Should You Adopt a German Shepherd Wolf Mix? Read Before Buying

German Shepherd Wolf Mixes are popular wolf dogs. As the name indicates, a wolf dog is a hybrid resulting from the cross breeding of a domestic dog and a wolf. These breeds cannot be considered purebreds and are usually referred to as mutts. While wolf dogs can be trained to become beautiful, affectionate and loving companions, they are not the perfect choice of pet for average dog owners.

Keep in mind that such breeds are illegal to own in several areas, hence if you were to lose your dog and he ended up at a local shelter, chances are you might not get your furry friend back. Here’s everything you need to know about the breed if you are considering adoption:

German Shepherd Wolf Mix

Appearance

Wolf dogs have sensitive dispositions and remarkable hearing abilities. The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is usually tall and has a dense coat. The coat of the wolf hybrid can be found in a variety of colors, ranging from grizzled sable to white or black phased. The average wolf dog weighs from 60 to 120 pounds, depending on age, diet and genetics. This breed has beautiful sharp eyes that do not miss anything.

Breeding History

The German shepherd is a relatively new breed and only came to existence in 1899. A captain in Germany, named Captain Max von Stephanitz, can be credited for creating this dog breed. Stephanitz wished for a dog that would be unmatched as a herding dog and thus began experimenting with dog breeding.

Later one day in 1899, a wolf-like dog caught his attention and he immediately purchased the dog and worked out to learn more about the dog’s descendants. Later, the dog and his progeny were used to create the German shepherd breed. Years after, the German shepherd was later crossbred with wolves to create the German Shepherd Wolf mix.

Temperament

As with any breed, the temperament and disposition will vary according to the ancestry.  When adopting a German Shepherd Wolf Mix, it is imperative you learn more about the breeds that were used in the cross. Overall, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix can grow up to be friendly breeds that adapt well to playtime. With time, the dog is likely to become attached to the owner and with other pets residing in the same house. However, because of their strong prey drive, it is best you keep your dog away from small pets, such as rabbits, hamsters and cats.

Wolf hybrids can be quite jumpy and generally do not respond well to inanimate objects, loud noises, new people and fast motion. Though the breed is quite intelligent, training can be a difficult task and requires patience and persistence. Up until the dog is a puppy, he will not display any wolf-like characteristics but as the dog grows older, you might notice a change in behavior. As the dog approaches their post-adolescent stage, their hormonal system begins to experience changes with the onset of maturity, resulting in the display of more typical wolf breed behavior and temperament.

These large energetic dogs tend to get destructive. Leaving your dog unsupervised for several hours may cause him to get into mischief. In some cases, your dog may exhibit consistent wolf like characteristics. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do as the dog will remain destructive, aloof and fearful, no matter how much time you spend on training. Another major concern regarding wolf dogs is whether they can be trusted or not.

Living Conditions

Due to their wolf-life tendencies, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is not a great choice for families that have small children and pets, such as hamsters, rabbits and cats. Caring for a wolf dog can get expensive as you will need to ensure your backyard has a fence. A bored animal is likely to get destructive, hence the fences should be secure enough to prevent the dog from running away. Large dog breeds can easily clear a 6-foot fence without much effort so be prepared to spend time and money on building a proper containment while modifying the fence.

A large fenced enclosure (non-electric) is the ideal place for you to set your pet free to roam around and play. The enclosure must contain a double gate and must have enough vegetation to provide the animal with shade. However, there must be no trees and bushes as the dog can easily climb up and escape in no time. Wolf dogs are social animals and tend to get bored easily, hence consider adopting another canine companion to give your pet some company. It is recommended to put both the dogs on opposite sides of the fence until they become accustomed to each other.

Feeding

Do not feed your wolf dog traditional store-bought dog food that is rich in carbohydrates and artificial preservatives. Instead, they require a diet that is rich in protein. Wolf dogs are particularly fond of bisons and elks but since ingredients are difficult to find, you might as well make do with raw chicken, turkey and beef. You may feed your dog uncooked bones. Raw and whole bones are an excellent source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals that will keep your dog healthy. Keep in mind that your dog must have access to vegetation and fresh grass to aid digestion.

With Children

Many pet owners are afraid of adopting a wolf dog due to the number of child deaths caused by the breed. Under no circumstances should you leave your child unsupervised with a German Shepherd Wolf Mix. Younger children do not usually understand what it means to be gentle and may inflict pain on the animal without meaning to do so. This might cause the dog to revert back to his wolf-like tendencies to protect himself.

Exercise

As mentioned above, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is an energetic dog breed which is why they require 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day to stay mentally and physically fit. Depending on the age and genetics of your dog, devote an hour or two for long walks. It is also recommended that you allow your pet to roam around in fenced backyard where they are free to explore and play.

Training

Training a wolf dog takes consistency and patience. Take your dog out to outdoor areas where they can roam around while training. Before you begin the training process, it is imperative you become familiar with your dog’s psychology and have a good idea of what your dog generally likes and dislikes. Wolf breeds are not for the weak-minded as dog owners must have considerable knowledge in establishing the Alpha Position and maintaining it.

This is why this breed is not recommended for average pet owners. Although, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix can be successfully trained, it is important to consider that their wolf instincts might kick in at any time. Keep the training sessions short and if your dog appears tired, it is best you call it a day. Keep in mind that if at any given time the dog decides not to comply by your rules, he may attempt to reassert dominance. This is why the pet owner must be well versed in dog psychology so that the dog knows that you are the boss.

Also See: A Beginner’s Guide to Husky Golden Retriever Mix (with PICTURES)

Grooming

German Sheperds and wolves both are heavy shedders by nature. The German Sheppard Wolf Mix has a thick coat to keep them warm during the winters. The coat is likely to shed during the spring. Invest in a rake style brush to groom your pet a couple of times a week. Pay special care to the area closer to the eye or on the hair behind the ear as these areas are likely to become tangled.

Health Problems

In general, wolf dogs are exceptionally healthy animals and are not prone to common genetic health problem, like most dog breeds. However, without proper care, your German Shepherd Wolf Mix can be susceptible to common canine ailments, such as ticks, fleas and heartworms, including common canine diseases, such as rabies, parvovirus, etc. Ensure that your dog has been vaccinated against such ailments and be sure to take the dog to the local clinics before the adoption.

Conclusion

Caring for a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is certainly not an easy task but these lovable companions are certainly worth the trouble. Before adopting a new pet, think carefully about the commitment you are about to make. While these dogs are a lot of fun, they have special exercise needs and must be kept in a safe, fenced enclosure to prevent them from escaping and causing damage to others.

Do not adopt the breed if you have young children or have a busy job that requires you to stay away from home for extended time periods. Training the dog might not be an easy task, hence be consistent and patient. The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is only a good choice as a pet if you are up for the challenge.

6 COMMENTS

  1. One big caution I need to say with wolf dogs, is that even though you might have been properly vaccinating your wolf dog the rabies vaccine is not approved for wolfs or wolf dog hybrids. Because of this in some areas if you have a legal wolf dog and they bite someone the local laws might require the dog to be put down to test for rabies regardless of vaccination history.

    Also is some areas which have very stern laws on what dog breeds you can have, if you have a dog which displays wolf like qualities your dog can be ceased and not returned to you until a DNA test proves that there isn’t wolf genes in them. If they are they will not return your dog and euthanize them on this alone.

  2. Ok. So I disagree with a lot of this statement. We had a wolf/German Shepherd mix. Granted, we got him after he was a little older. He had been abused for walking a chain link fence and getting out frequently. But, we gave him lots of love and nurtured him. We walked him and it got to where we didn’t have to put a leash on him. We let him tomorrow in the woods where we lived and he still came home every day. When we would walk our neighborhood as teens, and someone came upon us, he would come up and let his presence known. He was super protective and loving. He is so missed.

  3. 50/50 Shepherd timber wolf was the most amazing dog I have ever had. Most well behaved, trainable, nondestructive and wonderful with even very young children. Did wonderful around small animals as well. Would get another in a heartbeat if I could find one. She was free. An accidental litter from a full timber wolf and retired police dog.

  4. I have a feral german shephard & looks like a wolf hybrid. I have been feeding her about 3 months now. Cannot get my hands on her. She had pups under my house 1 week ago.
    Will appreciate any advice to be able to make her part of the family & not traumatize her or the pups.

  5. Thank u for this write up. We came by a white shepherd wolf mix. He had not been treated well, as people think it cool to have a wolf dog and get in over their heads. I tell prospective owners raising shepherd adolescents is challenging enough, but the recent wolf contribution is like a shepherd who already has wolf in him by breed, on steroids.
    Your write up is on the general money, but as with any creature there are variances and unique characteristics to each one.

    Our boy remains fearful of strangers, but with appropriate introduction and application to enter the circle, a new Comer might be approved but on probation..must be respectful, no quick moves or stares. Our boy is not destructive. .used to go thru the closets and showers and bring out loot to his cache, but always gentle in handling things. He did chew on a few pieces of furniture initially, but ceased when told no and given a toy of his own. He is incredibly smart. Took a year for his unreserved trust..so he tries to please and wants to learn and be engaged..but reserves final decisions..left over from the life and death wild mandate.
    We got him at about a year of age. There was much to which he had not been exposed. He was clumsy and still squatted, tho he learned quickly from my two other white shepherds. He loves his family so much. I trust him and he I, and he loves the other people in the family, but they are provisional. He is my boy, and it never occurs to me to be scared of him…even when he jumps into a very threatening intimidating mode at someone. I grab his mussel and command him to sit until he calms. My husband is utterly blown away. Most would be very frightened of him when he leaps into his fierce mode. I tell them he is frightened of them and is defending himself. He utterly respects me and is highly protective..I understand him and his needs.

    He is beyond beautiful with an extra long body, slightly dropped hip structure, holds the base of his tail straight out most of the time, waves his tail very fluidly and gracefully..no wagging, dances/shuffles from side to side, back and forth..drops his head toying with his prey..(one of the other dogs) ..and, while he doesn’t ever seriously hurt his 2 adopted brothers, he plays ferociously..the growling in the household is constant and scary to the uninitiated.

    He has huge feet, extra long toes, very long legs and just flies thru the air..is the fastest, most agile canine I’ve ever seen..putting champion performers to shame.
    He kept the beautiful tall shepherd ears, has a desert thin coat, no under coat and piercing eyes. Is 82 lbs, lean and strong.

    Despite our efforts of desensitizing him to small dogs and children, he sees the dogs who would confront him as a snack and children scare him terribly, as he can sense their randomness. So, absolutely never leave a wolfdog or any work breed unattended around either.
    He is scary smart and sensitive as you noted. And in the end I do not trust him with anyone else alone. I can see how he could turn on them should they confuse or scare him. My adult daughter could not roam freely in her home with us visiting..until we found a way to establish her rank (the wolf respects rank and position, doesn’t see 2 legged vs 4 legged). A simple rolled up paper bag raised was all it took. Never had to actually swat. He took on an undesired fear of her and avoided her. So, I took the chance of leaving him alone with her for a morning..each staying in their respective rooms. After a few hours, and his confirming I was not returning, he sought her out for reassurance. This formed the bridge upon which their relationship is building.

    Work breed dogs, let alone wolfdogs, need careful, intelligent raising and guidance predicated upon knowledge, understanding, patience and love. Too many people get dogs they have no business having, mistreat them and then throw them away. Dogs deserve better people.
    Our boy took a lot of patience and consistency. He came to us as a rescue, had to be re-pottytrained (amid the challenge of 2 males to compete in marking). Rugs removed, gallons of Biz to break down urine, and tethering to my side with frequent potty breaks with copious praise did the trick. He used to come inside to fetch me insisting on showing me his duty to be praised.
    Finally got beyond that where it is habit and I can trust them all to respect the house..no matter how big it is. It began as a means to please me, not because they had an aversion to relieving ( themselves in a perfectly good unused guest bedroom, or sneak down to the basement. They all get the boundaries, including wolfboy.
    Life was so sedate before him..I give thanks again this thanksgiving for him finding us. He had been thrown away and white shepherd dog rescue found him and pulled him from kill bay.
    Please donate to rescue shelters and wolfdog sanctuaries.

  6. On the subject of owning a wolf mix and the legalities. Some States have very restrictive statutes and others leave it to local governance. If you come by a wolf mix, it is incumbent upon you to be highly knowledgeable and patient in terms of handling him/her – but this is true for any work breed. Getting thru typical shepherd adolescence is as challenging as raising human boys. Got to keep them busy, supervised and properly engaged with plenty of exercise and play time. Structured training activities applies to either species (human or shepherd, or wolf – which even the most over engineered domestic breed is still – 99% Canis lupus). Bored shepherds are really no different than bored wolfdogs..as the shepherd IS a wolfdog breed essentially..low content.

    But, I digress. There is no need to advertize if you come by one. Wolfdogs are not trophies. They should be respected and treated like any working breed, who is extra intelligent and could become lethal. Don’t need to be a wolfdog to be a lethal canine..as again Canines are descendent of wolves and harbor the DNA. On that note, a DNA test to determine a “wolfdog” is not at all reliable. Check out the CO State Board Task force in which highly reputed experts convened and concluded such.

    So a DNA test should be challenged rather than permit a dog to be euthanized on this basis. As for Rabies vaccine not being approved for wolves, of course such an application would not have been sought for FDA approval….not a big demand and theses applications cost plenty. But, the biology is the same. However, point is good on how animal control might deal with the canine should a bite be reported (there simply is no room for thinking in these ranks,,blind protocols). So, please keep your dog under control for everyone’s sake.

    Bottom line, be prepared to properly care for and contain your dog, wolf mix or not. No need to advertize a mix…just refer to the canine as a dog. Understand that a wolfdog requires respect…that he/she by nature has to “choose” to mind and will if they respect you. Some people confuse being the alpha as a “bullying” or domineering of the dog. Dominating is different. Wolves seek leadership. While it is not a democracy, you can assert yourself while commanding respect.

    Keep in mind that a wolfdog..and sometimes a similar highly independent work breed dog….can be stubborn and very focused or intent…his prey drive..and won’t always listen. Will have to find techniques to break their determined focus on something…a whistle, clap…when that doesn’t work and they aren’t near, a hose or paper swat on the butt. But, never take it personally or loose your cool. Too many don’t understand that this ‘focus-ignore-you’ quality is part of their more wild mandate to survive..catching prey.

    On feeding any dog..never offer cooked bones (become too brittle and can pierce the esophagus and stomach, before the hydrochloric acid softens them). Raw bone is best. As for raw meet, it can be cooked. As for USDA meet inspections, there are breakdowns and to reduce pathogens best cooked, though in the wild their systems are designed to serve it up raw. But, you don’t have to duplicate this. We don’t with dogs and your wolfdog is a dog in your world. Do make sure the food isn’t full of carbohydrates and preservatives. While it is more expensive, there are quality dog food preps that are grain free and natural. I do recommend adding real meat to the meal..nothing processed… Raw or cooked, your choice. I know my boys love it either way. Cooked is safer, though.

    Back to declaring your dog as part wolf or not. Some States consider that as long as there is some part domestic dog..then your canine is considered a dog and not a wild animal. It is best to follow this approach. Why set the dog up for trouble. But first and foremost, keep the dog (any dog species or mix) under control and never at large. Protect your beloved canine.

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