|With all the drawbacks wolf crosses have, why would anyone want such a difficult animal? This is a valid question...obviously, there must be something present in animals of recent wolf heritage that can't be found in the average domestic dog, who is less troublesome, much more eager to please, and easier to mold to your specifications. There are some folks who say that these are precisely the reasons they get more enjoyment from wolf crosses: they are far more challenging (the "glass is half full" view of "difficult") and interesting to raise, and they have a strong will and personality not found in more subservient canines who may live for their owner's approval. They don't automatically assume that you OWN them--body, mind, and soul.
Wolfdogs may live WITH you, but they don't live FOR you. ;)
Other reasons some folks have wolfdogs as their companions of choice are:
*They're exceptionally intelligent animals. Most owners feel their reasoning power is off the scale, and they are the mental equivalent of a five year old child. They also have the amusing creativity that comes along with such a capable mind!
*Wolfers are generally far more intense and aware of the world around them than domestic canines.
*They are unusually expressive and communicative...this requires you to learn their language, but it's well worth it--they have so much to say! In addition, they are so perceptive of the owner's unconscious signals that it sometimes seems they can read your mind.
*Along the same lines, wolfers are sensitive and emotional critters. To draw a parallel, I had a friend who worked with GSDs; he once told me that a GSD was bright and sensitive enough to become emotionally disturbed. Wolfdogs share this trait...my youngest, when scolded, becomes stressed and immediately looks for something he is allowed to tear up, a toy or a newspaper, to relieve his anxiety. The same friend also told me that he felt the biggest difference between his breed (GSDs), and dobermans was this: a well trained dobie will do what its owner commands, period...a GSD needs to reconcile it with his conscience first! Likewise, a wolfdog needs to feel that what he does not only keeps him in his owner's graces, but fits his own agenda and standards as well. (Is it any wonder that so many wolfdog owners' *second* favourite dog is the German Shepherd, a dog that was, itself, a wolfdog just a century ago? ;)
*Their authentic posturing and "wolfspeak" is fascinating, especially for those interested in primitive canine behaviour, body language, and pack dynamics. A wolfdog is as close as one can get to the Original Dog...the animal 'Canis lupus' was meant to be.
*They both *offer to* and *require of* their owner, a more intense and involved level of interaction than most domestics. If you are the sort who seeks out eccentric, complex, high-maintenance humans who become your close friends despite the allowances you need to make for them, because they bring something special to your life...then a relationship with a wolfdog may suit you just fine! ;)
*Wolfers are loving, affectionate, and loyal to their human pack...and will greet family members with zeal! Despite their "wild" heritage, they enjoy being with their humans much as dogs do; after all, it was the pack mentality and social structure of wolves that made domestic dogs such ideal companions.
However, one noted difference between wolf crosses (even those of lower content) and similar breeds such as Siberian huskies and malamutes is that while most northern breed dogs are indiscriminately friendly, wolfdogs tend to be shy or standoffish around strangers, and reserve their affection for their family. Most are "one-man" or "one-family" dogs; and although some folks prefer this sort of temperament, it does (unfortunately) perpetuate the misconception that wolfdogs don't care much for humans. Rest assured that when no strangers are lurking nearby, that pacing, uncertain wolf cross is a loveable hundred-pound lap puppy!
*Wolfdogs are quiet animals, for the most part...they don't participate in the obnoxious barking that makes dogs unwelcome in many places ;) One warning bark is about all you'll ever hear from a wolfdog of appreciable content. Their trademark howl is just the icing on the cake!
*Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder...but there are many who feel that a wolf or wolf cross is a strikingly beautiful animal.
*Aggressive behaviour towards strangers is extremely rare. A wolfdog will almost never be the dog who bites the mailman, or snarls and barks when you walk down the street. (Some undesirables have been known to create wolf crosses made up predominantly of aggressive domestic breeds such as chows or Akitas, in an attempt to create the Ultimate Mean Dog. These animals *will* often be aggressive...but the reality of it is that although the bit of "wolf" in the mix generally gets the blame, wolf blood is highly counterproductive in an attack or guard animal.) Wolves and most wolfdogs will scoot away when approached by an unfriendly stranger, and watch them from afar. In fact, *many* commonly held beliefs about companion wolves & wolfdogs are untrue; look here to discover the truth about some common wolfdog myths.
*Wolfers possess an unbelieveable amount of personality! They are fun, clever, quirky critters with a style all their own...and are an absolute pleasure to play with, or even watch while they play amongst themselves.
While some of the things people love about wolfdogs are also found in other breeds of dog, one needs to consider the entire package. Most people get perhaps one dog in their lifetime that really made a big splash in their world...you know the dog I'm talking about, the one who was so unusual and colourful that he seemed almost human. You know you'll never get another one like *him*. Some of us have noticed that with wolfdogs, they're almost ALL like that! Despite the "price" you pay for having such a high-maintenance dog, you're getting an animal that will predictably be your "once-in-a-lifetime canine"--every time. There truly is a reason that most folks who have lived with wolf crosses...those whose lives are compatible with having these animals, and who are willing to make the sacrifices...swear that they would never go back to domestics! :)