Wolf dogs are fascinating and intelligent hybrid animals bearing a considerable amount of physical resemblance to dogs. They can be ferocious and aggressive both since they carry most of their behavioral instincts from their wild relatives.
Keeping a wolf dog is challenging because they are potentially dangerous to others and feed on pounds of raw meat daily. That’s why many municipalities have refrained people from adoring them as pets. Moreover, they also need proper veterinary care, pest control, and vaccine shots.
So, if you’re planning to raise a wolfdog pup as a family pet, keeping these considerations in mind will help you gain appropriate information about them.
Evolution Of Wolf Dogs And Their History
A wolf dog is a mixed breed between a domesticated dog and a pure wolf. Researchers conclude that modern-day wolf dogs evolved during the last Ice Age, and the foundation of their origin dates back to at least 15,000 years ago.
Despite the research, almost everything surrounding the domestication of dogs and their evolution as wolf dogs is a mystery. Currently, many researchers are still studying their development and how it started, and more ongoing studies are related to them.
Most wolfdogs came from crossing pure wolves with similar-looking dogs, such as a Husky, German Shepherd, or Alaskan Malamute. But their temperament is different, and content level varies from each other.
Wolfdogs possess low, high, and mid content depending on the degrees of looks and behavioral patterns. A low-content wolfdog expresses some wolf-like characteristics between 1%-49%, while mid-ranges display a relatively equal number of both between 50%-75%. A high-content hybrid will have dominant wolf characteristics and minimal dog genes.
Are They Good Guard Dogs?
The increasing demand for wolf dogs as household pets raises concerns about whether they make good watchdogs. Although hybrids are comparatively gentle than wolves in their behavior, they still possess wild behavioral traits. So, they don’t make good watchdogs because they have deep-rooted mistrust of human beings and don’t respond well to training methods.
As a wolf dog owner, you can expect your pet to run or hide at the sight of any intruder. Compared to dogs, they won’t bark or bite instantly on your command. It’s plausible that they look upon you as a nurturer and expect you to shield them during any unforeseen situation.
When training them as pets, you’ll eventually have to build their trust and positively reinforce the training lessons to establish a great bond with them. Wild animals like wolf dogs are loyal to their leaders once you have successfully strengthened their relationship.
However, you’ll have to play a substantial part as their pack leader in the relationship, as they can behave more aggressively if you lack control.
Are They Friendly Or Social Animals?
Wolves dwell in highly organized hierarchies, including an alpha male and female with other members of the pack. One of their major behavior patterns shows that they also lead as a dominant leader in the pack while pinning down their subordinates. Being an offspring of a half-wolf and half-dog, wolfdog hybrids are timid animals, and their social lives are entirely different.
Compared to domesticated dogs, wolf dogs don’t aim to please their owners. They will recognize your commands but may also choose to ignore them. So, you’ll have to win your pet’s respect and support, as they can be stubborn sometimes.
Further, wolfdog hybrids are socially complex animals and don’t interact very often with humans. Although they have a playful nature, they are generally terrified of tall buildings, roads, and humans, making them even harder to tame as pets as they need proper attention and time.
What Is Wolf Content Temperament?
Unlike a low-content wolfdog, a high-content hybrid has more traits of a wolf and lesser of a dog. Based on their breeding grounds, each wolfdog has unique behavioral instincts and requires special grooming techniques. Hence, their personality may rely heavily on their wolf-content temperament.
Depending on their temperament, wolf dogs with high content share nearly the same physical characteristics and personality as wolves. If you’re planning to keep them as guard dogs, remember that they are often fearful, prefer to hide from strangers, and don’t offer much protection.
Also, their handling should start early, between the first ten days, to avoid health hazards, as pups are very susceptible to disease after birth. The handling must continue as the puppy will start recognizing its surroundings between 6-8 weeks. During this sensitive phase, it will also begin forming attachments with people.
As high contents are intelligent, you’ll have to create a standard fence with a heavy-duty chain link and not leave your pet unattended. It’s very likely for them to chew apart your wires, doors, furniture, and whatnot. They are playful and will jump around on your furniture, depending on their mood.
Although they love you, they won’t please you, roll over, or even perform tricks if they don’t feel like it. If you have kids or pets at home, you’ll have to stay more cautious as they have a high prey drive which can lead to injury.
Mid-content wolf dogs relatively possess an equal number of wolf and dog genes. They are slightly less fearful and more social than High Contents. Although they take time to interact with strangers and are shy around them, they trust more quickly.
Mid-content wolf dogs have a chewing problem, but they are comparatively better and friendlier than high-content. The mid hybrids generally have a slightly less prey drive than high content. However, you must be careful around them if you have young children and pets.
A mid-content wolf dog needs a lot of training as they are 50% from a wolf parent and 50% from a dog parent, so you need to gain their trust and support. In most cases, the pup needs proper socialization from its early days as it will be wary of strangers during this phase.
Low Contents are the wisest choice for pet owners as they are outgoing, intelligent, and possess a favorable amount of dog genes. Unlike High Contents, they have a ‘willing to please’ attitude and good social behavior.
Low Contents are easy to train because they can sometimes be stubborn. They also tend to do well around children and pets. However, they can still be aggressive and view cats as prey. Therefore, it’s better to instill early socialization to eliminate health risks.
With proper training, these hybrid pets can become great protectors as they show high responsiveness toward their owner’s commands. But their behavior can be unpredictable sometimes regardless of their low content.
What’s Destructive Behavior In Wolf Dogs?
Even the best-trained wolf dogs tend to exhibit destructive behavior. For instance, they can chew almost anything or even dig massive holes in your garden or backyard. When kept in confinement for a long time, their aggressive behavior intensifies, and they can become more dangerous to their surroundings.
Since all canines are predatory, they can still view smaller pets or kids as weaker prey. That’s why it’s advisable to keep an eye on your wolf dog and be careful around them, especially if there are any small kids around them.
As an owner of a wolfdog, you’ll have to ensure that your pets remain clean as they often get dirty rolling in stinky substances. Also, you’ll have to keep your neighbor’s dogs and cats away from them.
Do They Have Health Issues?
Most wolf dogs are healthy animals. Some common health problems include ticks or fleas and other canine diseases like rabies, distemper, etc. However, they are free from any genetic health issues.
Moreover, it’s essential to get them vaccinated to avoid other illnesses like giardia, kennel cough, coccidia, etc. Make sure to call your local clinics and confirm whether or not they treat wolf dogs to set appointments on time.
Do They Have A Specialized Diet?
The answer is yes. All wolf dogs are carnivorous animals, and they eat raw meat-based diets. Unlike domesticated dogs, wolfdog hybrids need a high-protein diet, not just regular dog food. Their dietary requirements mostly contain good protein sources, including beef, fish, deer, horsemeat, and chicken.
You’ll have to feed them several pounds of fresh or frozen raw meat daily to keep them healthy. Also, avoid feeding them raw pork as it can harm their digestive system.
How Do They Live?
Wolf dogs are expensive breeds as they require high-maintenance costs and a suitable environment for their upbringing. Low and mid-level wolf dogs require a regular fence, whereas a high-content wolf dog needs a 6-8 ft fence to prevent escaping. For a stronger fence, it’s necessary to use a heavy-duty chain link, as wolf dogs can easily bite through a weaker chain link. If you are using a wooden fence, make sure it’s not damaged or rotten, as it has a high escape risk.
Wolf dogs can get bored quickly due to their playful characteristics and are more likely to escape. Therefore, it’s crucial to integrate some fun activities into their training schedule or keep at least one canine companion with them. Moreover, you’ll have to keep an eye on their cattle panel fence or chain link, as wolf dogs can climb out of these fences.
Do Wolf Dogs Need To Exercise?
Why not? Regardless of their content levels, wolf dogs require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Their highly intellectual skills and self-awareness make them unique from other animals. That’s why playing games with some valuable exercises can help them stay busy for a long time.
Further, wolf dogs need at least 5 hours of exercise, including walking, running, pulling carts, etc. and 3 hours of rest on any typical day. During the walk, attach two leashes to them- the main leash to their collar or harness and the other slip leash as a backup. If they spook out or panic, the backup leash can save them from any potential accidents or injuries.
There’s still much more to learn about wolf dogs because they are entirely different. Even if they have similar physical or behavioral characteristics to a domesticated dog, they require more attention and time.
The best part is that wolf dogs stay committed to their human family, and the bond they share with their owners grows enormously over time. But keeping them as household pets requires great accountability and a life-long commitment. So, if you’re planning to buy a wolf pup, you’ll have to consider it carefully.