Do not fear the wolfdog! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Do not fear the wolfdog!

I adopted Diablo in late December from the SPCA when he was just about 6 mos. old. He was listed as a WGSD mix, but he looked pure to me, with the exception of his gold eyes.

As he changed and matured, both his trainer and my vet let me in on a little secret: Diablo was indeed a hybrid - most likely low content, but definitely part feral just the same. There were many red flags - he does not bark - he "harks" - a definite bark/howl, and only when he cannot see who is coming in the house - he was and is VERY shy around strangers in spite of constant socialization. When we walk Diablo, he will constantly stop to look behind him - he will only venture so far from his "territory" and then we have to turn back. He is substantially more muscular than an average GSD, with huge haunches, an elongated muzzle and the telltale white tip on his tail. His canines are jagged rather than smooth, etc., etc.

Diablo is also the sweetest, most gentle creature I have ever met. His temperament is better than any GSD I have ever owned. I have read much about the danger of wolfdogs - and I'm sure the content has much to do with that - but I would rescue another in a heartbeat!

Mom to:
Riley - 8 yr. old GSD
Schatzie - GSD - at the Bridge
Raven - GSD - at the Bridge
Diablo - WGSD/Arctic wolf/GreatPyr Mix - at the Bridge


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 02:25 PM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

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Originally Posted By: RavensMom He is substantially more muscular than an average GSD, with huge haunches, an elongated muzzle and the telltale white tip on his tail. His canines are jagged rather than smooth, etc., etc.
You know, we can only visualize up to a point....

How about a picture

MJ
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 02:29 PM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

I agree! I would love to see a picture!

Jen

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 02:31 PM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

I volunteer at Full Moon Farm, a wolfdog rescue. I learned a lot of my canine behaviour there. I held Aries at 8 weeks and 45 pounds, he's 2 now and around 120 pounds. He has 2 dog hairs. Mani is around 7 and has been in a movie. He was too nice to be trained easily to attack a man. So they smeared hotdogs on him and he laid down. Mani has 2 dog hairs. He DID learn to bark from some labs in another pen before he came to NC in rescue. He lets me groom him and he turns for me. Also one important thing is VERY early and constant socialization. I have pictures and can email them. I have yet to get my Photobucket populated with pictures.
A real mutt is Lobo. Dog head with GSD ears, Husky eyes.... color of a Akita, with a husky type coat, and he walks like a wolf....paw prints in a single line. He's amazingly sweet considering he lived outside chained the first few years of his life. He is strong! They were afraid Jolene would get hurt by him, but she instigates him into playing rough, and winds him up. Now they tell me, when I go to a Howl In not to get him too wide open via Jolene. She's a sable GSD / Sheltie mix. She adores him and BIG GSD's.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-05-2009, 02:59 PM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

We once dog-sat a wolf (a real wolf) for several weeks. She was a very regal lady though somewhat aloof. She was extremely polite to strangers, bowing her head slightly in greeting then wandering off to her bed. She established and then maintained what we imagine she considered 'her territory' and would not move beyond its boundaries, even off-leash. She was not terribly or overtly affectionate, though she accepted pets and even hugs from our then small child, who she was very gentle with. She was a beauty...and I have never forgotten her. Would take one like her on in a minute.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

I can't quite get the photobucket thing down yet - I'll try to get my son to help me - LOL I would be happy to e-mail pics of Diablo to anyone who will pm me with their e-mail address.

I have found these "hybrids" to be some of the most misunderstood creatures around!I do know that a lot has to do with what the mix is. Diablo is WGSD/arctic wolf and the WGSD temperament does shine through - he is a true velcro dog at home!

Mom to:
Riley - 8 yr. old GSD
Schatzie - GSD - at the Bridge
Raven - GSD - at the Bridge
Diablo - WGSD/Arctic wolf/GreatPyr Mix - at the Bridge


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 03:54 PM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

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Quote: I have found these "hybrids" to be some of the most misunderstood creatures around!I do know that a lot has to do with what the mix is. Diablo is WGSD/arctic wolf and the WGSD temperament does shine through - he is a true velcro dog at home!
I have found them to be misunderstood in both directions. There are the people who are convinced they are bloodthirsty monsters, which of course they're not, but equally dangerous are the people who think they're just extra large pretty dogs - which is not true either. My experience is that most "wolfdogs" living successfully as housepets are either very low wolf content or (even more often) not actually part wolf at all. Unfortunately unscrupulous sellers often market these pups as "99% pure MacKenzie Valley Wolf" or whatever, and people think that's what they've got, and they tell their friends that's what they've got, and consequently the erroneous idea that wolfdogs are just like dogs spreads. Then someone gets a real wolfdog, even just a mid content, and huge problems ensue.

As you've noticed - even with a low content animal, they tend to be more shy around strangers than a similarly raised dog. Common issues with mid and high content animals include - car sicknesses, inability to be housebroken, predatory behavior towards smaller animals, the ability to escape all but the most fortified enclosure among other things. The biggest thing I found when I was doing rescue with them is that they're just wired really differently. They may be sweet, affectionate, and wonderful but they lack some of the dog hardwiring that makes the dog-human partnership so successful. I love them and think they're beautiful but I have seen too many situations gone horribly awry. I do not think they should be bred or sold. Too many wind of caught between two worlds, neglected and misunderstood.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

I agree about the breeding - most likely these people do not know what they are doing. Diablo and his sister were dropped off at the SPCA when they were 6 mos. old and I'm very happy to have him in my life. Fortunately, he is low enough content that he blends well into our human existence. But, as you stated, he is definitely wired differently than a 100% dog - especially the "stranger" fear factor, the nocturnal tendencies, etc. - but, he also rides well in the car, plays, loves to be hugged and loved, is more obedient than my female, who is pure GSD (she is bossy and a drama queen LOL), and is a total velcro dog with his humans. Of course, he is well socialized as I take him everywhere. Fortunately, Ohio is not regulated and there is no fear of him having to be PTS.

Mom to:
Riley - 8 yr. old GSD
Schatzie - GSD - at the Bridge
Raven - GSD - at the Bridge
Diablo - WGSD/Arctic wolf/GreatPyr Mix - at the Bridge


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 11:27 AM
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

I'm glad to hear OH is unregulated as far as keeping them but do still be careful - for example, do not, under any circumstances list him as a wolf mix on any of his vet or other paperwork. The rabies vaccine is not approved for use in wolfdogs and how states define a wolfdog can vary, but if an animal bites and is determined to be a wolf or wolf hybrid, the bite is processed like a wild animal bite which means the animal is euthanized and sent for testing, rather than quarantined as a dog would be.

There's no scientific reason that the rabies vaccine wouldn't work just as well on a wolf dog as a regular dog, but that is the way the law still sees it.

Not trying to scare you - just don't want anyone to find out about that one the hard way!


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Do not fear the wolfdog!

OK, thanks for the heads-up - he is listed at the vet as a WGSD.

Mom to:
Riley - 8 yr. old GSD
Schatzie - GSD - at the Bridge
Raven - GSD - at the Bridge
Diablo - WGSD/Arctic wolf/GreatPyr Mix - at the Bridge


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