Wolfdogs (also known as wolf hybrids) are unique animals. Many people wish to own them as a means of bringing a “piece of the wild” into their homes. They are beautiful, intelligent, and fascinating canines.
But, unfortunately, there is much more misinformation about the wolfdog breed type available to the general public than there is fact-based scientifically-supported information.
As a result, not many people have a proper understanding of what wolfdogs truly are. Experts estimate that as many as 75% of all claimed “wolfdogs” in the USA aren’t actually wolfdogs at all, but are instead misrepresented mixed-breed domestic canines.
So, what makes a wolfdog?
In the most basic sense of the term, a wolfdog is a dog with recent wolf ancestry, and which shows physical, biological, and behavioral traits of that lupine heritage (for more information on identifying these traits, click here). They are created using one of three common domestic dog breeds: German shepherds, huskies, malamutes, and mixes thereof.
It is highly uncommon for wolfdogs to be crossed with any other breed. This is because part of the point of breeding wolfdogs is to accentuate their primitive and wild looks. Crossing wolfdogs to huskies, malamutes, and German shepherds helps to increase the looks-to-behavior ratio. When selectively bred, even a low-content animal can look quite wolfy to the general public, but still behave primarily dog-like.
Wolfdogs are also rarely created from crossing a pure wolf to a domestic dog; instead, most wolfdogs are created from crossing wolfdogs to wolfdogs, or wolfdogs to dogs. Very few individuals in the USA actually own pure wolves for breeding purposes. Those who do rarely breed outside of select lines.