“There are many factors to consider before jumping into wolfdog ownership. First, think long and hard about why you want a wolfdog in particular....

There is a big difference between a wolf on a spiritual plane and a wolf in your living room. For one thing, your astral guide is not as likely to eat holes in your couch!"

Nicole Wilde
Living with Wolfdogs:
An Everyday Guide to a
Lifetime Companionship


Considerations Before Acquiring a Wolfdog 

  Do you think wolfdogs make good guard or watch dogs? 
This is a tactic used by unethical and uneducated breeders to sell more puppies. While all canines are predators, wolves are actually very shy and wary of humans by nature; therefore, dogs with recent wolf inheritance (wolfdogs) do not make good guard/watch dogs as their natural tendencies are to shy away from strangers. 

  Do you have sufficient time to commit to owning and raising a wolfdog? 
Because wolfdogs have recent wolf inheritance and wolves are highly social, pack-orientated animals, wolfdogs require a tremendous amount of your time to properly socialize and to maintain. 

  Are you or a family member home most of the time? 
If you work or are gone from home for prolonged periods of time, your wolfdog WILL need a canine companion. The wolf is a highly social, pack-orientated animal who needs almost constant companionship; therefore, a dog with recent wolf inheritance will share similar needs. 

  Do you view pets as members of your family?  
Wolfdogs are pack orientated and bond very strongly to their human companions. You must learn and clearly understand pack behavior in wolves as your wolfdog will view you as a pack member. Owning a wolfdog should be a lifetime commitment as being displaced from their packs can cause them serious adjustment problems. 

  Do you have neighbors? 
If so, be aware that not everyone will appreciate the howling of your wolfdog. Most wolfdogs howl rather than bark. Sirens frequently trigger howling, so keep this in mind if you live near a fire or police station. Full moons do not cause wolfdogs to howl. 

  Do you have children or plan to have children? 
Statistics show that children are the most likely to suffer injuries from dogs. Children and small animals running about (e.g., cats) can trigger the prey drive found in all canines. By virtue of their size, wolfdogs and other large dogs have the capacity to inflict more serious damage, even while playing. Proper supervision of both animals and children is essential. 

  Do you have the necessary fencing or containment intact that will ensure your wolfdog is safe from outside harm and escape? 
If you belong to a Homeowners Association, make sure it permits the erection of at least 6-foot fencing (with electric lean-ins and ground wire to prevent jumping over and digging under). Make sure no one will be able to gain entrance into the fenced area while you are away. Adequate fencing and containment does NOT mean the chaining, cabling or tying of an animal to an immovable object. This form of containment is unacceptable as it is responsible for countless canine social problems, including aggression. 

  Are you prepared for the digging, chewing and relentless curiosity? 
All three of these behavioral traits are generally common to wolves and wolfdogs. These animals frequently dig massive dens in the yard, and their curiosity in exploring an irrigation system, a water main, a new implement left outside or even items within the home can lead to the destruction of said items. 

  Do you have access to the necessary monetary resources needed to properly maintain a wolfdog’s health?  
Wolfdogs and other large dogs can be expensive to feed and to maintain. Some veterinarians neither understand wolfdogs nor will they accept wolfdog owners as clients. Like dogs, wolfdogs should receive annual vaccinations and rabies shots and should also be administered a monthly heartworm preventative. 

  Are you willing to learn about wolf behavior and alternative training methods? 
Wolfdogs are very intelligent and can be quite independent when compared to many other dogs. Wolfdogs do not respond to harsh training methods, but can be trained using positive reinforcement. In addition, an understanding of wolves’ vocal and body languages is essential in the understanding and training of a wolfdog. 

  Are wolfdogs legal to own in your State, City AND County? 
Wolfdogs over 74% wolf are illegal to own in Florida without a special Class II wildlife permit granted by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. City and county ordinances may be more restrictive, so you should also check your local statutes. 

  Still think your heart is in the right place and this is the dog for you? 
The Humane Society and Animal Control facilities generally have a no-adopt policy on wolfdogs, so if you change your mind about owning a wolfdog after you have acquired one, these facilities will be unable to help you. There are agencies that specialize in wolfdog rescue, but these groups are usually full and can offer limited assistance. If you question your ability to make a lifetime commitment to a wolfdog, please do not get one.

This article is Copyright ©1999-2002 Florida Lupine Association, Inc. Please contact them for reprint permission at info@floridalupine.org or editor@floridalupine.org. This brochure is located on their website at http://floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/You_Want_a_Wolfdog.PDF

Canine Containment

The Florida Lupine Association, Inc., (FLA) was graciously allowed to copy an excerpt on canine containment from Nicole Wilde's book Living with Wolfdogs. It is a fantastic guide to creating safe containment for any canine. The excerpt is printed in PDF format on the FLA website and can be viewed in in its original entirety by going to the following URL: http://floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/Containment_for_the_Canine_Houdini.PDF.

If you wish to order either of Nicole Wilde's wolfdog books , please click on the them below. 

Living with Wolfdogs: 
An Everyday Guide to a
Lifetime Companionship

by Nicole Wilde
Paperback: $15.95

Wolfdogs A-Z:
Behavior, Training & More

by Nicole Wilde
Paperback: $21.95

These books are the only ones in print that I know of that specifically address wolfdog issues. There are numerous other wolf books that are also wonderful purchases, and if interested, you may go to http://floridalupine.org/books1.htm to view a list of many canine- and wolf-related books; however, these two wolfdog books by Nicole Wilde should be in the library of all wolfdog owners. Both have received glowing reviews, two of which are printed below:

"A must-read for anyone who shares
their life with any canine, wolfdog
or not. Sound advice, great tips!"

--Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian, animal behaviorist & renowned book author
"The best book ever written on the subject of wolfdog care, training, and socialization. Comprehensive and straightforward."

--Monty Sloan, wolf behavior specialist

Wolfdog Ownership Links (coming soon)

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The Wolfdog belongs to Kim Miles and is Copyright©1998-2002. All rights reserved.