Wolf Hybrids and Wolfdogs in the Uk

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  • Topic: Dog, Gray Wolf, Wolf-dog hybrid
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  • Published : March 23, 2011
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There is a great deal of controversy concerning wolf dogs. While one group advocates the cross-breeding of dogs and wolves, another large portion of the population continues to be concerned over the breeding of wild, undomesticated animals for the purpose of producing pets suitable for close relationships with people. I readily admit that I have great temptation of the ownership of a wolf dog but am concerned of people not fully educated and experienced in wild animal behaviour, and the complicated relationship with humans. My concern is not only for the two-legged community within which the animal is expected to exist, but also with the quality of life for an animal more suited to the wild.

Unfortunately certain breeds of canine pets seem to be in ‘fashion’ from year to year, and many people will rush out to acquire whatever is currently popular. The name wolf hybrid comes from the more commonly recognised name wolf dog. Part wolf, part dog, since the dog and the wolf are able to interbreed successfully, the misleading term wolf hybrid has been replaced with wolf dog. Wolf dogs were occasionally purchased by English noblemen, who viewed them as a scientific curiosity back in 1776. The spectacular looks but dog like behavior of these animals are very attractive to people. It would seem the idea of a wolf as a pet is ‘cool’. Sadly most people interested in a potential wolf dog in the home for the first time are blinded by the fantasy creature that is commonly known as a wild animal. This exotic mixture is very different from a normal domesticated dog breed. Many who think they want one can be easily talked out of it once they see what's involved.

An example of a possible F1 (first generation Breeding) match with commonly used breed type parents in the UK.

So…What is a wolf dog hybrid?

A wolf dog hybrid is a cross between a wolf (Canis lupus) and a dog (Canis familiaris). A proposal has recently been put to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to reserve different names for domesticated animals arising from wild ancestors (Gentry et al, 1996).

Although most breeders raise hybrids to sell to the public, there is a small group of breeders and enthusiasts seeking to establish a new and distinct breed of canine. Their long-term goal, as described by some breeders, is to obtain an "ideal wolf dog cross strongly and attractively resembling its wolf counterpart visually, slightly aloof and territorial, but easily managed by its owner" (Dorothy Prendergast, The Wolf Hybrid). While most breeders would readily agree with this ideal, not all agree on the means to achieve it. In theory, a wolf hybrid can result from the mating of a wolf with any breed of dog. Wolves have been bred with such diverse breeds as malamutes, Siberian huskies, German shepherds, rottweilers, collies, pit bulls, and even standard poodles. The initial mating most commonly occurs between a male dog and a female wolf, though the opposite mating can also occur. The offspring produced from such a mating are first generation, or F1, hybrids. F1 and subsequent hybrids can then be bred with other hybrids, with pure wolves, or with the same or different breeds of dog, resulting in a group of hybrids with a wide range of genetic makeup. This genetic makeup is most often represented as a percentage, a number which is presumed to be a measure of the amount of wolf in the animal. The percentage not only represents the lineage of a hybrid, but is often used to determine its selling price as well. It is commonly used in adverts to attract buyers. The more wolf in the mix, the more "wolfy" the dog will be. Wolf hybrids can range from 1% to 99% wolf in them. The lower the wolf content, the more dog like it will look and act. This will also depend on the number of generations away from pure wolf. Wolves are not domesticated, they can’t be completely tamed either, socialisation and training of wolf crosses is of the utmost importance....
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