This isn't anything to do with Corgis, but I am really interested in hearing some opinions on this.
Twice in the last few years we have met a wolf/dog cross. I do realize that most alleged "wolf-dog" crosses are not wolf at all (they just sort of look wolfie), but I think both of these were. The first was a female with yellow eyes and such extreme versions of dog body language that she just did not seem anything like a dog at all. She was super-submissive, more than any dog I've ever seen, without being fearful.
The second was just the other day in the park. He was a male, very lanky. Yellow, slanted eyes. He also had no "stop" (the part of the forehead that inclines upward from the muzzle); his nose just maintained the same angle slope all the way to the top of his head, and I learned online that this, along with the funny eyes, are two points that tend to verify actual wolf ancestry.
Anyway, my two met this guy and he again behaved very little like a dog. He was very interested in the dogs, but super dominant with them and again his body language was exaggerated. He was shouldering up the other dogs and making a strong point of swinging his head over everyone's shoulder. He was not aggressive, per se, but his body language clearly seemed to indicate that he would tolerate no nonsense. Since Maddie can be a bit dippy and Jack does not take kindly to dominant body language, I did monitor their interactions closely. Jack seemed slightly uncertain at first meeting, but warmed up to him and was very happy to see him again at the end of our walk.
I'm curious how other people feel about this phenomenon, keeping part-wolves as pets in an urban area? I don't intend to knock anyone's choices. I can certainly see where some people would find this appealing. The animals are stunning, impressive, most likely very healthy. On the other hand, we have bred away from certain traits in wolves that make them the dangerous predators they are--- domestic dogs maintain juvenile traits throughout life, they don't maintain such rigid pack structure, their predation sequences have been bred to be truncated (excepting the terriers, most have the kill-phase bred out of them) and countless other things that make them safe to live with, and even with all these bred-in safety measures some dogs still cause great harm. So I do wonder about the safety of keeping large predators as pets.
Thoughts? Opinions? I find it an interesting topic to ponder.
I love wolves and they are a beautiful animal BUT I would not have a mix exactly because I wouldn't/couldn't trust them. Let them remain wild and free where they are meant to be is my opinion.
Jane, I think you sum it up for me when you say you can't trust them. With the two I met, I felt very much like I didn't trust them. Most dogs have a desire to maintain a relationship with people, and so they behave in predictable ways. Even an aggressive dog usually gives adequate warning before acting (though we may miss the warning).
But the behavior of the two I met was so different from dogs, and I had the distinct feeling that they had a certain set of rules of conduct for ME that I was not privy to, and that something might happen if I broke those rules.
I remember reading in one of Patricia McConnell's books that she was working with a wolf or wolf-mix on possession aggression. She used her usual method, throwing down hunks of meat to get the animal to leave its bone. The wolf/dog ate all the meat calmly, then very methodically walked over and bit her to correct her for taking his bone.
Clearly, he saw himself as "top dog" and from his point of view was just correcting her for her misbehavior. For all the talk about being "pack leader" there are very few domestic dogs who take that position with people, or at least take it seriously. But my understanding is nearly ALL wolves will form their own pack once they reach sexual maturity (the lower-ranking animals are mostly-though not entirely-- young from previous years). So I think it is likely a much bigger issue with wolf-mixes.
It is illegal to own wolf hybrids in Maine now. They must have a permit and are regulated as exotic animals. Before the law it seemed like many people were using them for a tough guy image like with pit bulls. Now if anyone has one, they don't admit it.
I think they are not for the average dog owner, no wild animal makes a good pet. The people who I have met with a hybrid can be lumped into two groups. People who own them for bragging rights and those who want to rescue and protect.
There are cat hybrids available as well. Bengals are hybrids with asian leopard cats and domestic cats, savannahs are another hybrid. People do not realize what they are getting when they buy one for the exotic look. Many end up in rescue or euthanized for aggression. I adopted a kitten from a local shelter not knowing she was a bengal mix. The vet told me upon her first visit. She is many, many generations down from an original hybrid, but she does not behave like a typical cat. I am committed to her, but there is no way I would knowingly get another.
To be fair, Marcie, by now many Bengals are extremely diluted. The likelihood of getting an F2 or F1 is very, VERY slim if one is not savvy enough to find breeders for it. I have three Bengals myself, and they are nothing but domesticated housecats. There is no wild left in them. All three are registered with TICA and the LOOF, and even when I go back very far in their pedigrees, I find nothing more than housecat level dilution of Asian Leopard Cat.
I think Savannahs are less popular so their numbers haven't expanded enough to be almost sure that the kitten you're getting is far enough away from wild blood. I could be wrong!
I think it is just a breed differential like with dogs. I was not prepared for the brains or activity level she has. I have had cats learn to open doors before, but not every unlocked door in the house. She has even opened my dresser drawers. Mokey has mellowed over her three years and I love her, but OMG she is a handful.
Oh yeah, mine have learnt how to open and access pretty much everything. I have an entire nighttime ritual of taping up the fridge, the cabinets, locking doors in our flat, putting things away just to be sure that I don't wake up to a warzone the next day. But then, I've heard of domestic shorthairs being just as crafty and wily so it is a case by case basis. I have one Bengal who would't dream of making a mess, and his sister is quite possibly the biggest pain in the butt ever. :D
Ludi, I had a Ferret for 10yrs who was also very curious/intelligent (the two words are synonymous) and would get into everything. For the cabinets, my husband put in very strong magnets where they close ( we really had to pull hard to open them ) They also sell magnets that are for child-proofing cabinets, you need a special magnetic key to open them, my daughter in law had these when her three boys were little. There are a lot of child-proofing products that may also work for cats.
My ex Step Mother has a Savannah. She has an F5 Savannah. She is still very much "wild". You do not want to be scratched by her or piss her off. However, she can be very very nice. Though, an F5 is significant in that thats the generation where the males are no longer sterile.
What does she look like????
I absolutely do not understand how people can support the largely-shady business of creating wolfdogs. There are FAR too many surrendered every year to sanctuaries and shelters because misguided owners do not realise the amount of work and unpredictability that go into having an actual, high-content wolfdog. I also do not see the merit in creating these crosses when there are already incredibly wolfy, fully-domesticated dog breeds to choose from. Northern breeds, and successfully outcrossed and now established dogs like the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, or the Saarloos Wolfhound, mean that one can have the beauty and wild look of a wolf without the dangers associated in an ACTUAL wolfdog.
I believe having one is biting way more off than MANY owners are prepared to chew. Therefore I cannot support the "business" of creating them, when we have proven to be largely incapable of the task of raising one correctly.
Personally I think it's unfair to the animal that is created. Too many who have them think it's "cool" with a look at me attitude. Adorable as a pup but then it grows into a large animal that in the wrong hands can become dangerous. The animal ends up in a sanctuary or put down. Wolves are beautiful creatures and they belong in the wild along with the big cats, bears, chimps and other wild creatures that some humans think they should have as a pet.
All dogs come from the wolf but we have bred them to suit our life styles and the jobs we use them for and we can see many wolf traits in the fuzzbucket that shares our bed but for me I would rather admire a wolf from afar or in a documentary on TV.
In some states the Bengal cat is illegal to own too. They are beautiful.
Worries about risk and aggression aside, I can't help but wonder about the energy level/ urge to roam of the poor thing. Wild wolves will travel up to 30 miles a day (though some travel much less). Most people have trouble keeping a husky or malamute contained, let alone a wolf.
We were in a small zoo once (that took good care of its animals) that had wolves. All the animals were in habitat enclosures, not cages. Now, lions and tigers and the like sleep 20 hours a day or so, as do most cats. Give them a big enough space, a nice water feature, some raw meat, and entertainment like fresh blood frozen in ice hidden around, and they generally seem fairly content. But the wolves? They just kept running the fence. I felt so bad for them. Wolves and polar bears seem to exhibit lots of stress behaviors/ stereotypy no matter how hard keepers try to provide enrichment, probably because in the wild they would travel hundreds of miles in a year. I've personally never seen a zoo-kept polar bear that did not do a repetitive behavior pattern loop. I've hardly seen any zoo-kept wolves, but the same seems to be true of them.
So if captive wolves in a few wooded acres, living in a pack, are so stressed that they run the fence with glazed eyes, what do you do when you have a part-wolf in 1800 square feet and a quarter acre?
On the other hand, I might be convinced by a good argument that an occasional wolf-cross might be used in something like working/competitive sled dog teams.