When I started volunteering with a wolf preserve, something I learned very quickly is that a LOT of people like to think their dog is a wolfdog. This is seriously so so common to hear from people:
“Oh yeah I know how rowdy wolves are; I’ve actually got a husky/Timberwolf mix at home!”
I mean… maybe, but most likely no you do not. Wolves are misrepresented so often in media that it seems many people struggle to identify the features that come from true wolf genetics, as opposed to those from northern dog breeds. Irresponsible breeders know this, and they also know that claiming the malamute puppies they’re selling are ¼ wolf will make those pups seem interesting and desirable to buyers. As a result, uneducated dog owners label their pet as a “Wolfdog” without knowing the serious consequences of doing so. It may seem like a harmless phenomenon but it really isn’t.
So why should we care if someone mislabels their dog a wolfdog? I feel there are 2 really big reasons why this is so dangerous
1- if you tell people your dog is a Wolfdog, some may believe you. They may think “Luna is just the most beautiful dog, sure she’s energetic but nothing I can’t handle. Maybe I should get a wolfdog too”. This is a problem because that individual could seek out a wolfdog to purchase and end up owning the genuine article, as opposed to your dubious backyard “wolfdog”. Wolves and dogs are SO different, due to the fact that humans spent thousands of years breeding out the traits that make them unsuitable for daily companionship. Wolf dogs will have a lot of those genes! They need a tremendous amount of space and diligent, specialized care from an experienced keeper. A rambunctious husky is not even close to the same level as a high content wolfdog. When unprepared people decide to own a wolfdog, it often ends very poorly. The sanctuary where I volunteered has had to take in several wolfdogs that were surrendered by owners who could not handle them.
2- The laws of ownership regarding wolfdogs are very different from those that govern pet ownership. Each state has varying legislation, with some requiring licenses based on the animal’s wolf content. If you claim that your dog is a wolfdog, they will likely be subject to laws that classify them as captive wildlife rather than a pet. Due to the fact that there is no approved rabies vaccine for wolves/wolfdogs, animal shelters that take these cases are often forced to euthanize any dog that has been classified as a “wolfdog” due to public safety concerns. There have been several tragic cases where dog owners mislabeled their pet as part wolf, and were unable to reclaim them from a shelter when the animal could not be certified rabies free. Telling people (even online) that your malamute a wolfdog can get it killed.
Wolves are great, dogs are great, and wolfdogs are great. We have devoted so much time to the study and care of all these animals that there is really no excuse for misrepresenting them. If you love your dog, love it for what it is! Mislabeling your pet as a wolf is really irresponsible and can cause misery for others that you never even see. For reference:
I know this is silly, but can adult wolves have green eyes?
Yes, they can! Wolves their eye
colour can range from green, grey, yellow, amber, orange, and brown, often containing variations or different
levels of brightness of the same colour.
wolves do not retain blue as an eye colour. Wolf cubs are born with blue eyes,
but that changes at about 6 weeks of age. Sometimes, green or grey eyes
can appear blue from certain angles or in certain lights (like Lukas and Reudi).
A wolf might also have appearing or actually blue eyes due to illness or genetic defects such as cataracs.
Here’s a chart of eye colour examples I once made: