If you’re looking for a new furry companion for your family, you might consider one of the many types of wolf breeds or wolf-dog hybrids.
Among the different mixed breeds, wolf breeds are some of the most loyal, family-friendly, and distinctive.
For those of you considering a wolf breed or a wolf-like dog, you probably have many questions, such as “what can I expect from my wolf breed puppy?” or “how long will my wolf breed live?” and “are wolf breeds good around kids,” we’ll answer all of these questions and more in this profile on wolf breeds.
Essential traits and breed information
One thing you may notice about wolf-dog hybrids is that they share characteristics of both dogs and wolves while remaining very friendly.
The first thing most people notice is the dogs’ more wolf-like appearance.
The large pointed ears and tapered muzzles are traits that have carried over from their wolf heritage.
The specifics of your dog will be based on what breed they are mixed with. However, most hybrids do share some commonality between the different breeds.
Most notably, all wolf breeds are known to be highly intelligent and maintain their pack mentality, where they quickly try to understand who the leader is (in most cases, this would be you).
This makes them excellent family dogs, especially if you acquire them as puppies and begin training early.
These dogs were initially bred to be work dogs, like sled dogs or herding dogs.
Health and lifestyle
As we mentioned, wolf dogs were initially bred to be work dogs. They tend to be large breed dogs with a double coat to survive frigid temperatures.
Like many other large work dogs, they are high-energy and love running and playing.
Potential owners should plan on having enough space to play outside, combined with a high fence that is dig-proof, because despite being mostly well-behaved, all that extra energy makes them want to roam and get into mischief if allowed.
Though they can be indoor dogs, their size and energy level make them at home outside, especially in colder climates.
A dog house provides shelter from the weather, and they love being able to run free.
Being big dogs, they live an average of about 11 to 14 years.
They are prone to heartworm infections and joint issues, ticks, and mites due to their thick coat. The dogs also can suffer from infectious diseases like rabies.
Intelligence and training
As mentioned, wolf hybrids are some of the most intelligent dogs available.
They excel in groups and are very protective. However, it may be a good idea to begin training them early as their tendency to be stubborn is a leftover trait of their working past.
Though this trait can be difficult to deal with at first, they are easy to train due to their high intelligence. And their loyalty makes them eager to please, meaning they take to training tasks quickly, particularly when it is masked as a job.
Training and exercise are also very good for these dogs due to their high energy level.
Besides basic obedience training, these dogs excel at specialized training for events, and they can make excellent competition dogs, as many types of hybrids were once used as sled dogs.
This can be an excellent alternative when a vigorous walk is not viable.
As pack animals, they respond well to a dominant figure in the pack and treat that person as the leader and other family members as fellow pack members, making them the perfect guard dog for a family.
Their ability to be easily trained makes it easier to control their hyperactive tendencies, and giving them a task to focus on keeps them calm and docile.
Diet and upkeep
Your large wolf-dog will need plenty of food formulated for its size and age.
Talk with your vet about ensuring they have the right type of nutrition for their size, weight, and age.
Specific food blends for puppies, young dogs, and older dogs are available, so it’s relatively easy to match your dog with the right food for them.
Besides diet, wolf breeds will need a lot of grooming to reduce shedding and keep their coat nice and healthy.
Brushing the undercoat will keep it nice and shiny and prevent matting, which is essential in colder weather.
How do I know if I want a wolf-dog breed?
The key takeaway about wolf-breed dogs is that they are large, loyal companions that work well with families.
Their high energy makes them incredibly playful but can also make them a handful to deal with until they are trained.
If you are looking for the next long-term companion for your family, they can be a great addition to families of any age.
Remember, they will need a place to run and burn off energy and a moderate amount of upkeep.
If you have the space and the ability to train them, then you will be hard-pressed to find a better family dog that will be around for years to come.
Always remember that choosing a new dog is a long-term commitment that should not be made lightly.
Adoption is an excellent option if you’re looking to add a wolf-dog as the next new member of your family.
Alana Redmond is a writer specializing in safety and legal topics. She works closely with the attorneys at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner, who handle dog bite claims and other injury cases.