So, I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that I’m getting a wolfdog in the spring. The name seems to throw people off, so I figured I’d post a little bit of information about the breed.
In the world of wolfdogs, there are two type. There are dogs with wolf lineage, which is what we’re getting, and then there are dogs bred to look like wolves. The latter are generally a mashup of a few types of spitz breeds (german shepherds, alaskan malamutes, huskies), bred and bred over again until they come out looking very similar to wolves.
It’s important when choosing a wolfdog to make sure you know what you’re getting. Breeders will pass off spitz-types as wolfdogs to con people into paying more money, which is reprehensible. Anyone who sells a dog claiming it’s something it’s not is an awful person, in my opinion.
As for dogs with actual wolf heritage, there are few things you need to watch out for. The type of wolf they come from isn’t always important, but for some people, they want a certain kind of wolf. Arctic wolves are a popular breed to mix with. It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of what’s in their heritage, there is never a guarantee for how much or how little wolf is in the puppies. This is true of all mix breeds. You have no way to predict which puppy will have which traits of the breeds in its mix. For examples, go back to my first post about Chewy. One of them came out looking like a malamute, while the other three had bear dog colouring. As a result, people talking about percentages and pedigree are just blowing smoke up your ass.
Wolfdogs are very similar to spitz breeds, not only in size and looks, but also in behaviour. Whether you’re getting a malamute, wolfdog, or even a jack russel terrier, it’s enormously important to research the breed beforehand. Sled dogs and wolfdogs are full of energy, and this energy needs to be used up or they will use it to destructive ends. They require special handling, and they must be trained. They’re escape artists who can jump very high, and excellent diggers. You need special fencing/enclosures to ensure they stay in your yard. We learned this from our first dog, Ziggy, who was a husky/border collie cross. She was Houdini with the escapes.
Wolfdogs require a specialized diet, but it’s not a bad idea to feed wholesome natural ingredients to all of your dogs. Store brand kibble isn’t good, it’s like the ramen of the dog food world. Good enough to survive off of in a pinch, but it will have adverse effects on your health if eaten over a long period of time. After the whole poison pet food out of China scare, I prefer to go the extra mile to make sure what my pets are eating is good for them, and good for the environment.
Spitz breeds and wolfdogs are prey driven animals. If you’re getting one as a puppy, it is absolutely imperative that you socialize your animal. This means puppy class, dog parks, and exposure to cats and other pets you might have as early as possible and as often as possible. The sooner you show them that other pets are part of the pack, and not food, the better. It’s also a good idea to introduce them to as many people as possible. We had tons of people coming over when Chewy was a puppy. The door was always being knocked on, the doorbell was always ringing, and as a result, she does not bark at the door or at strangers.
Almost anything can be fixed with proper training, but it requires you to train yourself as well. You need to be the alpha, you need to be assertive, and you need to exercise your dog daily, if not bi-daily. Any breed can become vicious and destructive if the owner is weak. Educate yourselves.