protect-the-wanders asked: It infuriates me is when people think that wolfdog hybrids are safer than wolves. Wolfdog hybrids are just as or sometimes more dangerous than wolves because people have the misconception to believe that are just as predictable as dogs. I was at a wolf preserve in PA once and they had wolfdog hybrids and wolves there as well. I heard countless stories about how owners bought these hybrids and crammed them into apartments or small suburbs homes. Thankfully they are now getting good care. *sighs*
Wolf Haven International in Washington has a few wolfdogs, and they’ve all got similar backgrounds - people wanted them for pets, found out quickly that they weren’t domestic dogs, and immediately wanted to get rid of them.
On more than one occasion, employees at Wolf Haven have showed up to work in the mornings to find wolfdogs (and even a few purebred but poorly-behaved Nordic dogs) chained to their front gates by irresponsible owners.
The worst case I saw was a wolfdog (there was a chance she was pure wolf, but most of us weren’t convinced and it was hard to tell with her injuries) that was beaten so severely “for obedience” that her jaw became set incorrectly, she had cigarette burn scars all over her body, her canines were worn down from being kept in a crate without proper training, and she had a permanently crippled elbow from jumping off the apartment balcony. Luckily someone in an obedience class with the wolfdog noticed the injuries each time and called someone about it and she was placed at the sanctuary. The saddest thing? This animal freaking loved humans. It put tears to my eyes thinking about her story every time she was curled up next to me, or someone else, or was losing her mind with excitement when we’d enter her enclosure. I always wondered, “How can you even look at a human with joy after what you’ve been through?”
Wolfdog Challenge Answers!!
Here are the correct answers for “wolfdog” or “dog”:
6.WOLFDOG (and Coyote actually)
8. DOG (my dog actually, GSD/husky/border collie/lab, predominantly GSD)
So to sum up, the only two that are dogs are 8 and 26. You will notice that there is wide variation in how all of these wolfdogs look, and that all has to do with their lineage, the breeds that were hybridized with wolves, and their content. All of the wolfdogs photographed here (with the exception of 12) were taken in by and lived at an accredited wolf/wolfdog sanctuary. There is no question that they are, in fact, wolfdogs. Number 12 was a case of a private person owning a wolfdog, that was confirmed by the same sanctuary and through lineage.
When identifying wolfdogs please keep in mind that there is rarely a blanket way to identify them, especially only through photographs. There’s no diagnostic “checklist” when ascertaining if a canine is a wolfdog or not. You will notice 16 has a very broad chest, but she was mid-high content. Keep in mind that the breed of dog crossed with the wolf has varying effects on how the resulting pup will look. Not all wolves are hybridized with the spitz/working breeds. I’ve seen a wolf/standard poodle hybrid! It was very, very weird looking! A lot of the GSD wolf hybrids have the larger/longer/thinner ears of the GSDs, even in the 50/50 crosses. Wolfdogs 22 and 25 are chow/wolf hybrids and the chow seriously dominates the physical characteristics (the phenotype). Wolfdog 14 is a wolf/elkhound hybrid. Wolfdog 17 was the biggest wolfdog I’ve ever seen at ~200 lbs. This is exceptionally large, and much larger than a pure wolf! The reason he was so big is because he was a wolf/great pyrenees hybrid.
Also remember that people very often keep wolves and breed wolfdogs illegally (most of these were at the sanctuary for that reason!). So claiming an animal can’t possibly be a wolfdog because it’s illegal in an area is dubious at best. There was one case that this sanctuary was fighting of a woman who routinely bred illegal wolf hybrids and they couldn’t get the county to prosecute her (for various complex reasons I’m not going into here), so she kept on going. The sanctuary even spent money and time to send in volunteers and vets to clean up and spay and neuter her animals…but she seriously hid her main breeding pair during the time they were there.
The moral of the story? When identifying wolfdogs or correcting people online, be very cautious. Misrepresentation of dogs as wolfdogs is a big problem, but it’s also an even bigger problem when a wolfdog is identified as a dog and does not get the proper care, training, or the facility to handle the animal. I understand frustrations seeing billions of husky and other spitz/working breed photos labelled as wolves or wolfdogs (and fight that good fight), but don’t overdo it when the animal is questionable! Always include a disclaimer in your responses and don’t ID questionable animals just based on one photo or a head-shot (yay to the people who pointed out this exact issue with this challenge, I was hoping for skeptical responses!). Remember, a photo does not indicate the behavioral phenotype, which is also important.
And to people who are legitimately thinking about adopting a dog you think might be a wolfdog, and don’t want to get yourself into a bad situation, please contact an accredited wolf/wolfdog sanctuary, look into the animal’s lineage, and meet the animal before making your decision. Please don’t 100% trust the word of someone you don’t know on the internet, you may miss out on an amazing dog or you may get yourself into a problematic situation.
*Edit: Before anyone jumps on or discredits me for calling them “hybrids”, let me explain to you that the term hybrid is used in biology to mean a cross between two species (interspecific hybridization), a cross between two subspecies (intraspecific hybridization, e.g. wolves and dogs), or even a cross between two breeds/cultivars/populations.