Before discussing whether wolf dogs would make a great pet, it would be a good idea to discuss a little about the history behind the wolf dog. These dogs are considered exotic and many countries they are outlawed.
The types of wolves and dogs used to breed a wolf dog will ultimately reflect its nature, character and to a smaller degree its personality. This is because every wolf and dog bred to create the wolf dog is different. They are canid hybrids and are an extension of the Canis Lupus (wolf) and Canis lupus familiaris (dog).
Wolf dogs specifics
Checkout ‘Comparing wolf dog breeds‘ for further reading of the types of wolves used to create a wolf dog. Wolf dogs are considered dangerous, but if you’re careful from whom you buy, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a beautiful friendly dog.
These dogs are powerful, they’re very strong and their jaws and teeth could hurt someone or something much more than any German Shepherd for example. Once you own a wolf dog, your fantasy of living with an exotic pet becomes very real. Forget about enjoying a quiet walk, your dog will be the highlight of most people days.
A walk that normally takes half hour could more than likely turn into one to two hours. You will experience people deliberately avoiding you out of fear or they’ll stop to chat and want to talk forever.
These dogs carry an air of mistiqueness and royalty, they are truly majesty. Furthermore, their wolf like beauty captures everyone’s imagination and curiosity.
Since becoming legal in many countries, these dogs are becoming the most wanted, but at a cost to the dog. Most people do not understand what they’re taking on before they buy.
Having been an owner of domestic dogs and wolf dogs for many years, I can truly say they are not pets. One has to understand them in order to live with them. There are however extreme exceptions, buying from reputable wolf breeders is the key to owning a fabulous wolf dog.
Trustworthy breeders spent a lot of time nurturing and socializing wolves, by the time you buy one their behaviors and temperaments will be very balanced. Furthermore, they are able to give detailed historical descriptions of their dogs and the wolves used in the breeding process.
The proper time frame for buying a wolf dog is between 8 to 12 weeks. There are so many questions to ask breeders, which is why I have covered this in another article HERE.
Are these modern wolf dogs all that the media have made them out to be? I believe, the public has put these dogs in a fluffy white cloud. People buy them and then wonder why they are such hard work. If you have no idea of their background and genetic you will more than likely experience a very difficult dog.
Depending upon which wolf was 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. For more information on genetic blending and temperaments check out ‘Gray wolves to modern wolf dogs‘.
Sadly, wolf dogs are now being bought to be used as a macho image or even as guard dogs. However, even the most ‘macho’ can’t withstand the hard work of these dog’s. It’s a myth that these dogs are guard dogs. When owners realize they aren’t what they thought they were, they are usually dumped.
These dogs are becoming the hottest dogs on death row. Do not buy these dogs unless you have huge amounts experience and are capable of being a fair, honest and consistent leader. Ask yourself if you have the time to look after them, do you have the right resources and finances? They can take up everything – literally!
Wolf dogs love to live in packs as do their ancestors; they are at their happiest in this type of environment. Most capable wolf dog owners rarely own one, but usually own two or more. We own one, but have fostered many over the years.
Our experience of wolf dogs as pets
The wolf dogs we’ve fostered and owned have all been bred with different wolves and dog breeds, which are as follows:
- Part Mackenzie Valley, Inuit and with a very small part of Saarloos.
- Part Inuit, Eurasian and Saarloos.
- Hybrid Saarloos.
- Part Inuit and Saarloos.
No two wolf dogs are the same, for example two Inuit, Eurasian and Saarloos can have the same mix, yet look and act very differently.
From experience, you need tons of patience and love. These dogs rarely offer love and respect unless you give it first. They can be very lazy and extremely stubborn. In addition, if you let them, they will disrespect you and try owning you if you aren’t a strong leader.
Wolf dogs want the hierarchical position even with their human owners. They will challenge their owners for the top position. Omega dogs are at the bottom of the pack, if they’re not happy in that position, they can more challenging than the alpha dog. If your a strong leader, you will rarely have no hierarchy struggles.
Questions to ask yourself
Firstly, wolfdogs are not pets, they will never be your cuddle pet like a domestic dog, cat or bunny rabbit. Owners find they have to change every aspect of their lives to care for these animals.
- Can you afford to lose your full time job? Or, do you know a qualified dog owner who can look after them full time?
- Can you afford to re-carpet your house and change your half eaten sofa or bed regularly?
- Can you afford high steel fencing enclosures in your garden? If not, they will escape and if found they could be shot or you may to pay a fine to have them returned to you.
- Can you afford to keep and feed a wolf dog on raw food, which is what they prefer.
- Can you afford wolf dog insurance? Insurance companies are becoming wise to people insuring them as crossbreeds so once you’ve been found out, you won’t be able to make a claim. Wolf dog insurance is extortionately high.
- Do you have the time to regularly train them? There are five of us in our family, so our dogs are trained fives times per day. Two to three times per day in five to ten minute increments would be a minimum guide.
- Do you have the time to constantly watch these wolf dogs if you have small children, or at least keep them separated with stairgates?
- Is your garden big enough for a wolf dog, if not they will feel trapped and will try to escape.
- Do you need a permit to own one of these dogs or are there any restrictions in your area to own one of these beautiful creatures?
For more facts about wolves and wolf dogs check out Living with Wolfdogs: This is: An Everyday Guide to a Lifetime Companionship, Second Edition (Wolf Hybrid Education) by Nicole Wilde. This is a real published book that’s currently #1 on a best-seller list at Amazon. Also, here are some more amazing facts about wolves and wolf dogs called Wolfdogs A-Z Behavior Training & More: by Nicole Wilde. Both books are best-sellers, have superb reviews and are excellent books that will give you great insight.