Wolfdogs-the Wolf/Dog Hybrid Some State Laws Restricting Them
Wolfdogs or wolf dog hybrids are very controversial and laws and regulations concerning them vary from place to place. In some places such as Czechoslovakia the wolfdog is recognized as a breed and registered as one by the kennel club. It has standards like other breeds. About forty states in the United States ban the owning and breeding of wolf hybrids . In my own state of Wisconsin the wolfdog regulations even vary from one county to another.
What is a wolfdog ?
Generally a wolf dog is a hybrid of a wolf with a domestic dog, usually specific breeds such as German Shepherds, Malamutes, or Siberian Huskies.
- Usually they are deliberately bred.
- Although there are some accidental breeding between wolves and domestic dogs, they are not usually inclined to mix
- Considered exotic pets.
When I moved to Wisconsin, I had a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix dog and presently have a Siberian Husky with an unknown mix. In both cases the people have often told us the dog looks to be part wolf. I have met owners with dogs that are wolf dogs in town. One day I was walking my dog and a woman driving by stopped to talk to me to inquire if my dog was part wolf. It turned out her dog was. Another case was someone I used to run across when walking my dog. His dog looked like a Husky type dog. One day I was walking by his house and one of his neighbors told me that the man had died. The neighbor wanted to know what to do about the dog. Later he told me that he got a wolf dog rescue to take it. That was the first I knew the dog was a wolf dog hybrid.
Some counties in Wisconsin such as LaCrosse county, ban wolf hybrids. Others do not. According to an article in the Lacrosse Tribune the wolf hybrids, being neither wolf nor dog, don’t fir the legal categories and animal control authorities do not know how to deal with them. There are no state laws to regulate them. Since they are not dogs they don’t fall under regulations for dogs and they don’t fit into the regulations for wolves.
The humane society, according to the article, wants to totally ban wolfdogs.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
In Czechoslovakia started in 1955 with the breeding of 48 working line German Shepherd dogs with five Eurasian wolves. The aim was to create a wolf dog hybrid with the temperament, pack mentality, and trainability of the German Shepherd and the strength, physical build, and stamina or the Eurasian wolf, according to Wikipedia. The breed was developed for use by the border patrol in Czechoslovakia. Later they were used in search and rescue, schutzhund, tracking, herding, agility, obedience, and drafting. In 1982 it was officially recognized as a national breed in Czechoslovia
The breed was recognized in the UK in 2002.
There doesn’t seem to be a standard for wolf dog hybrids in the U.S. They are a cross between a pure wolf and a dog or a wolf hybrid. The dogs would usually be Malamutes, Huskies, or German shepherds. The hybrids tend to be bigger than the wolves.
Those that are pro wolfdog tend to claim the animals are docile as house dogs, whereas most anti wolf dog folks say they are vicious and untrainable.
Since the wolfdog is a cross between a dog and a wolf common sense would indicate that they need special training and probably a special trainer. The website “WolfCoutry.net” does not recommend the average person own wolf dogs. Wolf dogs are great for those who have the knowledge and inclination to keep and train them.
Having generic mixtures of wolves and dogs their physical and behavioral characteristics can’t be predicted accurately.
According to CDC and the Humane Society of the United States, the wolfdog is sixth in number of attack fatalities in the U.S. The aggressiveness varies from animal to animal.
Also, according to WolfCountry.net is what they call the “position of alpha.” While a dog can be mastered, even a stubborn one. However, a wolfdog will always try to test the master for dominance. The owner has to dominate and it can lead to a constant battle. The same seems to some extent to be true with wolf like dogs such as Huskies, although maybe not to the same degree.
The main thing is if one is considering a wolf dog is to make an informed decision. Aside from local laws the owner must have enough space, dedication, know the necessary diet and availability of medical care. Can and will your vet treat a wolf dog?
“People have to understand that a wolf-dog is still part wild, it will never be the docile family pet,” according to WolfCoutry.net. they have special needs—physical and mental. Many hybrids end up being put down, because it is very difficult to place them with new owners.
They recommend a malamute or husky for people who want a dog that resembles a wolf.
There is some evidence that prehistoric wolfdogs date back 10,000 years or more in the Americas. In Europe there is fossil evidence suggesting they were used in hunting mammoths. Animals in the artwork of the Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico’s central valley may have been wolfdogs. Fossil evidence of wolfdogs was found about 2010 that they had been kept by the warrior class there.
In Great Britain the first known wolf and dog was about 1766. A male wolf mated with a Pomeranian who had a litter of nine pups. Occasionally English noblemen purchased wolfdogs as scientific curiosities. In British menageries and zoos exhibits wolfdogs were popular.
However, there appears to be no intentional breeding until Saarlooswolfhond starting in the 1920’s. Hybrids were used as experimental attack dogs in South Africa during apartheid, which were bred from German shepherds and wolves from the Urals. The first of these was in 1978, male named Jungle who remained in service until 1989.
- I have supplied some links and some sources listed below.
- Sources for information in the hub include:Wikipedia articles on Wolfdog and Wolfdog in Czechoslovakia
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, breed history and standard
Czechoslovakian Wolfdog - breed information, history, standard and photo gallery featuring 20 individuals representative of this rare European breed.
- State, county officials look to regulate wolf-dog hybrids
Wolfdogs, according to Wikipedia, are affected by fewer inherited diseases that most breeds of dogs. Some established wolfdog breeds were bred specifically to improve the health and vigor of working dogs.
The USDA has not approved rabies vaccines used for dogs to be used on Wolfdogs. Wolfdog owners and breeders claim that this is a political attempt to discourage wolfdog ownership.
According to Wikipedia, there are at least seven breeds that acknowledge significant and recent wolfdog hybridization. Four were deliberate crosses with German shepherds.
- The Saarlooswolfhond. A Dutch breeder in 1921 this was a first attempt at sustained crossing of wolves with dogs to prevent distemper. The effort failed but the FCI and Dutch Kennel Club recognize the breed.
- The Czechoslovakian wolfdog was created in the 21950’s.
- Lupo Wolfdog accepted by Italian Kennel club.
- Kunming Wolfdog is a Chinese wolfdog bred for military purposes.
- Japanese wolfdog might be a descendent of the extinct Japanese Wolf.
© 2011 Don A. Hoglund
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