A Wolfdog, also known as a ‘wolf hybrid’, is simply a
dog that has wolf in its family history. While it is
widely understood that all dog breeds have descended
from the wolf, a Wolfdog has pure wolf recently in its
background, such as a parent or great grandparent
(whereas your family dog may have to go back
hundreds of generations to pure wolf).
Today’s Wolfdogs are not the result of a wild wolf bred
with a domestic dog (generally). They are the result of
dozens or more generations of Wolfdogs bred with
There is no breed standard. Wolfdogs, are wolf mixed
with another breed, or several breeds, of dog. There are
however a few breeds “in development”, for example
the Blue Bay Shepherd, Timber Shepherd, Nordic Timber
and Berger Mahigan. Some are more known, some less
known, but they do each have their own standard.
Usually, the Wolfdog is a combination wolf with
Siberian husky, Alaskan malamute or German shepherd,
but can be mixed with other breeds as well. Wolfdogs
will behave like wolf and the breed of dog they are
mixed with. The wolf part tends to be shy with
strangers, cautious, curious, intelligent, playful,
watchful and energetic. They can also be stubborn,
loving, independent and aloof.
The low content Wolfdog is the perfect starter animal
for those wanting to venture into Wolfdog ownership.
They make better companion animals and are easier to
manage, easier to socialize and train, and most
importantly they are more forgiving than mid or high
contents. You can make a mistake and not have to live
with the consequences for the rest of the dog’s life.
These animals are much more adaptable to urban living
and easily ft into an active outdoor lifestyle with you.
They usually love to go for car rides or long hikes with
their owners but can be equally happy at the dog park
or sitting at the local coffee shop with you. At home
they tend to be less destructive, and less likely to
dismantle the furniture.
They typically lack the high prey drive seen in highs
and are generally better with smaller pets and children
although no large breed dog should be trusted 100%.
They behave like a super smart dog and look more like
a northern breed dog with some slight modifications
that don’t quite ft the dog standards.
You are more apt to see blue eyes or party colored eyes,
tall thin ears that lack a lot of fur. Their coat will feel
and look more like the dog in the mix with less of the
bushiness and a lot less ruff around the head. Their
eyes tend to be rounder and more often brown than the
deep amber we find in wolves, and the tail will hang
differently and in some case curl on top of the croup.
Like the mid content they will go into heat at any time
of year and often have 2 cycles a year. We see a lot of
the lows born Aug-Nov and again in Mar-June.
You will find the largest range of looks and behaviors in
the mid content wolfdog category. Animals on the
higher end of the mid scale will have easily discernible
wolf features and some recognizable dog traits that will
keep it from being bumped up into the High Content
category. It will demonstrate a bit more intensity and
sensitivity in its behaviors yet not to the extreme that is
seen in a high content.
The mid content will have some wolfier traits, but takes
on an equal portion of the characteristics of the
northern breed dogs that usually make up the mix.
Their behaviors are also a bit watered down as
compared to the high content.
Typically you will see more of a dog-like pattern to
their coat, slightly taller and pointier ears with a bit
The body may resemble more of a blocky style than the
sleek look we find in a wolf. The shoulder and hips may
also carry more of a look of the malamute, shepherd or
husky. They can vocalize like a dog or a wolf and there
breeding cycle can be anytime of the year and can
happen more than once per year.
Like the High Content these animals require heavy
socialization to offset shy, fearful or skittish behaviors
but they are extremely smart, easily trainable and not
quite as independent as the high content. They can be
housebroken with some work and can easily live in the
house but supervision is required. Outdoor containment
is a must to let them get their exercise.
There is no one breed standard for the wolfdog so
depending on the animals in the mix you will see a
wide variety of physical traits. However, the high
content should display a large number of wolf-like
traits. An extremely high content will be almost
indistinguishable from a pure while those on the lower
end of the high content spectrum may display some
slightly doggie features and possibly some watered
down behavioral characteristics.
It is hard to pinpoint specific behavior characteristics of
a high content because each animal is an individual.
Canine behavior is canine behavior, but the reactions
and the intensity of the behavior is what make a high
content wolfdog much different to work with. As a
general rule a high content will follow many of the
traits we find in pure wolves that have helped them
survive in the wild. They are typically very sensitive to
their environment. They come across very stubborn and
aloof with a lack of a willingness to please that we see
in domesticated dogs. They can be very shy and fearful
of anything new or different. They are very direct
animals with strong will and the full predatory motor
These wolfdogs are so intelligent that they must have a
lot of stimulation to keep them from boredom and the
inevitable destruction that follows. They are very
affectionate and bond strongly to their family. They
love attention on their terms but prefer to live outdoors
as they mature rather than sharing the house with you.
Contrary to myths, they can be trained but you must
find the right methods to entice them to want to please
You just have to do a lot of trial and error to find it, and
once you do remember to train in short periods to avoid
boredom. They can excel in learning basic manners, but
obtaining 100% recall will aggravate the most patient
owner. A high content wolfdog should be owned by
very experienced people with the proper containment, a
thorough understanding of canine body language and
of canine behavior. These animals are not for everyone!
Example theoretical wolf content, parent 1 8% wolf
+ parent 2 16% wolf would be= 24% combined.
24/2=12% theoretical wolf content of offspring.
However, nature is never this exact, but more random. A
pup can be as high as 24%, or as low as 0% depending
on which genes they get. We tend to explain this using
something called the “marble effect”, where different
coloured marbles represent the wolf/dog content. This
also illustrate that all pups in a litter can have different
content, depending on which marbles nature decide to
pick from the bowl that represent the combined DNA
(here marbles) from the parents.