|The first thing you need to know about wolfdogs is that they are mutts: a combination of wolf and dog. Depending on how many generations from a pure wolf your pup is, how much wolf was in her parents, and how many of the wolf traits she inherited (at random) from each of them, she may be anywhere from mostly wolf, to mostly dog. She may have "papers" that state her percentage, but rest assured that in most cases, they will be useful mainly if you intend to 'paper-train' her ;) A good breeder will be able to give you the number of generations from pure (known as the 'F number', with an F1 animal being one gen removed from a full wolf), and this is more useful, but at best you can only make an educated guess as to the amount of wolf in your animal. (There is currently no way to "prove" wolf inheritance.) For more detail on this topic, check out THIS link on percents. Most people now refer to wolfdogs in terms of "content". Content is a "best guess" approach designed to give you much more information as to the looks & temperament of the animal--animals of similar wolf content will generally possess a similar amount of wolf traits. "High content" animals will look and act like wolves, and most low content wolfdogs will look basically like northern breed dog mixes! The breed of dog in the mix is very important as well! The "wolfish-ness" really seems to be tenacious in their personalities, though, especially if not heavily socialized...and many a doggy-looking low-content wolfdog possesses the shy (and/or stand-offish), intense, quirky personality one would expect in a higher-content animal.
The amount of wolf in your animal is important for two reasons: So you can get a better idea of how she will act (wolves being very predictable, and each dog *breed* within being fairly predictable-- if your girl is mostly wolf or mostly husky you should have a better idea of what to expect from her) ~and~ So you don't give others a false impression off what living with an animal of that content is like. Many people have low content animals that look and act mostly like dogs; however, the animals came with "papers" stating a ridiculous percentage of wolf. Other folks may see your girl, say "hey! So&so has a 92%er that acts just like my husky! I should get one too", get an animal that is truly mostly-wolf in behaviour, and find that their new furkid is nothing like yours. Odds are, they will think they got a 'bad apple', and will send it to the pound or to an already-overloaded rescue system. Percents often do more harm than good...and what is an appropriate amount of true wolf content for your neighbor, may not be the right amount for *you*.
*If you have decided to bring home a wolfer, but have yet to choose your new pup, THIS section may help you make your decision.*
So, now that you've figured out what you want in a wolfer (or have already brought the pup home), how do you know if the breeder has misrepresented her?? Study. Calibrate your eyes, so to speak. Look at many photos of wolves...see wolves in person, if you can. Look at many "wolfish-looking" breeds of dog, and photos of those dogs...and analyze their traits carefully. (malamutes never look "just like a wolf"! ;)
For a breakdown of what I look for in determining wolf content, go HERE:
The age to bring your puppy home is also determined partly by wolf content. This is entirely between you and the breeder, but there's a lot to consider. Click the above link for some thoughts on the subject.
One final note on the wolf/dog cross: wolves and dogs are the same species, and crossing them is NOT like crossing two different animals. <See the 'Silly Woofer Myths' section for more info on common old wives' tales.> "Wolf" as a breed, though, is at one end of the sliding canine scale...and "stereotypical domestic dog" is at the other. When determining the amount of wolf that is right for you, please be sure to honestly evaluate your needs and abilities, and choose an animal near whichever point on that scale is best suited to your lifestyle. Years down the road, you'll be glad you chose appropriately :)
|If you're still debating whether or not to take the leap into wolfdog "ownership", look HERE for some of the questions you'll want to ask yourself. (To keep things in perspective, there are lots of good things about them too! HERE is why they are ~my~ animal of choice…)
If it's too late to scare you off (LOL)…Great! You're in for a true adventure...don't forget to pack patience, understanding, and your sense of humour ;) Seriously though, you probably have a hundred questions about the new baby...