Reminder: The selected responses presented below are a reflection of the collaborative effort of Hybrid Wolf Mailing List aka. Wolfdoglist members to share opinions / information about wolf x dogs, responsible "ownership" and breeding practices. This FAQ is not a scientific or veterinary resource. Some responses have been edited for brevity.
Wolfdog FAQ - Question # 2
How can I tell a good wolf hybrid breeder from a bad one?
They should have a good reason for selecting the parents to produce the pups, such as breeding for disposition, color, size, etc. Never breeding this to that simply because it was convenient.
Good breeders don't consistently have accidental breedings year after year. They should have deposits on animals before producing them. Don't produce the pups first and hope to find homes for them later.
As in any other type of buisness, word of mouth advertising is by farthe most far reaching, bar none. Ask the breeder you are talking withto provide a list of others he has sold animals to. Call these peopleand ask what their impression of the breeder was and is now. Did thebreeder offer any help in housing requirements, feeding, socializing,publications to read. The breeder is providing or should be providingmore than a cute, fuzzy wolfdog. As a provider, he/she should do justthat....provide you with the information you will need to have ahealthy, happy companion for you and for those around you.
A good wolfdog (or any other) breeder will attempt to ascertain your level of knowlege before selling you ananimal. If your knowlege is lacking, s/he will attemptto add to your knowlege. The breeder will rarely havemore than one litter available at a time. A good breederwill ask lots of questions, and very likely ask for solidproof of your containment facilities. A good breeder willhave a contract, often with a spay/neuter policy, and aclause stating that they will take the animal back for anyreason, should you have to give it up. S/he will provideyou with support for the lifetime of the animal, and urgeyou to keep in contact. A good breeder cares about theanimals they produce, and wants to know how the do over thelong haul.
A responsible breeder in one form or another will ask the followingquestions (not necessarily in this order) and more:
All these will help the breeder understand if this person is sincere, readyand able to care for a wolfdog. It will also help the breeder know whatgeneration, percentage, lineage the person is capable of handling.
A responsible breeder will...
There is so much more, but this is a start. Everyone has there own idealsand questions.
A good breeder will screen potential buyers carefully, and educate in theprocess. A good breeder will discuss what to expect with a wolfdog, both pros andcons. They will explain the differences in wolfdogs and doggie-dogs, inareas such as diet, containment, obedience, destructive potential, need forcompanionship, and behaviors such as challenging for dominance and preyinstinct, also legalities and the rabies issue. A good breeder, if satisfiedwith the answers to the questionnaire and the way the conversation has gone,will then do a home check. If the potential buyer lives in another state,the breeder will ask for photographs or preferably, videotape of where thewolfdog will be kept. If the buyer is in another state the breeder will beaware of the legalities of wolfdogs in that area and proceed accordingly. Agood breeder will have a clause in their contract wherein if the person isunable to keep the wolfdog, the breeder will take it back. A good breedershould also be willing, within reason, to answer questions as they arise fromthe new owner. A good breeder should be willing to furnish the names ofsatisfied clients for the potential owner to check out. A good breeder will,upon payment, furnish the client with a contract signed by both breeder andclient, and papers from the registry, if the wolfdog is registered with one. A very good breeder will also point the buyer toward further reading andinformation about wolfdogs.
I'm sure there's much more but this is what I've come up with on the spot...
This is not brief but neither is it complete.
As to bad breeders, there are too many places to start. Some that would be a warning signs (to me) would be:
Again, not brief but also not complete.
Many good points have been suggested by Wolfdoglist members, discussing containmentsissues, children, trainablility , diet, social needs, education, etc.
An area of discussion I find very important is the percentage of wolf inthe pups, for this will determine whether they can be reliable house pets, or,if (wolfish animals) whether they will most likely need a suitable outdoorenvironment with a companion canine.
Newbies to wolfdogs are often not aware of the vast differences of low tohigh percenters..People often hear "wolfdog, or wolf-hybrid" ) and visualize ahalf dog , half wolf.
Many first time buyers are unfamiliar with the varying degrees of dominantand submissive behaviour that these dogs wil exhibit with an owner or with oneanother dog. The buyer needs to learn about these behaviours and how theywill apply . As was mentioned in another post, they need to learn aboutappropriate discipline techniques and the behaviours which are unique to somewofldogs that d-dogs may not exhibit.
Containment needs will be different with a low percenter and many mid rangeand very wolfy dogs.
For a first time buyer, I would only recomend a low, or low-mediumpercentage of wolf.
For a buyer with small children, I would only suggest a lower percentage ofwolf.
*And even then I would be more likely to recomend that if the kids arereally small, the buyer first get another breed of dog. If the buyers stillinsists they want a wolfdog, the seller should discuss that this will be alarge, and possibly headstrong adult dog, and if, for example, the parents wanta dog that their child can take to the park to play "fetch" with , run aboutwith and trust it to placidly follow his bike when he leaves home to play,then I would not suggest a wolfdog. Stress that the dog will not be a"babysitter", or "Lassie" companion, and make sure they understand theuniqueness of a wolfdog.
**Many parents/adults do have the image of "White Fang" or other moviewolfdogs.
As others have mentioned, I suggest required reading before a breederaccepts a deposit (or sale) on a pup. Taking a "quiz", either written or orallyis a very good idea, and a few sample questionairs have been put forth by listpeople. There also should be a lengthy dialogue with the breeder, usingwritten materials as part of the process. Again, I do stress educating thepotential buyer about the differences with low, low meduim, med-high, highpercenters and "near pures"
***Being educated and honest means that a breeder will send away themajority of prospective buyers. This in turn means that the breeder will spendfar more money on advertising pups. A breeder who passes of wolfdogs as "justlike any large "Northern breed pup" is either ignorant , dishonest or greedy tomake a sale, and buyers must be aware of this..
Good breeders do ask if the buyer wants to breed, and may deny that requestand have a spay/neuter clause in their contract. ((Again, this will make thesale of a litter take longer and be more costly regards any advertising).
If a caller is under 21, ask if he/she lives at home. I suggest asking tospeak with a parent if the caller is under 18 years of age. Discuss with theparent who will keep the dog once the young person goes off to college or movesaway from home. Even if a caller is a young adult, (say 18-26) I wouldinsist (if they live at home) that the parent/s come with them when they arescheduled to view the pups. *This is a courtesy to any parent , and importantfor a pup who must be acepted by all householders. *Also, a young person is notlegally or financilally accountable in many cases. I suggest, too, that whenshowing the pups , a seller require that each spouse ((or fiancee or partner,etc)) come to the home along with any children. Too often, a wife or husbandmay have differing thoughts on getting a wolfdog, and it is very important thatall adult members of the household are in agreement of a purchase. By the sametoken , if a person lives with a sibling or any other relative or friend, theprocess of againincluding ALL adult householders in this process is veryimportant.
Good breeders ask whether the buyer wants an indoor or outdoor dog (againpercentage factor will figure in). IF a dog is to be outdoors the majority , orall of the time, a companion dog should be a requirement - not after, butbefore the pup goes to the new home. **Too many owners make "promises" which arenot kept, and this includes getting a companion dog.
If, upon the initial pre screening ( over the phone) a seller feels that thecaller should not have a wolfdog, the breeder should tell this to the caller,but still offer to assit the caller in learning more about wolfdogs. ***Offerto mail the caller a list of wolfdog organizations, and literature. Perhapsinclude an article about wolfdogs, and ask the prospective buyer to please readthe material before calling on another ad for WDs. This is part of what aconcerned breeder will do -even though he/she will not make a dime for theeffort. Another option is to invite the caller to observe your pups and theparents , and take time during this visit to to teach the person. If you do notbreed, but have wolfdogs, you can still be a superb teacher. *** There aremany dedicated people who gladly teach other people with no financial rewardto be held.
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