My dog of 16 years, died after battling cancer and I could not sleep because my best buddy was not curled up to me in bed, so I thought I would get up, finish my knitting project and watch a good old fashioned late night western. My grandmother, who was Sioux descent from Iowa, had passed away many years ago and I always regretted not being old enough to ask her about her view of the old west days of the cowboys and Indian battles. All the sudden an idea flashed in my head that I needed to find a new best friend.
I felt a sense of urgency, so I rushed to the internet and started exploring the idea of a new family member. Out of nowhere a website popped up advertising Hybrid Wolves. I thought it must be a sign from Grandma and felt a sense of pride that I am of Native American Decent and here in this modern day, wolves still were a part of modern people’s lives. There were many postings selling these cute and adorable wolf pups and luckily a breeder was in my area. In the morning I called to investigate the possibility of being a proud owner of a Timber Wolf.
The breeder lived in the remote country, so she offered to meet me so I could follow her home and from that point it took another ½ hour journey into the backwoods country. When we entered her desolate driveway, I parked my car and she showed me the mother caged in a tall fence and the father was chained up in front of the garage. When the breeder let the wolf pups lose, all three scampered out into a happy high-speed stampede to see who could be first to greet and get the most attention. Immediately the mother was startled and frantically tried climbing the six foot chain-link fence growling and the father tried his best to break free from his chain with terrifying barks and lunges.
Those pups were all so adorable beyond belief, they were soft little cuddly balls of thick fur all licking and nibbling my hands, jumping and pushing to be the first to be held; my heart just melted, and I instantly fell in love with the male. I could not resist such honest sweetness, so I decided I would take one. On the way home the pup was terrified and had never seen traffic and when we arrived at his new home he did not want to be held or touched. All he did was look for his parents and when distraction did not satisfy him anymore, the 8 week old creature sat down in a panic, rose his little black nose high into the air and let out a howl that sounded more like murrrr, murrrr, murrrr; the grief-stricken pup was calling for his wolf family and did not want me. I had no idea that adopting a hybrid wolf would be so much work until I witnessed the scary realization that what I had adopted was not a dog.
People do not realize how much work goes into owning a hybrid wolf puppy and adopt them, thinking just because they resemble a dog, that they have the personality, temperament, and mentality of a dog. Before you purchase a hybrid wolf dog, I would very strongly recommend you do a lot of planning to ensure you will be able to keep them for their life span, which is on an average in captivity 17 years. If you do not, your beloved family member will either turn on you, have severe behavioral problems, or even be put to death because they are a one-time, one family pet that will never adjust to another family.
Since the beginning of time, wolves have been a vital part of human survival as well as legends and bedtime stories. Some fear the wolf through folklore and others realize the wolf is actually a gentle creature at heart, which has an intense sense of loyalty when bonded to their pack, human or canine. Wolves originated about 5 million years ago and this species eventually developed into the larger grey wolf of today.
A family of wolves is called a pack and consists of eight to 12 members who have established a hierarchy of ranks, which is strictly followed. The Alpha is the leader and has bold markings and the second ranking is the beta, who is considered the biggest and boldest in the pack, they enforce the wishes of the alpha and are sent out in times of danger to investigate the situation. There are the Nannies (male or female) who the highest ranking female chooses to educate and care for her pups while she is away from the pack. The Omega is the mid-ranking wolves and is essential to the pack’s survival because they defuse tension where there is a disagreement among the pack. They also have the most tuneful howl in the pack ranging both high and low notes and the Omega wolves main duty is to create the illusion that there are more pack members then thee actually are.
When wolves pick their mates they are partners for life unless one dies. A litter of pups consist of three to six and each pup learns to howl according to their rank and is rewarded with food and praise. Adult wolves teach their young to steal food and defend it by growling and showing teeth. Wolves do not leave their pack until they are fully gown around the age of three; at times they wonder off, but soon realize they need the pack for survival and return. Wolves normally do not accept a non-member to enter their pack, but if the asking outsider can prove that they can benefit the pack, they are allowed to join and given a rank.
Wolves have a dual purpose coat and during the winter they develop a thick coat divided into two layers: the top is called guard hair which keeps the animal dry and a layer of soft fur underneath to keep them warm. Shedding of the guard begins early spring. They are natural swimmers and can run and maintain a maximum speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour for up to an hour and can travel 30 – 40 miles a day while hunting food. Their brain is 30 percent larger than a domestic dog and learns quickly how to undo simple larches to make an escape. They are natural hunters and use their acute sense e of smell to hunt prey up to three feet under the snow and can hear the heartbeat of small animals. Wolves have a bite pressure of 1,500 pounds per 1 square inch.
So knowing this basic information about wolves, how does one raise a hybrid wolf as a quality family pet? First and foremost any hybrid wolf is never just a dog; he will always have natural inbred tendencies which will revert back to his true nature when pushed against his will. This is why I would never recommend a family with children to adopt a hybrid wolf. I found mine at the last moment because the the breeder told me she never adopts them out after they are 8 weeks old, and will end up keeping the other 2 if they are not gone by the end of the week.
The second you pick up your hybrid wolf always let him know he/she is not in charge because from day one, they will test you over and over again to see who can dominate. Once they realize they can dominate, you will have given up your right to be the leader of the pack and trying to go back and correct this will only bring on aggression and more testing. They will do this on a daily basis for a lifetime to some extent. I think it is good to sometimes let them know they are respected and given their own way, but never let them dominate. Always be loving, firm but fair.
Always let your wolf know where the food and water comes from and that everything they eat and drink is yours and you share with them or they will become aggressive. Always let them watch you fill their bowls; you are sharing with them. At dinner if they are asking for food, make them wait until almost all the food is gone, then let them know they can have the left overs. This will create respect for you.
If they ever show disrespect and show their teeth or growl, you better discipline them the first time by very authoritatively and roll them on their backs and do this only for serious problems. Always make sure you stand above them and never have your head below them, and tell them what they did wrong, and let them know the behavior is not acceptable and they are not in their rightful place of rank. Do not ever shows fear no matter how scared you are, or they will instantly take over and in that minuet second you will lose your pet forever. When they are allowed to get up, make them sit and apologize and talk to them about what happened. Make sure you have ended the situation in friendship and mutual respect. A hybrid wolf owner must think like a wolf and make sure rank is thoroughly understood and followed at all times. To discipline for less serious offenses never strike them with your hand or an object. Use your tone of voice or sparingly use a water spray bottle, if you strike them, they will turn on you. Hybrid wolves are very smart and they will understand every word you say.
My hybrid wolf Cody will turn three this year and I have followed these basic rules and he is the most loving and loyal pet I have ever had. He goes for car rides, takes me for the most awesome long walks in the woods, brings me happiness, and keeps me warm every night. He has been taught the family hierarchy and is a respected member of the pack and I think my Great Grandmother would be very proud of such an awesome animal and most importantly – I love Cody very much and he loves me in return.