Wolfdogs: Living With Wolf Hybrid Puppies

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I own a wolf/malamute mix, Dezzy, and I've learned a lot about training and caring for wolfdogs.

Is This Dog a "Wolf Hybrid"?

What most people don't realize is that the term "hybrid" when referring to wolfdogs is incorrect since dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are a subspecies of wolf (Canis lupus). This is important because the rabies vaccine hasn't been approve for wolfdog mixes even though they should be vaccinated.

Basic Characteristics of a Wolf Mixed Puppy

About a month ago, I adopted a wolf/malamute mix puppy from a couple that was moving and just couldn't take her with them. Dezzy is almost five months old, and she is the first dog over ten pounds that I have ever owned. Because of my lack of experience and the fact that she's part wolf, I felt daunted by the task but couldn't help but fall in love with her big brown eyes the moment I saw her.

Height, Weight, and Fur

At five months, Dezzy is already a big girl. I don't know her approximate weight or height yet, but as you can see from the photo above, her paws are already almost as big as my palm. According to ucadogs.com, wolfdog mixes can weigh 70–100 pounds at 25–32 inches tall. This fact is for females only, so be aware that males can be much heavier and bigger. They also have dense fur that can come in a grizzled sable, white or black phased.

Are They Hard to Train?

In general, training for wolf mixed dogs is difficult, partially due to their intelligence. They also require lots of attention, a ton of patience, and plenty of space to roam around in. I was surprised when I read this because Dezzy has been easy to train, especially considering my lack in experience with larger dogs, and she has required a lot of attention but still likes doing her own thing, too.

The Puppy Stage

However, that all is supposed to change at around 18 months when she is expected to show more of her wolf side after all the hormones hit. Apparently young wolf mixes act more like your average puppy dog while the older ones get more wolfish, so this is something a puppy owner should be prepared for.

The advantage to their puppy stage is that wolfdogs can learn to get along with other animals or children and develop other habits early on that you would like them to carry on into adulthood. Dezzy personally has her own best friend in my boyfriend's Blue Heeler, Bailey. Lately poor old Bailey has been going a little nuts having a puppy follow her, mimic her, and tease her all the time but they still get along well enough to share a drink (third photo to the right) or just play around.

Likes and Dislikes

I've found that as long as Dezzy has plenty of water and opportunity to play, she's easy to handle. She doesn't do well with laying around for long periods of time because she has unlimited amounts of energy. She loves interacting with other dogs but it's best to keep her around those closer to her size that can defend themselves because she can get a little rough.

Would you ever own a wolfdog?

How to Care for a Wolf Mix Puppy

Wolf mixes mature a lot slower than regular dogs and aren't fully matured until around three years old. They also have senses that are a little more heightened with an amazing sense of sight, smell, and hearing. They are extremely athletic with great endurance.

Loyalty and Protectiveness

On top of all that awesomeness, wolfdogs are extremely loyal. They tend to bond to one person and stick to them faithfully. At times, they can even be protective as they tend to be uncertain about strangers. Dezzy has definitely bonded with me, waiting outside the bathroom door as I shower and following me literally at my heels everywhere I go. She's yet to get protective around strangers and is more curious and eager to play instead but it's possible that that is just because she is still a puppy and that may change when she gets older. Keeping her in contact with people whenever possible will help her be more trusting later on when she finally matures.

Separation Anxiety

Wolf mixes are also known for having separation anxiety. Unfortunately for Dezzy, whenever we leave, we've had to tie her up to prevent her from literally destroying everything she can get her paws on, which is a lot considering her height. Slowly, we've been giving her more time to roam and we've also worked at keeping things hidden so that eventually she can roam just like her buddy Bailey.

While we're gone, she will not only tear and gnaw at everything, but she will also howl for the first twenty minutes to a half hour. Leaving for short periods of time and then coming back has helped because she's learning that we aren't just abandoning her. Also, making sure not to make leaving a big deal by ignoring her rather than saying goodbyes before walking out the door is essential to letting her know that when I leave it shouldn't be a big deal.

Training Tips

When training your puppy, make sure and be nice. No hitting or anything harsh. Keep in mind that they're idea of submission when in trouble involves squatting and urinating. This is especially frustrating but just remember that they are just a puppy and still learning. It takes a lot of time and patience but they are smart and will understand what they need to do soon enough. Repetition is key and providing treats for good behavior may help.

Do They Eat Dog Food?

Other than giving them plenty of exercise and training, wolf mixes have a diet that's a little different than your regular puppy. They need a higher amount of protein and may actually go on binges, especially in September when the weather gets a little colder. Monitor their intake and feed them throughout the day rather than giving large amounts only once or twice a day.

Other Facts to Know About Your Wolf Mix

  1. If you travel a lot in the car, make sure to bring your puppy around as much as possible so they can get used to it fast. Usually, they will get sick, urinate, or defecate so start with short rides and work your way up to longer ones. Most of them love to ride in the car but it takes some getting used to it first.
  2. When bathing them, never use soaps or shampoos. Some articles say to just brush them often while others suggest using a cream rinse instead.
  3. Keep in mind that they shed twice a year and that when they do it is a lot of fur. Just remember to brush them frequently and keep in mind that they'll grow it back in a few months.
  4. Never let your wolf mix run loose. If you must, keep them in a fence yard or pen but remember that they are excellent diggers.
  5. The teething stage is tough. Dezzy will chew anything no matter how weird or unhealthy it is and she will do it constantly. She began loosing teeth about two weeks ago and they've seemed to begun to grow but in but it has take a lot of patience. Teething is uncomfortable and can be painful for dogs so keep that in mind when this begins to happen when they're around four to five months old. Plenty of toys and things to gnaw on helps a lot. It lasts for two to three months so it's best to be aware of it and prepare ahead.
  6. Just remember to give them lots of love and patience. Your puppy has a lot to learn and many stages in life to go through. It'll be tough but it's worth it just to have that companion that you know will always be there no matter what. If a wolf dog mix is the type of puppy for you, then good luck!

© 2012 Lisa

Billy on July 28, 2020:

Your info is right on I own a hybrid wolf and they are not a dog but what u put in is what u get out but let me tell you if you are fat or not energized don’t even consider must exercise 6plus hours a day full run sprint jump never knew a animal could just keep going great job guys very informational

Leah on July 22, 2020:

I own a 2 1/2 yr old Artic, Timber and Siberian Husky mix. The SMARTEST "dog" I have ever had! Easy to train but gets bored easily. At 5 weeks learned how to sit in 10 minutes. Very protective and rather large. She sheds 24/7 . One should NOT get a hybrid unless they have the time, money and patience. I am 99% of the time so it is easy for us to keep up on her training. They ARE worth it IF one is very knowledgeable beforehand! Matoaka is NOT a dog and we keep reminding ourselves of that. Cannot assume things about her.

Tegan on December 03, 2019:

Thank you, this helps a lot i have been looking in to getting a wolf-dog so if there is any more important information it would help a lot. Im literally takeing notes lol.

Chelsea from Botswana on February 23, 2015:

I've always been interested in wolf/dog mixes. I find them so beautiful and i dunno, just something about having a pet so close to its wild cousin. Great hub btw :) Dezzy is adorable :)

Paul on January 16, 2015:

Excellent summary. Good looking wolf-dog.

brandy on February 18, 2014:

I live with over a 100 hybrids we are kinda like a haven for them. They are so cool i love all of them.

cindy on October 02, 2013:

How is Dezzy doing now? I have a malamute/white shepherd/wolf mix. I got him at a year old and we've been together three months and he's been great! I have leashed trained him and now he knows all the basic commands and a couple tricks. It's been a challenge but we're settled into a routine now. I actually take him to the dog park and let him run and play. He's great with other dogs and he never goes to far. He checks in often.

Tommyp on January 17, 2013:

Mckenzie valley wolf

jellygator from USA on August 26, 2012:

She's a beautiful pup! Your description sounds a LOT like my dog, who isn't a wolf hybrid at all, but has every single personality trait you described (including chewing the doors if I left her.) We've gotten a handle on that through some crate training exercises, though, and now she's fine when we leave, but I still have to be very cautious about other people coming into my house because she will attack if I don't introduce her and let her know they're a friend.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on August 19, 2012:

Great info for anyone with a love of wolves and there are quite a few who do. These tips will help anyone with a large breed dog as they are related to the care and feeding of them.

Natasha from Hawaii on August 19, 2012:

Haha. I love how dogs sleep in top of their limbs! I don't see how that's comfortable, but clearly they are. When I'm out walking my dogs, people frequently think my girl is part wolf. I suppose she could be - she was a stray before I adopted her from the SPCA, and I know at least one person in the area sometimes breeds wolf hybrids. After reading your description of Dezzy, my girl behaved pretty much the same way. Now that she's five I pretend she's 'matured!'

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on August 17, 2012:

Dezzy is so gorgeous and this is a knockout Hub! I'd never known about a "hybrid" dog. I'd worry about vaccines. And their anxiety. Your information is so complete. Thanks.

LauraGSpeaks from Raleigh, NC on August 16, 2012:

Interesting hub. I have never heard of a wolf-dog--I mistakenly thought huskies were the closest thing to a wolf. My husky had horrible separation anxiety when she was young, but she is so much better now.

chrissieklinger from Pennsylvania on August 02, 2012:

Very interesting and an adorable dog. My chocolate lab didn;t calm down and stop destroying things until he was 7 yrs. old. He is 14 now and still tries to get to things on the countertop!

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on August 02, 2012:

This is an eyeopener Lisa. I never knew such a "hybrid" existed. Rated up and interesting. Good luck with Dezzy and i hope she catches that pesky tail :)

Dawn Ross on August 02, 2012:

Very good information. Although I've heard they are good jumpers too, not just good diggers.

Gamerelated from California on August 01, 2012:

I have always been fascinated by wolf-dog hybrids and all hybrid animals and plants for that matter. This is an interesting Hub. I like your pictures. Good work.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2012:

This is an interesting and useful hub, Lisa. I love dogs, but I don't think I could handle a wolf-dog hybrid! Good luck with Dezzy - she looks like a lovely girl. I hope things go well as she grows up.

Helena Ricketts from Indiana on August 01, 2012:

She's beautiful. I really like this hub. I knew that these dogs were out there but knew absolutely nothing about them. This is good information for anyone that is thinking about getting one of these dogs because it sounds like they aren't for just anyone so it's great that you posted this.

State By State Laws For Wolf Dogs Wolf Hybrids Wolves

The Wolf Ranch is not responsible to constantly update this list with current state regulations. Please consult your state department of wildlife to determine if your state regulates wolf hybrids.


Title 3-8-1 Code of Alabama. "Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, it shall be illegal to own, maintain, sell, or trade any canidae or felidae for which there is no USDA licensed rabies vaccine. Anyone currently owning or maintaining such animal (as of 4/5/94) may keep the animal for the length of the animal's life providing the animal is spayed or neutered and is registered with the Department of Agriculture and Industries."
Alabama Rabies Law
as it
Affects Animals of Recent Wolf Descent
Excerpts Taken from Alabama's
"Anthrozoos News and Views" Magazine
written by
Dr. Bill Johnston, DVM.
of the
Alabama Department of Health

Rabies Control Rules and Regulations 420-4-.Ol-.09, which received final approval by the State Board of Health on September 17, 1997:
Our state rabies law provides for the State Board of Health to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for rabies control which have the force and effect of law."
In the definitions section, the document refers to the taxonomic changes made in Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic Geographic Reference (1993) and by reference incorporates the definitions used by the animal inspections branch of USDA in the Code of Federal Regulations, which include hybrid crosses in their definitions of "dog" and "cat."
There is lengthy explanation of rules regarding animal control procedures, reporting procedures, investigation of reports, and evidence, followed by 420 4-4-.07, which reads:
"Extra-label Use of Animal Antirabies Vaccines. Provides for extra-label use of rabies vaccination of domestic animals - with a notation on the patient's record - but, still does not allow vaccination of wildlife. (Note: See definitions). There is technically no "approved" vaccine for swine (pot-bellied pigs), goats, llamas, and most other exotic species kept as pets, but there is often a demonstrated need for rabies vaccination and efficacy can be expected in domestic mammals. The rule, by definition, also allows for the immunization of wolf-dog hybrids, but still may require their euthanasia on a case-by-case basis in the event of an aggressive, unprovoked attack, depending on the circumstances of the bite and the epidemiology. The rules do not change the traditional recommendation that people should not attempt to keep wolf hybrids as pets, but rather addresses the situation of thousands of such animals in the state that already exist. The rules also provide for rabies vaccination programs in zoos, research institutions, and exotic exhibitors licensed under the USDA Animal Welfare Act in an attempt to protect valuable animals."
In the body of the Rule, in "Definitions," "Dog means any live or dead member of the domesticated dog (Canis lupus familiaris) family of any age or any dog-hybrid cross, in the exposure context."
In another definition it reads: "Hybrid-cross" means an animal resulting from the crossbreeding between two different species or types of animals. Crosses between wild animal species such as lions and tigers, are considered to be wild animals. Crosses between wild animal species and domestic animals, such as dogs and wolves or buffalo and domestic cattle, are considered to be domestic animals.""DOG-WOLF HYBRIDS = DOGS ("Mixed Breed")"

"It is generally agreed upon by public health professionals that, IF people are intent on maintaining dog-wolf hybrids, they should definitely be immunized against rabies - hence the inclusion in the new rabies control rules (Chapter 420 44) of definitions that place these hybrids in the same species of domestic animals defined as "dogs" by genus and species (i.e. Canis lupus). Because there is still a paragraph in an unenforceable agricultural law, however, that may prohibit the ownership of such animals in the state, some concern remains for veterinarians insured by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Professional Liability Insurance Trust (PLIT) in the unlikely event that they are charged with an illegal act for treating prohibited animals. PLIT officials have assured me that no such criminal charges have ever emerged against a veterinarian, and that they would still cover a veterinarian charged with negligence, malpractice or other civil action, while treating a hybrid, exotic or wild animal.
The PLIT also states that, "This act (AL94 332) does not specify if it is illegal for veterinarians to vaccinate and otherwise treat these animals. Should malpractice allegations be brought against an Alabama insured veterinarian resulting from the treatment of a wolf-dog hybrid, the insurance company would apply the illegal acts exclusion only if the court or regulatory authority with jurisdiction determines an illegal act has been committed.
PLIT routinely provides liability coverage for thousand of veterinarians in California (even though ferrets are still illegal in that state) and for veterinarians in some other states where antiquated laws are on the books where some pet psittacine birds are illegal.
To avoid any confusion or controversy until the Alabama law can be repealed, when vaccinating dog-wolf hybrids against rabies, veterinarians are advised to defer to Chapter 420 44 and call them "Dogs," noting "Mixed" under breed designation."


"Under 5 AAC 92.029 Permit For Possessing Live Game (a) No person may possess, import, release or export, or assist in importing, releasing, or exporting, live game, unless the person holds a possession permit issued by the department." "(c) The department (of Fish and Game) may not issue a permit for the capture, possession, import or export of any game animal, including a hybrid of a game animal and a species listed in subsection (b) for use as a pet."
"The statutory definition of "game" (AS 16.05.940) includes wolves."


"Possession of wolves in Arizona is prohibited without a permit. They may not be imported or possessed except as otherwise permitted by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
Under current Department of Game and Fish policy, any hybrid resulting from the cross of a wolf and a domestic dog is considered a domestic animal and not subject to the Department's jurisdiction."


"The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission does not address the domestic ownership of pure wolves or Wolf Hybrids."
ALERT ! Proposed Changes, Arkansas:

Text of Arkansas House Bill #2207, "An Act to Regulate the Ownership and Breeding of Wolves and Wolf-Dog Hybrids", is online at:
Note: the above link is to an Adobe Acrobat PDF

Apr 20 2001 10:42:07 - Notification that HB2207 is now Act 1768


Ownership of pure wolves is illegal except by the few people qualifying for a valid permit from Fish and Game. Among the criteria for such a permit are rigid requirements for facilities and experience in raising such animals, along with approval of the USDA. "Any F1 (first) generation wolf hybrid whelped on or before February 4, 1988 may be possessed under permit from the department. No state permit is required to possess the progeny of F1 generation wolf hybrids, but cities and counties may prohibit possession or require a permit."

"Pure wolves require commercial licensing and appropriate carnivore facilities. #1101 (A). No person shall possess, sell, acquire, purchase, broker, trade, barter or attempt to sell, acquire, purchase, broker, trade or barter live wildlife unless he first obtains a proper license as provided in this chapter. All species of wildlife listed on the license must be approved by the Division such approval shall not be granted if the proposed wildlife is deemed to be detrimental to wild native wildlife. The Colorado Division of Wildlife does not regulate ownership of Wolf Hybrids as they are considered domestic animals."


"Possession of potentially dangerous animals. For the purposes of this section, the following shall be considered as potentially dangerous animals: . the wolf . No person shall possess a potentially dangerous animal. Any such animal illegally possessed may be ordered seized and may be disposed of as determined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars for each offense. A bird or quadruped which results from the crossbreeding of any animal with one of the species listed above . shall be considered to be a wild bird or quadruped of that species."


"No person shall bring into this State, possess, sell or exhibit any live wild mammal or hybrid of a wild mammal . not native to or generally found in Delaware without first securing a permit under this chapter." The regulations state: "There must be two enclosures to house a (Wolf Hybrid), a primary enclosure and a secondary enclosure. Fastening or locking devices shall be required on both the primary and the secondary enclosures and must be tamper proof from the general public. The primary enclosure shall consist of a pen, cage or other enclosure where the (Wolf Hybrid) will be kept, and must be of such a construction that it cannot be destroyed by or escaped from by the (Wolf Hybrid). The secondary enclosure must be of a type sufficient to prevent the (Wolf Hybrid) from escaping from the property of the custodian . Should the (wolf or Wolf Hybrid) escape from its primary enclosure. The secondary enclosure shall be of a type sufficient to prevent bodily contact between members of the public and the (wolf or Wolf Hybrid)."
"The subject creature must not be a public nuisance. A nuisance will be considered as including, but not limited to, a subject creature which creates excessive odors or noise, displays obnoxious behavior or causes justifiable fear."
Inspection of the premises where the animal will be housed is required. Individual animal permits are required for pet owners and Class (4) permits are required for breeders or exhibitors of wolves and Wolf Hybrids.
"Deleware is divided into three counties and each has its own county government. The two northern most counties have passed laws stating that certain animals are not allowed. Wolves and Wolf Hybrids are listed as animals that are not allowed in New Castle County or in Kent County"


"Pure wolves and hybrids which are 25% or less domestic dog require a $100 permit per year unless exempted as a researcher." Provisions include owner "demonstrates no less than one year of substantial practical experience (to consist of no less than 100 hours) plus successfully complete a written examination on the care, feeding, handling and husbandry of the species for which the permit is sought, or other species, within the same biological family . which are substantially similar in size, characteristics, care and nutritional requirements to the species for which the permit is sought," is able to provide a proper diet, health care and exercise, caging meets minimum specifications and that the neighborhood setting is appropriate." There are yard, containment, housing and care requirements. Those animals that are 75% or more wolf must be permitted as Class II wildlife."


Possession of wolves and wolf Hybrids is prohibited in the state they are defined as "Wild Animals."
"Wild animal" means any animal which is not wildlife and is not normally a domestic species in this state. This term specifically includes any hybrid or cross between any combination of a wild animal, wildlife, and a domestic animal. Offspring from all subsequent generations of such crosses or hybrids are wild animals.
28-5-4(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to import, transport, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal . without first obtaining a wild animal license from the department. (b) Wild animal licenses will be issued only to persons engaged in the wholesale or retail wild animal business or persons exhibiting wild animals to the public."
". except that any person possessing hybrid crosses between wolves and domestic animals on July 1, 1994 shall have until July 1, 1995 to apply for a fee-exempt permit to possess these animals as pets provided, however, that the said hybrid is sexually neutered provided, further, that it shall be unlawful to transfer possession or ownership of said hybrid without prior written approval from the department. Liability insurance shall not be mandatory for wolf hybrids possessed under this fee-exempt permit.

"Canis familiaris crossed with wolf, coyote, dingo, jackal, fox, dhole, African wilddog, Raccoon dog. are prohibited in the State of Hawaii.


"Any person who obtains or possesses a canine exhibiting primary wolf characteristics or who captures a wolf alive or possesses or obtains a wolf that was born or held in captivity for any purpose must apply for a license for each animal within three (3) days of possession capture or commencement of captivity. Application for a license for each animal shall be made on a form prescribed by the Department and must be completed and returned to the Department within two (2) weeks. Applicants shall have each animal properly tattooed by a qualified veterinarian. The veterinarian shall certify that the animal has been tattooed on the license application."


The Illinois Dangerous Animals Act prohibits ownership or possession of wolves except for zoological parks, federally licensed exhibits, circuses, scientific or educational institutions, research laboratories, veterinary hospitals or animal refuges where they must be in an escape-proof enclosure. "There is no separate designation for the crossbred wolf/dog or coyote/dog mix, and as such are accepted as wolves if they are represented as wolf crossbreds." (sic).
"It is no defense to a violation of Section 2 that the person violating such section has attempted to domesticate the dangerous animal." Illinois Revised Statutes, Chapter 8, paragraph 242(2).
According to a representative of the State Veterinarian's office, revisions to the regulations would be considered if USDA were to approve existing rabies vaccines for use in wolves and Wolf Hybrids.


A Class III wild animal permit is required for each individual wolf. Additionally, a USDA permit must be possessed by the owner for each wolf. Wolf Hybrids are not regulated by the state and do not require a permit.

"Local, municipal or county officials should be contacted for relevant regulations/ordinances which would supersede state regulations. Regardless of percentage, Wolf Hybrids would be regulated by relevant sections of Chapter 12, Code of Iowa and Iowa Departmental Rules, Chapter 21-67" (which states "Dog, as that term is used in the rules, includes hybrid dog mixtures.") Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship licensed facilities (pounds, animals shelters, boarding and grooming kennels, commercial breeders, etc.) are inspected and license issuance/renewal is subject to compliance with relevant laws and rules. Under the Department of Natural Resources, owners of two or more purebred wolves must have a game breeder's permit. Their facilities are inspected and permits issued by the Department of Natural Resources."
Wolf/wolf hybrids would be subject to the same entry requirements as dogs coming into Iowa from elsewhere. These state that the animal must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, indicating apparent freedom from disease or exposure to infectious or contagious disease. No animals from rabies quarantined areas will be admitted. All animals 4 months of age and older must have been vaccinated for rabies within the past twelve months, with a vaccine and procedures recommended by the Compendium of Animal Rabies Control. Currently, the Compendium advises that hybrid animals be considered as wild animals and strongly discourages vaccination. There is no approved vaccine for use in wolves."


"Any person possessing a wolf must have a possession permit. There is no charge for the permit." Proof of purchase or receipt is required. A game breeders permit is required to engage in the business of raising and selling wolves. The possession of such animals shall be subject to all federal and state laws and regulations, and to all local ordinances. Wolf Hybrids are not considered to be wild animals and are not regulated by the Department of Wildlife."


"Pursuant to KRS 150.183 and 301 KAR 2:081, wolves cannot be imported, transported, possessed or sold, except for certain educational, scientific, or research purposes approved by the commissioner."
KRS Chap. 65, § 3 reads: "(1) A county, city, urban-county, or charter county may regulate or prohibit the holding of wildlife that have been identified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as inherently dangerous to human health and safety. (1) The department has declared the following species of wildlife to be inherently dangerous to human health and safety and shall establish procedures for denying a transportation permit for said wildlife . wolf or wolf hybrids over 25% wolf." This law took effect in July 1998.
Informally, it was explained that it is basically up to the local government, not the DFWR, to decide if they will allow or prohibit possession of such animals within their jurisdiction but if a person applied for a permit to import a wolf or wolf hybrid into an illegal county or municipality, DFWR would deny the permit.


"No person shall possess within the State of Louisiana any of the following species or its subspecies of live wild quadrupeds, domesticated or otherwise. Red wolf, Gray wolf."
The prohibition against wolf-dog hybrids expired January 1, 1997 however, "persons are cautioned that local ordinances or other state regulations may prohibit possession of these animals."
"An animal which appears indistinguishable from a wolf, or is in any way represented to be a wolf may be considered to be a wolf in the absence of bonafide documentation to the contrary."


Under Title 7, § 3907, 12-C of the Animal Laws of the State of Maine, "Dog means a member of the genus and species known as Canis familiaris or any canine, regardless of generation, resulting from the interbreeding of a member of Canis familiaris with a wolf hybrid as defined in subsection 30." A separate definition, however, reads "Wolf hybrid means a mammal that is the offspring of the reproduction between a species of wild canid or wild canid hybrid and a domestic dog or wild canid hybrid. Wolf hybrid includes a mammal that is represented by its owner to be a wolf hybrid, coyote hybrid, coydog or any other kind of wild canid hybrid."
"A dog or wolf hybrid must be licensed by its owner or keeper in accordance with the laws of this State." "If a person applying for a license declares that the dog is a wolf hybrid, a municipal clerk may issue a license without proof that the dog has been immunized against rabies. In accordance with subsection 5, the license issued for the dog must state that the dog is a wolf hybrid.
Under the provisions of 22 MRSA Human Services, Sec. 1313-A, however, "If an undomesticated animal or a domesticated ferret or domesticated wolf hybrid bites a person, an animal control officer, a local health officer, or a game warden may immediately kill or order killed that animal without destroying the head . The owner of a . domesticated wolf hybrid shall pay transportation and testing costs for that animal."
Chapter 251 lists the following definitions: "Suspected Rabid Animal: (3) Any domesticated mammal which has bitten a human or domesticated animal." "Stray or owned wildlife hybrids must be euthanized regardless of vaccination status."
ALERT ! Proposed Changes, Maine:

Text of Maine LD #739, "An Act to Require That Wolf Hybrids be Tattooed and to Establish Penalties for Release", is online at:


Original Title: Act to Require That Wolf Hybrids be Permanently Identified& Est Penalities for Releasing Wolf Hybrids from CaptivityCaptivity
Sponsor: DUNLAP
Emergency: N

Last House Action: 05/01/2001 Passed to be Enacted. Sent for concurrence Ordered sent forthwith.
Last Senate Action: 05/02/2001 PASSED TO BE ENACTED
Governor Action: 05/10/2001 Signed by the Governor
Chapter: 129 Public Law


"A person or incorporated or unincorporated organization may not harbor or move within Maryland any live wolves or hybrids, for which there is no U.S.D.A. certified vaccine against rabies, without first having obtained a permit from the Service."


"No person shall possess, sell, trade, breed, import, export or release a wild canid hybrid or wild felid hybrid, except as otherwise provided by rules and regulations of the division. Any mammal which is the offspring of the reproduction between any species of wild canid or wolf hybrid wild canid and a domestic dog or hybrid wild canid, or is represented by its owner to be a wolf hybrid, coyote hybrid, coy dog or any other kind of wild canid hybrid . shall be considered to be wild animals and subject to the provisions of this chapter."
"All existing pet hybrids will be 'grandfathered' but they must be registered with the (Department of Fisheries and Wildlife) by July 1, 1994. Although these existing pets are grandfathered, they may not be bred . hybrids obtained after April 10, 1994 are unlawful and subject to the enforcement provisions of the state's wildlife laws (MGL 131)." "Applications for the permit require two photographs of the animal to be registered.


"Wild wolves in Michigan are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and under the State's Natural Resources and Enviromental Protection Act, Part 365. Thus, they cannot be "taken" or possessed in the state.
Possession, importation or breeding of wolf-dog crosses is prohibited in the state. Any wolf-dog crosses existing prior to the effective date of this regulation require an annual permit, sterilization, permanent implanted identification and rigid containment and transportation facilities. Owners must also post specific warning signs informing people of the presence of a dangerous wolf-dog. Permitting and prosecution is to be handled by the local jurisdiction in which the animal is located.


"Minnesota does not currently regulate Wolf Hybrids, although they may be prohibited by local ordinances in some areas. However, if a Wolf Hybrid bears close resemblance to a "pure" wolf, the owner may be required to show proof that the animal is legally maintained and that it is a Hybrid. Pure wolves may not be taken from the wild, may only be obtained from properly licensed breeders and require a permit for their possession."
"Effective sometime this summer, but not later than August 1, 2000, a new state law will prohibit the release of wolf-dog hybrids into the wild and prohibit the release of captive gray wolves, except by the permit from the Department of Natural Resources."


"It is unlawful for any person to import, transfer, sell, purchase or possess any wild animal classified as inherently dangerous by law or regulation unless that person holds a permit or is exempt from holding a permit." A permit is required for each animal possessed.
"The following wild animals are classified as animals inherently dangerous to humans . wolves, jackals and dingos all species, including crosses between wolves and domestic animals."
A person must obtain a permit before that person takes possession of a wild animal . Prior to the issuance of a permit, the applicant must provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) for each wild animal up to a maximum of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00). Each permitted animal shall be individually identified by the use of an injectable microchip transponder to be supplied by DWFP. Permittee must provide and maintain all health records of each permitted animal, including health certificates, records of immunizations and vaccinations and any other documentary evidence pertaining to the health and welfare of the permitted animal. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Public Notice Number 3523 also contains minimum containment provisions.


"Any person holding wildlife in captivity in any manner shall have in his/her possession the prescribed permit or evidence of exemption." Wolves and Wolf Hybrids are considered Class II wildlife and there are minimum containment specifications and recordkeeping requirements." A breeder must obtain a wildlife breeders permit.


"Wolves and certain other predators are required to be tattooed and records of the same maintained by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. If any wolf . that is held in captivity or that escapes from captivity causes any damage to the personal property of another person, compensation for such damage must be paid by the person holding or who held the animal in captivity." The regulations define "wolf" as "any canine which is one-half or more wolf. All 50% or greater crosses and pure wolves are required to be tattooed and registered."


"The statute prohibits possession of wolves in the state. Wolf Hybrids are not regulated by the Game and Parks Commission. But a Wolf Hybrid which looks like a wolf will be determined to be a wolf."


NAC 503.140: A Division of Wildlife license or permit is not required to import or possess (wolves). However, other state agencies or local (county/city) entities may have special regulations or ordinances regarding their ownership. Wolf Hybrids are not regulated at a state level.


Purebred wolves require Category 5 permits from the Fish and Game Department. "Possession of wolves is restricted to federally and state licensed Wildlife Exhibitors. Possession of a wolf as a per is not permitted."
Chapter 466-A:2 "The provisions of RSA 466, RSA 436:99-109 and RSA 644.8 shall apply to wolf hybrids, except as modified by the provisions of this chapter.
466-A:3 Prohibitions: No person shall sell, offer for sale, trade, give away, acquire, import, export, release or cause to be released a wolf hybrid in the state of New Hampshire, except as provided in paragraph 11, 11-a or 11-b.
II. No person shall possess a wolf hybrid, except for: a) Those wolf hybrids that the person owns while residing in New Hampshire on June 6, 1994 b) Those wolf hybrids born in New Hampshire to a canine that was both pregnant with such hybrids and owned in New Hampshire on June 6, 1994 or c) Those wolf hybrids used as sled dogs which are temporarily brought into the state for competitive events.
II-a. A person may import a wolf hybrid provided the wolf hybrid is spayed or neutered and has proper documentation of the spay or neutering.
II-b. A person may bring a wolf hybrid into the state temporarily for competitive events.
III. Any person possessing a wolf hybrid shall keep accurate licensing and vaccination records, as required by RSA 466-A:2 and neutering records, as provided in RSA 466-A:3, 11-a, which shall be available for inspection by an animal control officer or law enforcement officer.
There are additional requirements for permittees to keep accurate licensing and vaccination records, to have the animal vaccinated against rabies and sign an affidavit acknowledging the owner knows the vaccine is experimental and absolving the veterinarian and manufacturer of any liability should the hybrid subsequently contract rabies. There are also requirements pertaining to adequate containment.


"Wolf Hybrids are not regulated in the State of New Jersey. Wolves are regulated as potentially dangerous species and are not allowed to be possessed as pets." In addition, "no permit shall be issued for the possession of any species designated as endangered by the U.S. Department of the Interior or the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection."


"Except as otherwise provided in the Wildlife Conservation Act (17-2-37 - 17-2-46 NMSA 1978), it is unlawful for any person to take, possess, transport, export, sell or offer for sale, or ship any threatened or endangered species or subspecies, or any restricted species. The Department may authorize such activities by permit, for scientific or educational purposes, for propagation in captivity." The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is listed as an endangered species in New Mexico. "Wolf Hybrids do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Game & Fish."
Wolf-dogs are banned in Bernalillo county and the City of Albuquerque. However, animals are grandfathered in. Breeding and selling are also banned. An exotic animal license is required for existing wolf-dogs in Albq.


"Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Section 11-05335 and Regulations NYCRR Part 182. Briefly, the wolf is regulated as an endangered species in New York. Licenses are issued only for scientific, exhibition or education purposes provided the licensee has an Animal Welfare Permit from the USDA. Licenses are not issued to possess a wolf as a "pet."
ECL Section 11-0511 and Regulations 6 NYCRR Part 180.1. Briefly, a wolf-hybrid is defined as "dangerous wildlife" in New York. A license is required to import, possess, transport or export a wolf-hybrid. Licenses are only issued for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes provided that the licensee has an Animal Welfare Permit from USDA. Licenses are not issued to possess a wolf-hybrid as a "pet." Part 180.1 further describes certain prohibited animals as "any animal, the overall appearance of which makes it difficult or impossible to distinguish it from a wolf (Canis lupus) or coyote (Canis latrans)."


"Possession of eastern timber wolves or red wolves (100% purebred stock) would require a wildlife captivity license, which may be obtained by written request to the Division of Wildlife Management for a captivity application and then by following the application procedure. The Commission does not recognize wolf-hybrids as wild animals."


"Wolves and Wolf Hvbrids are presently classified as Category 4 Nontraditional Livestock by the North Dakota Board of Animal Health. The definition of Category 4 animals includes "those species that are considered inherently or environmentally dangerous, including bears, wolves, wolf hybrids, primates, lions, tigers and cats." Wolf hybrid "means any animal that is any part wolf."
Under Chapter 48-12-82, minimum requirements of secure containment must be met for all wolves or wolf hybrids possessed. Health certificates and a permit are required for importation. Category 4 animals "may not be imported from an area that is quarantined for rabies unless approved by the State veterinarian."
"Any wolf or wolf hybrid that is in the presence of persons other than the owner, handler or immediate family must be under the direct control and supervision of the owner or handler at all times."

"The Ohio Division of Wildlife has no regulations concerning the sale or possession of wolves or Wolf Hybrids in Ohio. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authority on dealing with wolves in Ohio. The wolf hybrid is classified as a dog and is covered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (Chapter 955 Dogs)."


A wolf/dog hybrid is considered a domestic animal and not wildlife A non-commercial breeder's license is not required to own a single pure wolf however, the animal must be purchased from a commercial breeder and a sales receipt must be kept to prove origin. If two or more animals are owned, then a non-commercial breeder's license must be purchased. If two or more wolves are owned and bred for resale, then a commercial breeder's license must be purchased. Pure wolves are also regulated by the federal agencies.


"Oregon law requires the owners of exotic animals (which includes wolves) in Oregon to have a permit for each species of exotic they hold.
"As of January 1, 1999, the Oregon Department of Agriculture no longer regulates the keeping of wolf-dog hybrids. Control of these animals has been returned to local jurisdictions" which may promulgate their own regulations.
"Wolf-dog hybrids do fit under dog control ordinances with one exception: there is no rabies vaccine currently licensed for use in wolf-dog hybrids. A hybrid may be vaccinated at the discretion of the owner and the veterinarian this is extra-label use of the vaccine. However, if the animal bites a person, it will be treated as a wild, unvaccinated animal in accordance with the Compendium of Animal Rabies Control. Until a rabies vaccine is licensed for use in wolf hybrids, provision must be made to exclude them from the rabies requirement in local licensing laws."
The State Veterinarian's office suggests that local animal control ordinances include the following: "Animals declared by the owner to be wolf-dog hybrids will be licensed under dog control ordinances but will be exempt from the requirement for rabies vaccination. In the event that a rabies vaccine becomes licensed for use in wolf-dog hybrids, this exemption will be withdrawn. All other animal control regulations apply."
ALERT ! Proposed Changes, Oregon:

UPDATE ! Governor rejects "Wolf Hybrid" clause:

The Oregon Governor has vetoed House Bill 3363 that would have added "Wolf Hybrids" to the list of predatory animals that could be poisoned, trapped or shot without normal regard to due process. I listened to the hearing where the spokesperson at best was misinformed, at worst, just plain deceitful, when she described how a rancher could tell the difference between a wolf, wolf hybrid and a dog.

The original legislation proposed by the Cattleman's Association would have added "Wolf" to the list. Legislative counsel reminded them it would be in violation of the endangered species act, and rather than drop the bill they changed the language and their drum beat to hybrid.

Here is Oregon Governor Kitzhaber's veto message for House Bill 3363, which would have added wolf hybrids to the list of predatory animals that could be trapped, poisoned, shot, etc., on site.

June 29, 2001
The Honorable Mark Simmons
Speaker of the House H-269
State Capitol
Salem, OR 97301

I am returning herewith House Bill 3363-A, unsigned and disapproved.

HB 3363-A would amend ORS 610, to include "wolf hybrids" among a list of predators that may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities. In early June, I indicated concern about this proposal because there is little evidence of a current problem to address or the likelihood of one emerging. In any event, if specific problems were to develop, adequate measures exist now to address them. ORS 609 provides Oregon's counties with the ability to legally authorize capture or taking of wolf hybrids as dogs when shown to kill, injure or chase livestock. This provides a sufficient tool applied at the local level to specific fact situations.

Many Oregonians have wolf hybrids as pets. This legislation would give Oregonians permission to kill someone's pet. HB3363-A also may create a liability under the federal Endangered Species Act for local landowners who kill, albeit in rare future circumstances, a wolf thinking it's a hybrid, resulting in a "take" of a federally listed species.

HB 3363-A is an unnecessary solution looking for a problem. I believe the tools in place today are adequate to deal with problem wolf hybrids, without placing Oregonians at higher risk of needlessly killing someone's wolf hybrid pet or a federally listed species.

John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.


Wolves and Wolf Hybrids may be possessed if they are purchased or received from any lawful sources from within or without the state and if the owner first secures an Exotic Wildlife Possession Permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission. Inspection by the Commission is required to insure that minimum requirements for secure and humane housing conditions are met. "Minimum pen requirements for a single animal are 15' length by 8' width by 6' height covered at the top to prevent escape. For a pair, double the cage length. For each additional animal - after 2 add 10' to the cage length. A secluded den area 4'W x 4'L is required for a single animal. Add 3' in length for an additional animal."
"Records shall be maintained of acquisitions and disposals of exotic wildlife as well as exotic wildlife born on the premises. Records shall be in ink, written in English and include the full name and address of the person with whom a transaction is conducted. Records shall be available for inspection by Commission personnel at reasonable hours. Entries shall be made on the day of transaction."


"No person shall import into, receive, or possess in this state a native animal, exotic animal, a member of a target species or a hybrid, unless in possession of a current permit issued by the Commissioner pursuant to these regulations."
"A permit to import into, receive or possess in this state native wildlife and hybrids thereof . shall be restricted to Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, United States Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZA) approved, zoos and research institutes or other USDA approved facilities upon a determination by the Commissioner the permit is involved in a bona fide experiment or project. A permittee is required to conform with all applicable Federal, State and local requirements for licensure certification or permit.
Prior inspection of the facilities in which the animal(s) will be held is mandatory. "Animals approved for importation/possession under permit shall not be used for breeding purposes without prior notification of, and approval by, the department as per Part 1 of Rule 8. Such approval shall be indicated on the permit issued."


"It is unlawful to sell live wolves or coyotes within the state or to ship or import live wolves or coyotes into this state, except for exhibition or scientific purposes upon approval of the department. A person may not have a live wolf or coyote in his possession without a wildlife captivity license issued by the department." The 1995 response indicated that: "It is illegal to import a wolf or Wolf Hybrid that is 25% or more wolf. There is no regulation against possession of a Wolf Hybrid if purchased within the state. Wildlife Commission policy considers them 'potentially dangerous' . "No carnivores which are normally not domesticated may be sold as a pet in this state. Such carnivores shall include animals known to be reservoirs of rabies, such as wolves . "
"The (Wildlife Resources) Commission does not recognize wolf-hybrids as wild animals."


"A permit from the South Dakota Animal Industry Board is required to import nondomestic animals. In addition, a permit as described in Section 12:68:18:03 is required to possess in South Dakota any nondomestic mammal, or any of its hybrids listed in this section." (All nondomestic members of the family Canidae, which also includes hybrids). Annual application is required. All animals in this category must be permanently identified by either legible tattoo or ear tag, or by electronic means.


"No wolves may be possessed without a permit, which includes very rigid pen specifications. Permits are issued only to zoos, circuses, and commercial propagators. Wolves are considered to be Class I wildlife. Wolf Hybrids of any percentage are not regulated by the Agency and are classified as Class III animals."


"No person in Texas may possess, transport, receive or release a live wolf in this state." Wolf Hybrids are not regulated at the state level however, some counties and municipalities have local regulations regarding these animals.

No permits are required by the Division of Wildlife Resources for Wolf Hybrids. They are considered to be domestic dogs. Local ordinances may vary from locality to locality. Pure wolves and any other species listed as threatened or endangered, "may not be imported or possessed without first obtaining a certificate of registration from the division, a federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and an entry permit number from the Department of Agriculture."


"It is unlawful for any person to bring into the State of Vermont any live wild bird or animal . unless, upon application in writing therefor, the person obtains a permit to do so." The definition of "Wild Animals" include "the family Canidae, any hybrids with domestic dogs." However, Chapter 193, Subchapter 2 regulates Wolf Hybrids generally the same as "domestic pets," except for the following provision.
"Since there is no approved pre-exposure rabies vaccine for wolf hybrids, until the commissioner finds and approves a rabies vaccine, any wolf hybrid which bites or otherwise exposes a human, pet or domestic animal to rabies shall immediately be destroyed and its head shall be sent to the state department of health for the purpose of testing its brain tissue for the presence of the disease."


Pure wolves are not allowed entrance into the state for private ownership. Hybrid wolves are no longer regulated by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, but per a mandate signed into law amending Chapter 918 of the Code of Virginia, "Any county, city or town may, by ordinance, establish a permit system to ensure the adequate confinement and responsible ownership of hybrid canines. Such ordinances may include requirements pertaining to: (i) the term and expiration of the permit, (ii) the number of hybrid canines that may be owned by a permittee, (iii) identification tags or tattooing of the animal, (iv) where the animal may be kept, (v) handling of the animal while not on the property of the owner, and (vi) information required to be provided when applying for a permit, such as the sex, color, height, vaccination records, length, or identifying marks of the hybrid canine. The ordinance shall not require that hybrid canines be disposed of by the owner unless the owner fails or refuses to obtain or renew any required permit or violates a provision of the ordinance or any other law pertaining to the responsible ownership of the hybrid canine. The locality may impose a permit fee to cover the cost of the permitting system."
Under 3.1-7968, "As used in this article 'adequate confinement' means that, while on the property of its owner and not under the direct supervision and control of the owner or custodian, a hybrid canine shall be confined in a humane manner in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to (i) prevent the animal's escape or if the hybrid canine is determined to be a dangerous dog pursuant to 3.1-796.93 I, the structure shall prevent direct contact with any person or animal not authorized by the owner to be in direct contact with the hybrid canine, and (ii) provide a minimum of 100 square feet of floor space for each adult animal. Tethering of a hybrid canine not under the direct supervision and control of the owner or custodian shall not be considered adequate confinement."
"Hybrid canine means any animal which at any time has been or is permitted, registered, licensed, advertised or otherwise described or represented as a hybrid canine, wolf or coyote by its owner to a licensed veterinarian, law-enforcement officer, animal control officer, humane investigator, official of the Department of Health, or State Veterinarian's representative."
Sections 3.1-796.126:10 and 3.1-796.126ll provide that any canine hybrid which has committed depredations on livestock or poultry may be immediately killed by anyone witnessing such depredations, and also provide for remuneration of the livestock or poultry owner.


"The wolf, Canis lupus, has been classified as an endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Private ownership of a wolf requires proof of legal acquisition, health certificate, proper holding facilities. Wolf Hybrids are not classified as wildlife and therefore do not fall within the regulatory authority of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. This does not mean that local jurisdictions may not regulate or prohibit the possession of these animals. Additionally, other state or local agencies may have regulations that apply to the importation or possession of wolves or wolf hybrids." Possession of wolves or wolf hybrids is prohibited in King County.
ALERT ! WA State Has Proposed Changes:


"The importation of any species of wildlife into West Virginia is governed by a Wildlife Importation permit. These permits have been denied in recent years for wolves and other potentially dangerous wildlife due to some bad experiences in the past. Wolf Hybrids with more than 1% dog in their lineage are treated as dogs and therefor would not be under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Game Department however, importation is not allowed."


"Pure wolves are illegal except by permit for zoological, educational or scientific purposes or propagation for preservation purposes. Hybrids are not regulated."

Wolfdogs: Living With Wolf Hybrid Puppies - pets

For most families in Arkansas who are looking for a new puppy, the toughest challenge is finding a quality healthy puppy from a reputable breeder. We are that breeder! Are you looking for a puppy or adult Wolf Hybrid? Would like some personal service? Someone who is experienced with the breed and will help you with all your questions and concerns? Please give us a call today.

We are a family owned private kennel committed to raising premium quality Wolf Hybrids at reasonable prices. Our family is completely involved in taking care of the happiness and well being of our dogs. It is important to us to continue the betterment of the Hydrid breed. Our focus is to raise Hybrids with superior dispositions, temperaments, and working ability. We are dedicated to delivering all of the best qualities these dogs have to offer.

We are Everywhere

Whether you live near the cities of Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock or any rural area in Arkansas, chances are you will find a Wolf Hybrid that came from us.

Not local to us? We have the solution.
We have a travel coordination specialist that will help arrange for puppy transporation. We know everything that there is to know about "Personal Touch, Pet Safe" puppy travel. Have a question about transportation? Drop us a line.

Adopting a Wolf Hybrid

The adoption process is a very important decision. Our top priority is helping you choose a Wolf Hybrid puppy that will be a member of your family for many years to come. We offer the best Lifetime Health Guarantee in the business which is clearly posted on the site. When you receive your puppy, this identical Health Guarantee will be given to you in writing. We love our puppies and want them to end up with suitable loving families. Temperament is very important when looking for a Hybrid puppy. We will spend as much time as you need, helping you select the right puppy for your family.

Our puppies are truly irresistible and make your family complete. Take a look at our home page to see our parents interact with their babies and how the puppies have grown. They will melt your heart.

Wolf Like Dog Breeds: 18 Different Breeds That Look Like Wolves

Looking for a wolf-like dog breed to embrace the wilder side of dog ownership? Here's 18 different breeds that look just like wolves!

Last Updated: January 7, 2021 | 14 min read

Looking for a wolf-like dog breed but aren’t sure which one is perfect for your family? For thousands of years us humans have been fascinated with wolves. From the way they look to the way they hunt and care for their pack. We have long been in awe of their majesticness, which is why plenty of folklore centers around them.

But unfortunately, they are wild creatures who are not suited to life as a domesticated pet. While you might not be able to get the real thing, there are many wolf-like breeds out there that can satisfy your wolfy nature. There are also a few wolf hybrids, but these breeds are tricky and ownership is typically regulated.

Here in this guide, we will talk you through everything you need to know about the wolf-dog connection. We also look at why it’s not a great idea to have one as a pet. We will then run you through 18 wolf doppelgangers, complete with pictures. This will help you see just how wolf-like these dog breeds are. So, let’s get close and personal with these beautiful wolf-like dogs.

Everything You Need to Know About Wolf-Dog Hybrids

Julie Sprankles

Growing up, I must have read Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George 100 times. I set my single-minded obsession on these majestic canines, as I was wont to do with various things over the years. But my reverence for wolves didn’t really wane like other fleeting fascinations, and so I dreamed that one day I might be fortunate enough to have a wolf-dog hybrid.

Fast-forward to last year, when my husband and l decided to bring a dog into the fold of our family. With the help of our two ever-fickle children under the age of 6, we pored over pictures from rescues until we found a face that spoke to us: a white German shepherd, then named Tyson.

Image: Julie Sprankles/SheKnows

At 8 months old and around 65 pounds, the dog we now know and love as “Jaws” was obviously a large breed. At his first vet visit, we were told he was underweight and needed to pack on some pounds. Problem solved! At just over a year now, Jaws has filled out to 100 pounds and is still growing.

And every single time we go out in public with him, we get asked the same question: Is he part wolf?

While we’ve always answered no, the truth is at first we weren’t so sure ourselves. I felt fairly confident that he was, in fact, simply a white German shepherd — but there was no denying this dog had a distinctive appearance. His light amber eye color, which is considered a fault in the GSD pedigree, seems to be the factor that throws people off the most.

Image: Julie Sprankles/SheKnows

So, naturally, we did some research. It was extremely enlightening, leading us to the conclusion that Jaws is not a hybrid… we think (more info below on why it’s nearly impossible to say that with all certainty). But for anyone wondering whether a wolf-dog hybrid is right for them or whether the dog they just adopted may be one, there are some serious considerations that should be made.

What is a wolf-dog hybrid?

Yes, it is essentially exactly what it sounds like — a wolf-dog hybrid is an animal that is part wolf and part domestic dog, with German shepherds, Alaskan malamutes or Siberian huskies being the domestic dog breeds typically being crossed. Since wolves and dogs are “interfertile,” the result of their breeding is viable offspring.

According to the International Wolf Center, though, such hybrids rarely occur in the wild due to the highly territorial nature of wolves. Also of note is that since modern domestic dogs descended from wolves, technically all dogs have wolf heritage. To be clear, a wolf-dog hybrid is defined as an animal with a pure wolf ancestor within the last five generations.

What kind of temperament do wolf-dog hybrids have?

As explained by Wolf Park, a highly respected not-for-profit, “It is very hard to write about wolf hybrids, because there really are no absolutes.” Because the wolf content in a hybrid is difficult to determine, temperaments can range greatly. To determine how much content a wolf-dog hybrid has, one must rely on phenotyping — which basically amounts to an educated guess derived from the creature’s physical and behavioral traits. Fun fact: Wolf-dogs from the same litter can act and look entirely differently, with some taking on the characteristics of a dog and others a wolf.

Low- and even mid-content wolf-dogs can be as easy to train as a standard domestic dog. However, the higher the wolf content in the hybrid, the more wild the animal is and therefore harder to handle. Since wolves are naturally timid around and mistrusting of humans, so are high content wolf-dogs. High content wolf-dogs are very wary of people, while low- and mid-content wolf-dogs may be more indiscriminately friendly like northern dog breeds such as the malamute.

Wolf-dog hybrids are powerful animals, which can be more territorial, predatory and aggressive than your average dog. At 14 or more years expectancy, they can also have longer life spans than your typical large-breed dog. They must be socialized early and with great care, and if they don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation, they can become quite destructive. They tend to be “mouthy” and will chew on anything and everything if left to their own devices. Wolf-dog hybrids are agile and often can’t be contained by a standard fence.

In short, wolf-dog hybrids are complex creatures. One wolf-dog hybrid could potentially turn out to be a perfectly docile pet (although that’s very unlikely with a high content), while another could be unwieldy and aloof. Generally speaking, they are not for first-time dog owners or for the faint of heart. They need a strong handler who is patient and well aware of the unique challenges of owning such an animal.

What are some of the physical markers of wolf-dog hybrids?

Again, since wolf-dog hybrids can exhibit physical characteristics of either dog or wolf, there are few categorical answers here — there is no single trait that can help you conclusively tell if your dog is a wolf hybrid. There are some comparisons that can be helpful in determining if a dog is a wolf hybrid.

Wolf-dog hybrids generally have longer legs and much larger feet than a domestic dog. Their chests are narrow. A wolf-dog hybrid’s head is relatively large in proportion to its body, and its face markings are often more blended than a dog’s. Ears are typically erect, rounded and furry, while the snout is long and pointed with a low forehead or little to no “stop.”

A wolf-dog hybrid’s eyes are usually light in color, ranging from amber to yellow. A wolf-dog’s nose will be black, and its teeth may be longer and with a more pronounced curve than an average dog. It may have a thick ruff of fur around the neck and shoulder area, and its tail will often be straight and bushy with a black spot (the precaudal gland) on top of the tail base.

Is it legal to own a wolf-dog hybrid?

Regulation of ownership for wolf-dog hybrids varies by state, county and even city. Since roughly a dozen states have legislation regarding these animals, you’ll need to check with your local municipalities to see if owning a wolf-dog hybrid is even an option where you live. Regardless of whether it is legal, it remains one of the most controversial topics in the canine pet world — expect further rules and regulations as the popularity of wolf-dog hybrids grows.

I want one what now?

If you are dead set on getting a wolf-dog hybrid, the best thing you can do is educate yourself. Research, research, research is required with this animal. Many wolf-dog experts recommend spending time volunteering at a wolf-dog hybrid or wolf rescue to orient yourself to the unique nature of these creatures.

Again, early socialization is imperative. Specialized training will likely be necessary with high-content wolf-dog hybrids, which for the record may never be the giant snuggly and sociable dog you’ve been dreaming of. Wolf-dog hybrids require a secure space to run and exercise with a 7- or 8-foot fence at minimum — they are consummate escape artists. They can be terribly tricky to housebreak. Also, a wolf-dog hybrid should never be left alone with a child due to their natural predatory instincts.

Should you decide to pursue ownership of a wolf-dog hybrid, it’s crucial to seek out a reputable breeder or preferably rescue organization. Misrepresentation runs amok in the wolf-dog hybrid world, with certain sellers claiming pups with no wolf content are high-content (and charging an arm and a leg for them).

Where can I learn more?

Wolf Park, the International Wolf Center and Howling Woods Farm are all fantastic resources for learning more about wolf-dog hybrids.

Watch the video: 10 Rarest Dog Breeds in the World

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