According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, wolves do not make good pets. The idea of owning a wolf or a wolf-dog cross is appealing to some people who profess a great love and respect for wolves. They want to share their lives and homes with a wild spirit. Perhaps they even believe that by perpetuating the genes of wild wolves, they are doing the species a favor.
The reality of owning one of these animals is often very different.
While wolf puppies might be every bit as cute as dog puppies, they will grow up to be wolves, not dogs, no matter how much they are treated like dogs.
Wolfdogs as Pets
A wolfdog (also called a wolf–dog hybrid or wolf hybrid) is a canid hybrid resulting from the hybridization of a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) to one of four other Canis sub-species, the gray (Canis lupus), eastern timber (Canis lycaon), red (Canis rufus), and Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis).
It’s both understandable and surprising that people want to take a bit of that wildness home in the shape of a wolf/dog mix — or “wolfdog” — which some consider representing the best of both worlds: a dog’s friendly companionship paired with a wolf’s good looks and untamed nature.
Wolfdogs are perhaps the most misunderstood — and, many would argue, mismanaged — animals in America. Advocates say they can be wonderful pets, while opponents argue that they’re unpredictable, untrainable and inherently dangerous.
They’re permitted in some places, forbidden in others and are showing up on breed ban lists, along with Pits and other so-called “dangerous breeds.” It is illegal to own a wolfdog in Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota and Rhode Island.
Experts have determined that wolves and dogs share more than 99 percent of their DNA, but those few strands make a big difference. Like a wild animal, a wolf must be self-sufficient, capable of finding (and killing) prey, fending off enemies and preserving its life — essentially the opposite of what you want in an animal who’s sharing your home. Wolfdogs may display any or all of these behaviors to one degree or another, including:
- High-level curiosity. Wolfdogs will investigate everything in the home.
- A drive to roam. A wolf’s genes tell her to hit the road (and get out of any enclosure she’s been put into) and defend her territory. Wolves also mark their territory with urine more frequently and copiously than dogs do.
- A propensity toward den-building and digging. They can destroy your lawn (and furniture) in the same exercise and can also dig several feet down to escape from an enclosure.
- A strong predatory instinct. Pet wolfdogs often make short work of cats and small dogs, and may also attack bigger animals. Unfortunately, that drive can also be directed at humans; children are especially vulnerable.
Wolf and Wolfdog Pet Names
Here's a list of suggested names for pet wolfdogs:
Deogee Shawna White Wolf
Smokey Four Socks
Sun of Malikye