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 # 31
What are some advantages to having a low content wolfdog versus a high content ?
However, I think the best advantage is that you get to learn a little about wolf behaviors without having to deal with the intensity of action involved in a higher content.
I have never had a *true* high content, I have had low and mid. IMHO I don't know if I'll ever have a true high as I want them to have the ability to be cuddled and huggled and it's my understanding that not all high contents are capable of that. I would be so terribly disappointed if they couldn't. Plus I enjoy having my animals in the house with me, where they can be part of my family. With highs that I have known, this wasn't able to be the case. At least not for very long periods. My guys sleep on my bed and are included in my day to day life. With a high I'm afraid that I wouldn't be able to include them as much as I wanted. I could be wrong, but from the highs that I have met and known, I don't think so.
Further, my lows and even my mid showed enough woofy behaviors to be *different* from their dd breedings. Although I do love the mixes too!! I think it's all a matter of what you want the animal to be and do. To me it's important that they are not secluded in a pen all day and can come in to sleep and watch TV and such!!!
Well my only experience has been with Pharlap, whose content I don't really know, but I'm gonna guess that he's a low or a low-mid content. So I'm gonna kind of guess at this one. Most low contents will still give you that uniquely wolfy look and some of that uniquely wolfy personality without having to deal with as many of the wolfy "problems" that some higher contents are more likely to display. Like fear of strangers.
I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that even if a high content is very well socialized when young, there is a pretty good chance that they will at least develop a wariness of those they don't know when they get older. I think this would be less likely to happen with a low content. But then again, I really don't have the experience to answer this question with any amount of authority.
My Beaujolie is low content and since I have never had a high content I can not speak for them but my girl is friendly, affectionate and definately pack oriented-- she comes indoors. As far as destructive she has been but if I keep her supplied with chews she is less. My dd does things to please me while my furry girl is very much more independent and harder to train. I guess guys what I am saying here is that from what I have read from you all and other sources I am glad she is low content -- so she can really be part of the indoor pack.
Gentle care to all, Mary Ellen
I think the best way to go is with a low-content animal first; this way you can "adapt" yourself, your house, and your lifestyle to that of a Wolfmom or dad, and make the mistakes you are bound to make with an animal that is a bit more forgiving than a high content would be. Then (since you were planning on multiple dogs anyway!) you can add a higher content as you gain experience. Since the biggest difference between wolves and dogs is the intensity of their behaviours, it's often best to "start small" with that intensity.
A lower content wolfdog offers quite a few advantages: Better in the house, if you were wanting a fulltime house dog. More likely to enjoy car rides, visiting your friends/family, walks around downtown, therapy dog or agility work, or any of the other things that high contents are often averse to. Low contents are normally less timid than highs, and make better "All-Around dogs". It's easier to break your vet in to wd's with a low content, than a high... it's also easier to avoid mentioning your wolfdog's heritage, if need be, until you find a vet who accepts them or teach YOUR vet that they are not "wild animals".
When getting others to feel comfortable around wolfdogs, it is much better if they are able to play with the lower content critters, and see how much "like anyone else's much loved dog" they are... BEFORE they are introduced to your highs, which may respond with suspicion or fear. If people interact with some 'slightly shy' low contents... then they are more understanding when the "even shyer" highs won't come to them to be petted. It's a matter of degree... just as if you were desensitizing your dog to children, you would start by letting him approach calm, gentle older children; not just toss the dog into the middle of an 8 year old's rowdy birthday party.
For first-timers who *think* they want a wolfdog, a low content will be a better choice... because it will act more like what they are accustomed to (dogs), and won't be such a 'culture shock' to them. It will also be easier to re-home, if the person decides that they simply can't handle or accomodate the animal.
Low contents are more easily trainable, more adaptable to their situation, more suitable for being raised with children, easier to contain, and so on... they have more of the 'doggy' behaviours that man has modified canines for, for centuries; to make them "fit in" better in modern society (and with minimal effort on the part of the owners).
For those who *want* a wolfish canine, but who have a less-than-ideal situation for raising a wolf (or mostly-wolf dog), such as: a family with young children, someone who lives in town with [only] a 6 foot fence and nearby neighbors/dogs, someone who wants to "do things" with their dog (such as off-lead obedience, agility, extensive travelling)...a low content wolfdog may be an excellent choice.
I can list a few advantages of low contents vs high contents:
* Flexibility, flexibility !!!
* possible less intense containment needs
* less intense behavioral characteristics
* no or low incidence of seasonal aggression issues
* greater variety due to the dog breed(s) involved
* ability to "pass" as dogs
* more appropriate for newbies
* did I mention flexibility ?
It is rare to find a true high content, that as a fully mature adult is as flexible about new situations as low contents can be. I'd estimate that for every 50 adult legitimately high content (and low F-gen) wolfdogs, only 1 is of that "go anywhere, do anything" laid back year-round temperament/personality that most people enjoy in a companion animal.
Containment-wise, one glaringly big advantage to having lower content wolfdogs is that the fencing needs may not be as intense. Sure, even some purebred dogs require 8-10 foot tall chainlink enclosures with digguards and hotwire, but usually not. For many low contents, standard sturdy dog containment fencing might suffice.
Over the years I've raised/rescued quite a variety of wolfdogs; I know the pleasures of living with well-socialized higher contents. Nevertheless I've found that at this stage of my life my preference is for low to lowermid content wolfdogs (I enjoy wolfdogs that exhibit some of the dog breed characteristics they are mostly a mix of, and still strongly have that element of raw canid intensity that I have yet to find in an existing dog breed).
The reason I prefer low/lowermid contents over mid/uppermid/high content wolfdogs is because I like flexibility. I like my freedom of movement, the ability to go places and do things somewhat easily with my wolfdogs is important. I also like to go on backpacking trips, and doing so with a mid to high can be extremely difficult if not impossible.
I also like having animals that are not too obvious looks-wise in their recent wolf heritage. This comes in handy if I need to keep a low profile when out in public. I'm not caught up on looks, I'd much rather have an intensely good companion rather than just a good looker.
Hope it helps, Gudrun
My low-contents don't trash everything in sight in their eagerness to see what it is. *mama! what's this? mama what's that? mama what does this taste like?* Also, we have house cats. Spirit is a housewoof, she sleeps inside, I can trust her with the kittens. Everyone else has to stay outside, mostly due to the cats.
For my Krew, the low contents seems to be easier "pet-companions" & they are more forgiving. With my mids and highs, I must be so very hyper-vigilant, that it makes for harder work. Maybe I have the best of all possible worlds, tho, cuz I spend much time with the kidz outdoors.
Low contents seem to be alot less intense, less stubborn, less apt to have a high prey drive, less easily bored, less intractable, & more easily and forgivably trainable.
Oh my, I love them all, but the lows tend to have a little more dog behaviors to them, are easier to train, and can be (not always), better in the house (if you don't mind your undies all over the place). They also seem to be a little better with kids, though I do have a very high that thinks my four yr old is hers. Mids are pretty good too, they to can be very social animals, shy, but not as shy as the highs, my low is still shy, but warms up to people faster then my mids or highs.
I have never had my low in the truck, after the first time, talk about one little girl that was very, very scared, so I don't force them. It's a slow process to get them over their fear, when that is done you can have a great traveling companion.
My high content, Amorak is very friendly to strangers while my low content, Apache, is deathly afraid of strangers. For that matter my Sheltie is wary of strangers too.
The low contents are GENERALLY easier to handle and socialize and train, and honestly make better pets. And one does not have to worry too much about being taken away for being a wd by the authorities.
New owner here of one mid and one arctic high content. I would say one advantage would be if it is a low content you are not as much at risk of the WD being labeled as a wolf by people who you are not too sure about. In other words it would be more believable to people that it is just a dog and not the mix it is.
Not ever having a high content, but having observed some that belong to a friend, I would think one advantage would be being able to have a lower content in the house more often, and possibly easier to train for obedience.
I have a mid content, but he is dog in a lot of his behaviors (at least to me he is-- others may think not). However, he was obedienced trained and did very well. His trainer who has had experience with wd's said he was impressed by how well Gabe did.
I have heard both sides from others on the Wolfdoglist who say their higher contents do OK in a house, and others who say theirs do not, so maybe it's an individual thing, and although how much time is spent socializing is one facet, it's not everything. The person I know with pures on down the line, has an excellent relationship with her wd's. She may not bring them in the house, but they have been socialized well with her and her family, and I have seen her sit on the ground in the containment area, and get hugs and kisses from them.
I think having a low or mid content may be something for someone like me who had never had a wolfdog before, but I also think having had Alaskan Malamutes before, helped some in preparing me for taking care of Gabe.
See Copyright information on main FAQ listings page.
Go to the top of the page