Commonly misrepresented wolfdogs

A claimed/misrepresented 98% Arctic wolfdog (left) compared to an actual/verified 98% Arctic wolfdog 

Misrepresentation is a huge issue, ranging from backyard breeders selling yellow-eyed lab mix puppies as 70% wolf for $300 to a mix of malamute/shepherd/husky crosses being labeled as 98% MacKenzie Valley/Arctic/Buffalo/Mexican Grey/Tymberland (insert other random or fictional subspecies of wolf) and sold for upwards of 1,500 dollars!

While misrepresentation affects wolfdogs of all contents, the worst misrepresentation often involves high content wolfdogs.

More commonly misrepresented WolfdogsAnother claimed/misrepresented 98% MacKenzie Valley wolfdog (left) compared to an actual/verified 98% black phase wolfdog

The damage that misrepresentation does to regular “wolfy” looking dogs is horrible. Many highly adoptable dogs have been euthanized or deemed “hybrid rescue only” due to being mislabeled or misrepresented by their owner or by the shelter staff.

Many of the mislabeling issues stem from people not knowing what a wolf looks like. Above we posted about phenotyping—determining whether the physical traits of an animal stem from dog or wolf heritage. Here we summarize that information in the form of three Myths vs Facts about traits displayed in dogs that many people believe are wolf traits.

Wolfdog tails showing their proud distinguished marksPure dogs (left 4 photos) showing off their “black spot” vs wolfdog tail

MYTH: A black spot on the tail means it’s part wolf.

FACT: The black spot on the tail, also called the pre-caudal gland, is found in ALL dogs. Northern breeds, spitz breeds and many herding breeds have visible pre-caudal glands, as seen in the photo above: top left is a German shepherd/golden retriever mix, top center is a purebred German shepherd puppy, bottom left is a German shepherd/labrador mix, and bottom center is a purebred shiba inu.

But its eyes are yellow!

MYTH: Having yellow eyes means it’s part wolf.

FACT: There are many dog breeds that can have yellow or even green eyes. Dilutes (such as liver or blue) will have lighter-colored eyes.  However, even dark pigmented dogs, such as black German shepherds or black and white Alaskan malamutes, can have yellow eyes.

Regular dog howling

MYTH: He howls…he is definitely part wolf.

FACT: Howling is an instinctual behavior found in…guess what…ALL DOGS! Howling is a form of communication, and while domesticated dogs may not do it as often as wolves, there are many breeds, especially northern breeds, that will howl on a regular basis—especially if there is a siren or something else that stimulates them to do so.

Similar - but different!

While there are many more traits and reasons why people are misled into thinking their animal is part wolf, or more wolf than what is really present, ultimately it is going to be up to the individual to want to learn the difference and ultimately the truth.

Don't do it

In the end it is about the animals, and they are ultimately the ones that suffer due to our ignorance and pride. Wolfdogs are illegal in many states, cities and counties. There is no federally approved rabies vaccine for wolfdog crosses either. As a breeder, owner or shelter worker, claiming animals to be part wolf when they are not (or are not as much as is being claimed) is not only misleading to others, but also dangerous. It’s dangerous for real wolfdogs and dangerous for the dogs who get mislabeled.

Please do your research before adopting or purchasing any wolfdog of any content.

And please DO NOT mislabel/misrepresent your animals.