Have you noticed that people who are involved with animals all believe they know everything already?
Well there is no lifetime long enough to know everything, but there are a good combination of educated Wolf / Wolfdog handlers that can teach the willing student what they need to know. With animals, every minute with them is more education. If you don't think so, you aren't paying attention.
Opinions will vary, and because of the passionate personalities one might encounter, opinions often start heated arguments. All I can add is that experiences are all similar but different, and interpretation is almost as individual as it can be.
In 2006, a Pennsylvania woman who had 8 Wolfdogs? was killed by them, reasons unknown. Her body was found badly bitten and she was said to have bled to death. The animals were killed. There was no further investigation, no experts were brought in, no animals were evaluated. To this day we do not know if they were in fact Wolf dogs. We will never know what happened or why, and speculation is our only teacher.
The same scenario happened again in Nevada. 8 animals in one space killed a 73 year old woman. Animals killed, no evaluation, media uses pictures of Wolves that are taken from somewhere else to make their story. No one knows if these were in fact Wolf Dogs or not? but the Wolf Dog will certainly take the blame for being a terrible idea. The rumor is that there were 8 intact males together and a female in heat inside the house that the woman was scented. She was the mother of the owner. What kind of foolishness sets the stage for this? It is quite common.
Sadly due to the lack of EDUCATION of Animal Control Officers, we will never have answers. Just more dead dogs we know nothing about, other than they were labelled WOLVES.
These are my opinions, and not absolute to every person or animal.
These are my opinions, and not absolute to every person or animal.
Packs do not always work in captive situations. More than pairs is generally asking for trouble. There are exeptions with expert handlers who have good containment, but normally even northern breeds challenge each other. Those who keep packs have constant issues and injuries if not deaths to some.
The bottom line is, PEOPLE should not go uneducated. PEOPLE are the reason these things happen. NEWS should place the responsibility on the PEOPLE and not the animal, who for some reason is suppose to be the perfect child and do exactly what PEOPLE want?
If a horse kicks you in the head, are all horses bad? It's called POOR HORSEMANSHIP.
If a Stallion bites you, do they put him down?
If a dog misbehaves or acts like a Dog who is defending himself or his domain, he is killed. Man's best friend? Magnify the canine behavior that is in most Wolf Dogs, and the odds increase in favor of a tragic ending.
What possesses the average person to want a "WOLF"?
It's primarily ego is it not? The same ego that makes a kid want a Black Mombo, or a pet Cayman . The difference is of course that the Wolf will indeed bond with it's Master if handled correctly. I've never known anyone to roll up and cuddle with a Black Mombo.
So having a Wolf is going to set you apart from being the average pet owner? You are going to be the talk of the town. BAD IDEA.
Your companion , who you love dearly right? has just been jeopardized by your ego.
If he/she should get loose, or perhaps howl too loud, or maybe nip some kid teasing him through a fence, or the neighbor fears for her children's safety because you have the very animal that ate Lil Red Riding Hood?
You may have to fight for his life?
Misinformation has always travelled faster than truths. PEOPLE tend to believe the nonsense way before they will believe the truth, because it is easier than researching and taking innitiative to learn. PEOPLE are lazy, and here in lies the BIG PROBLEM. That laziness carries over into the entire issue of WOLFDOG caretaking. The novelty of being a Wolf owner dissipates and the commitment to the care of a high energy, high maintenance pet becomes a huge burden to the ego.
What is written here may contradict everything you have heard, and you'll say HUH? My friend's Wolf lives in the house and sleeps in the bed? Loves everyone, goes to the Dog park, bla bla....
Not that it isn't possible. It is just highly unlikely your friend has a Wolf or Wolfdog of any significant content. Again the problem started with BS from the beginning.
You don't just open the screen door and let Fido out. You don't just open a can of GOOFY at dinner time and put it in his bowl. You don't tell Wolfie to sit and expect him to do it and stay there until you relieve him. That is of course unless you are someone who doesn't need to be reading this?
Life with a Wolfdog of any significant content is no walk in the park. Alone they are uncontent. They have been known to chew through walls, jump through double pane windows, open doors and latched gates, dig under houses, destroy electrical cables that would kill any human, take down trees, climb 10 ft fences, and jump clean over a 6ft. fence from a standing still position. A loose Wolf Dog is often a dead Wolf Dog.
Remember that the Wolf survives under conditions in regions that YOU cannot. They kill their food and eat fur, bone, blood, feather, and whatever else goes down. A can of GOOFY does not suffice the nutritional needs of your best bud.
So your pup is now 6 months old, and he is 60 lbs. He doesn't know how to tell you it's potty time, nor does he care to, because Wolves "MARK". They leave their scent in their claimed territory, the same as you protecting your space. They do this by peeing, defacating, and rubbing on things. And soon your house is their house, and you are simply the servant. Unless you are a skilled animal trainer, this is the usual scenario. Most people do not survive the first 2 years before giving up. RESCUES ARE FULL of failed attempts.
CONTAINMENT. Ideally a proper Wolfdog space is 2000 square feet or more. It requires an 8 to 10 ft. fence, with a 3 ft. ground perimeter dig guard. Some people find it necessary to use HOTWIRE at bottom or top depending on the individual animals behaviour. In my opinion, if an animal spends his time trying to escape, he is not a happy animal. It is up to his human to find out why and change it. There are exceptions to the size or area you need, depending on how much time you spend with your Wolf Dog and how much time they are in the pen. I have always recommended M/F pairs to keep them content. If you raise a pup in the house, that is what it knows, and moving it outside will be a jolt to their stable foundation, often leading to constant howling, tunneling, climbing etc. in attempt to get back inside with their pack (YOU). Failing to understand why they act like they do is just another form of abuse.
GATES should be lockable and big enough to allow a crate or large object through. Looking back I wish I built them big enough for a small tractor to move dirt around. There should be 2 gates with a catch area incase of a slip out as you open the inside gate. ESCAPE is the biggest cause of Wolfdog deaths aside from Animal Control murder. A loose Wolfdog is a target for any fool with a gun, and that includes law enforcement. DO NOT take chances.
Seperation anxiety is highly probable with a single Wolfdog. If you think Wolfie will patiently await your return from your 8 hour shift every day, guess again. SOLUTION, is often a kennel mate. Male/ Female pairs work well. Male/Male pairs often work OK. Female/Female pairs seldom work.
This does in no way mean breeding pairs. Please Spay and Neuter as Bob Barker always said. Accidental litters of these animals are generally doomed. Breeding Wolfdogs properly requires KNOWLEDGE.
It is my opinion that Wolfdogs are happier living outside. Depending where you are, shelter is another important ingredient in your contained area. Remember they like to dig, and generally will prefer to dig under the doghouse rather than lay in it. I suggest raising it up safely to allow them to go under without digging much. Providing them with their needs prevents damage in many cases. Again these are my opinions, and nothing is set in stone. All animals are different, and there are hundreds of reasons for their differences. Building houses for them requires careful planning as they can and will destroy their house if it is chewable. Dogloos are ideal.
Generally these animals do better in cooler climates. They require shaded areas, and drink lots of water. They also like to play in water. Here we have livestock tanks. These tanks must be monitored and cleaned every few days to prevent Mosquitos, and water born bacterias.
They require monthly worm/ heartworm medications, and WDs get fleas in areas where fleas exist., ticks where ticks exist.
HOW TO IDENTIFY
Wolfdogs do not have signs on them that say WD. It is often difficult to phenotype animals when you are a beginner Wolfdog enthusiast. I have seen Wolfdogs that look like Labs. However that is not a common thing , and certainly not why most people seek out this mixed breed.
Puppies with distinct white facial markings are Huskies, Malamutes. Paws are another clue if you know the difference. Wolfdogs will have hazy grey/blue eyes at birth until they are sometimes 8 - 12 weeks old. Distinct blue eyes are Husky.
Animals of any significant Wolf content will mostly have gold/ yellow/ amber eyes that have an almont shape and are black lined, however Wolves do have brown eyes at times.
Phenotyping is not a science. It is a guessing game that often gets it wrong.
A NC breeder claims 97% , that the sire is pure, and the mother is 93%, and then they are whelped in January??? (RED FLAG)
Wolves and high content Wolfdogs do not breed until January or February. The gestation period is 63 days.
March - April pups is another good clue, but actual Wolf content of the parents dictates variation. The theory behind guessing % of pups when knowing the upline is flawed because no one can prove the mythical "pure Wolf" at the top of the tree. Although this raises huge arguments, DNA science in today's stage proves that evolution of the canid species has been changing since the beginning of time. Our interpretation of "pure" is only an idea.
Wolves and high content WDs don't bark like dogs. Exposed to dogs they can learn to bark, however it is more of a yip or oof and will not be as repetative. Mid contents and lower will bark.
Curled tails are another indication of lower content Husky, Malamute , or other mixes. A wolf can hold its tail at various elevations in excitement, but will rarely curl it over it's back, and will be straight down in most relaxed instances.
This in no way is intended to discourage you from what is taught a Low Content animal is, as many are the absolute reason that people think they are bonding so well with their WOLF dog .
My issues with many breeders of Low content WDs are the lies and misrepresentation and lack of care , knowledge, or experience in quality breeding. The fact that they refer to them as Wolves is the sales tactic. Then the buyer begins their journey into WolfDogdom totally mislead. Most northern breed Dogs can be misrepresented as Wolf Dogs or Hybrids.
Canines have been known to have certain issues with SOY, Wheat, or Corn based foods. It is important never to feed Soy of any type or capacity to Wolfdogs. There are a variety of Soy & Gluten free dry dog foods you can feed. Personally I find that Wolfdogs require different things than dogs and have found that raw meat is one answer. Fresh Chicken, bone and all, Deer parts , Bear meat, Beaver, Turkey, Pheasant, Fish. All available from various places depending what part of the country you live. A balanced combination is ideal. Here I watch the weight of each animal daily as well as the consistency of their scat. Scat is like the spark plug that tells you what your engine needs.
Most people believe that Wolves are carnivors. The truth is they are Omnivors, and need a balanced diet of meat, vegetable, fish, poultry, and things that they get from ingesting dirt, bone, fur, etc.
A diet of raw meat alone will shorten the life of a Wolf or Wolfdog. Wolves in the wild eat what they kill, and if the fur is not eaten with the bone fragments, they could die from a perforated bowel. The amazing digestive system of a Wolf re-organizes parts to prevent this from occurring. Wolf scat in the wild will appear to look like Hemp rope, as it is entwined with hair.
Wolves also eat grass to settle their stomachs just like Dogs. Captive Wolves and Wolfdogs rarely have access to grass, as they generally kill all vegetation in their space. It is wise to gather rich green grass and leave it for them as often as possible.
Today's quality dry Dog foods are a great source of the necessary nutritional factors needed aside from meat. Soy based foods are NO GOOD for Wolfdogs. You must carefully read what is in the foods you feed. There are several good dry foods including Costco's KIRKLAND, and DIAMOND PET FOODS . 4 Health, at Tractor Supply etc.
Wild Wolves eat up to 16 - 20 lbs a day, but are always on the move. They can travel 30 miles a day but generally stay to one territory.
Often their kills are not eaten fresh. Fresh meat is sometimes difficult to digest. But they will guard the kill, bury parts, letting it turn slightly before eating it. Wolves eat berries, and other vegetation at certain times of year.
It is difficult for the average person to see and guess Wolf content in any Wolfdog. Unless you have training, there are many dogs that look like a Wolf. Breeders of low and no content lookalikes have every scam they can think of to mess with you so they can get high prices for their mixed breed dogs.
"I know what he is, because I saw the parents. All of her pups are registered with the state because they are more than 50% Wolf".. (referring to TN. & N.C. which neither have any such law )
First off, if I can sell you a pup that isn't a Wolfdog, I can certainly buffalo you with the parents. If you don't know one, why would you know the other? German Shepherds are essentially direct decentants of Wolves. However if we label them as Wolfdogs, various uneducated local governments will outlaw them too. Oddly the GSD is far more apt to be an issue with aggression, yet media doesn't see the value of their stories.
Sable Huskies, Agouti Huskies, Wolf Grey Huskies, and combinations of all plus various other breeds used in the breeder DUPE , are all Wolf lookalikes and decendants of Wolves, as all dogs. Scientists have proof of the first domestic dogs dating back 135,000 years ago. YEP .
Evaluating a Wolfdog begins with the behaving mannerisms. Indication of Wolf content is not always visual, although it should be, as that is the primary goal. However as all animal mishandling goes, unneutered and unspayed animals do get together with other dogs and create Dogwolves ( i made that up) . These are most often sad stories ending in death for pups misunderstood and abused.
The old story, "gee I had a Lab once with yellow eyes and funny feet that was a complete freak. We had to get rid of him because he killed our cats and pissed all over the house". errrr sumpin like that.
There are many Dogs who also behave like that. It is in fact a Canine issue, but that is a place to start if you are inclined.
Most people want Wolfdogs because they want a Wolf looking animal. For some of you (be careful what you wish for) was written just for you.
Things to look for:
Wolves are born one color. Grey , Black , but all one color. Spotted pups mean DOG mix, Husky, Malamute, or? After a few weeks the coats may change to reveal ingredients.
Knowing how to guage the mix at the newborn stage is almost impossible if you do not know the heritage. NO Wolf pups are White at birth, but Wolf Dogs can be. Even Arctic pups are not born White.
Newborn pups have a blue haze over their eyes. They will not see for several days, and then their eyes begin to change after a few weeks.
Wolf & high % Wolfdog pups rarely have pink noses, or pink foot pads. They will not have white toe nails. However ARCTIC Wolf pups will have Taupe or an off white toe nail. The pink pigment is a recessive Dog gene that can surface in higher % Wolf Dogs.
A white line down the forehead is HUSKY. Distinct facial masks at the pup stage is likely Husky / Malamute. As a pup ages however, a mask or markings might appear.
High content or Wolves are only born in early spring. March through mid May is whelping season, no exceptions. Breeders will give you all kinds of BS reasons their Wolves had pups in other months. I've heard lately that global warming is the reason that Wolves mated in August. (Not)
Wolves and HC Wolfdogs have Yellow / Gold / Amber / Red Brown / Green eyes. They NEVER have Blue eyes.
A blue eyed Wolfdog is Husky mix, low content. Blue eyes is a Husky gene, which if dominant in the animal is a good indication that the Husky genes are higher than the Wolf. The blue eye gene must be carried by both parents somewhere to be inherited.
(there is a genetic disorder that appears in some where eyes turn a bluish grey. This is a disease of the eye, often blinding)
Wolves have thick ears, with fur inside as heavy as out. Their ears are rarely pointed, but may have a slight appearance of point at angles. Wolve's ears are rounded at the tip.
HC WDs and Wolves have a sloped stop and not often an abrupt forehead. They have long noses, and never have pink noses. Snow nose is a pink pigment pertaining to Dogs.
WDs and Wolves have a pronounced cape often with distinct stripes as many Greys have. Their fur is coarse on top and thick underneath. It is almost impossible to soak them to the skin. The top layer of hair (guardhair) protects them from water, snow, ice, and other natural discomforts. Grey Wolf hairs are banded, multicolored like quills. Some Dogs can have this also.
WDs and Wolves will change color with the seasons, as much wildlife does.
Many Northern breed dogs have a Pre Caudal Gland mark. This mark is no indication of Wolf content, but if it does not exist, it is one more factor agains the Wolf content.
Wolves and HC WDs have narrow chests, legs close together, long large boned legs with low placed forjoints and long feet, toed out or splayed in front. Back legs are mostly cow hocked, meaning pointed in.
Large chested animals show more Dog.
Wolves have long torsos, and a distinct way of moving, slow or fast it never resemble the paces of Dog breeds to the trained eye. Their back end appears squared, and they will single track.
HC WDs and Wolves have tails that do not natuarally curl or arc over their back. In alert or playful modes Wolves tails will stand straight out or somewhat up, but never curled. Curled tails are Dog traits.
Few people ever will admit that they have been stung by misleading introductions to Wolf Dog ownership. If they truly want their Dog to be a Wolf they will see all these things wether they are there or not.
This is a rugged outline for evaluating, and in no way is this the entire amount of knowledge required. I am open to input from knowledgable handlers experiences to add.
Most Wolfdog folks refer to the Filial number mentioned several times already. This is fairly inaccurate folklore like stories of how people got their animals from wild dens or trappers.
If you have no pure Wolf (verified) you have no F1. There likely hasn't been a pure Wolf in any captive breeding ever. Canines are all hybridized even in the wild.
Interesting stuff that has no interface with Wolf Dog ownership.
Grey Wolves change color with the seasons as part of their survival package. No Red Wolf genes are presumed in the "Brush Wolf Pack". Eastern Greys (Canis Lupis Lycaon) are genetically connected to the Coyote. Aside from that, this article is from a very interesting perspective.