Facts about Wolf Hybrids. Dog or Danger?

February 25th, 2008 by Dan

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!

Wolf Hybrid Looks Through A Fence
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.

Wolf Hybrid in Enclosure
Photo by ofenjen

Why Shouldn’t you breed wolves and dogs?

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.

Wolf Hybrid Profile
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.





23 Responses to “Facts about Wolf Hybrids. Dog or Danger?”

  1. What Does Domestication *Really* Mean To Your Dog? | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] ever thought about what that really means in terms of your pet? While dogs are the descendants of wolves, they are now distant relatives. The domestication process is believed by some to have begun [...]

  2. Ask The Dog Guide: Breed Identification | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] But I don’t know the name of it. It’s kind of like a cousin or something of the Arctic Wolf. It has a lot of hair, and I think it’s usually white. Could you tell me what kind of dog it [...]

  3. robert snell Says:

    i have 2 wolfhybrids and i can personally tell you that they are wonderful animals. i have a tundra wolf and sibarian mix(female) and have a malamute/graywolf mix (male). these 2 hybrids are very atentative animals love to play i have taught the female to play catch,sit,and laydown. they are trainable and have proved to be great animals you just have to show them who is the alpha at a young age they have never tried to question the alpha stage between us since the first time. so the people who keep them chained up,kept in cages are the reasons the get bad names any dog that is kept on a chain or kept in a cage is gonna be hostile torwards humans. people who do this don’t need to have animals of any kind. they need to be treated as they had done to their animals. thank you for your time and patience to read this.

  4. Theresa Says:

    we have brother and sister, half German Shep/Half Wolf….They are the most amazing family members we have ever had! We also have two cats and they all sleep together….They follow our kids everwhere and are content to lounge in the pool! I personally beleive it is all in how you raise them right off! We have had no issues with who the “alpha” is…they actually do that between eachother. I whistle once, and they come running! I do recommend that you have a large fenced in yard and play and spend lots of time with them.

  5. Tempest Says:

    I came to live in the Middle East and adopted a 1 month puppy found wandering alone in the desert. As she has grown (with more than the usually required attention) and become part of my family, we began to realize she might be an Arabian desert wolf, the only wolf-breed that is reported to be able to bark. Are there any signs that would for certain distinguish a desert wolf from a similar looking wild desert dog? How can I tell if she is a hybrid, a dog or a wolf for sure?

  6. Nikki Says:

    i was just wondering what is the best kind of wolf hybrid to get my boyfriend has a three old and we would like to have another child soon. so what kind of hybrid would best fit that situation. oh and we own a junkyard so plenty of space to run.

  7. Joel Says:

    I have to correct the record on many of the misleading points on this page.
    Most importantly, wolf hybrids CAN and DO make good pets. The biggest misconception is that the wolf parts make them wild, harder to train or whatever. When a hybrid misbehaves, it is easier to blame it on the wolf ancestry when it may just be a case of big dog trapped in a small world.
    There is NO need whatsoever to chain, tie or enclose any large breed dog in order to confine him. This method of control only creates the aggression and need to roam. If the owner properly exercises the animal, then this behavior is often negated.
    Rabies vaccinations DO work on Canis Lupis hybrids, however there has never been a proper study because of fears that the results would show that to be the truth. This point explained below.

    Bottom line- whether it be a hybrid or another large breed of domesticated dog, the basic rule of care by owner remains the same. You MUST devote time with them to exercise their mind and body, train, properly discipline and respect them. The larger the breed, the more damage they can inflict just because of their size. A Shih Tzu does not have the ability to destroy your couch but would do some damage, whereas a hybrid has the ability just due to size. Responsible pet owners determine the demeanor of ANY pet they have. Big, small or whatever. That is where the rabies vaccination comes in. If it is properly proven that it works on hybrids, then any idiot can purchase one and keep it legally. It’s the “Easter Bunny” syndrome. You know, it’s cool to buy a rabbit at Easter but about a week later the kids and family are tired of it since the novelty wore off.

    Just my 2 pennies….CJP

  8. Annabel Says:

    Wolf Hybrids are not dangerous animals. They require little more attention and lots of space but can be such a loving pets.

  9. Ugly Duckling Syndrome or Issues of Past Neglect?? - Page 3 - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community Says:

    [...] Facts about Wolf Hybrids. Dog or Danger? | Dog Reflections No offense OP but please consider your breeding practices as well. Many people are busy preserving pure bred "captive wolves" as well as NAIDS; wolf dog hybrids are unpredictable and in a more detrimental way affect wolf & NAID lines. Song Dog Kennels : The Founder Kennels for the American Indian Dog Wolf Hybrids __________________ If WE dON'T bUY (no! pup mills) thEY wON't bREed sHE beLIEveD [...]

  10. Emily Says:

    Wolf Hybrids can make amazing pets and companions. They must be trained from early age and must have proper care and living conditions. There something about their wild look that makes people want one.

  11. Christina Says:

    This article on wolfdogs is good but wolfdogs can make good pets. Ive never owend one before but my mom’s freind did.He was so loyal and loving we were joined at the hip. His fur was very dense so he was amazing to pet.This wolfdog had a regalness about him.But he wasent part wolf part dog. He was 3/4 dog malmute and german shepored and only a 1/4 wolf. Wolfdogs are not a mistake their a mircel.Personaly I belive that wolf hybrids are not pets though they are our owners.Sadly being part wolf isnt easy. They can be aggrisive but only if you make them or try to hurt their family.So what they have a bit of a wild streak, it depends on the owner.But wolfdogs are still part wild anmail so you can never fully own them. But I think they can make good family compaions.

  12. patchomedic Says:

    I own wolf yybrids and have for five years. The fact is yes they are great pets as far as being a danger the fact also remains nation wide Hybrids account for less the 3% of dog attacks.They are no more dangerous than any other type of dog since wheather we all want to admit it or not all dogs have wolf lineage look it up for your self. The biggest problem with wolves are the wrong people owning them.Any dog can be viscious and kill a human in fact pit bulls do it very often hence why most insurance companies will not insure your home if you have one. People need to realize wolf/human have lived together for thousands of years,dating back as far as Thor in viking mythology.One of the biggest reasons people are afraid of them is because we grew up reading stories like the 3 little pigs and Little red riding hood,we are trained as humans at a young age to fear these animals to many people have “BIG BAD WOLF SYNDROME” in fact i have two hybrids who have never evan killed a frog let alone anything else and my sister has a pure breed AKC Lab which has killed several small animals such as skunks ,chickens,porcupines and rabbits so you tell me which dog is more of a problem. No matter what type of hybrid or pure beed dog you have we need to realise they are all animals and can be dangerous/unpredictable at anytime and so can cats does this mean we should not own and love any animal? absolutly not just be a responsible pet owner and most of the time you will live a long happy life with any pet including a WOLF HYBRID

  13. Lynn Humphrey Says:

    I worked for veterinarians for many years, and they said the exact things this article states to people who came in with wolf hybrids. I saw people getting rid of them when they reached maturity (2+ years) because they realized they were untrustworthy, usually after a scare with a child. As stated, these are bred by unscrupulous people out to make a buck, typically off of uninformed people who claim to ‘love wolves’. If they educated themselves before they sought to buy a hybrid, they would find the wolves used for breeding to dogs are normally taken from dens after the parents are killed. If you really love wolves, support wolf sanctuaries & reintroduction to the wild efforts. Buy a German Shepherd (wolf sable color looks very exotic), Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute if you like the look, and keep your family & neighbors safe. Don’t support the continued breeding of these poor creatures which lead a confused, sad existence between two worlds.

  14. Proud Hybrid Owner Says:

    I grew up with a chow/wolf hybrid named Shanuk. She was such a loving dog. In her entire life, she killed one chicken. But she learned pretty quick that it was wrong to kill other animals. In my opinion, any large dog could kill a human. Responsible pet owners who treat their animals right and with respect find that their animals are as loving as an animal can get. Hybrids attack humans lesd than pit bulls, bit that doesn’t mean pit bulls shouldn’t be kept as pets. While I do believe it is wrong to breed wild and domesticated dogs, if you’ve ever owned a wolf hybrid, you’d understand that they can make wonderful pets. They may need more attention and training than another dog, but they canbe tamed just as easily.

  15. Sydney Says:

    I read the article and the comments and I don’t have a wolf hybrid but it looks like there are more people who like them than there are who don’t. I would love to have one they’re pretty cool and they seem like good pets everyone needs a good guard dog right? Just because they have wolf in them it doesn’t mean they bad animals or anything. I think they would be a cool and fun pet to have around!:)

  16. abigail carter Says:

    About 2 yrs ago my sister and i saw an ad for wolfmix puppies and out of curiosity we went to see what that looks like.it was one of the saddest setups i’ve ever seen the mother dog was half timber half husky her last litter was 3months past. The last pup was a male and they had him and his mother in a tiny pen together. She was being dominant with the male pup and my sister and i felt so sorry for him we gave the guy money and hot him outta there. We named him “chance” cause we took one bringing him home.He is easy to understand. He likes toys but he has never killed any animals. He is very spooky and you have to watch your body language and watch his too so you know what he’s thinking.I do all the same things with my german shepherds. I always speak to them and make sure my scent is “clean” meaning if i go to the store i dont wear those clothes when “playing” with my animals. Dogs identify who you are by how you walk, talk and smell.Wolfdogs are good companions for the informed human.You cant expect them to know what your thinking they are gonna get in trouble just like any other animal.If you are a impatient human dont attempt to bond to a wolfdog or any other animal.

  17. Deborah Kipness Says:

    I read your site and I guess we had the luck of the draw. We had a chow wolf mix for 14 years. We buried him November 8, 2012. He was the best. He loved other animals, especially babies. It didn’t matter if it was kittens or dogs, he took right to them. We had him fixed at about 5 months and it took him about a week to not be mad at me. We went to Dairy Queen for ice cream cones, he loved to wait for the neighbor kids to get off the bus in the afternoon, he would howl and act a fool, he was a wonderful companion. I would take another in a heart beat if I had the chance. His name was Moose and he loved velveeta cheese slices. We called it Moose Cheese. He would smack like crazy. If for some reason he didn’t like someone, for whatever reason, he would get between me & them & lean into me. Never agreesive though. He kept me from getting into snakes numerous times by leaning into me & staying between me & where they were. He was my buddy, my love, and my friend, and I miss him dearly! He is buried out front with a 3′ tall St. Francis Statue looking over him.

  18. nakesha Says:

    My fiancee is wanting a hybrid and I know there very dangerous and he says there not that everything I’ve read is lies we also have a 5 yr old what is the best way to talk him out of one?

  19. Ray Says:

    We have a two year old hybrid wolf/shepherd. We could not ask for a better pet. We got him when he was 3 months old and it only took 3 days to house break him. He loves women and children and has never been aggressive toward anyone. The only thing that he does not like is for someone to just walk into our home. If me or my wife meets them at the door and opens the door for them then they can come and go as they please. I love that about him who really wants an uninvited person to just walk into your home anyway. The key to owning a hybrid is to make sure that they are socialized at a young age. But that is true with all dogs. Our hybrid was very easy to train in fact we signed him up for obediance training and the first week he knew all of his basic commands even the hand signals so they are a very smart breed. We treat Shultz (our hybrid) no different than we treat our mini schnauzer. They both are house dogs and they have the run of the house. No problems at all with him tearing up anything. Shultz is the most loving and gentle dog we have ever owned. I agree with other people on here it is how you raise them and as far as him challanging us on who the alpha is he never has now Max (our mini schnauzer)that is an everyday challange with him. All I can say is that we are so lucky to have Shultz as part of our family.

  20. Talon&Emily Says:

    We own a wolf black lab hybrid and he’s almost a year old he’s great with kids and plays gentle he doesn’t have to be chained up and protects us against anyone that means harm. I’ve never seen him bite without a given reason to do so. He’s not too fond of new people but what dog is? He’s easy to train and listens very well. His mother was more territorial and dangerous than he is and she is %100 timber wolf. All the accusations that are made in this page are absolutely false and this site should be taken down. The only thing you were accurate on was the fact that they don’t do well with other animals but again what dog is? All it takes is time and they’ll be just like any normal dog

  21. Ed Says:

    I have a 9 year old wolf hybrid. We got it as a puppy when our daughter was just born. The kids can pull the tail, get on the dog and ride it like a pony and have had no issues with her. When she is tired of playing with the kids she just gets up and leaves. We did have an issue with her killing my chickens for awhile but have since broke her of it. She even roams our 3 acres with no fence and doesnt cause any problems or leaves the property and always greet’s our guest when they arrive. I think she is one of the greates animals I have ever owned and am looking to getting another one. If you raise them right and train them from puppies around kids or other animals there shouldnt be any issues. She is a great guard dog at night keeping the coyotes and bobcats away from our property.

  22. 8 Stunningly Beautiful Wolf Hybrid Dogs. Wow. Says:

    […] Just look at that beautiful face! – Source […]

  23. Joe Says:

    After reading articles like this one, all I can say is that I only agree on one opinion that seams to come from any author. That law’s are written in each State about “wild” and “hybrid” animals. They do need to be studied, learned and followed or you may be held accountable for the Hybrid’s actions. That being said, any dog owner can be held accountable by ANY of your dog’s actions.

    I have a two year old German Shepherd/Timber Wolf Hybrid (Leah) that a Lady could not keep any longer. Her job was keeping her from home and Leah was getting a bit “rowdy” and unruly. She simply needed more attention than she was getting. If she could not find an owner, Leah was going to be put down by a local “dog shelter” simply because she was part wolf! On a side note, this same shelter takes in Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers… etc.!!! I was not going to allow that to happen. I met with the owner in a neutral place so the our two Siberian Huskies and Leah could meet. They instantly hit it off and played for an hour. The next weekend Leah came to the house and was introduced. She did the normal thing of snooping around and sniffing. She was showed the whole house and played with the Huskies for hours. She found what is now her favorite place to relax and take a nap, my old spot on the love seat. Yep, I lost it. Leah has been a great companion. I take her on hiking/camping trips all the time. She does need extra attention as far as what she pays attention to and how she plays, learns. She has even taught me a few things, showed me things I would have not seen on the trail. I pay much closer attention to my surroundings, much like she does and now realize how much I have not seen or heard on the trails.

    This is only my personal account with mine and I can’t say that this will be typical for every Hybrid. My wife and I love her and just don’t understand all the negativity against any one breed. All breeds have a downside and it is only education for that breed that is going to make it better for each animal.

    Personally we don’t like dogs that slobber… So we don’t get dogs that do that! If you don’t like dogs that shed, don’t get Huskies.

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