Can Dogs and Wolves Breed? Yes, Here’s What You Need to Know…

Can Dogs and Wolves Breed? Yes, Here's What You Need to Know

Over many years, humans have bred dogs to create a vast spectrum of breeds. The idea of adding up and creating even more breeds is definitely intriguing. Some of us are great fans of wolves. These canines have bigger brains, robust muscles, and even more powerful jaws than any dog. It is understandable and not very surprising that people want to pet a dog with little wildness of wolves. But is it possible? Can dogs and wolves breed?

The short answer to the question is yes. Dogs and wolves can breed as both of them belong to the same family, Canidae. Also, because of the same number of chromosomes, similar behavioral patterns, and biological compatibility, dogs and wolves can mate. A Wolf dog is a canine produced by mating a domestic dog with a gray wolf, eastern wolf, red wolf, or Ethiopian wolf. This article depicts all you need to know about the differences and similarities between dogs and wolves and how they can breed with each other.

Is Cross Breeding Between Dogs and Wolves Possible?

Generally, in order to breed two species together and produce offspring, both animals should be closely related to each other. They must have the same number of chromosomes and genetic patterns. Both wolves and domestic dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes, which are 78 chromosomes in total. Also, they belong to the same family as Canidae. So, cross-breeding of dogs and wolves is possible.

The first documented breeding of wolfdogs dates back to Britain in the year 1766 when a male wolf mated with a domestic dog that belonged to a breed now recognized as “Pomeranian” dogs. The union of these canines resulted in nine puppies. These nine puppies were occasionally purchased by English noblemen for exhibiting in British menageries and zoos. Since then, wolfdogs have been around us whether in wild or as an exhibit in zoos.

How Many Types of Wolfdogs Are There?

There are altogether six types of wolfdogs. They were produced by mating wolves with different dog breeds. “Wolamute” also known as “malawolf” is a cross between Alaskan malamute and a timber wolf. Four breeds of wolfdog resulted from intentional crosses of wolves with German shepherd dogs.  The Sarloos Wolfdog was created by a Dutch breeder Leendert Sarloos who bred a female European wolf with a male German shepherd dog.  A cross between Carpathian grey wolves and German shepherd dogs gave rise to a new breed of Czechoslovakian wolfdogs; these dogs patrol the border between Slovakia and the Czech republic.

The purpose behind developing these breeds depended mainly on the desire for a high-content wolfdog as experienced military working dogs and also a recognizable companion.

You might also be interested in Can Dogs and Foxes Breed?

Can We Keep Wolf Dogs as Pets?

Keeping wolfdogs is not a simple thing to do. In America, most of the advocates of wolf dogs praise these animals as wonderful pets while opponents argue that they are unpredictable, inherently dangerous, and untrainable. Just like Pitbulls, wolfdogs are legal in some parts of the USA like Alaska, Michigan, and North Dakota. However, owners must have a permit and special license to keep these exotic animals. While in other states like the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, and Rhode Island, it is illegal to keep one of these wolfdogs as a pet.

Dogs do tasks that are assigned to them by their owner without any objections but wolves are not the same. Wolves make firm decisions on whether or not to follow orders given to them. Wolfdogs have obedience lying somewhere between. They can wave more towards the dog side or can be contributed by the wild instinct of wolves. It is really unpredictable. So, to avoid any sort of risks to you and your family lives, it is highly suggested that you don’t pet a wolfdog.

Moreover, USDA does not approve the use of the standard vaccines (that is used in dogs, cats, and ferrets) for these “hybrid” wolfdogs. When it comes to vaccinating wolfdogs, understanding the mentality of each of them is necessary. Thus, each wolfdog may have their specific vaccine.

If you want a wolfdog, you must carry the burden of lying to your vet about your wolfdog’s lineage. But it must be understood that USDA does not ensure the effectiveness of standard rabies vaccine for these hybrids. If a wolfdog bites a person, even if the wolfdog is vaccinated, there will still be the risk of rabies. Depending upon the state you live in, your wolfdog can be put down and impounded if they bite someone.

How Much Wild Trait Do Wolfdogs Have?

Getting a wolfdog appeals to many dog owners because of the assumption that these creatures are the “best” of both worlds: domestic and wild. They will have the elegance and looks of a wolf, but the temperament and attitude of a caring, doting puppy. The desire to own a valuable animal has boosted the demand for one and driven many people to try to raise it.

Sadly, it is virtually impossible to know the number of wolf hybrids kept at any time as pets because some individuals that have valid wolfie hybrids prefer to report them as Husky, Malamute, or Shepherd mixes to prevent legal questions. Some people who claim to have a wolfdog simply have a mix of dog breeds with a wolf-like nature.

Ken Collings, director of Wolfdog Rescue Resources, Inc., a national rescue organization headquartered in Stafford, Vancouver also stated that about 70 percent of the wolfdogs out there were not wolfdogs at all. They were either completely dogs or completely wolves. Not all wolfdogs show the same temperament; some show their wild instincts as soon as they mature while others do well as a domestic pet. So, it is really difficult to know how many wolf-like traits wolfdogs have.


Given that many wolves in the U.S. are threatened, it just seems unfair to hold these animals in captivity as pets. There is an explanation for the evolution of wolves and dogs. Our responsibility is to keep wild animals wild and to welcome one of the endless (domestic) dogs that need an appropriate.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more, please check out other dog hybrid-related articles that you might be interested in.

Do you have a wolf dog? How do you care for them? What is their diet like? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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