For about the last 25 years, the proper term for a wolf and domestic dog mix has been commonly accepted as ‘wolfdog’. Since the dogs and wolves are of the same species, the term hybrid is technically incorrect, although it is still commonly used.
Being that the wolfdog or wolf hybrid, as many call it, is a cross between a wolf and a domestic dog, this breed cannot be considered as purebred. Many like to stress that they are just mutts.
It is really impossible to know exactly what kind of temperament you will get in any given wolfdog.
As in any breed, disposition and temperament will vary at least slightly by dog and ancestry plays a big role. When looking at a wolfdog pup, the only true way to best determine what the pups temperament might be like is to research all breeds that were used in the cross.
Understand that the pup you choose can end up with any combination of the characteristics found in any of the breeds that were used.
Despite the certain variety in temperament by dog, there do seem to be several general characteristics that present themselves often in the wolfdog breed as a whole.
For example, many wolfdog owners will tell you, this mix seems to have an affinity for rolling in and on any foul smelling thing they can find. It would seem that the more offensive the smell is, the happier they are to coat themselves in the stench.
The wolf characteristics in a wolfdog hybrid do not generally begin to emerge until the pup is around 18 months of age. Up until this point, the pup, by all observations, acts just like a regular domestic dog. They are easy to direct, and they adapt well and love to play. They also bond easily, not only with humans, but also with other species.
As the post adolescent stage approaches, the hormonal system begins to change with the onset of maturity and behaviors that are more typical to the wolf breed will become more apparent.
Many believe that the wild instinct inherently found in the wolf part of a hybrid are always stronger than whatever other breed it was mixed with. This would make any wolf mix a difficult dog to handle and even dangerous to have around children.
Others believe that with the right breeding and the proper training and socialization, a wolfdog can be domesticated and adapted to any lifestyle alongside human and can even serve in the role of a beloved family pet.
The reality of it is, that every wolfdog will react differently towards humans and training. Some wolfdogs will seem to take on more of the characteristics of their domestic ancestors. These will be loving, outgoing, more naturally obedient, content to live indoors and follow their Alpha’s guidance.
Others will be more prone to wolflike characteristics. In these cases, it may not matter how much effort and time is spent on training – the wolfdog will remain destructive, fearful and aloof, seemingly never able to overcome a timid and prey driven nature.
One of the more common concerns that people have in regards to wolfdogs, is whether or not they can be trusted. It seems that those who are the least familiar with the breed mix are the ones who most question the reliability and predictability of a wolfdog.
As with any breed, the more familiar one is with the characteristics and natural instincts of any particular breed, the more they will be able to see patterns in behavior. This in turn can allow an owner to more accurately predict reactions and behavior.
Just as domestic breeds differ in characteristics, so do different wolf breeds. A wolfdog owners needs to be committed to being as familiar as possible with all aspects of every breed involved in their wolfdog’s cross.
When looking into owning a wolfdog, it is highly important that the potential owner take into serious consideration everything that is required on their part to ensure the dog’s well being as well as the safety and well being of those around. Firm consistency and plenty of outdoor areas to roam are musts when owning and training a wolfdog.
Owners need to be very familiar with the proper dog/wolf psychology and be fully committed to follow the proper training processes.
Wolfdogs are not for the weak minded and require much commitment and a good amount of knowledge concerning establishing the Alpha position in your pack and maintaining it. For most people, the wolfdog is not a recommended breed for these very reason.
Although the wolfdog can be trained, with much effort, it is important to consider that it is not out of the question that their wolf instincts could kick in at any given point. This is what can make training so difficult.
Should they, at any point, decide that they are tired of the ‘game’ they may very well stop listening and instead attempt to reassert dominance as they would with other animals in the wild.
This is why it is essential that an owner be thoroughly versed in the psychology of pack heirarchy and maintaining the leader position. Consistency is absolutely vital so that they are always absolutely sure who is boss. As with any other breed, a dog that is left unsure of where they stand, will continue to test boundaries until they have no more doubts. Without consistent reinforcement, the chances of a human getting hurt become much higher.
Many people are scared off from adopting a wolfdog pup by the number of child deaths caused by this breed. For some, maybe this is best, as having children around a wolfdog is something should not be taken lightly.
In looking at the circumstances surrounding the majority of these child deaths, several common factors are seen to have been in play. For one, many of these children were left unattended and unsupervised, even if only very briefly, with a wolfdog.
In some cases the child and wolfdog had even played together before and everything had been fine, leading the parents to trust that the same scenario would play out.
It cannot be stressed enough that children should never be left alone with any large animal, but especially a breed like the wolfdog who could revert to wilder instincts and behavior at any given moment.
Young children do not generally understand what it means to be gentle or careful with animals and often inflict pain without meaning to do so. A dog’s means of self protection is their teeth and they will use them when pushed far enough.
Another aspect of wolf pack psychology that is important to understand is how wolves view and handle their young. A wolf will instinctively ‘roughhouse’ their young to teach them what is and what is not acceptable. When a wolfdog is brought into a family, that family becomes their new pack and they will view young children as their young.
In their minds, children are not only to be played with, but also to be taught. This can quickly become dangerous for children as a child’s delicate skin will not hold up to the wolf dog’s ‘correction’ the same way that a pup’s hyde will.
In summary, investing in a wolfdog is a risk that each individual person will have to weigh out and decide for themselves. A wolfdog can provide a wonderful, loyal and loving companion to the right owner. And they truly are remarkable looking dogs.
Wolfdogs may be harder to train, but it can still be done. Get started on that training today using Doggy Dan’s course. CLICK HERE to get your $1 trial!