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 # 34
How easy is it to find qualified buyers for a litter of wolfdog pups?
Finding qualified buyers is really a lot more difficult than one might think. A lot of people think they want a wolfdog but haven't a clue what it is like raising one and dealing with it day in and day out.
Probably for every 75-100 callers I have spoken to over the years, I have only sold to 1 of them. The ratio might not even be that high. Some who have called the first time would eventually get a pup but it might take a couple of years before I felt they had gained enough knowledge and had built the facilities to properly care for one of my pups. Either that or I would send them to someone who was breeding Malamutes or pups who were lower in wolf content because, even though I felt they were people who would make fantastic parents for a lower content wolfdog or northern breed dog, they really didn't fit the criteria I had for the parents of my pups.
Until you have at least 6 buyers already pre-screened and approved and have deposits from those buyers, it isn't a good idea to breed your pair. Placing the pups isn't as easy as it seems if you do it responsibly and in the best interest of the pups. Not only while they are pups but after they mature into fully-grown animals. There is a lot of difference in caring for a pup and caring for an adult. Will your prospective buyers be prepared for those situations that might eventually arise? Unless you have covered the issues that may (and probably will) come up as your pup matures and you feel confident they can handle them, don't consider them to be qualified, approved buyers.
Remember, you can always return the deposits but you can't return the pups once they are born. You are responsible for seeing to it those pups have the best life has to offer and that means having owners who know what they are doing and are willing to do it not just taking the neighbor's word they want a pup when you breed or a brother-in-law who wants one, etc.
Certainly she should make EVERY effort to have at least 6 qualified buyers who have already put up a deposit on every litter BEFORE that litter is bred. Yes, there are going to be accidental litters if you have unaltered pairs of wolfdogs (with the emphasis on DOGS) because there is no way to accurately determine their cycles unless you have had them for several years and they are like clockwork but even then, those pups shouldn't be placed with buyers who aren't fully qualified to the very best of the breeder's ability. Again, that ain't an easy task even with lots of time with PLANNED litters but in order to be a RESPONSIBLE breeder, it is something we MUST do.
Fact of the matter is, even though I truly love my animals and I have had many happy years with the pups produced here, I hope never to breed another litter because it is so difficult to find the right homes for these guys who never asked to be born in the first place.
You try to do it all right, ask all the right questions, get letters of recommendation from vets, other breeders who have placed pups with the prospective buyers, etc. and still something can go wrong. Folks have to move to an area where wd's are illegal or they wind up loosing their property and having to move to the city, someone dies, there is a divorce, the birth of a child that was never planned or expected and the new parents just feel they can't be good parents to both 2 and 4 legged kids. All kinds of things happen.
And then there are the folks who give such fantastic "snow jobs" they fool everybody, you (the breeder) included.
We, as breeders of the pups, should be the ones to help in re-homing the pups or taking them back. Sometimes, we, the breeders, aren't notified there is a problem until the pup has been re-homed or put down or whatever even though there may be a clause in our contract that states we are to have 1st right of refusal or the pup can't be placed in another home without our approval or whatever other language.
BUT, none of this excuses us from doing the very best we can to find the best homes possible for the pups WE produce. That is OUR responsibility! Yes, when a pup leaves here, I say a little prayer in hopes I have made the right decision but I am the one who made that decision. My pup is the one who will have to live with the consequences of my decision.
Casa Lobo Kennels
TOTALLY qualified buyers are almost impossible to find. Those people that will make good guardians of these animals is not easy, but also, not impossible.
The first step I use is either an Email communication from an interested party or a phone call. The beginning of the weed out of prospectives starts on Email by asking them for their full (real) name, address and telephone number so that I can send them an application packet. That stops about 9/10 dead in their tracks, never hear from them again.
Phone calls generally come from within the state, where they are legal, and the first question to them is, "Why do you want to own a wolfdog?" If the answer is amongst the acceptable, then education begins and I get their address and phone number to send them an application.
I have, on a few occasions, sold to persons that have no experience with wolfdogs. Generally, these sales have worked out quite well, with one blaring exception, because I place them with people who have someone home most of the time and I see their interactions with their children. Only my opinion, but people that cannot relate to their children in a positive fashion don't get my animals, period.
Continued followup, consultation by phone and Email, and continued education all help to make the placements work. The worst problem I have had in placing animals is that people don't LISTEN. When I say it is harder to housebreak a wolfdog, I mean it, and make sure I tell everyone, new owner or experienced. That is the most complained of "problem" for people.
Quite difficult, but not impossible. I am not a breeder, but as a rescuer I do occasionally have to find placement for puppies or whole litters. The advantage I don't have, that reputable/responsible breeders do have, is time.
They can qualify buyers months if not years in advance of the planned breeding (which is essential to do). Myself, if I get involved in the placement of a rescue litter, the clock is ticking to get those pups in homes before they get too old and the experience-requirements for those pups keeps going up.
First off, I should say that the content range and F-gen is all-determining. As is age of the pups and their early experiences. In general it's much easier to qualify buyers or adoptive homes for adaptable "mostly dog" low to lowermid contents, as these pups can in some cases go to inexperienced owners. But, pups of any content range that have had poor early treatment or lack in socialization for their age, require a bit more experience of their new owner. They, and pups of more recent wolf heritange with rare exception go only to knowledgeable, prepared, fully qualified homes.
Finding these homes on sort notice is difficult. There's just not many 'good ones' who have room for more or can make room for more within their existing containment enclosures. Many who say they have what it takes, in all honesty don't often check out to be real or have what is necessary for that particular pup and the adult he will soon be.
When I seek placement for a puppy, it's not just the early growth stages that I worry about. Puppyhood has it's shares of troubles, but adolesence, adulthood, and older adulthood need also be considered. If the new owner's learning curve would be too steep, or they would be seriously overwhelmed with a potentially problematic adult... they'd be better off with a different pup, or lesser content range or staying away from wolfdogs or even northern dog breeds entirely.
Qualifying the buyer, to me means more than just asking questions about their previous experiences. It means I will personally (or an agent of mine) will go to their house and will perform a "house check" to determine what is in the best interest of the individual animal.
That means, containment fencing will be considered, age of any children, location of the household, stability of the household, access to wolfdog-friendly Veterinarian, sociability of the existing animals, spay/neuter risk, etc., etc., are just some of the things I look at. I will make suggestions for improvement if necessary - or the visit will tell me these folks have no interest in adapting to suit the needs of the pup and adult.
By now you might be wondering why I'm so "hard nosed" about things. Well, I look at it this way: I am responsible for that animal for life.
If I place that puppy in a home where she'll escape the fencing and be lost forever... I've failed that animal.
If I place that puppy in a home that doesn't know what to expect, and becomes dissatisfied with that maturing wolfdog... I've failed that animal.
If I place that puppy in a home that doesn't follow through on my spay/neuter requirements, breeds that animal and sells to unprepared buyers... I've not only failed that animal, but also contributed to countless more generations of animals that in all likelyhood will also end up in rescue situations.
And on it goes. I want to make sure no harm comes to the animal, or the people, as a result of my decisions.
So to condense all this and answer the question directly, no it's not easy to find qualified buyers (or adopters).
Hope it helps, Gudrun
This is not an easy task. Not only are you responsible for the animals you produce, you can be held accountable for the offspring of those you sold - i.e. the line is aggressive, has health problems, etc. That can all come back to you if someone does not take the time and patience to make sure that they have sound stable lines.
Also, the higher the behavioral content, the harder it is to find those who have the experience and containment areas necessary to handle the true high content animals. A responsible breeder will take months to get to know the prospective buyer and vice versa.
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