Wolves are etched in our imagination in truly fantastic and romantic colors. They play a prominent part in the fairytales and stories we have grown up listening to. Despite the presumed familiarity we have with their race, doubts, fears and misconceptions abound.
Wolfdogs are hybrids between wolves and dogs, and the more true they are to their wild ancestors, the more wild they will be. But wildness should not be mistaken for ferociousness. Wolfdogs also require committed veterinary care including vaccine shots and pest control.
Wolfdogs are not good watch or guard dogs because they have an inherent mistrust and a deep-rooted fear of human beings. This also makes it harder to tame them and socialize them.
If you are planning to buy a wolfdog pup and raise it as a family pet, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
It is important you find out all about the breed, but it is even more important you assess yourself and find out whether you are ready to meet all the commitments that wolfdog ownership will demand of you. (check out the full article!)
Seeing a lot of issues with this article, not the least of which is the following statement: “Wild animals are extremely loyal and committed to the pack-leader, and once you establish the relationship on a solid footing your wolfdog will be more responsive to your commands. You have to play the part of the alpha dog in the relationship, and do realize that he will challenge you aggressively if he finds you weak and lacking in control.”
A wolfdog will challenge you aggressively if you bully, beat, alpha roll, and use other forms of force to “assert your dominance” over it. It will challenge you aggressively if you try to put it in a situation in which it feels uncomfortable. Most high and some mid-content animals will also act aggressive toward you in the winter months simply because it’s breeding season.
But it is the nature of wolfdogs to generally avoid conflict; fighting and being aggressive are behaviors reserved for very extreme situations - situations which are typically the result of you being a shitty handler.
The article was doing so well, even mentioning positive-based training methods, right up until this point. It later goes on to say, “You have to continuously assert your authority because there is nothing that your wolfdog prefers more than a strong, loving and dependable pack-leader.”
Asserting authority is not a part of training these animals. Being a strong, loving, and dependable ‘leader’ is - and I even tend to look at the term leader with a sense of disdain because so few people understand what this means in relation to canine sociology. In a wild wolf pack, the “alpha” wolves are actually just parental figures - they are more correctly referred to as the “breeding male and breeding female” within a pack. My job with my wolfdog is to be a supportive parent, not a domineering alpha tyrant who views every wrong step my animal makes as some absurd bid to overthrow my authority.
Additionally, comments about wolfdog containment are rather weak. I know it sounds a bit of a trivial complaint, and yes, they do say that 6-foot privacy fence won’t be enough to keep in an adult wolfdog, but they don’t tell you what will keep it in. You know what does? An 8-foot tall enclosure made from galvanized steel cattle panels - which are, by the way, made to contain one-ton bulls. In other words, if your backyard cannot contain a one-ton bull, it probably cannot contain a mid or high (or even a low) content wolfdog. This is not to be understated. “What kind of containment do you have?” is one of the very first questions legitimate wolfdog breeders will ask you before placing one of their animals in your care. This is because escapes are probably the number one reason wolfdogs end up dead, outside of the usual issues we hear about with irresponsible ownership and misrepresentation.
The article also conveniently skips over the legalities factor. In some places around the USA, wolfdogs are illegal to own, regardless of content. Even a husky mix claimed to be a wolfdog is illegal to own in such places. An unwitting owner moving to a new state can end up with their beloved companion animal being confiscated and killed if they aren’t aware of the laws.
Outside of these factors, it’s actually a pretty good article and gets the point across: Wolfdogs are NOT good pets for most people. They are high-maintenance, potentially dangerous to small animals and children, and require a lot of special care which most people are simply not equipped to give.
And I’m pretty sure that merle dog is a rescue of unknown origin that showed up on a TAMASKAN forum. Just saying.