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If your simply curious about Wolfdogs...

If you or someone you know has purchased a wolfdog puppy...

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Educate yourself to avoid MANY unscrupulous breeders 

By Cottonwood Kennels & The Wolfdog Oracle

Wolfdog Information

Wolves, dogs, and coyotes can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. The breeding of a wolf and a dog are known as Wolfdogs. The term "wolf hybrid" is incorrect (outdated), as wolves and dogs are the same species.

Wolves are most often crossed with Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherds. Although a mating can occur with any dog breed, Breeds such as the Rottweiler, should never be considered and will not be recognized by any reputable registry*.

F1 (first generation - i.e., one parent is pure) Wolfdogs are deliberately produced from wolves who have been bred in CAPTIVITY for several generations. Breeders do not "den rob" and I would run from a breeder who claimed the parents were "pulled from a den in the wild" this just does not (or should not) happen anymore.

Most female dogs reach sexual maturity at around 6-8 months of age and has two estrus cycles per year. The male dog sexually matures around 8 months of age and will usually exhibit raised leg urination (RLU).  With a wolf, high content, or first generation Wolfdog the female will generally reach sexual maturity at around 22 months of age (sometimes later), the male around 20 months. She will generally have only one heat cycle per year and he will only be fertile as breeding season nears. He also may not exhibit RLU depending on his status. Alpha (dominate) female Wolfdogs may also exhibit RLU.

Breeding usually occurs around the later part of January, most often February, March (Arctic), and litters will be whelped 63 days later in Spring.

As you decrease the wolf content the animal can reach sexual maturity at any time between these two extremes. So if you are considering the purchase of a *reported* high content (above 75%) or *reported* first generation (one parent a "pure") the first question might be to ask the age, and consider the time of year.  High content Litters should be very uniform in appearance such as the photo below. (Also note that my F2's and F3's also whelp seasonally in Spring)

F2, 77.84 % Litter

F3, 88 % Litter

F2 77 % Litter born in April

F3 88 % Litter born in April

Also notice the coloration of the puppies, they are dark in color; either black, dark brown, or charcoal. Even Arctic wolf pups are born dark, never white. Try to steer clear of muti-colored puppies, (This does not mean a litter containing black and grizzled puppies, this refers to non-uniform/assorted looking litters with puppies of varied colorations as in example below) and avoid reported high content litters containing white puppies, or pink noses.

assorted litter

Learn the subspecies of wolves. Many breeders advertise subspecies that are not available in verified lines. Avoid *reports* of Red Wolf (only in captive breeding programs such as Fossil Rim), or Buffalo Wolf (an extinct subspecies of Wolf), Russian Black Wolf (does not exist), etc. For a good webpage about subspecies visit this site.

Cases of Hip Dysplasia have been documented in wolves; don't let a breeder tell you that Wolfdogs are somehow genetically immune to problems.


A Wolfdogs lifespan is approx. 12-14 years.

The adult coloration is grizzled (agouti), sable, white and black phase.

A Large breed, the wolfdog will have a large wedge shaped head with a prominent occiput bone.

Erect, heavily furred ears. A long muzzle and legs, a narrow chest and strong hindquarters.

Adult eyes should not be blue, (but young puppies eyes will be) parti-colored, or Bi-eyed. 
The correct eye coloration is yellow, green, shades of amber and
sometimes brown.

The teeth will be large and close with a scissor bite.

The log shaped tail is carried straight down when at rest and never tightly curled over the back.

In all coat colors the pigmentation is black on eye rims', nose pad, lips, and footpads.

Feet are well furred with webbed, well-arched toes. 

Toenails are black or self colored (opaque/taupe) but never white.

Why Are They Being Bred?

Today’s wolfdog is bred primarily as a companion animal. Retaining the natural beauty of the wolf and with the addition of the dogs’ manageability, some Wolfdogs have been photographed and casted in movies to portray the wolf.

They are sensitive, entertaining and playful, independent and aloof.

Wolfdogs are capable of an amazing level of communication. Their emotions are exhibited in the purest expression of body language. Second to body language in communication is the howl, a wonderful song not all of your neighbors will enjoy, however, Wolfdog owners do not miss the repetitive bark heard in other dog breeds.

Not for everyone, only those who have experience in successfully raising dog breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky should consider a wolfdog.

The Negative Aspects of Ownership

Wolfdogs are high-energy animals that require adequate exercise and mental stimulation. They are easily bored and thus harder to train, but train you must or they can become destructive.

You may experience trouble even finding an obedience class that will accept them due to the myths that surround these animals.

It will require a major effort for your wolfdog to be housebroken, due in part to the importance of marking their territories.

Although alert, Wolfdogs tend to be shy, therefore he does not posses any guard dog qualities and should never be considered for a protection animal.

Pack oriented, they are social and demanding of your time and attention. Constant companionship is highly recommended whether canine or human. When other animals are previously owned, it should be noted that Wolfdogs tend to be aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex (especially females), however, they are not generally aggressive to other animals outside their own territory.

A wolfdog may take time to warm up to new people or places and will need to be highly socialized to prevent shyness. A lot of effort must be put into introducing him to new objects/places/people, this must be a constant effort as fear of new surroundings might increase with age.

In some states, cities, and counties, Wolfdogs are classified as wild animals and considered illegal to “own” or owners are required to possess a permit for ownership. In other areas Wolfdogs are not regulated, being classified as domestic dogs. Know your regulations if any BEFORE you buy.

Being bred to look like a wolf has its drawbacks, they are inquisitive and will roam. They must be kept under control at all times and need a fenced in yard or kennel that is secure as they can jump great heights and are diggers. If they are caught running free, there is a likelihood of the animal being harmed.

Due to the Wolfdogs size, he is not a good choice for families with small children.

Considering Purchase?

A prospective buyer should search out a breeder for a minimum of a year prior to purchase. Pups are whelped seasonally in springtime and due to many unscrupulous breeders, you should spend one season looking at several breeders animals and observing progress of the pups they produced. 

Seek out Wolfdog owners and spend some time with their animals,. Know 100 % that this is the animal for you.

Read all the information you can on Wolves/Wolfdogs.

Build a kennel / area attached to your house / some type of containment for when you are not at home BEFORE acquiring the animal.


Percentage or the 'amount of wolf blood' in the litter is not an exact science, but more of a calculation on paper to give a general idea of the content in a pup. It is not an exact genetic makeup of the wolfdog.

When one breeds a pure dog to a pure wolf, the offspring inherit a set of genes from each parent, this is a true percentage (50% dog and 50 % wolf).

When wolfdog is bred to wolfdog, there is no way to calculate or manipulate which genes (dog or wolf) are passed to each offspring. The result could be any number or combination of each. 

Reported vs. Verified

Shepherd/Husky Mix

Colors are much more blended

Registered UKC - F1,  81.25 %
Born in September

Verified F2 85.36 %
Born in April

Don't feel bad if your animal is not what it was supposed to be, it has happened to most all of us at one point. The breeder may not have *lied* to you, but may not have known any better themselves. Usually that is how animals are misrepresented, one person buys an animal and the breeder says it is XX percentage. When they breed it, they do the figures right on paper, but don't know they are passing along misinformation. Some do intentionally lie, but not always.

Why Is It Important?

You might think, "Why is it important? I am not breeding and my animal is spayed/neutered." Well it could still matter for the following reasons...

Every time you tell someone your animal is XX%, if it isn't, you are only furthering the misconception about Wolfdogs, and the perception of what a wolfdog should look like.

You might have a "reported" 80% F1, you tell someone how great your high content is. It was sooo easy to train, runs loose, etc. Boy are they going to be surprised when they get the *real thing*.

In cases of a bite, or damage to livestock, the claimed wolf content will be what people remember, even if your animal appears to actually be all dog.

Some states have regulations for over a certain percentage. You could very well have a *legal* wolfdog.

Every time you represent your animal as a Wolfdog, the impression that people form from encounters with your animal, is the perception that they will have of all Wolfdogs. Be sure to accurately represent to the best of your ability, and make sure their impression is a positive one for the sake of all owners.

So You Have a Wolfdog.... Are You Sure?

There are thousands of people breeding mixed breed dogs and claiming they are Wolfdogs.  Some of these people have even set up their own registries because they could not get their animals registered in a reputable wolfdog registry due to lack of verifiable lineage.  Wouldn’t you like to know that your animal is really what you purchased? Many (if not most) wolfdog owners know what it feels like to find out that that 80% wolfdog is really a malamute mix or shepherd mix.  This realization generally comes with a hard slap from reality when their first true 80% wolfdog is brought home (who’s pedigree *is* verifiable thru a reputable registry). 

How do you really know your animal is a wolfdog?

Your breeder told you? How does your breeder know for certain?  Did your breeder give you a pedigree with your wolfdog, and can that pedigree be verified thru a reputable wolfdog registry?

Do you know how many generations away from a pure wolf your wolfdog is? Do you know that some breeders have found that without careful and selective breeding, wolf traits begin to disappear.

Do you believe that your animal has to be a wolf because it’s destructive? Destructiveness is not a wolf trait. Rather a CANINE trait. Shyness, aggressiveness, howling, not good in the house - are also CANINE traits.

Do you believe that your animal has to be a wolf because it looks wolfie? Well, see the following picture 

Wolfy looking
...She’s a purebred, AKC registered Siberian Husky.

PLEASE, if your wolfdog didn’t come with a pedigree, try to trace the lineage by contacting your breeder and asking for the name/number of the breeder they bought from and the parents names of your animals, then call that breeder and so on, or contact a Registry to see if they can verify the line (especially if you intend to breed). 

Lupine AWAREness , PO Box 461 , Landing, NJ 07850

USAWA , P.O. Box 663 , Williamstown, NJ 08094

NWHA (no longer in operation)

Iowolfers , 2 Johns Woods Drive , Rockford, IL  61103  

Even if it turns out you can’t verify the line or that your animal is really a malamute mix, that doesn’t make him/her any less of a companion.  

Claiming your animal is a wolfdog could cost it it’s life, is it worth it?

Are you aware that currently there is not an approved rabies vaccine for Wolves/Wolfdogs?  This does not mean that you shouldn’t vaccinate or that the vaccine isn’t effective when administered to Wolfdogs*, what it does mean is that Wolfdogs are not listed on the label of the vaccine. And it means that if your animal bites someone (even just a surface scratch that breaks the skin, will be classified as a bite), s/he may not get the normal quarantine period that other canines get and could be euthanized and tested for rabies. 

Are you also aware that Wolfdogs are regulated or banned in some areas across the country? Do you know if there are regulations regarding Wolfdogs where you live? Do you know that most shelters in cities will not release a wolfdog to it’s owner or turn it over to a rescue center? Instead these animals are euthanized claiming the liability on the shelter would be too great if the animal were released due to irresponsible owners.

*The USDA has stated that they believe that the rabies vaccine *is* effective when administered to Wolfdogs and they 
have conducted a study to aid in the approval of all vaccines for use in Wolves/Wolfdogs.

As wolfdog ‘owners’ it is our responsibility to ‘own’ them as responsibly as possible. Whatever our animals or we do, it is going to reflect on every other owner/wolfdog out there - whether positive or negative.  Negative things tend to spread a lot quicker and stick in the mind longer than the positive.


Click here to read - Phenotyping: Wolf, Wolfdog, or Dog

Click logo to read about the importance of 
correct wolfdog identification.
Titled Phenotyping: Wolf, Wolfdog, or Dog

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Cottonwoods Wolfdog Information

Cottonwoods Wolfdog Information



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