|"Wolfdogs will 'turn on you' when they hit three years of age."
The truth: a dog doesn't "turn" on its owner, with the exception of canine Rage Syndrome or other unusual medical causes. The expression "he turned on me" is usually synonymous to "I wasn't paying attention to what's been going on all along, and one day matters came to a head and he bit me". Dogs (all dogs) are social climbers; if you are not the alpha, they will be glad to take your place. The alpha is allowed to correct his inferiors. Dogs 'correct' by biting. Make sense yet? ;) Humans frequently do not notice their dog climbing gradually into the alpha position…they'll let him get to the top, then feel betrayed when he starts acting like he's in charge. To avoid such problems, be a good alpha. Check out this page for some more info on how to be #1 with your dog.
~The age of three is often mentioned, because wolves, unlike dogs, will fully mature and grow into very adult animals. Sexual maturity for a wolf comes between two and three years of age, and at this time, a wolfdog who's been hovering on the brink of taking over may suddenly find the extra confidence he needs to make a play for the alpha position. Another phenomenon that may be viewed as "turning on you" is seasonal aggression, which does occur in some animals of considerable and very recent wolf heritage (particularly if left intact). During the "rut", or fall breeding season, wolves get a rush of hormones, which can result in them being especially protective of their mates and growly and disagreeable towards everyone else. Again, this is *hormone related*, and will pass with the season.
"If it has yellow eyes (a scent mark, big paws, etc) it is a wolf."
The truth: Lots of dogs have these things. There is no identifying trait that a wolf has, that is not found somewhere in dogs. Wolves and dogs have the same amount of teeth, also: 42.
"You can't train a wolf."
The truth: Baloney. Positive-reinforcement training works on just about every animal, from birds to horses to dolphins. All companion wolfdogs can (and should) be trained in at least the basics…although high-level obedience titles will probably be out of their reach ;) Pups can learn to "sit" reliably as early as four weeks.
"Wolves make great guard dogs."
The truth: wolves are notoriously poor watchdogs. They are too shy to approach strangers…and they don't even bark. They'll sense the intruder coming a mile away, and quietly slink into their hiding place. ;) The only deterrent value they have, is that most people are ignorant of wolf temperament and will be afraid of them.
"You can't put a dog in with a wolfdog; the wolfdog will kill it."
The truth: Wolves and wolfdogs are extremely social animals. Unless you are home all day to keep your animal company, it is very strongly recommended that you get him a canine companion, be it a wolf, dog, or wolfdog. (Avoid toy breeds, as they won't hold up to a wolfdog's rough play, and may be mistaken for prey.)
"Feeding raw meat to a wolf/wolfdog/dog will make him aggressive."
The truth: Wolves, without your intervention, would be eating deer, elk, and other animals…not cruising the salad bar at Wendy's. There is some slight debate as to whether they are carnivores or omnivores, but one thing is certain: wolves are NOT vegetarians, and do not do well on a diet that does not consist primarily of meat. Their systems, unlike those of many dogs, have not adapted to the "junk food" that we feed to today's dogs…they cannot digest corn, and most are allergic to soy. Feeding a corn-based kibble to a wolf will likely result in nutrition-related health problems and permanent diarrhea. Some wolfdogs do fine on a high quality kibble with meat as the first ingredient, and a high protein and fat content; and most owners try to at least supplement with raw meat for the health benefits (much of meat's nutrition is destroyed by cooking it). Regardless of whether you opt to feed a "natural" diet (& some do not, due to financial constraints, concerns over bones & bacteria, etc)...raw meat will NOT, repeat, will NOT, make any dog aggressive. (When you eat a rare steak, does it make you violent? ;)
"Wolfdogs don't get hip dysplasia or similar health problems."
The truth: wolfdogs should be tested for any defects common to the breed(s) of dog in them. Even wolves can get hip dysplasia, if they are bred in captivity for enough generations—in the wild, natural selection keeps these genetic defects out of the line.
"Wolfdogs need to run free/If I can't keep my wolf or wolfdog, I can always set him free."
The truth: Only if you want him to suffer for up to a few months before he experiences a painful death. Wolves, dogs, cats, and any other animals that have been raised in captivity can NOT survive on their own. No matter how many dead mice Tigger brings you, no matter how easily Timber caught that rabbit…if he doesn't die of starvation or thirst, he will be hit by a car or find some equally dismal way to die. If you must "get rid of" him, please care enough to have him peacefully euthanized by your veterinarian..and stay with him while he passes on; he would do it for you. (If you've never seen it, this is a must-read: "I Found Your Dog Today")
If you love your wolfdog and want to keep him safe (and out of trouble!), build him a proper enclosure for when he is outdoors.
"You need to alpha-roll (or beat, or otherwise out-muscle) a wolf to show him who's boss & keep him from taking over."
The truth: Getting violent with a wolf or wolfdog is normally a very bad idea. The 'alpha roll' can be a very effective maneuver, if you know how to do it properly…but it is not a violent action, and does not involve slamming the animal to the ground and biting its ear, etc. Believe me, if you best an adult wolf in a battle of strength, he LET you win. Gain your wolfdog's respect by being a firm, fair, and consistent alpha.
"My friend has a wolf who had pups last August; there were 9 of them, and they were all white."
The truth: you'll hear this a lot. While wolfDOGs of various contents can breed like wolves or like dogs, pure wolf and "high content" pups are normally born from March until early May (give or take). Females become fertile in their 2nd or 3rd winter. Litters are usually around 4 or 5 pups…and wolf pups—even arctics—are never born white. Their eyes are not blue...ever. But hey, why am I repeating this? ;) Look it up on any of the wild wolf sites. By the same token, your friend also doesn't have a pure red wolf; they are a rare and endangered species, and the possibility of "red wolf" wolfdog is extremely slim.
"If I breed my 50% wolf to my friend's 50% wolf, the pups will all be half wolf too."
The truth: That makes sense mathematically, but wolf/dog genetics follow a different set of rules. What you'll end up with is a litter of animals of varying degrees of wolfy-ness. You might want to read more about percentages here.
"The wolf is my spirit guide/If I buy a wolfdog pup, he will help me get in touch with nature."
The truth: a wolf is a canine, like any other dog. Some people like to envision that they have mystical attributes, or that they are somehow "worth more" than dogs because of their wolf heritage. The reality of it will sink in when you realize that he chews your shoes, pees on your rug, and does basically the same things any other dog does…because that's what he is: a dog. A very personable one. ;)