“When we try to tame Mother Nature, she often turns against us.” – Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer
A wolf hybrid dog is a dog crossed with a wolf. This cross can happen in various percentages from small to great. Any percentage of a wolf mixed with a dog should be considered a wolf hybrid. This is often the danger of wolf hybrids, you never know what you are going to get. There are breeders out there who advertise their pups as hybrids when they are almost pure wolf. This is an especially dangerous scenario.
As the domestic dog has descended from a wolf, many people think that it won’t make much of a difference to have a little bit of wolf in their dog. This is not true. Even though the DNA of a wolf and a dog only differs by one percent, this makes a huge difference in their true nature. Logically, the more wolf that is present in the hybrid, the wilder the animal is going to be.
It has been estimated that there are 300,000 to 2 million wolf hybrid dogs in the United States. Growing numbers of them are being abandoned. Some shelters accept them, where others feel they have no choice but to kill them because of their dangerous nature.
Many owners get wolf hybrids because they think they are beautiful and unique without considering the consequences of being responsible for a wild animal. When things go bad or they feel threatened by the animal, they give it away. Many are being brought to shelters because they think the animal is turning on them. What exactly can one expect when owning a wolf hybrid?
Dog trainer Jennifer McCarthy has been rescuing and studying the behavior of wild wolves for years. She explains, “It is a worst case scenario because you have the wild instincts of the wolf mixed with the domestic instincts of the dog. Mixing domestic and wild is like playing with fire.”
People who own hybrids should treat them more like a wolf than a dog as their behavior is unpredictable. Wolf hybrids have two missions, food and territorial protection. It is in their nature to chew. If they chew up your couch, you may get mad and try to punish them. Don’t expect a favorable reaction. They have claimed your couch as their property and they will bear their teeth at you to protect it. Territorial disputes are the number one cause of death in wild wolves.
When they see other dogs, they may really be looking at them as potential prey and will try to kill them. They have large, sharp teeth and will go into predatory mode easily. According to Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, wolf hybrids are NOT good with children either due to their predatory behavior. They explain that a squirming child can trigger an attack against the child, even if the dog has spent its entire life with the child with no problems.
Wolf hybrids do not work out when you try and keep them inside of the house. This is because they are too curious and destructive. They were born to be outdoors, hunting and traveling over miles of land. They don’t want to be hugged or loved on, they want to be taken into nature.
According to Wolf Park, most states require a special permit to own a wolf hybrid. What if you already own a wolf hybrid? First, a responsible choice is to have them spayed or neutered. If you are keeping them outdoors, they should be enclosed in a chain link fence with cement around the edges so that it cannot dig its way out. This is because they are known as being great escape artists.
Wolf hybrids do not do well on a high kibble diet. They will do better eating 2 to 5 pounds of quality meat a day, such as venison.
Can wolf hybrids be trained? This depends on the amount of wolf that they have in them. If they have low enough of a content, they can be trained like any other. However, they should never be let off of a leash in public. You should never use prong collars or choke chains with them. It will try its best to dominate an individual and may surprise you with the intensity of its behavior. You should not punish a pup for chewing and biting.
Talking about wolf hybrids Cesar Millan sums it up when he says, “They see a beautiful animal and think they can own it, but in reality it owns them.”