Beautiful and exotic hybrid


Toni Grzunov - Last Updated on May 04th, 2021

All you need to know about the Wolfdog

Exotic pets for those that want a unique experience

Simply put, Wolfdogs are hybrids made by mixing domestic dogs and gray wolves. While they may seem intimidating and certainly not for everyone, they have a lot to offer to people looking for unique pets.

These exotic dogs look gorgeous, thanks largely to the fact that arctic wolves or timberwolves are mostly used when breeding them. The temperament will also depend on that, but the larger domestic dogs used as the other part of the equation usually positively impact that.

These dogs are always alert and primitive in nature. They are intelligent, strong, loyal, and extremely active. They will devote themselves to their owner completely. 

Besides having superior stamina and endurance, Wolfdogs are known for their remarkable hearing, eyesight, and sense of smell.

So you’re tempted by having a cross between a wolf and a dog as your pet? Tread carefully and read on, we have you covered on all the information you need about the Wolfdog.

Where does the Wolfdog come from?

This unique breed originated long ago, with some evidence indicating that they have existed for approximately 10,000 years! Some believe that these dogs were used in Europe to hunt mammoths much before this. Some fossils possibly prove this could be true.

The first documented case of a Wolfdog being bred happened in Great Britain in 1766. The dog breed used back then was the Pomeranian, although the original version is a bit different from the one we know today. Nine Wolfdog puppies came out of this experiment.Nowadays, the most common breed that is cross-bred with a wolf is the German Shepherd.  The first time breeders purposely bred dogs and wolves, they used this breed, and it is still the preferred one. Recently, some other dog breeds were used in this mix, such as the Poodle and the Malamute. The latter produced a mixed breed known as the Wolamute.

The experiments on Wolfdogs didn’t stop there. In 1921, a Dutch breeder called Leendert Saarloos started working on creating a German Shepherd that would be less prone to a viral disease called canine distemper.

He decided to cross-breed a German Shepherd with the Mackenzie Valley Wolf, and this resulted in a breed we know as the Saarlos Wolfdog. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, created in the 1950s, is often used for herding purposes. This breed is actually recognized by the United Kennel Club and some other organizations.

On the other hand, the American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize hybrids, which naturally includes the Wolfdog. They do not appear in any AKC group classification categories.

The Appearance of the Wolfdog

Wolfdogs are actually hard to describe. Their physical characteristics are not as predictable as with other mixed dog breeds. This has to do with the fact that we are using wolves as one half and various dog breeds as the other half of the equation.

For instance, a Wolfdog can be much larger than either of its parents when it is fully grown. This is a genetic phenomenon known as heterosis or hybrid vigor.

You can find Wolfdogs in a wide variety of appearances. Some will resemble dogs with small wolf characteristics, while others can be mistaken for wolves completely! 

Generally, Wolfdogs will have smaller heads than wolves. Their ears are pointier and larger, and they lack the dense fur that we can most often see in wolves. They have distinctive fur markings that are not blended with the rest of the coat.

These dogs will also have dewclaws, the vestigial first toes commonly found on the hind legs of various domestic dog breeds. However, wolves never have these, so they can be considered a good indicator of an animal having dog genes.

Wolfdogs will resemble pureblooded wolves more if they have a higher content of wolf genes. They are large dogs that can weigh quite a bit. They have a thick double coat that allows them to go outside freely, no matter how cold it is.

It seems as if Wolfdogs are hard to describe. What about their coat colors? Are they as diverse as their looks?

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What colors does a Wolfdog come in?

Since there is no official AKC breed standard available, we can’t have a list of permitted colors for this unique breed. However, several colors appear more commonly than others. These are:

  • Black
  • White
  • Grizzled sable

All black Wolfdogs are able to keep their pigment for much longer than regular wolves. However, most of the time, there will be some gradual changes in the coat color of a Wolfdog. The changes in color are well blended. For example, a white Wolfdog can have a coat grizzled with greys, browns, or even some black.

This coloration type is called agouti and is really similar to the coat of wolves. The topcoat is made up of several colors, although only the tips of the hair are actually colored. Fur markings can also appear and will be clearly visible.

All about the Wolfdog personality

Well, it turns out that their personality is quite similar to their looks. Meaning, it can vary greatly from dog to dog, all depending on the varying percentages of domestic dog and wolf genes. Some Wolfdogs can be completely calm and mild, while others might display aggressive behavior.

This means that these dogs require an experienced owner. If you’ve never had a pet dog, this breed would not be the best pick for you, since they can be quite difficult to handle.

The most important aspect of having a Wolfdog is to establish that you are the “alpha dog” of the pack. If your pet starts thinking of itself as the “alpha”, it will become disobedient and impossible to work with. 

These dogs tend to display aspects of dominant behavior, so they are not a good choice for families that have small children. They are also highly energetic and will get along well with any other pets you may have.

If you socialize your Wolfdog from an early age, you will definitely help it develop into a well-functioning dog. Raising it together with another pet will also work wonders for its temperament. 

Many will expect Wolfdogs to be aggressive, fierce animals since they have wolf genes in them. That won’t be the reason for the aggressive behavior, since wolves are extremely shy and timid in front of human beings. Even more so than most dog breeds!

The personality of your Wolfdog will depend largely on how you train it and raise it. There is no evidence that would prove this breed to be more aggressive than the other dog breeds that are considered a bit more aggressive. 

These dogs are also highly intelligent and independent. Expect your Wolfdog to run off on its own and to like doing its own thing. However, their sense of loyalty will always make them come back to you.

If raised properly, they can be kind and gentle, and make for amazing pets.

Is a Wolfdog easy to train?

When it comes to training your Wolfdog, the most important thing is the position of “alpha”. Wolfdogs will always try to test you for dominance, and you need to show them you are superior. This can be a constant battle, but it shouldn’t be hard if you know what you’re doing.

They are quite similar to Siberian Huskies in that regard, although a bit more extreme. Other than that, these dogs are intelligent, so it is quite easy to work with them.

They are also loyal and will actually love to please you. All of this combined can make them a bit of a handful, which is why experience is necessary. You need to be well informed when dealing with these pups. 

Wolfdogs absolutely love playing and need to be stimulated physically and mentally. Expect to spend a lot of time with them outside, running around, and doing other high-intensity exercises. When we say “a lot”, we mean it. It would be best to provide your Wolfdog with anywhere from 3 to 5 hours of physical activity daily.

How much Grooming does a Wolfdog need?

Like the previously mentioned aspects of owning these dogs, grooming largely depends on what breed of dogs was used in the mix. In general, they are low-maintenance dogs when it comes to this.

You won’t need to brush the coat of your Wolfdog more than once a week. However, these pups do shed and have periods when it happens more intensely, so you will need to brush them more often then. Two or three times a week during those periods should be enough.

Wolfdogs are not hypoallergenic dogs! If you suffer from allergies, you will have to skip this exotic breed.

Wolfdogs are quite good at keeping their coat clean, so you will only need to bathe them once or twice a year, more often if they really get dirty. Nails are something to look out for. Clip them once or twice every month.

Naturally, check the ears and teeth of your pet Wolfdog regularly. Clean them if necessary.

We are getting close to making you a true expert on the subject of Wolfdogs. All that is left is to say a few words about their preferred living environment and their health.

The Living Environment of the Wolfdog

Let’s get this out of the way first - if you live in an apartment, Wolfdogs are not the pets for you. These dogs are large and require space. Not only that, with the amount of exercise they need daily, having one without owning a large backyard is downright ludicrous!

Physical stimulation is necessary to keep these dogs happy, so a house with a fenced backyard is the ideal home for them. They will want to be outside most of the time, even if your house is large. 

They love having caves and tubes to explore and play with, so you might consider building a small playground in your yard.

Having one more dog would also be wonderful, if possible. Wolfdogs are social animals and will adore having a companion.

The Health and Nutrition of the Wolfdog

The Wolfdog is a healthy animal that has a life expectancy of about 13 to 16 years. They generally don’t have any common genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. Some of the conditions that can bother them include fleas, Parvovirus, Heartworms, rabies, and several other illnesses.

Wolfdogs should be vaccinated against rabies just like any other dog. However, you should keep in mind that some veterinarians might not want to treat wolfdogs, especially those with a higher content of wolf genes. Always check with your local clinic before adopting one of these pups.

When it comes to food, these dogs won’t be satisfied with typical dog food. They need to eat what wild wolves eat, which means you need to feed them raw meat. Expect to feed your Wolfdog several pounds of raw meat every day.

The meat can be chicken or turkey, and avoid pork since it can cause issues with digestion. Bones won’t be a problem for these dogs and they will enjoy eating them as well.

It would be great if your Wolfdog had access to grass and other vegetation, as they often enjoy eating fruit. They also need a constant source of fresh water. 

That is not all however, they will also need some supplements not provided by regular meals. These include vitamins C, B, D, E, and A, with glucosamine and other nutritional supplements that will lower the risk of acquiring certain health issues.

Questions People Often ask about Wolfdog

  • +How much Wolf is in a Wolfdog?

  • +Are wolf dogs dangerous?

  • +Where are wolf dogs banned?

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