I decided to do a little chart after reading about some guy on FB posing that his service dog (yes, service dog) is a 'wolf'. [That is a dog, a husky by the way. I don’t know who he’s trying to fool…]
Look… just like with any other dog sometimes looks can be deceiving. A dog may look like a wolf, or even like it has wolf in it but the truth is it could just be a mix of pure dog without a shred of wolf at all.
You’re not doing ANY favours to wolves or wolfdogs by claiming a husky is a wolf or your GSD/chow mix is part wolf. It’s illegal in some states and can get you in trouble as well as get an innocent animal killed under a false title being placed on it’s head.
You can clearly see the differences here and honestly, if you love wolves you should know what one looks like for real rather than just tossing the term ‘wolfdog’ on a dog that just has wolf sable or agouti colours in it’s coat.
Learn the differences between the wolf and a dog, and most importantly if you don’t know what breeds your dog is, say ‘mutt’ or ‘mixed breed’. It’s not an insult and your dog will not care. Your dog may look ‘wolfish’ but that does NOT mean it’s a wolfdog.
How about some pictures to help demonstrate what wolfdogs tend to look like?
This is a low content wolfdog -
Low content and it shows with the fur, colouring, and the head. The body is stockier and while the legs are longish they are still short and stunted compared to a wolf. The ears are pointed, the tail has a significant ‘curl’ and note the lack of an actual ‘mane’ and ruff around the neck and face. There is wolf in this dog but there’s so little the physical appearance would simply be passed off as a husky. It’s likely that while still possessing some minor wild behaviours this specimen is still fairly ‘doggy’ and a scoche easier to handle than it’s higher content brethren.
While this guy looks more wolf than the last, with longer legs and a longer body, you will notice that it still has rather large ears as well as a longer tail than a wolf. The head is still not quite ‘wolf’ and the muzzle looks more akin to a Shepherd (which may be part of it’s breeding) than wolf. Not to mention rounded ‘cat’ paws.
High content -
Note the larger body, longer legs and large feet. Small ears and a shorter tail with a noticeable mane and ruff around the face. A longer snout and thicker fur. While these traits can occur in Nordic breeds, wolves tend to have a more typical ‘wolfish’ look. This specimen is likely very high in wolf content indeed but there are still suble ‘dog’ traits.
THESE guys are not a wolfdogs at all! -
These are actually husky-malamute mixes.
There is no wolf in these dogs at all. However, if I remember right these were claimed to be ‘wolf-husky-malamute’ hybrids. IF anything (and this is a BIG if) these are low-low-low content wolfdogs, and even then that is stretching it to the limit of possibility. However, to me these two are all dog, no wolf. Just dog. Having worked with high content and low content wolfdogs before in the past, you tend to learn the difference quickly once you learn the visual differences between the wolf and dogs. They’re related but they are pretty different in many ways. Similar in a few but still, dogs are not wolves.
Wolfdogs are not easy pets to have and they need firm handling by someone who knows both dog and wolf behaviour well enough to dictate (or try to anyway) training. Claiming your dog is part wolf will only cause problems because despite what you may think not everyone loves wolves. To some people wolves are scary, horrible, and ruthless killers. My neighbor had a chow-chow mix that he claimed was part wolf… it wasn’t, just GSD/Chow, and as a result his neighbor poisoned it one day. The dog did nothing wrong but because of ignorance he died.
Owning a wolfdog isn’t edgy or cool, you are taking on a responsibility that will be more than most people can handle. If you are inexperienced then don’t do it and stick to a regular dog.
Don’t try to fool people with claiming ‘wolfdog’ on a dog that isn’t even remotely close to a wolf.
It’s dangerous for you and your dog to claim ‘wolfdog’ so casually.
Wolfdogs aren’t just a fancy dog, they require a lot of care and knowledge in order to even be manageable half the time. While some may be more timid and easygoing that others, the common theme is they are a handful and a half and require a great deal more care, patience, and training than most dogs do.
If you are unsure of wolfdogs and their behaviours/origins or the stigma that comes with them and why, look it up before you run your mouth and claim this, that, and the next thing.
That said… I don’t own any images here but they are all under fair use and I stake no claim to them. They’re copyright to the original owners.
For those who own a wolfdog and have more information, feel free to add!
PS: For the record — I’m personally not an advocate of wolfdogs, in fact I don’t think they should exist to be completely honest with you. Unless they are used for educational purposes then wolves shouldn’t be domesticated at all. There’s dogs for a reason… you don’t need a wolf in your home.
Not only can the practice of breeding wolfdogs be shady (as with almost any dogs really) but their reason for being and such is just… they don’t really serve a purpose other than luxury and vanity. Dogs were bred to be companions, wolfdogs are basically man’s desire to covet nature and control it as best he can. Unfortunately that comes with a price and people have died when their ‘loving’ pet wolf turned on them at the drop of a dime due to reasons (be it mental or physical).
I won’t condemn anyone who owns one so long as they are aware of the responsibility and take care of it properly. An animal is not a toy or a luxury item, it’s a life.