I recently did a google search for “wolf hybrids” and found countless listings of ads for these kinds of animals. They read of traits like “high content” and “wild looks”. It’s natural for us to be drawn to wolves – they’re strong, noble animals. However, when we try to harness that wildness in a pet, it can be disastrous.
What is a wolf hybrid?: A wolf hybrid is a cross between a wolf and a dog, a wolf and a wolf hybrid, a dog and a hybrid, or 2 hybrids. Many people claim that Husky and Malamute mixes are Hybrids, but often they are just “interesting” looking dogs!
Photo by togosleddog
Can they be trained?:
Yes, wolf hybrids can be trained like other dogs, however once they grow tired of the “game” they may stop listening. This is the difference between a wild animal and a domesticated one. Wolves re-establish their dominance whenever they greet other wolves. Wolf Hybrids will often display this behavior with human beings and it can be quite dangerous when dealing with a 100 lb animal who is jumping, biting and attempting to show that he is boss. Wolf Hybrids often have issues with housebreaking. Scent marking is a huge part of their natural instinct. Never attempt to take an item away from a wolf hybrid as they can be extremely possessive and will put up a fight for items they believe to be theirs.
Photo by ofenjen
Of course wolves are beautiful and strong, but when you breed a wild animal with the domesticated dog, you’re not going to get the best of both worlds. On the contrary, you’re going to end up with an animal who has an extremely high prey drive but lacks the fear of humans which wild wolves naturally have, but which the modern dog has lost through evolution and domestication. They will consider any small moving thing to be prey, meaning a dog, cat or even a small child. They are extremely unpredictable and have been known to attack and sometimes kill humans. Because they *look* like wolves, it is wolves that gets blamed for these incidents, when it is actually hybrids that are often responsible.
Can you keep a hybrid legally?
In some states it is illegal to keep wolf hybrids. Also keep in mind that the Rabies vaccine is ONLY approved for *dogs*. If you have a wolf hybrid, there is currently no Rabies vaccine approved for your animal. This means that if it bites someone it can be confiscated and euthanized so that the animal can be tested for Rabies.
Photo by sangderenard
How can I responsibly keep a Wolf Hybrid?:
1. Build a two layer enclosure. The inner chain link fence should be at least ten feet high and extend two feet underground. The outer fence should stand at least eight feet high. There should be at least four feet between the two fences and a locked gate with warning signs posted.
2. Each wolf hybrid needs at least 1/2 acre of land to roam. It should be filled with stimulating items such as shelters, climbing rocks, logs, plants, etc.
3. Wolf Hybrids should be kept in opposite sex pairs that are introduced before they are 6 months of age. They are incredibly social animals and need companionship.
4. Provide raw meaty bones for diet and stimulation. Wolf hybrids often do not thrive on a diet of commercial dog foods.
5. Find a vet who is willing to work with wolf Hybrids and has experience doing so.
6. Gain an extensive knowledge of the behavior of wolves and wolf hybrids.
7. Understand that your animal may have to be euthanized if it bites someone (even playfully) due to the absence of an approved Rabies vaccine.
8. Make sure you have all the permits required to own a wolf hybrid.
9. Do not let children come into contact with the animals.
10. Make sure the animals are properly enclosed at all times.
11. Spay and neuter the animals.
12. Devote at least 1 hour per day per animal.
13. Purchase liability insurance.
14. Be prepared to care for your animals for the next 18 years if needed.
As you can probably gather, wolf hybrids don’t make good pets. In fact, they aren’t really pets at all. While some of them may have traits of the dogs we consider to be “man’s best friend”, we can’t forget that they are actually wild animals and need to be treated as such. There are wolf sanctuaries where experts spend their days interacting and caring for these creatures. The sad fact is, these hybrids really shouldn’t exist in the first place. The individuals who breed these animals are only out to make money and perpetuate the idea that breeding a more “wild” dog is a good plan, when in fact – it is not.