Wolves and dogs are interfertile, meaning they can breed and produce viable offspring. Some argue that, using a classical interpretation of the word species, this means that wolves and dogs are in fact the same species.
Wolves and dogs are indeed closely related — dogs descended from wolves, after all — and they display a great number of physiological and behavioral similarities. Some dogs look a lot like their ancestors, the wolves; and some wolves can even resemble dogs. Wolf hybrids (or wolfdogs, or wolf x dog hybrids), the actual offspring of a wolf and a dog, can look and act like either parent. It is very hard to write about wolf hybrids, because there really are no absolutes.
As a leader in the study of wolf/human interaction and the socialization of captive wolves, Wolf Park has interacted with many humans and the wolves and wolf hybrids who have entered their lives. While Wolf Park does not rescue wolf hybrids, and generally discourages people from keeping them as pets, its behavior seminars can provide valuable information to new owners or to people interested in procuring one of these animals.
Click below to read Monty Sloan’s excellent wolf hybrid primer!
Adapted from a poster presentation given at Defenders of Wildlife’s Restoring the Wolf Conference, Seattle, WA, November 12-14 1998, and at the International Wolf Center‘s Wolves and Humans 2000: A Global Perspective for Managing Conflict, Duluth, MN, March 9-12th, 1995, by Monty Sloan.
Between Dog and Wolf: Understanding the Connection and the Confusion, written by former Wolf Park staff members Jessica Addams and Andrew Miller, is based on their experience at Wolf Park (and elsewhere) with all sorts of canids. The book is designed for anyone who wants to know more about hybrids: prospective or new owners, wolf or dog lovers, or veterinarians or rescue personnel who are trying to help a hybrid that has come under their care. The book contains a great deal of valuable information about wolves, dogs, and their hybrids as well as many of Monty Sloan’s fabulous photographs, in full color.
It’s available right now through Wolf Park’s online store!