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All About Dog-Wolf Hybrids

All About Dog-Wolf Hybrids:
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Wolfdogs

As with clothing, music, and virtually everything else in our society today, dog breeds seem to be something of a fashion from year to year. And, depending on what’s “in,” many people will rush out to procure whatever it is that is the latest trend. Right now, this breed seems to be the Wolfdog – an animal that is part wolf, and part dog – which is also referred to as a wolf hybrid.

However, just because people are adopting wolfdogs, it doesn’t mean that these new owners understand what they’re getting themselves into. In fact, it’s unfortunate but true that most people acquiring wolf hybrids are adopting more of a fantasy than a reality.

Wolfdogs are a breed that must be taken very seriously, as they are quite different from standard domesticated dog breeds. In fact, many of the people who were seeking to adopt wolf/dog hybrids are easily talked out of that particular course of action when they discover what is truly involved in raising such an animal. Others, however, find out what’s involved in advance, and are ready to take on wolfdogs for all of their great qualities, as well as their unique challenges.

There are people with certain personalities, as well as people with families, who should never adopt a wolfdog, even of low wolf content, as such a combination can only end in disaster.

The fact is that wolf/dog hybrids do not have an easy time adapting to a second home, so before you decide that it is the animal for you, make sure that you are absolutely certain that you know what you’re getting into. Otherwise it will be upsetting for you, and potentially destructive to the wolfdog.

Alright, so the warnings have now been clear. Now it’s time to find out what is involved in owning a wolfdog, so that you can decide whether wolf hybrids are the right pet choice for you.

Before you even start to think about how you’ll need to prepare for wolfdog ownership, the first step that you must take is to discover whether or not owning a wolfdog is actually legal where you live. Many areas and towns have outlawed them altogether since without responsible ownership, their safety simply isn’t guaranteed. Other areas have allowed them, but require special permits and/or special training classes of up to 1,000 hours before the permit will even be issued. Furthermore, many places require that you build a pen, which must then be inspected to make certain that it is up to their codes.

Most people are very surprised to hear that wolfdogs are very shy animals, and bond most easily while they’re still quite young. Therefore, wolf dogs are frequently taken from their mothers at 3 to 4 weeks – an age which is quite young when compared to their domestic dog cousins. While this does mean that you’ll be able to develop the best possible bond with your wolf hybrid, it also means that you will need to be prepared for middle of the night feedings, and exceptionally high amounts of human contact – as well as exceptionally low amounts of contact with others – for the first stage of their lifetime.

Even when these precautions for early interactions with people are taken, many wolfdogs are hesitant about accepting other humans outside of their immediate family “pack.” Therefore, throughout the first four months, you will want to introduce them to as many different people as is possible, and as few other animals as possible. If your wolf dog has not been around many other humans by the age of four months, s/he will not readily accept them, and will likely be shy of them for the rest of their lives. This is a very risky development in wolf hybrids, as it may become a problem for the animal later in life.

If a friend or family member who does not live in your home comes to visit, you will need to acquaint this person with your wolfdog immediately, so that if you should ever go away, or have an emergency where you cannot return home, your wolf dog must be prepared to allow that other person to care for him or her.

It’s important to note that wolf hybrids are exceptionally prone to escape attempts, and will go to extreme lengths to be successful. So to properly contain your wolf hybrid, you’ll need to build the right kind of fence. This should consist of chain link of extra heavy duty 11 gauge wire. The fence should be at least 8 feet tall, with tip-in wires at the top – similar to the security fencing used by junkyards for trespassing prevention. Don’t “cheap out” on your fence wire, as wolfdogs have a jaw tensile strength of 1500 pounds per square inch, and can easily bite through lighter chain link fencing, as well as wood fencing; moreover, they will not hesitate to do so. To give you an idea as to how strong their jaws are, they are more than double the strength of the average domestic dog.

Your wolfdog pen should have a double entry to ensure that your wolf dog won’t escape as you enter or exit. Furthermore, there should also be a perimeter fence outside the primary fence which stops children or loose animals from reaching the primary fence and causing problems.

Of course, through the fence isn’t the only method that wolfdogs will utilize in order to escape. They’re also notorious diggers, and if you don’t have a proper barrier, s/he’ll dig his or her way out in the blink of an eye. For this reason, it’s wise to bury cattle panels, or more chain link fencing at least a foot under the ground all the way around the inside of the fencing. You’ll also want to attach the edges of the barriers to the chain link fence with steel hog rings in order to prevent your wolf hybrid from working his or her way out between the barrier and the bottom of the fence.

Be warned that your wolfdog will likely obliterate any plants or small trees that are within his or her reach. Large trees will also need to be about ten feet from the fence, as wolfdogs are talented climbers. For this precise reason, you may also want to have an electrical fence charger (such as one for cattle) and run three strands of hot wire inside the pen.

Unfortunately, buying all of these materials is not exactly chap, and will require a substantial amount of labor to have them properly installed. Especially considering that each wolf hybrid that you own will need approximately 2,000 square feet – the equivalent to a good sized house.

If your wolfdog ever should escape, you will discover that it is very hard to keep him or her contained from then on. Moreover, even one escape can be very risky for the animal’s life, and may involve a sizeable lawsuit if s/he even looks at someone the wrong way. Furthermore, if your wolf hybrid has a lot of the wolf characteristics of appearance, s/he will risk being shot on sight in many areas.

You will need to take special actions in order to train your wolfdog, as they do not react to the same learning techniques as many domestic dogs. For one thing, they react very badly to physical corrections, and will remember something that s/he considers to be a “wrongdoing” for as long as s/he lives. This is important to note because that adorable two month old puppy will remember everything that happens to him or her even when s/he is a 100 pound adult of solid muscle and teeth.

This also means that you cannot permit your puppy to “mouth” or rough house with you even when s/he is quite small. If you haven’t established yourself as the ultimate, all-time “alpha-male” of the pack by the time your wolfdog is three years old and his or her hormones kick in, you will have an extremely challenging time when s/he decides to begin challenging you for the alpha position.

If you were hoping to have a house dog, then a wolf dog is likely not the choice for you. Wolf hybrids are a great deal smarter than dogs, with an IQ at approximately the same level of a 5 year old child. Therefore, wolf dogs will be able to climb up on things, open cupboards and fridges, and reach things on even the highest shelf. Even baby-safety latches for cupboards are no match for a wolf/dog hybrid. Any furniture, rugs, wood trims, or anything else lower than extra heavy duty cabling will be nothing more than a chew toy to a wolfdog.

Feeding a wolfdog also differs from feeding a domestic dog, as they do not usually do very well on ordinary dog foods. Commercial dog foods are usually based on soy or corn, which cannot be digested by a wolf hybrid. You’ll need to use specialty dog foods in order to meet his or her needs, so expect that the 40 pound bag that s/he’ll eat every week will set you back about $30 to $40. However, this gets more expensive when you consider the two to five pounds of meat and meaty bones, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables that you’re supposed to use for supplementing the kibble.

Wolfdogs are indeed wonderful animals, and for the right people, they can be perfect pets. As long as you are prepared to take on this sort of responsibility for the next ten to fifteen years, you may find that wolf hybrids are the best thing that could ever happen to you.

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