The current wolf dogs we’re seeing on our homes today have evolved from gray wolves. Wolf dogs in the UK and most parts of USA are currently legal to own. Currently, they are becoming popular in other countries as well, this is a good sign since it will help them to become legal throughout the world.
They are now becoming the most-wanted dogs to own worldwide. Sadly though, they are also becoming the most neglected and euthanized dog worldwide. They are not the easiest to handle, train or raise, particularly if you buy pre-owned or one that hasn’t been bred correctly.
The term hybrid wolf is used interchangeably, usually for unscrupulous breeders to make money. However, there are some qualified breeders who aren’t in this job for the money, but only want to produce beautiful well-balanced wolf dogs.
Specific wolf ‘breeds’ of the gray wolves
Over the last few years wolf dogs have created a lot of controversy. Some look like wolves that are in fact a dog and others look like a dog but are wolf dogs.
Often you will hear of wolf dogs being called hybrids; believe me, they are not the same. Mating a pure wolf and non-purebred dog does not make hybrids; these are simply dogs made to look like a wolf but act like a wolf or a dog to a lesser or larger degree.
A hybrid wolf dog is based on a purebred dog that has been mated with gray wolves. Unfortunately, there is no middle Latin name for this type of wolfdog breed. I use the term breed lightly since there isn’t an actual wolf dog breed.
The dogs that are used to produce a pure wolf dog are purebred German Shepherds, Saarloos and Inuits.
Now we’re going into the genetics of purebreds; Inuits and Saarloos are a variety of breeds such as Malamutes, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies and much more that contain wolf.
The Inuit is a recognized breed by most Kennel Clubs and the Saarloo is recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club. There is also a The Saarloos wolfhond Association.
Depending upon which gray wolves were used to breed with a purebred dog, then their temperaments can vary. Unfortunately, there is no one set formula, some are subdued, aloof, quiet, lazy and gentle like my Saarloos; yet, others can be highly spirited, very stubborn and athletic etc. Their genetics are important and how they’re trained also plays huge part as to how each one behaves.
Gray wolves and genetic blending
The genetic blending has a massive impact as to how a wolf dog behaves. The content of the wolf refers to the animals identification or the amount of wolf genes present. Gray wolves genetic blending is not complicated, but it does take some understanding how it works.
There are filial factors to consider before buying one of these dogs. These are F1, F2, F3 and so on, F1 being the purest and F3 or more are more dog like. America use the filial system whereas Britain use percentages.
For example 50% wolf and 50% dog equates to an F1 and then there’s 40/60 wolf/dog or 25/75 wolf/dog which can be considered an F3 depending on how many wolves were used. Currently, 40% per cent wolf in the UK is the legal limit and laws in the US vary from state to state.
Some people prefer wolf looking animals but with a dog like nature, others want a dog with a wolf nature and others want wolf appearance with wolf characteristics only. I believe the important factor here is not the looks, but how does the dog behave?
Problems occur when breeders are not honest about genetic blending, this is why it is paramount to buy from a reputable breeder. In my estimation, percentages should not be relied upon, but the temperament and genes of the mother and father.
Temperament and health problem arises when unscrupulous breeders breed with non-purebred dogs. Many dog owners who buy from unregistered breeders will more than likely not know the history behind the wolf dog. Casual breeding is not recommended so I would strong advise any potential owner to seek quality breeders. Furthermore, it is possible to induce more wolf content into a dog through casual breeding; before you realize it, you could be owning an illegal dog without knowing.
As with all dogs bills can be high, particularly with wolf dogs since insurance is very difficult to buy. If you can find an insurance company your policy will be high.
To see what other costs are involved check out our very informative articles on Interesting facts for dogs – The new owners guide, it includes everything you need to know.
Our look-a-like gray wolves can have health issues, especially as they become older. They can be more prone to hip dysplasia, arthritis, osteosarcoma, bone and cartilage diseases. Their lifespan is usually around 10 to 14 years.
If you’re certain about owning part gray wolves, then checkout ‘Comparing wolf dog breeds‘.