Wolfdogs (a.k.a. wolf-hybrids) are a cross breeding between a domesticated breed of dog (or multiple breeds of dog) and a wolf. The most common breeds used for wolfdogs are huskies and malamutes to keep their “wolfish” appearance. German Shepherds are also commonly used to keep the “wolfish” look but also the working ability of a German Shepherd. Other breeds have been used also.
Wolfdogs remain “wolfdogs” or “wolf hybrids” until the 4th or 5th generation. Many breeders will sell their pups based on “content” and generalize between low content, mid content, high contend, and very high content.
We only breed Low-Content Wolfdogs (generally 34%)
These are mostly domestic dogs in temperament with little to none of the wolf characteristics. Some may retain some of the “wolfy” looks but retain most of the domestic dog breed’s temperament. Many are suitable for a home that is suitable for the parent (domestic) breeds.
Lower-Mid-Content Wolfdogs (35%-49%) -
These are generally still domestic dogs and will show most of their traits from the domestic parents but will show some wolf like characteristics in either look or temperament. Inexperienced trainers and owners may have some slight difficulty in training wolfdogs at this content range but many can still live in many home environments. Their looks may look wolfy but will many times still look like a (domestic breed) mix.
Please read before calling us to enquire about our Wolfdog puppies!
A wolfdog, also known as a 'wolf hybrid', is simply a dog that has wolf in its family history. While it is widely understood that all dog breeds have descended from the wolf, a wolfdog has pure wolf recently in its background, such as a parent or great grandparent (Whereas your family dog may have to go back hundreds of generations to pure wolf).
Genetically, the wolf and the dog are the same species - thus they are not actually 'hybrids' (for a human comparison, a wolf and a dog are no different than a person of Asian decent is different from a European descent) A wolf can mate with a dog and produce fertile offspring, just like two different breeds of dog can mate and produce fertile offspring. Offspring of two different breeds of dog, affectionately known as a 'mutt', will have characteristics of the two breeds, in varying proportions. Likewise, offspring of a wolf and and a dog will have characteristics of a wolf and that particular breed, in varying proportions.
Today's wolfdogs are not the result of a wild wolf bred with a domestic dog. They are the result of dozens or more generations of wolfdogs bred with wolfdogs. No two wolfdogs are alike.
There is no breed standard. Wolfdogs, for lack of a better term, are 'mutts': wolf mixed with another breed, or several breeds, of dog.
Usually they are a combination of wolf with Siberian husky, Alaskan malamute or German shepherd, but can be mixed with other breeds as well.
Wolfdogs will behave like wolf and the breed of dog they are mixed with. The wolf part tends to be shy with strangers, cautious, curious, intelligent, playful, watchful and energetic. They can also be stubborn, loving, independent and aloof. They are almost always very loving and loyal to their 'family' pack. The dog part will have behavior reflective of that particular breed in the mix. So every wolfdog is different. Even wolfdogs from the same litter and can look and behave differently, individually inheriting physical and behavioral characteristics.
Some folks believe that wolfdogs are inherently provocative and aggressive, or that they are capable of 'turning on you'. Just the opposite is true. By nature, they tend to be timid, loving, family(pack)-oriented and trusting of pack members.
They are not aggressive and will tend to shy away from strangers rather than confront them. Most will behave similar, and proportional to, the breeds they are mixed with. Like any dog breed, however, if abused or neglected, or if tied to a tree, they learn to be defensive or aggressive.
The rabies vaccine is entirely effective in wolfdogs.
High content wolfdogs are very strong and difficult to train, require large secure outdoor pens, have special diets, and require a great deal of attention. They are very intelligent and get bored easily. While the behavior of wolfdogs is really not much different than that of the typical canine family pet, it is greatly magnified.
The following traits are not unusual among high content wolfdogs, but less so with low content wolfdogs:
react poorly to standard dog training
may dig large holes in their pens or the backyard, especially if bored or tied down
can jump or climb a six-foot high fence
are smart and learn commands easily, but often decide to ignore them
require an enclosure large enough for exercise and play.
will roll over and over again in the most obnoxious smelling substance known to the human nose.
do not respond to discipline the way most dogs do. Training a wolf dog is about as 'easy' as training a house cat. You must earn their respect if you expect them to listen to you.
do not like to be alone (they need a canine or human companion). Providing a companion often negates undesirable behaviors discussed in this section. Remember, wolves are highly developed social animals that normally live in groups; it's not in their nature to be alone. A lone wolf is not a happy wolf.
require a high protein diet. Most commercially available dog foods are difficult for wolf dogs to digest due to high vegetable/low protein content.
may be fearful of people outside of the family pack. Taking them to public places may cause high anxiety and stress.
Require a very high amount of socialization, often and repeatedly, from a very young age through adulthood, if you expect to take them to public places, a dog park, or even for a walk.
are not good off leash; they may run off in pursuit of something interesting and are difficult to call back; or they may find that obnoxious smelly stuff discussed above.
bark very little, but boy do they howl.
Lastly, they bond strongly; should you ever give them up, they could languish. At best, they would not bond as easily with their next human companions as they did with you. A decision to bring a high content wolfdog into your home is a major lifetime commitment. Giving one up, no matter how good a reason, would likely result in it's death, it would most likely never make it out of the shelter.
Low content wolfdogs tend to have behavior like the dog they are mixed with, and are much more desirable as pets.
It should be noted that with proper socialization early on, and lots of positive, loving reinforcement, both high content wolfdogs and low content wolfdogs can make wonderful companions. Some can even behave like regular house dogs, especially low content wolfdogs.
Wolf dogs are poor watchdogs!
They don't bark and tend to be fearful of strangers. Wolfdogs consider you to be the Alpha wolf of the pack - you are the leader. As far as they are concerned, it's YOUR job to protect them.
Actually, wolf hybrids make very loyal and affectionate pets. The problem with keeping and caring for a hybrid, is that the vast majority of folks who want to keep one as a pet, are not set up to do so. Hybrids require lots of love and attention, and plenty of exercise. Hybrid keepers need unbounded patience, plenty of free time and lots of space.
Hybrids, like wolves, express their curiosity and exercise their jaws, by gnawing on things, for example, your dining room table. The minute you stop stroking them, they're off to explore and wreak rascally havoc. If you think the family pooch likes to chew on things, prepare yourself for a whole other level of canine destructiveness, from a dog who doesn't distinguish between throw-toys and valuable antiques. They also mark their territories methodically and continuously, whether they are outside or in your living room, which means they are harder to house-train than your average dog. Incidentally, the higher "percentage" wolf your hybrid is, the more do these "wolfie" traits predominate. There is a world of difference between a huskie who is 25% wolf, and a wolf who is 25% huskie.
This means that while your home may survive supervised visits by the hybrid indoors, if they must live outside then they're going to require a spacious, escape-proof enclosure, and a companion to hang out with. By the way, escape-proof means high enough so that they can't leap over the fence, deep enough so they can't dig under it, and sturdy enough so that they can't chew through it, because they will definitely try all three.
Hybrids, like wolves and corvids, are incorrigible thieves and will steal anything while your back is turned including slippers.
Hybrids make terrible watch dogs, because wolves don't bark, are wary of strangers, and their survival instincts tell them to flee unfamiliar people. Wolves survive by staying hidden.
You'd better have understanding neighbors, or better still no neighbors, because your hybrid will want to howl, when the mood strikes him, and your neighbors may not find the experience as haunting and melodic, not to mention convenient, at 2:00 AM, as you might.
You'll need time to exercise your hybrid. This is not only healthy and fun for all involved, but it helps build both trust and dependency in your pet.
It may seem absurdly obvious, but it's important that you (or someone in your "pack") be stronger than your hybrid. There are occasions when you must simultaneously demonstrate gentleness and superiority in physical strength, so that you have an understanding with your pet. Refusing to be pulled, for example. At the same time, requiring him to sit when he receives a reward, not only teaches him to practice dexterity, consideration and restraint while taking food from your fingers, but it reminds him who takes care of him. The irony is that wolves, being on the whole probably smarter than dogs, are capable of learning these lessons well.
We've all read horror stories about wolf-hybrids who turn on their masters, or injure a neighbor, but here as in all other topics, we find the news media selling the news, rather than reporting it. Dogs (and wolf hybrids) are like people in this respect: who they turn out to be depends on how they are raised, and how much guidance and consideration they've been shown. With our hybrids we have kept, we have never seen the slightest aggressive gesture towards people, their general reactions ranging from friendliness to indifference to wariness and departure. unwarranted aggressiveness is taught to dogs by masters, circumstances or both.
Consider the wildlife lover who loves the idea of having a "wolf", procures a wolf hybrid from a breeder, then discovers they can't keep him in the house, and they don't have room outside for a large escape-proof pen, never mind a suitable environment in which to exercise the animal. What you won't read in the sensationalized stories about hybrids, which occasionally run in the media, is that the hybrid ends up in the backyard on a chain (which they will almost certainly escape from), or a small enclosure, which frustrates the hybrid and teaches him to be defensive. The owner has a typically busy life, with tons of responsibility, which doesn't permit much time for the hybrid, who grows lonely, despondent, bored and finally, like any chained or constantly restrained dog, aggressive and the animal ends up being quietly euthenized, or adopted by an overburdened hybrid rescue center.
Keep in mind that the alleged instances of verified attacks by wild wolves on people are so sketchy and infrequent, its pretty clear that wolves uniformly fear people, and leave the area when people are detected. Every wolf I've seen in the wild, whether in Canada or Alaska, was fleeing at high speed!
Are you willing to learn about wolf behavior and alternative training methods? Wolfdogs are very intelligent and can be quite independent when compared to many other dogs. Wolfdogs do not respond to harsh training methods, but can be trained using positive reinforcement. In addition, an understanding of wolves’ vocal and body languages is essential in the understanding and training of a wolfdog.
Still think your heart is in the right place and this is the dog for you? Then we welcome you to our ever growing wolfdog family, owning a wolfdog is fun and rewarding but hard work. its well worth it but if you question your ability to make a lifetime commitment to a wolfdog, please do not get one.