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Dogs are amazing creatures that bring joy, fun, and companionship. It’s incredible to observe their behavior and characteristics, and impossible to see some of this behavior and not see the reflection of their ancestry, the wolf. Some dog owners enjoy these wolf characteristics so much that they want to take it to the next level and own a wolf dog hybrid.
It’s well known that domesticated house dogs evolved from wolves as humans began to selectively breed wolves based on certain characteristics they wanted in a companion or worker. But did you know that dogs and wolves are actually the same species? They are both subspecies of canis lupus. This gives us the ability to cross-breed these animals with relative ease.
Other artificial animal cross-breedings, such as the horse with a donkey to get a mule, end with the offspring. It is impossible for two separate species to breed and produce offspring that is also able to produce offspring. Because wolves and dogs are of the same species, we are able to cross-breed them to produce offspring that will indeed also produce offspring.
Whether by nature or the intent of people, there have been many instances of wolf and dog crossbreeding. It’s become more popular to have a wolf hybrid dog, and more and more dog lovers are considering this option as opposed to owning a conventional domesticated dog. Just as it’s important to research a dog breed before purchasing one, it’s very important to research why a wolf hybrid dog may or may not be the right choice.
Wolf Characteristics & Temperament
Wolves are wild animals, so their characteristics and temperament can be just that: wild. But more than that, wolves are highly social animals that live in packs. The wolves are hardly ever on their own from birth until death.
Wolf hierarchy is based on the alpha structure. The alpha dog in the pack leads, is the first to eat when a kill is made, and are the only ones to breed, the alpha male breeding with the alpha female.
Adult wolves eat a fairly large amount of food, but often this amount varies depending on if the pack has been able to make a kill. On average, a wolf can eat anywhere from 5 to 14 pounds of food a day.
Of course, that amount may be greater if the pack has not been able to eat for quite some time and they make a kill. The wolves then binge, so to speak, to make up for their lack of nourishment in past and possibly future.
Wolves are standoffish and often “shy” around humans. This is because they fear people. When it comes to other animals, however, they are predators. Wolves typically go for larger prey (such as buffalo, elk, deer) because these animals are large enough to feed the pack. If they are unable to kill large prey for some time, they do kill smaller prey such as beavers or rabbits.
Remember that these characteristics do have the chance of presenting themselves when you have a wolf hybrid dog. Of course, you will be mixing with a domesticated dog, so you are also working with those characteristics as well.
Which Breed to Mix with Wolf?
It’s important to consider which breed of domesticated dog you want to make up the “dog” portion of your wolf hybrid dog. Obviously the most popular breeds are the dogs that look like a wolf themselves: the three most popular breeds tend to be Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd.
As you consider whether or not a wolf hybrid dog would be right for you, think about whether or not the characteristics of one of these three breeds would be ideal for your animal companion to possess.
The Siberian Husky is a high energy, medium size dog that is loyal, very friendly, and typically not aggressive. This might be a good temperament to balance out the “shy” and standoffish nature of the wolf as well as any issues with aggressive dominance if the wolf dog hybrid turns out to be an alpha.
The Alaskan Malamute is a high energy, large size dog that will be friendly, loving, devoted, and playful. This breed may also be able to balance the aloof nature of the wolf. The devotion and playfulness will be quite similar to the wolf, however, as wolves are pack animals and love playing and spending time with their pack.
The German Shepherd is a medium energy, large size dog that will be highly intelligent, confident, and brave. They are the second most popular dog by the American Kennel Club rankings. Mixing a German Shepherd with a wolf will most likely get you a very loyal and unwavering companion.
There are plenty of less popular options that are not to be dismissed completely. Do your research and see what information is out there regarding other wolf hybrid dog crosses.
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’s 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, and high content contains 75% or more wolf parentage. 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.
Training & Care for Your Wolf Hybrid Dog
The most crucial part of raising and owning a wolf hybrid dog is proper training and care for your animal friend. Of course, the earlier the training occurs, the better, so if you are planning on purchasing from a breeder, it’s important to research that the breeder is carrying out training and care for your wolf hybrid dog before you gain possession of it.
To avoid the possibility of having a standoffish dog, it’s best to start exposing your puppy to humans as early as day ten of the dog’s life. Obviously, these humans may be the breeders from which you are purchasing your wolf hybrid dog, but as long as they are familiarized with people at a very young age, they will be able to feel more comfortable around people throughout their lives.
It is also highly beneficial to expose and acquaint your wolf hybrid dog at a young age with the people, places, and situations they will regularly encounter throughout their lives. Wolves can be very skittish and it is important that you not “throw them into the fire”, per se, by introducing them very rapidly to noises, smells, people, objects, and even machinery very suddenly.
Just as with a regular domesticated dog, you will also want to pet and cuddle them as much as possible while they are eating. Due to the “feast or famine” nature of their eating, wolves can be very aggressive around their pack brothers and sisters during mealtime.
Show them that someone approaching them while they are eating is not a sign that someone is trying to steal their food. This will allow you to avoid any possible instances of aggression when your wolf hybrid is older and someone happens to walk near them while they are eating.
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
Training and disciplining your wolf dog hybrid may be different than other dogs because wolf dogs can be quite sensitive. Be sure to use positive reinforcement rather than negative to train your dog. Use treats and a firm voice to ensure that your dog still feels appreciated and loved by you even when they may not behaving exactly how you want them to be.
Otherwise, use other tried and true methods of training to make sure that your wolf hybrid dog is going to be obedient and well-behaved. This training will also help build a strong bond between you and your wolf hybrid dog, as well as serve as a way for you to establish your dominance in the household.
Caring for your wolf hybrid dog, just like training it, is extremely important and absolutely crucial to start at the early stages of your dog’s life. Caring for your dog includes not only feeding, grooming, and exercising your dog, but also socializing it.
Because wolves eat such a large amount of food on a daily basis, it’s important to make sure that your wolf hybrid dog is getting enough nourishment to maintain proper health. Again, it will be helpful to take into consideration your wolf hybrid’s age, weight, activity level, and the cross-breed in order to determine how much food it will require.
The Right Food, Grooming & Exercise for Wolf Hybrids
It’s also necessary to consider the type of dog food that will most benefit the health of your wolf hybrid. Wolves are carnivorous animals, and it’s important to help them maintain the protein and meat-heavy diet that is necessary for them to thrive. Be sure to read reviews in addition to the nutrition facts on the label of the dog food you’re considering feeding your wolf hybrid.
Grooming your dog is not so much to the benefit of your wolf hybrid, but rather a benefit to you. Your wolf dog may roll around in a puddle of mud and manure and be loving life, but you probably don’t want to have that in your household. Be sure to research how often and in what way is normal to groom the cross breed of your wolf hybrid.
Exercising your wolf hybrid is one of the top priorities you need to have in owning this type of dog. Because wolves can travel amazing distances in such a short period of time, they have an immense amount of energy. If your wolf hybrid is cooped up in your house all day, that energy has to go somewhere, and will probably go into the destruction of your furniture or other household items (even door frames!)
Take your hybrid dog for lots of walks and runs, and let them roam around to get their zoomies out. This is why it may be necessary to have a large fenced in yard (with high fences to keep your wolf hybrid from leaping over the fence) in order to successfully own a wolf hybrid.
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’re not at home for longer spans of time. (Keep in mind, though, that it’s 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.
So, weigh your options. Do your research and find out if a wolf hybrid would be a great fit for you. Check out the breeders in your area and be sure to look for reviews on that breeder to confirm that they are reputable and know what they’re doing! You may find that a wolf hybrid is just the companion you’ve been hoping for!