and part domestic dog. Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and wolves (Canis lupus) share an evolutionary past and thus share many physical and behavioral traits. Dogs evolved from wolves through a centuries-long process of domestication. Domestication is the process by which a wild animal adapts to living with humans by being selectively bred by humans over thousands of years. Through this process, a dog's behavior, life cycle and physiology have become permanently altered from that of a wolf. Wolves and dogs are interfertile, meaning they can breed and produce viable offspring. In other words, wolves can interbreed with any type of dog, and their offspring are capable of producing offspring themselves. Although hybrids can occur naturally in the wild, they are rare because the territorial nature of wolves leads them to protect their home ranges from intruding canines such as dogs, coyotes and other wolves.
Governed by their instincts, wolves, both in the wild and in captivity, exhibit behavior that is relatively consistent. Their behavioral characteristics have been studied and observed for many decades by researchers, and much has been published about their social dynamics, hunting behavior and territorial nature. Thanks to the researchers' hard work, we are able to understand the wolf's reactions to different situations based on their inherent instincts. However, just as with any wild animal, their behavior will always retain some unpredictability. People who own hybrids often find that their pet's behavior makes it a challenge to care for. The diversity of genetic composition even within one litter of hybrid pups leads to a wide range of appearances and behavior patterns among all hybrids, thus making their behavior inconsistent and more difficult to predict.
Physical and mental development Wolves and dogs mature at different rates, which makes the physical and mental development of a hybrid animal unpredictable. Sexual maturity of wolves signals a shift in hormone quantity and balance. This hormonal change is often coupled with behavioral changes in the animal. When a wolf reaches sexual maturity - anywhere from 1 to 4 years of age, their role in the pack often changes from that of a pup to an adult expected to contribute to the pack. Status becomes much more important, and the animal may begin testing its packmates to achieve a higher-ranking position in the pack. Testing or challenging of packmates can be transferred onto a human "leader" when a wolf is kept in captivity, causing the animal to be perceived as stubborn, bold or even aggressive.
Domestic dogs tend to mature much earlier - 6 to 8 months of age and have significantly fewer hormonal changes, but the challenging behavior still exists, although it is typically less intense in most breeds compared to wolves. Hybrids can exhibit any combination of wolf or dog maturation rates and behavioral changes. Additionally, the territorial instinct of wolves to protect their food source by establishing a home range through defecation and urination may be transferred to the owner's home. A couch or corner of the room may take the place of a tree or rock. Dogs, on the other hand, through domestication, have lost that instinct to urinate or defecate anywhere they feel is their territory and are easily trained to eliminate in a designated area. Hybrids, being a mix of these two distinct behavior patterns, may have any degree of territorial or testing behavior-from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Hybrids as pets Whether or not hybrids make good pets is perhaps the biggest contention. Some people have outstanding success with hybrids as pets so to make a blanket statement is difficult. The reality is that there is an animal with a genetic stew that includes contributions from a line of dogs that has been domesticated over the centuries compiled with a contribution of an animal that has not. Wolves are social by nature and demand a great amount of attention and interaction from their pack. This expectation translates onto the owner when a wolf is kept in captivity. Often, potential hybrid owners overlook the important task of understanding the nature of the wild wolf and the domestic dog and become overwhelmed when their "pet" begins to show behavioral traits that are unexpected and unmanageable.
WARNING!!! This content is accurate and true to the best of the author's knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional. Wolves and wolf hybrids are not legal in all states to keep as pets. Before you get a wolf-dog, you need to check with your state and local laws.
Alaska: - Illegal to own unless grandfathered in on January 23, 2002.
Arkansas: - Owning hybrid wolves requires special regulations and considerations.
California: - Illegal to own first generation hybrid unless you have proof you had the hybrid before 1988. You can own a second generation hybrid without a registration.
Connecticut: - Illegal to own.
Delaware: - Permit required to own a hybrid.
Florida: - Doesn't regulate wild x domestic mixes, but hybrids of wild x wild crosses are regulated.
Georgia: - Illegal to own; considered any cross of a wild animal still a wild animal.
Hawaii: - Considers a hybrid to be a non-domestic animal and are illegal to own.
Idaho: - Illegal to sell, purchase, barter, keep, own, or transport wild animal or hybrid.
Illinois: - Illegal to possess hybrid unless the person has authorization from the Department of Natural Resources to bring into the state and a Federal Exhibitor's permit to keep it.
Iowa: - Considers hybrids dangerous animals, and if you own one or want to are subject to many restrictions.
Kansas: - Consider hybrids to be large domestic dogs rather than wolves. However, it's still required to have a "Special Wildlife Possession" permit.
Louisiana: - Illegal to import, possess, purchase or sell.
Maine: - Must be licensed, rabies vaccinated, and have a permanent ID (microchip or tattoo), as well as special caging requirements for breeding.
Massachusetts: - Illegal to possess, sell, trade, breed, import, export or release except as otherwise provided by regulations of the division.
Maryland: - Illegal to possess, trade, sell, barter, breed, or own.
Michigan: - Illegal to own unless grandfathered in before the act was passed.
Minnesota: - Not state regulated, but regulated by county.
Mississippi: - Permit required to own as well as special caging.
Missouri: - Permit required.
Montana: - No restrictions, but hybrids with 50% or more wolf genetics must be permanently ID-ed (tattoo or microchip).
New Hampshire: - Some restrictions.
North Carolina: - Not state regulated by county regulated.
North Dakota: - Illegal to own unless grandfathered in as of August 1, 1997, and has had the animal spayed/neutered.
New York: - Allowed as long as the hybrid is 5 generations removed from the wild.
Ohio: - Not regulated by state, but county regulated.
Oregon: - Not state regulated by county regulated.
Pennsylvania: - Permits required.
Rhode Island: - Ilegal to import, receive, or possess, unless otherwise permitted.
Tennessee: - Permit required by the Department of Agriculture.
Texas: - Illegal to sell, trade, barter, or auction any dangerous animal or animal parts. As for owning, that is determined per county.
Utah: - Not regulated by state, but regulated by county.
Vermont: - Regulates hybrids that are 4 generations or less removed from the wild.
Virginia: - Permit required.
Washington, D.C.: - Illegal to possess, display, offer for sale, trade, barter, exchange, adopt, or give as a household pet.
Wyoming: - Regulates import, possession, and confinement.
Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana: - permit required for wolves, not hybrids
Kentucky, Nebraska: - Permitted unless the dog is 90% and 10% dog
New Jersey: - must be able to show proof it's a hybrid
New Mexico, Nevada: - law is changing by still currently allowed
Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia - The status is unknown
The differences between dogs and wolves are stark enough that experts recommend against keeping wolves and wolf-dogs as domestic companions. We have four or five animals here right now that look like a wolf in some regards. If you put them in an animal shelter, they have to euthanize them because they can not adopt out animals that are part-wild. The reality of it is, they are nice dogs!
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS Most Canids share similar physical traits and characteristics and have less differences. But they also have own exclusive individualities, where they surpass others. These Uniqueness of canids attract many people to domesticate them and kept as a pet.
Dogs are the world's most accepted pets and other animals from the same Canidae family are always an attraction and interest. Mainly wolf, jackal, coyote and foxes have an interest and desirability for domestication. Dogs have relatively smaller skulls with varying muzzles, physically smaller brains, smaller teeth and varying leg lengths as compared to wolves.
Smaller brains require less calories for dogs to survive. The paw of a dog is half the size of that of a wolf, and some dog's tails curl upwards, unlike that of a wolf. Dog teeth have less complicated cusp patterns and a much smaller tympanic bulla as compared to wolves.
Wolves have larger, broader skulls with a longer muzzle, physically larger brains, larger teeth and legs. They have a narrow chest with forelegs pressed into it. Elbows point inwards and feet point outwards.
Also, wolves have a pre-caudal gland at the base of their tail used to release a pheromone onto another wolf, marking that wolf as a member of a particular pack. This gland is vestigial in dogs and functions only minimally in dogs.
PHYSICAL TRAITS Dogs are the domesticated animal and groomed for specific needs, their traits vary extensively. Standards are almost comparable to other members of the same species. In General dogs have short and weak jaw and muzzle than wolves, coyote and similar to jackal and fox. Wolves have the largest brain among candid family member. The dog and Fox have thinner legs than wolves, coyote and jackals.
DOMESTICATION Dogs have been domesticated for a very long time now, and understandably more responsive to domesticating techniques than wolves. Dogs respond to the voice. Wolves to hand signals. The dog has lost some of its hunting ability because of domestication. But dogs can often read facial expressions of their human masters.
Dogs were the first domesticated animals, and their barks heralded the Anthropocene. We raised puppies well before we raised kittens or chickens, before we herded cows, goats, pigs, and sheep, before we planted rice, wheat, barley, and corn, before we remade the world. The wolf is a natural hunter. Wolf teeth are designed for hunting. Wolves have stronger molars than dogs, enabling them to crush large bones. Wolves could prey on little children. Dogs, on the other hand, are very friendly and playful towards children. Feral dogs have been known to kill small children and attack adults.
TRAINING According to National Geographic's award-winning show, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, humans need to dominate their pet dogs to get them to behave. The logic was that dogs are descended from wolves, and wolves live in hierarchical packs in which the aggressive alpha male rules over everyone else. However, many experts say Millan's philosophy is based on now-debunked animal studies and that some of his techniques - most famously the alpha roll, in which he pins a dog on its back and holds it by the throat are downright cruel.
Experts also suggest that wolves live in nuclear families where the male wolf is like the father and other wolves following the leader of the pack are like children following the lead of their parents. Many people believe they should train their dog as if they are part of a wolf pack.
Most wolf packs consist of a nuclear family of wolves with clearly defined hierarchies and behavior expectations. Domestic dogs are social animals that are most comfortable in a social group with clearly defined hierarchy and behavior expectations. The best way to train a dog is to assume a leadership role and structure a routine around a fair, consistent set of rules. Most healthy wolf packs achieve this with a minimum of physical discipline.
REPRODUCTION Most domestic dogs are sexually mature by the age of 6 to 12 months some large breeds take slightly longer. Wolves reach sexual maturity after two or three years. That's when they leave their pack in search of a mate. Female wolves come into season or heat only once in a year, while domesticated female dogs heat two times a year. Only the alpha female wolf is allowed to breed. There is no such hierarchy or difference amongst dogs.
BEHAVIOR Wolves are social and live in packs. They need fenced yards and constant monitoring. Dogs generally live by themselves, and most need no containment. Wolves are generally more intelligent and more aware of their environment as compared to dogs. But when it comes to sociability, dogs are generally more sociable with animals and sometimes with other pets as well. It is almost impossible to house train a wolf. Dogs, because they are domesticated, can be trained with relative ease to follow commands and perform various tricks.
WOLF BEHAVIOR In the wolf pack, there is a definite hierarchy which is strongly maintained and defended. There is usually only one male and female dominant breeding pair and the rest are arranged in order beneath them. This is similar to how your pack should be - adults first, then children, then dog. Dogs are very conscious of hierarchy and will attempt to find their own place if you do not set this for them. The nature of the cognitive similarities and differences between dogs and wolves is highly relevant to considerations of possible mechanisms for the origin of dogs.
I shall present results which show that wolves possess the potential to match dogs' levels of responding adaptively to human actions if the wolves have been carefully hand-reared by people skilled in raising wild animals. Hand-reared wolves match pet dogs' ability to follow human points to a desired object and to interpret the implications of human gaze being occluded by objects. Thus it is unlikely that dogs' ability to perform well on human-guided tasks is a newly evolved aspect of canine cognition.
However, there are important behavioral differences between dogs and wolves which make it unlikely that wolves served humans in the roles typical of dogs such as hunters' assistants and peoples' pets. These differences include wolves' far more rapid behavioral development, making it very difficult for people to adopt wolf pups, and dogs' reduced effectiveness as hunters, making them more motivated than wolves to accept human assistance in capturing prey. assistance in capturing prey.
DOG & WOLF DIET Although dogs fall under the category of carnivore, they are largely omnivores and can digest a wide variety of foods like vegetables, grains, fruits, plants and meat. Wolves primarily feed off meat and even fish, and attack medium to large sized ungulates with their hunting prowess. In the wolf pack, the dominant wolves will eat first if a kill is made, the rest waiting until after they have finished. For most dogs, dinner time is one of the highlights of their day. Therefore, it is a small but important point that in your home, dogs should be fed last after the family. Similarly titbits should not be given. This can be easily misinterpreted by dogs as being a weakness on your behalf rather than being benevolent. It also saves you from having a dog that sits drooling over visitors when they come to dinner!
SLEEPING PLACE The dominant wolf will choose the safest, warmest place in the territory to sleep. It is usually elevated so that they can look down over the rest of the pack. In your house, you have chosen your bedroom as the best place to sleep. If you allow your dog to sleep there and even worse on or in your bed, you have immediately put him on equal footing with you. Dogs that are made to sleep in the kitchen from day one will have little trouble in accepting this. For similar reasons, it also pays to keep him off the furniture.
DOG & WOLF HAIRCUT and GROOMING Dominant wolves will present themselves to subordinates for grooming, who will lick their faces and generally pay them attention. A dominant wolf would not be approached by a subordinate uninvited - the subordinate would know better than to do so. In order to reinforce your status, it is important to groom your dog every day in the initial period. This applies especially to those with short hair, which are often overlooked. This also gives you the chance to give your dog a quick health check. It also ensures that you will be better able to handle him if he needs veterinary attention. You cannot expect your veterinary surgeon to examine your dog if you cannot.
DOG & WOLF PUPPIES When wolves begin exploring their world they are still blind and deaf. If you have children, it is important that they also follow these guidelines: keep the dog out of the children's bedroom, do not let it take food from them or clear up under a baby's high chair until after the child has eaten. The children should assist you in grooming but this should only be done by them when the dog completely accepts you doing it and children should then only groom the dog under supervision. Assuming the domestic bitch is allowed to rear her young to maturity, her leadership will shape the puppy.
The female wolf has far less room for error than the domestic dog, which has the influence - good or bad, of its associated humans. The results show that on average, wolf and dog puppies develop their sense of smell at 2 weeks of age, their ability to hear by week 4, and their ability to see by 6 weeks.
However, the ability to walk and explore their environment begins at different times. Wolf pups begin walking and exploring at 2 weeks when they are still blind and deaf. Dog puppies don't begin these activities until about week 4. Wolf Pups Begin Exploring the World Before They Can See or Hear - What this means is wolf pups enter the critical period of socialization at two weeks with only their sense of smell to guide and inform them.
DOG & WOLF MENTALITY! Perhaps the biggest difference between a wolf and a dog, and also the thing that causes the most problems when owning a wolf is their mental state. Dogs only develop to the mental stage of a 10 to 30 day old wolf puppy. This means that mentally dogs never become adults, which allows humans to be able to tell a dog what to do because dogs want to please us. This lack of mental maturity also makes dogs more aggressive than wolves, since aggressiveness is many baby animals' natural defense. Wolves reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age. Up until this point their minds are very much like that of a dog. When wolves do finally reach maturity, they become very independent, and possessive of anything that happens to find its way into their mouth. It is usually at this point that people who own a wolf or a hybrid find that they have an animal they can no longer control.
DOG & WOLF VOICE Dogs cannot howl the way wolves do and wolves cannot bark the way dogs do. Sure wolves have their short warning barks but a he is never seen barking like a dog just because a living creature went by. Wolves howl by themselves to get the attention of their pack, or the pack of wolves will howl to get the attention of another pack, usually to tell them to stay off of their turf! Wolves may also just start howling because another wolf has begun it's contagious.
DOG & WOLF EYES As for the physical attributes, a wolf's eyes are a rich healthy shade of yellow - many may have greenish shades, whereas a dog mainly has brown or blue eyes. Dogs usually don't change their fur color too much whereas in wolves there are drastically change- pups are born black fur with bluish green eyes which change to greyish colors with piercing yellow eyes. Wolves are crepuscular - they are most active at dusk and dawn.
DOG & WOLF HEAD The heads of wolves are bigger because of their larger brains compared to a dog. Their legs and hips are slimmer than that of a dog's, and are somewhat taller. Hence when they run their shoulders and hip are aligned and don't move much. It makes them faster and agile. A dog whereas because of his wider hips goes up and down, his whole body whipping, while he dashes through an open field.
Wolves also have longer snouts and sharp, alert ears as opposed to the attractive floppy ears and round snouts of our darling pets. All in all, it can be said that wolves and dogs are much different than it seems. Adopting a wolf hybrid as a pet is advised than going for a pure wolf breed, wolves are wild and cannot be trained easily the way dogs are. They like to hunt and the lust for a chase can get lethal with them which is not the case with a dog.
DOG & WOLF TEETH Both wolves and dogs have 42 teeth, but wolves have longer canines, which means that they can make quicker work of their prey. But they don't always!
One trait which both the animals share is protectiveness - dogs are protective towards their owner and wolves towards their pack mates. Detailed study of their behavior and physically appearance will bring more interesting contrasts between these two. You can share points of similarity or differences between these kins, in case we missed any. Wolves have a natural drive that makes it extremely, if not impossible, to deal with when they are living in captivity. Training does not eliminate this natural behavior. Although some dogs may at times display similar behavior to wolves, these behaviors have been markedly altered through selective breeding in most dogs. With wolves and hybrids, however, these behaviors are strongly expressed. Not only is it unrealistic for humans to expect these animals to suppress their natural instinct, but it is also inhumane.
8 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
DOGS AND WOLFS
1. Physical Differences Between Dogs and Wolves Both wolves and dogs have the same number of teeth, but they, along with the skull and jaw, are larger and stronger in the wolf. This is likely due to their need to bite and break things like bones in the wild, compared with dogs who evolved much more as scavengers of human refuse. Dogs have rounder faces and larger eyes than wolves. They also evolved to have floppy ears and curly or short tails, while the wolf has pointed ears with a long, sickle-type tail. Wolves have enormous feet compared to a dog's, and their two front, middle toes are much longer than their side toes. That is how a wolf can conserve energy and go so far compared to a dog.
2. They Differ in Their Dependence on Humans Dogs can not survive without humans. There are some feral dogs out there in the wild, but generally those dogs don't do well because they have been domesticated to the point where they can no longer adequately survive. If you are familiar with dogs, you may know that they will obey commands like sit and stay because they want to please humans and get rewarded. Wolf behavior differs. We will be trying to get wolves to do a behavior, and eventually they will look at me and they will be like, You are making this too hard, and they will walk off and they will go find something else to eat. They are like, "I have food, I can go find my own." There have been many studies regarding the ability to train wolves as you would a domestic dog. Those studies did find that wolves fail to form attachments to humans and do not show the same behaviors as a domesticated dog would.
3. Wolves Mature Faster Than Dogs Both wolf and domestic dog pups are weaned at about 8 weeks. Yet, Wild wolf puppies mature much faster than domestic dogs. Studies comparing the ability of dogs and wolves show that wolf pups can solve puzzles at a much younger age, she says. And it makes sense. They have to mature must faster to be able to survive in the wild, whereas domestic dog puppies have us to care for them. It is a little bit of an easier life. When your dog turns 2 years old, she will likely still be your lifelong and loyal companion. Experts say wolves will be a good companion for about six months, at which point they can become hard to handle. Wolf and wolf-dog sanctuaries say they regularly get calls when the animal reaches sexual maturity.
4. Wolves and Dogs Breed Differently Unlike dogs who can breed several times throughout the year, wolves breed only once a year. They also have a rigid breeding season that occurs from February through mid-March, with pups being born in April and May. Their litter sizes differ, too, she says. A wolf averages about four to five pups, whereas dog litters can vary. We have seen with a lot of domestic dogs, their litters are on average about five to six pups, but you see more instances where many different domestic dog breeds can have larger litter sizes. Although both wolf and dog mothers care for and nurture their pups, dogs care for their young without the help of dad. Wolf packs are made up of a mother and a father wolf and their offspring. Dogs on the other hand, do not form familial groups in the same manner.
5. Play Means Different Things A domestic dog plays primarily for fun. For a wolf pup, play is critical for learning survival and social skills. It teaches them how to hunt, it teaches them how to learn how to discipline a pack member when they become leaders. It helps them learn what their limits are, just like human kids. That social learning is very important so when they grow older, their packs know how to talk to each other and work together and respect each other so they can hunt together and keep the pack healthy. Experts say dogs also need to learn social boundaries, but that those skills are not as critical as they are in wolves. These differences in dog behavior are also evident throughout adulthood .Unlike wolves, dogs play continually throughout their life and will also socialize with multiple species and even show affiliative behaviors.
6. Dog Nutrition vs. Wolf Nutrition Dogs are omnivores who evolved to eat what we eat. In contrast, A wolf's GI system can process raw meats, go longer without meals, and absorb nutrients in a different manner than that of a domestic dog. This is an important item to remember when choosing a food type for your pet dog, as their ability to stave off common pathogens in raw foods is very limited. Wolves will sometimes eat plant materials, but that they are true carnivores. They also eat more than dogs do. Wolves know that it is probably going to be a long time between meals or it will get stolen, so they can eat a ton at once. They can actually hold between 10 and 20 pounds, depending on the species. With domestic dogs, we give them a cup of food in the morning and a cup in the afternoon. A domestic dog being fed wolf kibble would probably get sick and have diarrhea because of the high level of protein. Conversely, If I fed a domestic dog food to a wolf, that wolf would have deficiencies.
7. Wolves Are Shy - Dogs Are Usually Not Despite being portrayed in some outlets as vicious, experts say that wolves are actually shy and will avoid people. It is also incredibly rare that a wolf will attack a person. You would think these are things they'd want to protect and take you on, but they run away. Wolf-dogs are a little of both. If you combine that strength, intelligence and wildness of a wolf, and combine it with a lack of fear that dogs have, that could be a pretty serious situation.
8. Wolves Are Stronger Problem Solvers Studies looking at problem-solving abilities in wolves and dogs show that when a problem becomes more difficult, dogs will eventually quit. They kind of look for a person and say, Come figure this out and fix this for me, whereas a wolf will try to figure it out by themselves.In one study, dogs and wolves had to work together to solve a puzzle in order to get a treat. “They had to pull a rope at the same exact time in order for the tray to slide in and give them foods. The wolves figured it out quickly. The dogs never really figured out the problem until they had a human teach them that they need to pull the rope. Even more fascinating was that when the testers made the puzzle more challenging, the wolves still succeeded. The wolf would wait until the other wolf was let into the experiment, so they could get the treat together.
HOW TO BECOME A WOLFDOG BREEDER This article proudly presented by WWW.COTTONWOODZ.COM and Kim Miles and Southern Howls Kennels and Ghostly Image Kennels and Hidden Hollow Kennels and Stormy "Wolf" Renee
So, You Want to Become a Wolfdog Breeder? Responsible breeders produce a litter of puppies only if those pups will improve or, at the very least, compliment the line. They carefully consider the animals, and the parents are chosen for such quality traits as health, temperament, background, conformation and training ability.
Their only goal should be to make their line of animals better. Quality wolfdog breeders will not randomly breed two animals simply because the female is in season, or to allow the breeding pair to experience the joys of parenthood, or because they want to make some extra money. And they will NEVER breed animals with known undesirable traits - e.g., bad jaw alignment, bad temperament, genetic disorders, etc., because they know that these traits will be passed on to the puppies as well.
Reputable wolfdog breeders will only breed when the parents are of an acceptable age for breeding. Although Wolfdogs mature at around 22 months, OFA will not rate an animal's hips until the age of two, although preliminary testing can be done sooner, therefore, the breeding would optimally not be until the next season. Responsible breeders will also breed only after the dam has recovered completely and they will not over breed. Ethical wolfdog breeders are protective of their animals. If kept outside, the animals' enclosures will provide shade and be safe, secure, and sanitary. The animals will also be paired comfortably with other animals - e.g., three females will not be placed with one male - all intact as such a situation is usually done to produce a lot of puppies and not for the sake of the animal.
Responsible wolfdog breeders will have buyers lined up and will take deposits on puppies before the breeding takes place. Common litters are between four to six puppies, but litters of eight are not unheard of. If these breeders find they have more puppies than deposits, they are prepared to keep the remaining puppies until suitable homes are found.
If for any reason, a buyer is unable to keep his or her animal, ethical breeders will take responsibility for the animal by either taking it back, placing it or assisting its placement in another home. In such a situation, the breeders' obligation to refund the purchase fee is limited to the following: if the animal was recently purchased, suffers a verifiable hereditary or genetic disorder, or suffers a verifiable temperament & behavioral disorder. Reputable wolfdog breeders will heavily screen potential buyers. They will determine if potential buyers live in an area where there are any restrictions, and if so, what their state or county requires. They will insist on meeting potential buyers in person (at least once) or have someone they know meet with them if distance is a problem. They will also require photos or videos of the buyer's facilities and/or will inspect or have an agent inspect them.
In return, these breeders will encourage their buyers to visit them and to meet the parents in order for both breeder and buyer to determine if a wolfdog puppy is suitable for the prospective human owner. If, for any reason, a breeder has any suspicions about a potential buyer, they are both probably better off not following through with the sale. The breeder should always have the pups interest at heart, and this should prevail over the buyers feelings. A potential buyer may initially pass a screening, but AT ANY TIME falsehoods or disqualifying information are uncovered, the breeder MUST NOT go through with the sale and should return the deposit if one was already received. If potential buyers pass the screening process and decide to interview other breeders, respectable breeders should refer them to other reputable breeders so that the buyers can be sure they are getting what they want and what they are told. One of the primary concerns for a reputable breeder is not the sale of his or her own puppy, but that a buyer, who has passed the screening processes purchases a quality animal from a legitimate breeder.
Quality breeders will honestly answer basic questions about Wolfdogs, explaining to the prospective buyer how to socialize, bond with, and properly feed and house their new puppy. Not only will the breeders provide positive information, but the negative as well. No breed is perfect. This sharing of knowledge should not stop once the buyer leaves with the puppy. A devoted breeder will continue to be available for questions concerning the animal throughout its lifetime.
Among the information responsible breeders will divulge is the importance of training, the benefits of spaying and neutering, and the seriousness of never leaving a small child alone or unsupervised with a large canine. Note: Children being bit by the family dog has reached epidemic proportions. It is better to err on the side of caution than to make a small mistake that can have potentially fatal or life-long results. Responsible breeders will use and enforce contracts to be signed prior to the release of a pup. Their contracts should suggest that buyers take the pups to their vets for health exams within "XX" hours of receiving the pup even if a health certificate accompanies the pup and should also provide a 72-hour contagious disease guarantee.
Reputable breeders generally offer a minimum 30-month hereditary defect guarantee - OFA will not even rate an animal until the age of two. For example, if the puppy should fall seriously ill or die from a genetic or hereditary defect, the breeder will provide a full refund, and or pay the vet bills, and replace the puppy. Ethical breeders should be able to provide verifiable pedigrees on each parent, with the names of the owners and of the animals in the lineage, and should also include photos, if possible.
They will have researched their lines for any temperament or health problems and will only breed sound animals from sound lines. In addition, the pedigrees of the parents will compliment each other. Only animals registered with a reputable wolfdog association should be bred. The litter should be registered and papers made available to buyer at time of delivery of pup. If the papers are not available then the name, address and phone number of the association and the parents' registration numbers should be given to the buyer.
Note: While there are a select FEW good breeders not with a registry, they will still provide pedigree information as well as phone numbers to verify the information. The statement above is one of generalization. Reputable breeders should also be able to provide references from past buyers of their puppies and photographs of the offspring they have produced at their kennels. A good breeder's reputation will follow from past practices, just as the reputation of a bad breeder. Word of mouth is one of one of the best references - both for good and bad breeders.
Responsible breeders are willing to provide their buyers with the names of their vets and will be able to provide accurate documentation that their animals are current on all vaccinations and worming. They will be able to pay for all veterinary expenses, including pre-breeding vet checks, vaccinations, worming of internal parasites, heartworm tests and prevention, flea and tick prevention, etc. In addition, responsible breeders assist in the whelping, if necessary, and are willing to pay for an emergency Caesarean-section should the need arise. While most wolfdog breeders do not yet incorporate OFA or PENN Hip certification for Hip Dysplasia and CERF eye testing into their breeding programs, there is a strong movement among some wolfdog breeders in this direction.
Most responsible dog breeders test their animals' eyes and hips, among numerous other things, and some wolfdog owners and breeders are beginning to see the wisdom of such testing. It is a myth that Wolfdogs are not prone to some of the same genetic disorders that plague many of the dog breeds. Many breeders of high content Wolfdogs pull their pups from the mother after ten days and begin a bottle-feeding regime that encourages bonding with humans. This supplemental feeding is done at two- to four-hour intervals around the clock. If the puppies are still nursing when they are sent home with their new owners, the breeders will either provide a mixture of the formula to the owner or give the owner the recipe of the exact ingredients so as not to shock the puppy's digestive system. The breeder should also show the buyer how to properly bottle feed and handle the pup during this time. Note: Many state laws mandate that no puppies be sold until the age of eight weeks.
Obviously this person has not researched any type of canine behavior and is, therefore, a poor candidate for wolfdog ownership. A responsible breeder will refuse ownership if the potential owner
Wants it as a guard dog
Has small children and is unable or unwilling to supervise them at all times around the animal
Does not have secure fencing or housing
Refuses to answer or is vague when answering the breeders' questions
Lives in a regulated area and would be in violation of any ordinances
Can not tell you what the following words mean: alpha, socialization, bonding, and submission.
A potential buyer must have enclosures set up to prevent unauthorized access to the animals
A potential buyer should not have a history of dog bites involving neighborhood children - public access to animals
A potential buyer should receive favorable recommendations
A potential buyer should have regular contact with current animals
When there are environmental issues - sick animals, water issues, etc.
A potential buyer is currently experiencing health problems
If a potential buyer cannot handle an existing animal for a simple vet visit: actual level of experience
A potential buyer has falsified information...
Reputable breeders will generally not make any money off breeding, nor is this their intent. Their selling prices usually cover medical costs and the care - healthy feeding of the nursing mother and pups. Any profits are put back into the animals by improving the kennels and the overall well-being of the animals. These breeders are NOT in the breeding business to make a quick buck and find such motivation NEVER an acceptable reason to breed. There are many things to consider before deciding to breed. Most people do not think about the numerous expenses and responsibilities involved in breeding. We hope that this article has helped you to make an educated decision about breeding and about buying from a responsible breeder.