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 # 1
Do wolfdogs make good pets ?
As a pet, I would say NO. As a companion, YES. These critters are,simply put, NOT FOR EVERYONE. Too few people are willing (or able) todevote the time and energy that wolfdogs require to become goodcompanion animals. "Good companions" is the point here. Companionimplies there is a sense of equality in the relationship - friend,compatriot, comrade. Friends are accepted for who they are, andintegrated into your life. You don't ignore your friends, chain them toa tree or abuse them. You cannot do that with wolfdogs either and expectthat they will become your friends.
These are unique, high-spirited animals who are intelligent, creativeand demanding. These are not traits that most people, looking for apet, are prepared to deal with - though, unfortunately, far too manythink that they are. A wolfdog will test you in ways unimaginable ifyou are inexperienced or unknowledgeable. Even if you are prepared, youwill be constantly tested - it definitely helps to have a sense of humorwith them because the tests will be a challenge.
People "own" pets, but you can never "own" a wolfdog. You can providefor it, care for it and love it - but ultimately they make the decisionwhether or not to "share" their soul with you. If you are chosen toshare this bond with them, they will place their trust in you for therest of their lives and I believe, beyond . . . for even when they aregone - their spirit lives within you.
NO they do not make good pets. They make good companion animals.There is a big difference between those 2 concepts. A companion animalis such as a horse. It still has the basic instincts, and interactswith man on it's own terms. You can break it's spirit, and have a fearbased relationship; or you can meet it halfway and be respectful of it'snature and the rules by which it lives.
The general public's definition of "pet" is an animal that lives byhuman rules alone, and cuddles up in your lap when YOU want it to.Wolves and wolfdogs do NOT make good pets. This definition is part ofthe problem with the public's perception of wd's. They expect theaverage cute cuddly puffball pet - and boy do they get a surprise. Theyget an animal that is intelligent, that can THINK, and that does notnecessarily live by house rules.
I think we have to examine the word "pet" as it relates to people. A pet isproperty. Wolves cannot be. A pet is solely reliant on us for food, play,training and love. A wolf truly becomes part of the family allowing us intohis and his into us. We become as one. If you need an animal that will perishwihout your watching over it's well being then dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc.are fine. I love the need my wolves and I have and don't have for each other.I think one has to have a special sense of self to encroach on the lives ofthese special friends. Obviously very few humans have that gift. This, byfar, has been the richest experience in my entire life. A true sense ofunconditional love and trust. Patience tested, mind teasers, a great sense ofhumor, and a true sense of being. Not good pets at all. They are merely thebest friends I have ever had and I feel blessed to have been one of thechosen. But no, not good pets at all. They will try your last nerve if youdon't know what is coming. Go get a lap dog if you want a pet.
Kath Cheyenne and Orion (the sweetest music I have ever heard)
IMHO, the answers posted thus far have been good. I think that point thatWD's are not pets so much as they are family members is very important.Also is the fact that they need a lot of attention in the puppy stage(count on that lasting 2 or 3 years). I am glad to see that mine are notthe only ones that like to chew (mine will still very infrequently chewthings - Tovar ate a leather belt last year).
The main problem with having a WD is that they require a lot of trainingand attention (much more that DDs). I put up with endless shenanigansfrom mine for the first three years, but it has been pretty smooth sailingsince then. The more quality time that you give them, the better off youare. I think that WD's need more space than DD's.
I think I should say that WD's may not be for every one. They are verystrong so must be socialized, if you don't want to put out the effort todo this, please don't get one. They are not going to be like a Collie,Husky or an Irish Setter in that WD's seem to have a stong sense of self,and will usually want to do things their way so dont expect them to bemindless slaves/worshipers. But this is what I like best though - theyhave clearly discernable personalities. I have often though that theyare much like cats than dogs in this regard.
I wouldn't trade mine for the world.
I wonder whether all of us all have the same emotional baggage attached tothe use of the word "pet." And I wonder whether there should be anydisagreement when the words "pet" or "companion" are used.
I don't think any would disagree that "companion" is probably moreacceptable, yes even palatable, to the members of this list, but to expressdisbelief over someone's use of the word "pet" leaves me wondering whether itis necessary to be constantly on guard about being WDC (that's *wolf dogcorrect*).
I believe I also impulsively responded with a LARGE yes to the question. But I certainly did not intend the connotation to belittle these wonderful,intelligent creatures. I was thinking more in the line of what mostdictionaries define the word pet: "an animal that is tamed or domesticatedand kept as a companion or treated with fondness..." You see, the wordcompanion is implicit in the meaning for the word "pet." Wolf-dogs justcarry the "companion" part to new depths.
When I read some of the really eloquent responses to the question, I wished Ithought it out more carefully before I responded as I did.
Really, I think we're all on the same page on this one...
Thanks for listening,
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