|Q. What about vet care? I hear there is no approved rabies vaccination...
A. Vet care is the same as for any other dog. With the rabies vaccination, "approved" is the key word. There's a political controversy surrounding the on-label use of the vaccine for wolfdogs. The vaccine is safe and effective, and recommended for all wolf/dog crosses. More here: http://www.wolfdogproject.com/rabies.htm
Q. So, what's it like to live with a wolfdog?
A. That depends on the wolfdog! These animals are mixed breeds, and the amount of wolf in them varies, along with the breed of dogs involved. On top of that, to a large extent, dogs are *what the owner makes of them*...the owners who expect more from them, who make the dogs a primary focus in their lives, will get alot more out of them. There are almost as many stories of what it's like to live with a wolfdog, as there are wolfdog owners.
Q. Let me rephrase that. Why do folks want this kind of dog?
A. That's another answer that varies from person to person. Traits that wolfdogs in general are known for: superb intelligence, problem-solving and reasoning ability; self-awareness, and awareness of the world around them; intensity of interaction with their people; tremendous ability to communicate; a sensitive and emotional character; great affection and loyalty towards their special person; an excess of personality; beautiful, striking features; independence; challenging and intriguing minds to work with.
My own personal reasons for choosing these dogs are kept here: http://www.wolfdogproject.com/why.htm
Q. So how is that different from any other breed of dog?
A. Basically, it isn't! It's simply that there is no registered breed that offers the same total package of behaviours as a wolfdog...hence why some choose to have this mix of dog.
I find it interesting to note, that wolves are sort of the "white light" of the canine spectrum. They have a grasp of the big picture, and they are capable of a full spectrum of behaviours. Domestic dogs have, in a sense, been "filtered out" to possess only certain portions of the spectrum, through selective breeding. Those "colours" might even have been amplified, to produce a specialist dog who is *better* at some of the traits than the original animal, the wolf. A given breed of dog may be faster, bigger, have better tracking ability or be more territorial. All behaviours found in wolves are found in dogs, to varying degrees...although not all are likely to be found in the same dog breed!
Q. What's in it for the dog?
A. What's in it for ANY dog? Easy food, creature comforts, love and attention, safety, medical care, fun, games and toys, human (and hopefully also canine) companionship. Sounds like a pretty good deal for both human and dog...I guess that's why we partnered up so many years ago! ;-) Many wolfdogs enjoy the same great life as any other companion dog; come look at our photo album to get a better idea. :-)
Q. How do people decide which ones to breed? Are they rare enough that most need to be used as breeding stock?
A. NO. There are many, many wolfdogs out there, and most are not ideal candidates for breeding. Wolfdogs are, quite simply, mutts...and once the wolf has been bred out for several generations, you are basically back to typical mixed breed domestic dogs. More here- http://www.wolfdogproject.com/percent.htm on how the genetics of these guys work.
Q. What about all the problems associated with wolfdogs? The people who get them only to bolster their egos, those who stake them out on chains as trophy pets, those who sell husky mixes for inflated prices as "high % wolves", those who have no clue how to care for them but buy them anyway, all the rescue animals turned in because the owners didn't want them anymore?
A. Responsible owners are painfully aware of all the problems that IRresponsible owners and breeders cause for these animals. Truth is, ALL dogs--and cats too--are put in this unenviable position. As long as there are humans motivated by greed, with no regard for life other than their own, animals will suffer. It is unrelated to the breed or type of dog. These are fantastic animals, but no matter how good an animal is, its quality of life is only as good as its human allows. I'd like to think that all good dog and cat owners are working towards solutions for the problems caused by uncaring or ignorant "pet owners".
Q. How about problems specific to the dogs, themselves?
A. Wolfdogs, in general, should not be acquired by people who are "houseproud", as they tend to be quite destructive indoors and they dig up the yard. They are often difficult to contain and require substantial fencing. Many are not exceedingly tolerant of children, and do not make a good child's companion. They are not intended for high level obedience! They are considered high maintenance dogs, need a great deal of attention and interaction, and do not make a good "casual pet". More on "who should own a wolfdog" here: http://www.wolfdogproject.com/whoshould.htm
Q. Where can I look for more information on owning this sort of dog?
A. I'll list some links below. Additionally, you might consider joining an email educational list, such as Wolfdogz http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wolfdogz Not everyone on the lists is tactful and supportive, so you might take care to grow a thick skin first, and not take all comments and opinions to heart. <g> The educational benefits of such a group outweigh the drawbacks though, in my opinion, as it is great to compare notes and learn from others' experiences!