Wolf Hybrids – Wolf-Dogs – A Controversy
I recently read an interesting study from Stanford University that said that wolves with black pelts are the result of wolf-dog hybridization. It was an interesting read, and brought to my mind some of the other ways that wolf hybrids differ from domestic dogs.
As you can imagine, I receive a lot of calls and emails about wolf hybrids. Everyone has an opinion, but I have always been of the mindset that wolf hybrids are NOT a good idea as domestic pets and an even worse idea as a protection dog.
Wolf hybrids certainly have their proponents. One of my closest friends owns one and it is a striking looking and powerful animal, great with his children. The South African Defense Force, a pre-apartheid organization, used hybrids as what they termed “attack” dogs. As you can guess, the program failed. It’s true, hybrids have shown remarkable tracking skills due to their powerful sense of smell (some studies say it is even better than a dog’s) and their long canine teeth and strong bite pressure are overwhelming and devastating. Hybrids have great endurance and generally suffer from less health problems.
So with all the advantages, why not breed hybrids for protection work? Hmmmm…where do I begin?
Wolfs are different from dogs in many ways, but one important contrast has to do with how each species identifies with humans. Dogs accept humans as their leaders, wolves shun humans. Mixing the genes results in an animal whose behavior is less predictable than either a wolf or dog. There are always going to be exceptions but as a whole this is true. Hybrids are known to take advantage of vulnerability, just like wild wolves, and this may account for the high incidence of hybrid assaults against small children. They are also exceptionally aggressive; once one has attacked it is impossible to call the wolf-dog off. A true protection dog with not back down when commanded to defend but has enough control to stop when the handler decides he or she needs to. This is just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. Difficulty in housebreaking, inappropriate chewing and howling issues don’t help the hybrid promoter’s argument.
Strength and a physically intimidating build aren’t the only traits needed to be a protection dog. This is why CCK9 only breeds and trains the best of the best working line dogs. We know that it takes more than brawn and big teeth to protect our clients and their families. It takes balance, intelligence, athleticism, perfect genetics and, yes, a hard bite too. Why settle when you can have it all? We don’t.
Perry Ahlgrimm, CEO
Command Control K9 Ltd