"Wolves rut once a year.... Dogs usually rut twice a year... Our hybrids as a rule rutted once a year, both in F1 and F2 generations. This is a manifestation of the wolf character in both the F1 and in the majority of F2 specimens ... though some F2 wolf-dog hybrids rutted twice a year.... The maximal number of ruts takes place between 1 November and 15 December." 

N. A. Iljin, Ph.D.
"Wolf-dog genetics"
Journal of Genetics


So, You Want to Become a Breeder?
By Cottonwood Kennels

Responsible breeders produce a litter of puppies only if those pups will improve or, at the very least, compliment the line. They carefully consider the animals, and the parents are chosen for such quality traits as health, temperament, background, conformation and training ability. Their only goal should be to make their line of animals better.

Quality wolfdog breeders will not randomly breed two animals simply because the female is in season, or to allow the breeding pair to experience the joys of parenthood, or because they want to make some extra money. And they will NEVER breed animals with undesirable traits (e.g., bad jaw alignment, bad temperament, genetic disorders, etc.) because they know that these traits will be passed on to the puppies as well.

Reputable wolfdog breeders will only breed when the parents are of an acceptable age for breeding. Although wolfdogs mature at around two years old, OFA testing usually occurs at approximately three years of age. (Note: Preliminary testing at two years old may be performed.) Responsible breeders will also breed only after the dam has recovered completely and they will not over breed.

Ethical wolfdog breeders are protective of their animals. If kept outside, the animals’ enclosures will provide shade and be safe, secure, and sanitary. The animals will also be paired comfortably with other animals (e.g., three females will not be placed with one male—all intact—as such a situation is usually done to produce a lot of puppies and not for the sake of the animal).

Responsible wolfdog breeders will have buyers lined up and will take deposits on puppies before the breeding takes place. Common litters are between four to six puppies, but litters of 10 are not unusual. If these breeders find they have more puppies than deposits, they are prepared to keep the remaining puppies until suitable homes are found.

If for any reason, a buyer is unable to keep his or her animal, ethical breeders will take responsibility for the animal by either taking it back or placing it or assisting its placement in another home. In such a situation, the breeders’ obligation to refund the purchase fee is limited to the following: if the animal was recently purchased, suffers a verifiable hereditary/genetic disorder, or suffers a verifiable temperament/behavioral disorder.

Reputable wolfdog breeders will heavily screen potential buyers. They will determine if potential buyers live in an area where there are any restrictions, and if so, what their state or county requires. They will insist on meeting potential buyers in person (at least once) or have someone they know meet with them if distance is a problem. They will also require photos or videos of the buyer’s facilities and/or will inspect or have an agent inspect them.

In return, these breeders will encourage their buyers to visit them and to meet the parents in order for both breeder and buyer to determine if a wolfdog puppy is suitable for the prospective human owner. (If, for any reason, breeders have any suspicions about a potential buyer, they are both probably better off not following through with the sale.)

If potential buyers pass the screening process and decide to interview other breeders, respectable breeders should refer them to other reputable breeders so that the buyers can be sure they are getting what they want and what they are told. One of the primary concerns for a reputable breeder is not the sale of his or her own puppy, but that a buyer—who has passed the screening processes—purchases a quality animal from a legitimate breeder.

Quality breeders will honestly answer basic questions about wolfdogs, explaining to the prospective buyer how to socialize, bond with, and properly feed and house their new puppy. Not only will the breeders provide positive information, but the negative as well. No breed is perfect. This sharing of knowledge should not stop once the buyer leaves with the puppy. A devoted breeder will continue to be available for questions concerning the animal throughout its lifetime.

Among the information responsible breeders will divulge is the importance of training, the benefits of spaying and neutering (if the buyer is uninterested in breeding), and the seriousness of never leaving a small child alone/unsupervised with a large canine. (Note: Children being bit by the family dog has reached epidemic proportions. It is better to err on the side of caution than to make a small mistake that can have potentially fatal or life-long results.)

Responsible breeders will use and enforce contracts to be signed prior to the release of a pup. Their contracts should insist that buyers take the pups to their vets for health exams within "XX" hours of receiving the pup and should also provide a 72-hour contagious disease guarantee.

Reputable breeders generally offer a minimum 30-month hereditary defect guarantee (OFA will not even rate an animal until the age of two). For example, if the puppy should fall seriously ill or die from a genetic or hereditary defect, the breeder will provide a full refund, and/or pay the vet bills, and/or replace the puppy.

Ethical breeders should be able to provide verifiable pedigrees on each parent, with the names of the owners and of the animals in the lineage, and should also include photos, if possible. They will have researched their lines for any temperament or health problems and will only breed sound animals from sound lines. In addition, the pedigrees of the parents will compliment each other.

Only animals registered with a reputable wolfdog association should be bred. The litter should be registered and papers made available to buyer at time of delivery of pup. If the papers are not available then the name, address and phone number of the association and the parents’ registration numbers should be given to the buyer. (Note: While there are a select FEW good breeders not with a registry, they will still provide pedigree information as well as phone numbers to verify the information. The statement above is one of generalization.)

Reputable breeders should also be able to provide references from past buyers of their puppies and photographs of the offspring they have produced at their kennels. A good breeder’s reputation will follow from past practices, just as the reputation of a bad breeder. Word of mouth is one of one of the best references—both for good and bad breeders.

Responsible breeders are willing to provide their buyers with the names of their vets and will be able to provide accurate documentation that their animals are current on all vaccinations and wormings. They will be able to pay for all veterinary expenses, including pre-breeding vet checks, vaccinations, worming of internal parasites, heartworm tests and prevention, flea and tick prevention, etc.

In addition, responsible breeders assist in the whelping, if necessary, and are willing to pay for an emergency Caesarean-section should the need arise. While most wolfdog breeders do not yet incorporate OFA or PENN Hip certification for hip dysplasia and CERF eye testing into their breeding programs, there is a strong movement among some wolfdog breeders in this direction. Most responsible dog breeders test their animals’ eyes and hips, among numerous other things, and some wolfdog owners and breeders are beginning to see the wisdom of such testing. It is a myth that wolfdogs are not prone to some of the same genetic disorders that plague many of the dog breeds.

Many breeders of high content wolfdogs pull their pups from the mother after ten days and begin a bottle-feeding regime that encourages bonding with humans. This supplemental feeding is done at two- to four-hour intervals around the clock. If the puppies are still nursing when they are sent home with their new owners, the breeders will either provide a mixture of the formula to the owner or give the owner the recipe of the exact ingredients so as not to shock the puppy’s digestive system. The breeder should also show the buyer how to properly bottle feed and handle the pup during this time. (Note: Many state laws mandate that no puppies be sold until the age of eight weeks.)

A responsible wolfdog breeder will refuse ownership if the potential owner

Obviously this person has not researched any type of canine behavior and is, therefore, a poor candidate for wolfdog ownership.

Reputable breeders will generally not make any money off breeding, nor is this their intent. Their selling prices usually cover medical costs and the care/healthy feeding of the nursing mother and pups. Any profits are put back into the animals by improving the kennels and the overall well-being of the animals. These breeders are NOT in the breeding business to make a quick buck and find such motivation NEVER an acceptable reason to breed.

There are many things to consider before deciding to breed. Most people do not think about the numerous expenses and responsibilities involved in breeding. We hope that this article has helped you to make an educated decision about breeding and/or about buying from a responsible breeder.

Cottonwood Kennels; Southern Howls Kennels; Ghostly Image Kennels; Hidden Hollow Kennels; Stormy “Wolf” Renee; and Kim Miles.

Wolfdog Registries

While many wolfdog breeders claim to have registered animals, the paper may be worth nothing more than kleenex--and about as meaningful. Don't be conned into thinking that just because a breeder presents papers upon the sale of a wolfdog puppy, that this particular puppy is actually what the breeder claims that it is.

Many unsuspecting buyers are taken in by unscrupulous breeders who are merely out for a fast buck. If these breeders can pawn their Malamute/Shepherd mix off on a naive public for $200-$500 per puppy, they will try it. As one involved in rescue in Florida, I have seen it happen.

The legitimate wolfdog registries are as follows:

  Lupine AWAREness
  United States American Wolfdog Association (USAWA)
  Native Amerindian Association (NADA)

Breeds of Wolfdogs

  The Czech Wolfdog
  The Saarloos Wolfdog

Breeder Contracts

All responsible wolfdog breeders will require the buyer and the themselves to sign a contract upon purchase of the animal. Below is one sample contract from a wolfdog breeder. There are numerous contracts, some stricter than others, but all reputable breeders will require their buyers to sign one and they should all mandate that if the animal can no longer be cared for by the buyer, that said buyer will contact the breeder who will either help place the animal or take it back.

SAMPLE: Puppy Sales Contract 

This contract must be signed and returned to the Breeder before the person(s) will be seriously considered as a potential Buyer. This contract is null and void if the Buyer never takes possession of any animal from the Breeder or if the Buyer at any time is no longer in possession of the animal. The Buyer agrees that failure to comply with the terms of this agreement is sufficient case for repossession of the animal(s) and that any breech of contract is punishable under the laws of the State of <Breeder’s State>. Any and all costs, legal and otherwise, incurred by the Breeder in the enforcement of this contract, including, but not limited to repossession, shall become the responsibility of the Buyer. 

The purpose of this contract is not to scare you, but to inform you of the responsibility and the dedication that will be required of you as an owner of a wolfdog. These are not animals that can be tied outside and fed once a day; these are animals that require your time, patience, companionship and understanding. When you give them this, you will have a devoted friend and companion for life. We believe that the purchase of any animal (and most especially a canid) must be a strong commitment on your behalf. You will receive a socialized puppy ready for you to mold into your own pet. The manner in which you raise your puppy will then determine what kind of adult companion you will own. This is your responsibility; it will take a lot of human interaction, patience, and time. But it's worth it; if done correctly, you will end up with a very loyal, affectionate companion. 

We will do our best to guide you in choosing the best puppy for you and to point you in the proper direction while raising/training your puppy. We will provide you with a handout detailing some of the training techniques we have used thus far in training your puppy. You should continue this training, and additional training, as it is required. If you have any questions about the training or well-being of your pet (as a pup or an adult) or if something arises that we have not addressed on the handout, please feel free to contact us. We will always be available to counsel you in what we have found works best for us. 

When you purchase one of our puppies it is for its entire life. Raised properly, it will bond and be compatible with its owners, immediate family and people it is raised with. After this bonding has occurred, it will/may have great difficulty accepting or trusting NEW owners. So if you cannot make a lifetime commitment to this unique and special animal, please do not bring one into your life. 

1. The buyer agrees to care humanely for the animal for the duration of its life. Should something arise that prohibits the buyer from caring for the animal, she/he will contact the breeder immediately and make arrangements to bring the animal back to the breeder.

2. The Buyer accepts full responsibility and liability for any and all future actions of this animal. The Buyer hereby relinquishes and waives all rights to hold the Breeder in any way responsible for any action of this animal, whatever the reason. The Buyer assumes full and total responsibility for, and agrees to fully compensate any injury and/or damage to property, people or other animals caused by the animal being purchased. This is applicable both on and off the Buyer's private property. 

3. We recommend that this animal never be left unsupervised, especially with people it is unfamiliar with. It is our further recommendation that it never be left alone with children under 12 years of age, no matter how familiar the animal is with the child. Lastly, unsupervised contact with other animals, especially unfamiliar ones is discouraged. Any injuries as a result of poor/lack of supervision are in no way the fault of the Breeder, and the Buyer hereby agrees to accept full responsibility for the animal and all its actions. (Note: our recommendations are not limited solely to wolfdogs, but to ALL large canines and reflects the recommendations of the AVMA, the HSUS, the CDC, etc., regarding large canines and children.) 

4. Firm but kind treatment will be provided for this animal at every stage of its development. We highly recommend that early in puppyhood, the puppy be taken to and trained in a beginner obedience class with a qualified trainer for both training and socialization purposes. If practical, for the particular  animal, further training is encouraged. All treatment and training of this animal will be done in a humane manner, using positive reinforcement. The training of the animals directly affects the behavior, temperament and actions of the animal. At no time will the Buyer abuse or mistreat the animal. Abuse and/or mistreatment are determined by the guidelines of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Abused and/or mistreated animals will be confiscated by the Breeder with no retribution! 

5. The animals will be kept current on all medical vaccines, including rabies, and wormings. The same medical treatment for dogs applies to wolfdogs.  

6. The animal must have a minimum of two hours of human companionship each day. A possible exception would be one hour of human companionship if the animal has another full-time canine companion. Both forms of companionship are preferred. However, we recommend longer and more extensive human contact as you want to socialize this animal to its human pack. These are highly social animals and do better if they are integrated into the family and introduced to a variety of people. 

7. This animal will NEVER be tied/chained except in emergency/temporary situations. In such situations, the chain must stop the animal 2' before any fencing so that the animal does not jump the fence and accidentally hang himself. All obstacles that can cause this potential hazard will be removed from the chained area. Chaining the animal as a primary means of containment will null and void the contract and be grounds for the Breeder to confiscate the animal.

8. Nutritious food will be fed sufficiently on a daily basis. A good kibble should have the following ingredients: protein (adults 24-30%; pups 30%), fat (adults 18-20%; pups (21%), fiber (both 3-3.5%), and moisture (both 10-11% or lower). I've found that the best diet for these animals is a combination of raw bones, meats, veggies, along with the kibble. 

9. The water supply should be fresh (daily) and unlimited at all times. We have found that a small, heavy duty pool or water trough for the animal to play or cool off in has been beneficial for them. 

10. The Buyer will provide a secure and comfortable (minimum of 25' X 50') area, pen or yard. A smaller kennel (minimum of 100 square feet per animal) is acceptable for holding the animal occasionally--but ONLY for temporary confinement. If the animal is placed in a kennel as the primary means of containment, it will null and void the contract and be grounds for the Breeder to confiscate the animal.

11. The Breeder will not disclose the pedigree of the puppies to the Buyer if the animal is purchased at the pet quality cost of $XXX with the spay/neuter contract. The Breeder will disclose type of wolf and heritage to these buyers, but documented pedigrees will not accompany these animals. The Breeder will disclose the complete pedigree information (with separate legal contracts and stipulations) to those wishing to pay the full $XXX breeding quality amount and to register the pups as breeders. Any subsequent changes or clarification in the pedigree will be notified in writing to the Buyer by the Breeder. The Buyer waives his/her right to hold the Breeder responsible for subsequent changes to the lineage that might affect the animal's percentage or pedigree. 

11. After the purchase of the animal, the Buyer agrees to maintain contact with the Breeder for the lifetime of the animal. If at any time during the animal's life, the owner must relinquish ownership for any reason, the Breeder must first be contacted. If the animal is returned to the Breeder, the Buyer relinquishes any and all rights to the animal, and the Breeder is under no obligation to refund any or all of the purchase price. The Breeder reserves the right to resell or make subsequent necessary decision(s) as to the well-being of the animal. If the animal goes into rescue, the Buyer relinquishes to the Breeder his purchase price and all rights to the animal or to a resale price, if there is one.  If the animal is going to an individual of the Buyer’s choice, the Breeder has the right to inspect or request photos of the new environment and the animal's health and condition at any reasonable agreed upon time. The Breeder reserves the right to interview the new owner, and if there is sufficient, legitimate reason, can veto the new Owner. If there is a new Owner, he/she will be required to sign a new contract with the Breeder. If ownership is transferred without the consent of the Breeder, the registration of the animal will become null and void, if a pedigree has been provided by the Breeder. Any costs incurred in, but not limited to, the Breeder regaining custody and transportation of the animal shall be the sole responsibility of the Buyer. 

12. Any breeding of the animal must be done for the improvement of the breed and with the full knowledge of the Breeder. Breed Standards must be kept in mind. (Prior to breeding, hip X-rays should be taken and OFA certification received.) The owner agrees to breed only to accurately  portrayed animals. The owner is also required to accurately record the ancestry of any resulting puppies; failure to comply will result in the animal(s) and/or resulting litter(s) being registered as limited/pet status animals AND to prosecution to the fullest extent under the law. The Buyer hereby assumes all responsibility for veterinary costs incurred by any pregnancy, authorized or not. The Buyer assumes full responsibility for care and placement of any litters parented by the animal. In no  way can the Breeder be held liable for the reproductive actions of the animal, including, but not limited to, veterinary expenses. 

13. If, during the first 72 hours following the buyer’s purchase of the puppy, it is found to be in unsatisfactory health for reasons not attributable to the Buyer, the Breeder must be notified and the animal may be returned to the Breeder with appropriate documentation from the Buyer's licensed veterinarian, and a refund or replacement (if possible and if the Buyer requests) will be granted by the Breeder. 

14. The Breeder provides an 26-month warranty against any congenital health problems in the animal, including, but not limited to, hip dysplasia. If possible, the Breeder will retrieve the animal and replace with another if the Buyer chooses, or the Breeder will reimburse medical expenses up to the initial cost of the animal. This warranty is on condition that the animal be taken to a licensed veterinarian no later than 2 weeks after purchase (for any puppy illnesses) and again between 24 and 26 months of age for OFA and the results of the examination (e.g., copy of X-ray, bill, and findings) be sent to the Breeder. Any other congenital health problems arising at a later date must be verified by two licensed veterinarians and the results MUST be sent to the Breeder. Any and all health problems incurred that are not the result of a congenital defect are the responsibility of the Buyer. 

The Breeder does not intend to imply any faults in the animal or its temperament by the waivers in this Contract, but intends to warn the Buyer of the responsibilities inherent in owning a large canine of any breed. 

This contract is NOT transferable and its terms are NON-negotiable. Breech of Contract will nullify this contract and result in forfeiture of animal with no recourse. 

I have read and fully understand and agree with all pages of this contract. 

All payments are to be made in cash or money order only. 

The Purchase Price is $XXX total, with $XXX as a deposit and the remaining balance of $ due upon delivery/picking up of the puppy. 

The estimated delivery/pick-up date is: __________________________

The animal will be listed as a breed at the veterinary facility of the Buyer's choice. 

Printed Name
Signature & Date 
Address (Street) 
Address (City, State, Zip) 
Home Phone 

Printed Name 
Signature & Date 
Address (Street) 
Address (City, State, Zip) 
Home Phone 

Printed Name
Signature & Date 
Address (Street) 
Address (City, State, Zip) 
Home Phone 

Printed Name _______________________________
Signature _______________________________
State of ____________________ County of __________________
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this _________ day of _____________ . 

My commission expires: ________________________________

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