Wolf hybrids, also known as wolf dogs, are a very misunderstood and controversial “breed”. While they are an intelligent, beautiful, and very family-oriented pet, they are not right for most people. Wolf dogs hold a deep rooted allure for many people, which often leads to tragic results. Although they are almost never aggressive, they can be very destructive, they are great escape artists, and they are typically not responsive to detailed training. If you choose to adopt a wolf hybrid you must be committed to that animal for the duration of its life and know that you will always be able to provide adequate containment and deal with constantly changing laws, even if that means moving to another state, when laws change, to save your companion’s life. A wolf dog will match or far exceed your dedication and loyalty. Consider the facts carefully before jumping into this complex, challenging, and rewarding long-term relationship.
Legal Issues. Sadly, before considering a wolf hybrid for a pet, you must check your state and local laws. This can prevent allot of heartache down the road. Many states have laws that will result in your wolf dog being taken away and euthanized. Don’t just read the laws, ask questions. Some states do not have breed specific legislation, but use the rabies shot loophole when it comes to hybrids. Because rabies vaccines have not been tested in wolves some states will not recognize the vaccination when given to wolf hybrids. The authorities will confiscate and kill your dog and press criminal charges against you for failure to vaccinate, even if you can prove you have had the animal vaccinated. Of course, the shots are effective in wolf dogs and this is an ongoing battle.
Personality and Behavior. Wolf hybrids are very intelligent, independent, and hardy. They are curious and inquisitive, and can learn an action, like opening a door, after watching you do it only once. Many people make the mistake of confusing intelligence with trainability. Typically wolf dogs are not approval seekers. They are independent. Wolf hybrids are not the sort of dog to seek out if you want to teach them tricks. Talk to many wolf dog owners and you will find that most of them describe their hybrid’s personality as more like a cat than a dog. If you are seeking the dominant/submissive relationship that many people find comforting and expect from the human/dog scenario, a wolf hybrid is not for you. Wolf hybrids can be destructive beyond your wildest imagination. They can reduce furniture to splinters and claw through walls in a matter of minutes. Most wolf dogs have retained the desire to make a den and will dig very large holes very quickly. Of course, it is hard to predict what kind of personality your hybrid will have. This is very dependent on the domesticated breed your wolf dog contains. On the positive side wolf hybrids are extremely dedicated and family oriented dogs. They are typically quiet, calm animals. While most wolf dogs are somewhat aloof, you may wind up with a hundred and fifty pound lap dog. A wolf hybrid will behave more like an equal than your average domesticated breed. Effective training will come only through a cooperative effort, not force. For some people this comes naturally and the results are an effortless, wonderful relationship with their wolf hybrid. Many people find this type of training impossible to accept and will engage in a constant power battle which they will never truly win, and wind up living in fear of their own dog.
Containment. Containment is often the biggest challenge. Occasionally you will find a wolf hybrid who is content to sit at home, but most will not. Because they form very tight bonds with their families, many wolf hybrids experience acute separation anxiety when left at home. This is a big motivating factor for escape, and they are incredible escape artists. They can dig quickly, climb six foot fences effortlessly, and easily destroy fencing materials. A wolf dog can roam sixty miles in one day.
Commitment. Before adopting any dog you should be committed to caring for the dog for the duration of its life. In the case of wolf hybrids this is crucial. It is almost impossible to find new homes for them. They form a very close bond with their family. A good rule of thumb is to make a twenty year commitment to your wolf hybrid.
If you are wiling to face the challenges and dedicated the next twenty years of your life to cohabitating with a brilliant and independent canine, a wolf hybrid may be right for you.