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German Shepherd Wolf Mix: Could this Wolfdog be an Ideal Pet?

German Shepherd Wolf Mix

Although several attempts have been made to domesticate the ever-so-mysterious wolf, studies suggest there’s still a long way to go before you can coddle a wolf on your lap. However, in what seems to be an instance of “modern problems need modern solutions,” somewhere around the globe, the brainchild of an intelligent man, a wolf, and a dog hybrid, was born. This Wolfdog hybrid is exactly what it sounds like.

Needless to say, they took off in the narrow but demanding market of wolf and dog admirers. From then on, it was only a matter of time until the German Shepherd-the hotshot dog in the canine world, was crossbred with a wolf. In this article, we are sketching a breed profile of the unique albeit rare hybrid. So, if you also wished to own a wolf but were held back by the wildness, this dog might just be it!

Stick with us as we discuss the financial, physical, and emotional aspects of owning the German Shepherd Wolf mix! 

German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed Characteristics:

NamesGerman Shepherd Wolf Mix, Shepherd Wolf, Wolf Shepherd, Wolf Dog
TypeCrossbreed, Hybrid, Designer Dog
Size20-26 inches
Weight50-100+lb (22-45 Kg)
Lifespan12-14 years
CoatDouble coats, medium length
ColorBlack and tan, sable, black, white, mottled gray, red or brown
SheddingHeavy shedders; blow their coat twice a year
Dietary NeedsHigh-protein diet
Health IssuesHip dysplasia, Gastric Dilation Volvulus, Arthritis, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, Degenerative Myelopathy and Cataracts
TemperamentMischievous, playful, loyal and reserved, unpredictable
SocializationUnpredictable around other dogs, shy and reserved around strangers
Destructive BehaviorLoves to howl at anything and will chew when bored
Family FriendlyNot recommended for families with young kids.
Activity LevelsVery energetic, will need at least 1-2 hours of exercise
Best Suited ForHighly Experienced Owners
Average Price$800-$1,000
Annual Maintenance Cost$700-$1,000

Parent Breeds Overview

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dogs in the United States, with a massive following that ensures them a win in the presidential elections, if only! The breed came into existence in 1899 when Captian Max von Stephanitz of the German Cavalry retired to follow his passion for breeding dogs. Captain had a clear idea of what he wanted his ideal dog to be like. As an army professional, Captain promptly mapped out a way to create his superior herding breed. 

He visited dog shows and observed the characteristics of each dog. On one such visit, Captain chanced upon a wolf-like dog and, fascinated by the physique, immediately bought it. This dog came to be known as Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor’s physique, intelligence, and working skills impressed the Captain so much that he formed a society to fashion a breed out of his beloved dog. Although Captain’s Hektor was a superior herding breed, as Germany moved towards being an industrial society, Captain felt the need to adjust the breed to take up several other roles. 

Due to the foresight of the Captian, the breed today is the greatest of all working dog breeds in the world. The German Shepherd’s intelligence, working attitude, and physique were all optimized to make the breed suitable for all kinds of work. 

Wolf

Even though all dogs descended from wolves, there’s hardly any behavioral trace of the wild animal in today’s canines. However, this German Shepherd and Wolf mix checks all the boxes between a wolf and a German Shepherd dog. Wolves have strong predatory instincts and tend to prey on everything that moves. This trait makes them a threat to any animals around them. In addition, wolves are also shy around humans making the crossbred unpredictable. 

Also Read: German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix

German Shepherd Wolf Mix

As the name suggests, the Shepherd Wolf or the Wolf Shepherd is a mix between the German Shepherd and the wild wolf. This legendary wolf dog is a rare and unique creature in the canine world. German Shepherds have been bred with several kinds of wolf dogs so far. These include the Sarloos Wolfhound, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, the Kunming Wolfdog (Chinese), and the Lupo Italiano (Italy). However, the most popular mix of these is the Sarloos Wolfhound. 

History

Leendert Saarloos created the Sarloos Wolfhound by mixing a German Shepherd and a Eurasian wolf back in 1935. This cross-breeding aimed to create a mix with the more natural traits of a wolf. The breed is recognized by the UK kennel club but not the American Kennel Club. 

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was created when the German Shepherd was bred with a Carpathian wolf in 1955. The idea behind this crossbred variety was to bring the loyalty, working attitude of the German Shepherd, and physical traits and stamina of a Wolf in one dog. This breed is recognized by the FCI 1989. 

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The history and origins of the other German Shepherd and Wolf mixes are poorly documented. 

Legislation

Owning a Wolf-dog hybrid is becoming quite the trend. It seems to be an incredibly exciting endeavor at the face of it. However, there are many concerns and controversies regarding the same. Whether a Wolfdog makes a good household pet or not is perplexing and concerning to every owner. However, even before you ask that question, the legal aspects of owning a Wolfdog need attention. 

In the United States, owning Wolf hybrids is illegal as these hybrids are classified as wild animals in many states. Further, Wolf-dogs are known to be immune to dog vaccines; therefore, rabies is a significant threat when owning this breed. The genetic combination of the hybrid is quite a cocktail, and it dictates many unfavorable behaviors as primal instincts. Thus, owners of Wolfdogs often report that caring for the breed presents several challenges. For more information about the laws on owning Wolfdogs in the United States, visit International Wolf Center.

Physical Traits

A German Shepherd and Wolf mix resembles its wolfy parent greatly. They are large, with long faces, pointed ears, and thick coats. Since this hybrid has not been standardized, dog crossbreeding between a German Shepherd and a wolf can yield a dog weighing between 50-100 pounds (22-45 kg). The dog is also expected to be at least 25-27 inches tall. These physical traits can vary based on the size, sex, diet, and genetics of the parent breed. 

Temperament

Although predicting the size of the German Shepherd Wolf mix is complex, predicting their behavior is a long shot too. German Shepherds and Wolves have contrasting behavioral traits. A German Shepherd, although intimidating, proves to be a dream dog for most dog owners. This can be attributed to their loyalty, obedience, and a reasonably interactive nature when adequately socialized. Whereas a wolf is a stark opposite as it’s a natural predator and tends to hunt and chase every small animal. They are also timid creatures; therefore, the hybrid would require lots of socialization as a young pup.

There’s no saying who the German Shepherd Wolf hybrid would take after. There are equal chances of the dog being more canine or wolf-like. However, due to the parents’ characteristics, the hybrid is likely to be aggressive, intimidating, shy, intelligent, and loyal. These dogs may not be as eager to please as German Shepherds but can pick up commands quickly due to their intelligence. Additionally, their clever and curious nature makes them escape artists, they should always be kept in a secure yard

Further, since wolves are pack animals, the hybrid can be prone to separation anxiety. Therefore, these dogs cannot be left alone for longer durations. Additionally, wolves are well-known howlers, and their primary way of communicating with other wolves. Therefore, once you bond with your canines, you’ll likely hear them howl a lot. 

Coat and Colors

German Shepherds and Wolves have thick double coats with straight outer layers and dense inner coats. The fur tends to be medium in length and sheds excessively in parental breeds. Therefore, the hybrid dog also sports the same thick coat that sheds all year round. 

German Shepherd dogs are found in as many as eleven color variants, with black and tan shades being the most common. On the other hand, wolves can come in shades of grey, pure white, black, or even brown. Based on this, the hybrid will take on the shade of the dominant color gene of the parents. Usually, they can be black, brown, white, and grey. 

Common Health Problems

The German Shepherd Wolf hybrid has a life expectancy of 14 to 15 years. Due to being a crossbred dog, the hybrid is healthier than its purebred German Shepherd parents. This happens due to the broader gene pool of hybrid dogs. However, there are still a set of diseases the Wolfdog hybrid may be prone to. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, bloat, and ear infections. 

Myth vs. Fact 

Wolfdogs make better guard dogs.

It’s widely considered that Wolfdogs are great guard dogs. However, this is a misconception as the Wolf part of the hybrid is a shy animal and tends to get aggressive in stressful social situations. 

The hybrid German Wolf is highly trainable. 

Although the breed is quite clever, taking after both its parent animals, the dog can be challenging to train due to the wolf lineage. Wolves are wild animals shaped by evolution and environmental stresses; therefore, they are not keen on following commands. So, if your dog takes after the wolf lineage, they may be a handful to deal with. However, since German Shepherds were bred to follow commands, they may be eager to please if your hybrid favors this side of the parental mix. 

German Shepherds are part-wolf.

German Shepherds were initially known as Alsatian Wolf Dogs as they were bred in the Alsace region of France and resembled wolves greatly. However, no wolves were involved in the mix. The last wolf in the German Shepherd pedigree is known to be thousand years ago. 

How To Take Care of the German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed?

All large dogs are known to be notoriously tricky to handle, but a German Shepherd mixed with a wolf can surely take the cake for keeping the owners on tiptoes. From keeping the dog engaged in physical and mental activities to grooming, feeding, and training your mutt, there are a lot of things to consider when caring for a German Shepherd Wolf mix. Let’s go through some of the significant ones. 

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Training

A purebred German Shepherd is a brilliant and highly trainable dog, so if your hybrid favors their canine lineage, the dog is expected to be obedient and quick to follow commands. However, if your mutt takes after its wolf lineage, despite being intelligent, it’ll be stubborn and difficult to train. Regardless, since the dog size is large and both parents tend towards being aggressive, professional training is non-negotiable to make the living experience with this breed a joy. 

Additionally, as we mentioned above, wolves are shy creatures, making them aggressive in stressful situations. For this reason, your hybrid needs a lot of social exposure to grow into a well-balanced dog. 

Training and socialization should only take place using the positive reinforcement method. Any other plan, like dominance training, can only further the aggressive instincts of your Wolfdog. Due to the breed’s natural temperament, the dog is only recommended for seasoned owners who can train the dog well. Additionally, since wolves are pack animals, owners must establish leadership and firmness from the beginning, or the dog will boss you around. Consistent and assertive leadership is vital for a Wolfdog with a well-rounded temperament. A lack of mental stimulation in such dogs results in destructive behavior and chewing habits. 

Exercise

German Shepherds are active dogs, and wolves are known to travel 30 miles a day. Hence the hybrid is expected to be equally energetic or surpass its parents’ energy levels. Therefore, owners must ensure that their pets get a minimum of 1-2 hours of daily exercise. 

This failure of which may lead to destructive behaviors as these dogs are prone to chewing up shoes and furniture. More than that, your Wolfdog enjoys digging up holes and could potentially destroy your backyard if you are not engaged in healthy amounts of daily activity. 

Further, mental stimulation is equally important as this breed is quite clever, taking after both its parents: supply adequate puzzles and toys to keep your dog entertained. Spending time playing with your Wolfdog should also not be neglected. Owners can go on long walks and play fetch with their pets to meet their dog’s emotional and physical requirements.

Grooming

If you wish to own a German Shepherd Wolf mix, you must be comfortable with your dog leaving traces of its fur all over the house. These mutts are notoriously heavy shedders and consistently lose their coat fur throughout the year. But that’s not all! This breed blows its coat twice a year, which proves to be a difficult time for any owner. At this time, taking your Wolfdog to a professional groomer is your best bet in making the whole fiasco easier to deal with. 

And if you can’t tell by now, owning this breed requires dedicated efforts. The ideal grooming routine of a Wolf Shepherd features brushing daily to keep their fur mat tangle free. However, bathing can be done only when your dog looks visibly dirty. Brushing your dog’s teeth and clipping their nails is another frequent activity owners must take off. 

It’s best to get your dog used to this routine early on in their puppyhood, as a full-grown Wolf Shepherd’s tantrum could be challenging to deal with.

Feeding

The food requirements of your dog will largely depend on its size. Considering the dimensions of the parent animals, the hybrid is expected to have a healthy appetite. Feeding your mutt a diet high in protein is the priority, as these dogs need plenty of lean meat. Additionally, foods high in fiber and healthy fats are also a requirement for the breed to be healthy. Avoid any products that are not specially tailored for dogs to eat, as many human foods can cause severe health effects in dogs. 

Since the breed is prone to spinal and joint issues, keeping your dog’s weight under control is vital for overall health. Owners can restrict their dogs’ portions and provide enough exercise and activity. You should talk to a vet to better understand your breed’s health and dietary requirements. A veterinarian can guide you on your dog’s diet and draw up a diet chart tailored to your dog’s needs.

How Much Does It Cost To Own a German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed?

A German Shepherd Wolf hybrid can cost anywhere between $800 to $1000 in the United States (Indian price is not available due to the rarity of the breed). The cost can vary based on the location, age, and quality of the breeder you purchase from. Due to the unpredictable nature of the breed, we recommend prospective owners do a thorough background check before buying the dog from any place. 

Where Can You Get German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed?

The German Shepherd Wolf mix is not a mainstream crossbreed, and their history is very controversial too. Therefore, it could be a while before you finally locate a place that has a Wolfdog litter available. This is especially true in case of adoption. Although, it’s not entirely hopeless for prospective owners of the breed who wish to adopt the dog. You may find several reputable shelters that behaviorally train their dogs. This means getting your dog from such a shelter may be safe. However, even so, a shelter dog comes with its challenges, and given the breed’s nature, there are likely to be many. Therefore, parents need to analyze their limits before getting a Wolf Shepherd. 

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In contrast to adopting, buying is a lot more expensive, but in this case, it could be a tad bit safer as well. There are several options you can choose when purchasing your German Wolf. However, owners need to stay clear of the puppy mills and pet stores that operate illegally. . Buying from these places ensures that your dog has poor health and behavioral problems. Considering the natural temperament of this particular breed, buying from these mills shouldn’t be an option, as a damaged dog can turn rabid any day. 

The best way to ensure you get a healthy dog with a well-balanced temperament is by buying from a breeder whose reputation speaks for them. Buying from a reputable breeder may be the most expensive option. However, a reputable breeder checks all the boxes regarding dogs’ ethical and healthy breeding. 

Yearly Maintenance Cost of Owning a German Shepherd Wolf Mix

It’s difficult to estimate how much a Wolfdog hybrid would cost yearly. However, a good ballpark can be based on the maintenance costs of a German Shepherd. You can expect to spend $700- $1,000  annually on the maintenance of your German Wolf. This cost estimate factors in both the initial year and subsequent year costs. It also includes some essential accessories you need to purchase to make the house dog-friendly. These include dog bed, crate, leash and collar. Moreover, feeding, health, and toys cost are some recurring expenses you’ll incur as a dog parent. 

Are You the One for the German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed?

Owning a Wolf dog is a charming idea and an exciting feat in theory. However, as with all things, reality is layered with complexity. The biggest concern regarding owning the German Wolf or Wolf Shepherd is their unpredictable nature pertaining to their wolf lineage. Therefore, owners need to understand the efforts and commitment involved in owning this hybrid. Taking the help of the breeder is a great way to decide whether you’re cut out for living with this breed.

Additionally, the commitment and effort that goes into owning a Wolfdog need to be emphasized as most Wolfdogs end up in shelters due to misunderstandings on the part of their owners. As responsible dog lovers, we recommend prospective owners not be swayed by the allure of the breed and take all necessary steps in determining whether the breed is right for them. 

FAQs

Are German Shepherd Wolf Mix Kid and Pet Friendly?

The parent animals of the hybrid don’t fare well with kids due to their sizable intimidating frame and aggressive nature; therefore, these hybrids may not be the ideal choice for a household with kids. Moreover, due to the Wolf part of the breed, the combination is likely to have wild hunting instincts and would chase and prey upon anything that moves. Therefore, despite its pack-oriented nature, the dog can be a threat to other pets. 

Is The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Dangerous?

There’s a lot of controversy around wolf-dog hybrids being dangerous dogs; we can hardly disagree. The genetic stew of the German Shepherd Wolf mix is quite the cocktail, and the resultant breed is not for the faint of heart. Owning this breed requires a lot of courage, commitment and letting go. If you’re someone who wants their dogs to behave at all times, the German Wolf may not fare well in your house. Even so, dogs are known to be great pets for some owners. However, there have also been cases where the Wolfdogs turned on their owners and attacked them. Therefore, it’s best to consider everything before making the final decision. 

How Big Will My German Shepherd Wolf Mix?

A common question that arises when talking about hybrid dogs is just how big a puppy would grow to be. However, since genetics is a tricky business, it’s not always possible to have a straightforward answer to this question. From the perspective of the parental breeds, the hybrid is sure to be a large dog. The largest of the German Shepherd Wolf mix can weigh 180 pounds (80 kg) and stand 34 inches tall, corresponding to the largest, the Mackenzie Valley wolf. At the same time, the smallest of the hybrid can be as small as a regular German Shepherd dog. A good range, therefore, is between 50-180 pounds (22-80 kg) and 25-35 inches in height. Additionally, females of the breed tend to be smaller than their male counterparts. Neutering the dog doesn’t impact the size of the dog. 

What percentage of German Shepherds is a wolf? 

German Shepherds are a relatively recent breed and have no relation to an actual wolf as far as their history goes. Other breeds like Siberian Husky and Finnish Spitz are more closely related to wild wolves than a purebred German Shepherd.

Are Wolfdogs challenging to own? 

Without a doubt, Wolfdogs are quite the handful, even for an experienced owner. They’re not easygoing pets and tend towards being aggressive. These dogs are a serious commitment for any owner.

Are Wolfdogs hard to train?

Yes, Wolfdogs take the cake when it comes to being stubborn during training. Whether you wish to own one, professional training is an unskippable part of this hybrid.

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