Friday, March 12, 2010

Wolf hybrids are not service dogs!

The wolf hybrid is an animal with a near cult following in exotic pets. Recently in my reports on Michael Robinson, I noted that he claimed to have one such animal as an epilepsy service dog. To me this is alarming, because if anyone is trying to “sell” the idea of a wolf hybrid as any kind of service animal, someone is going to get hurt.

First of all, on the light side, wolf hybrids are practically uninsurable and banned in several states and many communities or cities. They cannot be guaranteed protected by rabies vaccine either.

Next let’s see how they fare as a family pet, never mind a service animal. They bond to only one person and that person must be seen by it as an alpha personality. They may be docile around other very familiar adults but they don’t tolerate children well.

In 2002 I was working for Lincoln Animal Control and we were given a study that showed 87% of wolf hybrids to have attacked and seriously injured someone of their own family. This usually involved children. As of today the wolf hybrid is in the top five in the nation for fatalities to humans in attacks. They don’t make better guard dogs either, being shy by nature of humans. They aren’t as likely to attack an adult outright. Children are smaller and wind up triggering dominance and prey drives in the animal.

The very nature of the wolf is completely against training to assist the disabled. Wolves naturally cull out the weak or sick in their pack units. Can you imagine what could happen to your child in an epileptic fit in front of a wolf of any kind? Or for autism, a sensory overload? It’s immediate and natural urge will be to attack, not assist. But hey, don’t just take my word for it, try these places:

Quote from the last one, the Clifton survey:

“wolf hybrids are accordingly 60 times
more likely to kill or maim a child than a German shepherd--and that is
before even beginning to consider the critical behavioral distinctions.”

Anyone who is touting these animals as any kind of service or assistance animal for any form of health ailment or disability is only looking to make a quick buck. If you spend the hundreds of dollars on this animal with it’s own highly special needs, and expect to train it to serve a “non-alpha” in your home, you are asking for disaster.

I have to admit at this point, that I have found no website or source advertising wolf hybrids as trained service animals or to be trained as such. The fact that someone I believe to be a con artist, is touting this information still raises alarm bells with me. I’m worried that this person and possibly others are considering this as a way to sell their wolf animals to the unsuspecting. So, I leave you with this recap:

Wolf hybrids:
CANNOT BE CERTIFIED AS SERVICE ANIMALS (because of the insurance and…)

So don’t fall for it!



Anonymous said...

I have to say, Dave, that I have encountered several wolf-hybrids, all were well mannered and one allowed me to pet it.

That said, given the fairly unpredictable nature of these dogs, even in highly trained hands, and the number of people so hapless with animal behavior they can't keep their Chihuahua under control, its better to stay away from the breed for anything other than a companion animal for a single adult with no intention of marrying or having kids.

David Wilde said...

sekramage: That's a fair assessment from personal experience and I appreciate that. I would like to reiterate however, that these hybrids seldom attack adults (or close to adult since I don't think I know your age) because you are larger than them and they are naturally shy. And my main point is that they are not service animals and no where near appropriate for the job. Wolf hybrids have a high level of special needs and one should do their homework intensely before deciding to get one.

Amy Caraballo said...

How timely is this?
Wolf attacks are rare, but police confirmed Thursday night that a school teacher originally from Slippery Rock, Pa., was likely attacked and killed by wolves in Alaska.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Mr. Dave,
I respect that we can all have differing opinions. However, when it comes to wolf dogs, the statistics that you have quoted are not opinion. Where did you get your statistics concerning wolf dogs? I'm on a couple of yahoogroups with a combined membership of over 700 people. No one has been killed by the wolf dogs that they own, amongst the list members on those lists. None, to my knowledge, have sustained life threatening injuries. The fact is that wolf dogs are mixed breed dogs, that are a domestic variant of canis lupus. They are captive bred dogs, like other types of dogs. They are not the result of den-robbed wolves. In fact, most respected breeders have well-established breeding programs with standards of choosing for temperament and phenotype. There are any number of owners who have wolf dogs that are well-behaved, can live successfully, as a family members, like other northern breed type dogs, like malamutes, huskies, elkhounds, and samoyeds. There is one owner, I know, who takes his wolf dogs to a mall in an area where dogs are allowed to go to malls. His wolf dogs ride on escalators and elevators. I know of some wolf dogs who have been trained to work in the movie industry. Wolf dogs have varying wolf contents, from low to high. I would like to point you to a website
that could provide you with a good deal of accurate information on wolf dogs. Also, there is a great wolf dog organization in Florida, called The Florida Lupine Association that advocates for responsible ownership. Here is their website:
I hope you will visit these two websites to gain a better insight into responsible wolf dog ownership.
Thank you for your time and space to comment.
Susan Myers

David Wilde said...

Susan, forgive me for being very blunt. You are right, it's not opinion. Please refer to the four links in my post, they go directly to the source websites of the doctors and professionals who have had to look over the horror that can result from mixing a wild animal with a domestic animal. As a prior ACO, when I was just getting started I came in on the case of a wolfdog that was supposedly the nicest dog in creation, until he got loose and nearly removed a little girls face and punctured her throat. I can assure you I do not need a better education on the subject. Messing with Nature is a bad bad idea and the statistics I presented and the ones in those links are not from an isolated location or some group of biased owners on a website like you describe but the entire country and even parts of Canada.

As for the "level" of wolf in the dog you speak of, it's clinically impossible to be certain of that or depend on it for any form of liability or safety. I'm sorry, but that's all window dressing to support wolfdogs and proves exactly nothing. It doesn't make them coverable or acceptable on home owners insurance, or coverable by rabies vaccine (of which giving a wolf dog a rabies vaccine could lose a doc his license), and doesn't protect the kids who keep getting mauled by them.

That's the biggest point here along with the fact that these cannot be epilepsy service animals. Check out the reports for yourself, they aren't made up, the main victims from wolf dog attacks are children. The percentage of attacks resulting is death is high. Too high for the risk.

Now you tell me, why would any of these owners you rub elbows with ADMIT that their wolfdog mauled a child?? Won't happen. That makes them biased.

I don't care what an adult can make one do.... that's an adult and likely the ONLY adult that works with it. And if there's another, they are recognized as a lead pack member next to the alpha, period.

And to respond to the idea of advocating proper ownership, handling etc.... if you read all I had to say including comments, you would note I say "Wolf hybrids have a high level of special needs and one should do their homework intensely before deciding to get one".

So I have to say that the suggestion I become more "enlightened" on responsible wolfdog ownership comes across not only as ignorant but insulting. It tells me you just didn't read all I had to say. Heck, you wouldn't have that question about my statistics if you bothered to note the links I put in the article.

Let me tell you about a little trick I have yet to ever see a wolfdog from any of these groups ever pull... it's something I've seen rottis, shepherds, and even the occassional pitbull do.... I have yet to ever hear of a wolfhybrid 'dog' to be left ALONE with strange children without the owner or any adult, and have it tolerate being played with by those strange children. IT WON'T HAPPEN. It is possible for even a pitbull to be docile enough to tolerate all children that come near it. It may be rare, but is POSSIBLE. Suggest that to your wolf hybrid friends in your yahoo group. They'll likley tell you that they would NEVER DO THAT. That's because they know what will happen. That is, IF they are responsible owners in the first place.

Sandy said...

Is the risk of having to put your wolf hybrid down because it acted like a typical wolf, worth the novelty? If you love your wolf hybrid, put good boundaries down that insure your animal lives a long and contented life.

I have a terrier with which I have to be stern because she just snips, not bites, others that upset her. I put those rules down so she's not misunderstood later and I'm forced to have her put down.

Rather than, being black/white, good/bad, let's look at that perspective.

GrayFeather1 said...

I absolutely love my Wolfdogs and none of them have ever been the least bit 'viscious' towards any children of any age, they have been to parks and libraries, and the neighbor kids come over to play with them all the time. My female even saved a childs life one time at the lake when he nearly drowned. They have a very motherly instinct towards children, and I would never fear for a child's life with my wolfdogs, If fact I would say they are in better hands than if they were with most adults nowadays. It depends on how you train them and if they are around children and socialized well enough, ALL dogs can be dangerous around children, if they havent been raised properly. Any do can kill but it's not breed's fault or even the dog's fault, it is the owners for not properly socializing thier pet.

David Wilde said...

Animals have been known to save a human life on occassion that is true and you say your's did. Fine, that doesn't make them appropriate as a certified service animal. That's incredibly rare. And to suggest that children are in better "paws" with your hybrids than they would be with most adults is not only inappropriate but outright fantasy.

No matter how much any of you say your animal is wonderful and would never hurt a fly (which is completely irresponsible to do) it doesn't change or denounce any of hte bottom line facts that have been presented.

You cannot train instincts out of an animal. You have to be responsible and, like Sandy said, establish your boundaries. Yes, you can train it, but since you want those wolf characteristics so badly, you have to be ready for all aspects of their wild instincts. Any other approach is irresponsible and asking for tragedy for you, some kid, their family and the animal.

GrayFeather1 said...

That is your opinion, and you should be able to have it. Wolves and Wolfdogs, by nature, are timid of people, regardless of age or size. I would bet my life that over 90% of the attacks that have taken place, were because people were antagonizing them, and they were either on a chain or in a tiny back yard with nowhere to escape from. Wolves don't attack for fun, or just to attack something, that is a dog characteristic, wolves only kill when they are hungry, never for fun, that is something that people have bred into dogs. Like Terriers and hounds, for example, were bred specifically to hunt and/or kill anything from small rodents to wolves, depending on the specific breed. You can argue with others all day, but that is very immature, and makes you look very uneducated indeed. It is true that High Content Wolfdogs do have very special needs, but that does not mean that they are viscious, blood thirsty animals that are out to eat your kids. They aren't, and although they may not be the breed for everyone they don't deserve the bad rap that uneducated and irresponsible people have given them.

David Wilde said...

RESPONSIBILITY is not an OPINION it's FACT. Denying and refusing to realize responsibility is what's immature.

Yeah I already said they are timid by nature... go look, you're just repeating what I already said. You quote me and then call me uneducated, that's really funny.

90%? No, I've seen reports personally and there are plenty more to be seen on line. You're grabbing that number out of thin air. And you accuse ME of being uneducated.

I never said they attack for fun or that they'll kill everyone or that they're monsters. You're putting words in my mouth. Hmm, seems like another word you called me... IMMATURE.

You're right, I could argue with you all day but it's a total waste of time because there isn't a point I can make that will actually sink in or get through. Refer to my newest blog for why... or don't, that's fine too.

So call me immature and uneducated while making statements that don't have any root in reality, or while completely ignoring any FACTS that are presented. OR while totally misquoting me, putting words in my mouth, or saying things I actually already said while accusing me of not knowing them (with your behavior). Yeah, I could argue all day, but its a waste of time and I'm frankly better off not responding to you at all.

GrayFeather1 said...

I never accused you of anything nor did I call you immature or uneducated, take a look at my post, and you will see that none of it was directed at you in particular it was generalized, if you took it that way it's your assumption. I'm also confused why you are on the defensive, I never attacked you I just voiced my opinion and stated some facts, here are som facts for everyone interested in finding their own truth:

Wolfdogs are not always at fault for these bites and fatalities David Wilde mentioned. I can go on google right now and find 100's of 1000's of supposed 'Wolfdog' breeders that are selling Husky, GSD, Malamute, and Akita Mixes as wolfdogs, when in all reality they contain no wolf heritage in their lines at all.

I would also like to make available to anyone who reads this blog a few good links to take into account about dog bite statistics.

"Fact: The CDC has stopped reporting bite statistics by breed, as these numbers are driven by eyewitness reports, and are very often inaccurate. Why did the CDC stop? Because misidentification of breed is extremely common, making eyewitness reports an unreliable source."


Go ahead and read that article if you want the truth.

Or if you want to know the 6 most dangerous Breeds (this is the most accurate article I have found to date go here:

The CDC's list of the 10 most dangerous breeds is this:
Pit bulls
German Shepherds
Alaskan Malamutes
Doberman Pinschers
Chow Chows
Great Danes
St. Bernards

This is a great link as well:

Don't discredit any breed before you do your research, be informed. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

David Wilde said...

The top ten list you quote is from 2006 and has been updated.
The clifton report is from a study through 2008! It has also been updated though still used!
The list you posted was also found to be in error! Here is a link to CDC's comprehensive statistics that last time they did FULL statistics!

You exaggerate your statistics beyond reason! There are NOT multi HUNDRED THOUSANDS of hybrid breeders! PERIOD!!!


The "real owner" link contains cross site scripting and comes up red flagged on my system for adware, spyware and malware... copy and paste with caution. It also ONLY LISTS ONE SPECIFIC BREED and all the rest are generalizations by an unknown person with credentials unverified!

the cocker spaniel link.. cut and pasted comes up as "not found".

dogpolitics comes up at a document storage site and did not show the page rather some links for ads. It is actually!


Once again information provided does NOT disprove any of the facts I listed, does not disprove my links or references,does not disprove that hybrids are the only canine banned in EIGHT STATES!!

This is not a matter of being on the defensive. It's a matter of frustration in dealing with desperate enthusiasts who want to veil the facts. And so far, you are proving that completely!


Greyfeather, you are making a really poor example of wolf hybrid owners with the way you are acting.

Go spamathon on my blog anymore, post anymore questionable or possibly dangerous links and I will delete your comment, get worse and I will report you. Anything else from you will be considered harrassment.

Tina said...

Wolf hi-breeds have poor social skills, they are skittish and shy, and become very aggressive towards children or smaller animals.
I know this for a fact considering my neighbor down the road had one. She got out one day and attacked and killed two of my dogs. She was a wolf and she only did what a wolf does by instinct.
Mr. Robinson had stated to me and a few others that he was training his wolf puppies to be service dogs. I just thought he was a lunatic. He clearly did not do the research on them nor do I believe he ever really owned one. My neighbor's dog was unable to be trained. He was not house trained, nor was he ever able to be trained to obey commands. This dog went through several dog trainers prior to killing my pets.

David Wilde said...

Wow, Tina, thank you for posting and sharing your story.

doingmyresearch said...

Hi there, I was just wondering If a certification organization would even allow a wolf hybrid to be certified as a service dog?? I am a new dog trainer and have a customer wanting to get her wolf dog therapy certified. I have only found a few websites for therapy dog certification and all of them have told me they will not certify wolfdogs. A couple have acctually said "we only certify dogs".

I was also wondering, Thewildman2, if you know of a website that lists all of the states or cities that do not allow wolfdogs??

David Wilde said...

check out and currently the wolfhybrid is banned in 8 states. One of them has a grandfather clause and the other requires major permit and solid reasons to own that have to be more than just as a pet. I also contacted the AKC about wolfdogs getting their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certification/awards which is through a training program. According to their spokesperson, no one has come through claiming to have a wolf dog. So if they are going through the owners are "claiming" them as some other mix breed, then claiming as a wolf elsewhere. I haven't found anyone who trains or certifies who will accept the wolfdog. In my newer postings on the subject you can find a link to my hybrid pet article with Examiner that goes into some more detail as well. Try contacting insurance companies that cover service animals and see what they have to say. As for your friend, if she trains her pet to do these things and something goes wrong, it will be on her and the whole breed. If having this as a pet is doing good for her, maybe she should just enjoy her pet instead of putting it in a position it doesn't belong in (risking yet another black mark for the whole breed).

David Wilde said...

OH, and as for which Cities? That's a convuluted mess. The best thing to do (if allowed in your state) is to call your city law enforcement/animal control before getting such a pet and finding out directly. I haven't been able to find any site that lists all cities and the research would be a nightmare. I found several capitol cities that don't allow them, but for every city? That's a LOT of cities to check!

Nash Quandry said...

Not picking sides one way or the other, but I have two wolfdogs that are almost 2 1/2 years old. They are great pets. Very friendly with everything but cats.

Unknown said...

We'd love your opinion on this news article where a man is claiming his wolf is his service dog. Several service dog owners have commented on how this is illegal and how this animal is illegal to own in California. Neither the owner of the supposed nor any people making dumb comments seem to be able to see reason.

Unknown said...

(Okay, first of all, you are one of the most misinformed jackenapes I have had the displeasure to come across. Yes, wolf dogs are illegal in some backwards states only because they cannot receive the rabies vaccine. This is rubbish, wolves and dogs share 99.8% of their total DNA. These are not pure wolves, if they were, we would call them wolves not wolf dogs. For your information, more than half of the US wolf dog population is roughly 10-40% wolf, owners sometimes say they are higher but that is the breeder feeding them a line of BS to make them spend more money.
You went on to say that wolf dogs cull their weak, what evidence do you have? What I know from working with breeders of these animals is that they are quite excellent and nurturing parents to their young, not killers. It is more likely that the weak wolves died off on their own and you are simply labeling the wolves for something they are not.

Next where did you get this information?

“wolf hybrids are accordingly 60 times
more likely to kill or maim a child than a German shepherd--and that is
before even beginning to consider the critical behavioral distinctions.”

According to my information, they are in fact roughly the same as a GSD due to the fact that many GSD work-line dogs are infact wolf dogs to help stave off hip displasia and the other genetic diseases. You also fail to mention the overwhelming statistics of pit bulls/pit bull terriers. Their bite records are exponentially higher. GSD's and wolf dogs average about a hundred or less bite reports total. Pits, try in the low thousands. As for fatal attacks I will let the stats speak for themselves, By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, a report by Animal People shows that pit bulls (275) and rottweilers (85) and their mixes contributed to 67% of the total recorded fatal attacks (539). According to the same report by Animal People, wolf hybrids accounted for 19 deaths between 1982 and 2013. And those 19 were from people approaching the dogs with improper body language while the dogs were chained. ( 2013). Once again that report is based upon only fatal attacks. As such your entire augment on this point is A non-unique to wolf dogs, B false, and C unfounded.

Lastly you claim that the dogs cannot be service dogs for a number of reasons. First of all, if they are legal in your given state then they are legal and that is simply the last word on that. Next, if they are legal in your state, they can receive Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certification and cannot be turned down any insurance or legal claims due to discrimination of said dog wolf dog what have you. That overrides almost all of your other arguments, save one. The stereotype that they are not good family pets, that is the only thing that you have stated that has any real fact to it. This higher the percentage of wolf the more aloof, fine you get that point, or do you? As I stated before most of the wolf dogs in the US are much lower content than advertized, so most are just as nice and loving as just about any other dog with a large build and a high prey drive. In other words a GSD or malinois. Are you trying to tell me that all schutzhund and police dogs are vicious at home? Since you will say yes just to say yes then I will tell you, they are some of the most loving dogs out there.

Owner of a low content GSD/Eastern European/Mexican Grey wolf mix (what a combo right)
Volunteer at local wolf rescue and friend of breeder.

David Wilde said...

Nathan, you lost me at "jackanape". I have no respect for anything you say after that. Good bye.

Karen T said...
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Karen T said...
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Karen T said...
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Karen T said...
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Karen T said...

This is the link..hopen it is accessible

Unknown said...

I feel unless you have owned one or spent time around a WOLF DOG because they are not hybrids. The definition of a hybrid is as follows the offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties, such as a mule (a hybrid of a donkey and a horse). You are too opinionated on this subject to even have spent time around a wolf dog. I have owned several in my lifetime and yes there can be different content and you arguing that fact proves that you do not have all of your research done before you speak.

It is sad that you have to be so jaded about things.

David Wilde said...

This post is over 5 years old. I'm hardly jaded and not going to bother getting into it with you or anyone else who can't read the post and comprehend all of what it's saying. If you can't actually counter the points given without a personal tirade of how wonderful your own animals are, then do us both the courtesy of not bothering to post a response.

Unknown said...

I love reading the different prospectives from everyone... and found some of the contents very interesting. I however disagree with some, which, in my defense isn't facts or substantial evidence, just my opinion. I own a wolf hybrid, and my mother owns one as well from a completely different litter and different mommas.. and I'll tell you those 2 dogs are completely different.. my mom's dog is great around children and other people, she's very laid back, and calm.. mine, however, is very social, loud, stubborn and has extremely high energy... not so good around children or strangers. Neither has ever shown signs of aggression whatsoever... my opinion is it is certainly how their trained and home life.. because if I was to throw either of these dogs in the wild, I could probably guarantee my next meal, they wouldn't make it 24 hours, instincts or not, they come from a long line of domesticated wolf/dogs... I read a report a few years back stating the most dangerous dog is pure breeds... but in any environment, I believe any dog can be vicious.. 3 years ago my friends little girl and I was walking when attacked by 2 pure bred German Sheppard... and reflecting the account, I remember one detail that always stands out, right before the attack I noticed the 2 males circle us, "like a pack of wolves" so reality who really knows,, I guess my question is, what breed was the first ever known dog of any kind?? If it's wolves, then shoot, every dog in the whole wide world is gonna have those "instincts"

David Wilde said...

Jenny, there is a reason that personal experience of the kind you mentioned is considered anecdotal. While your own experience may not fit with the broad statistics, and I pray they never will, those statistics are hard to deny. The bottom line that people keep missing with this is that they are still not fit to be "service dogs".

As for owning of wolves. Those who do, take their chances. In the files I handled and via the statistics, the majority of wolf owning goes wrong in the end. Too many get a wolf because they think it's a status symbol and have no true understanding of the animal. They think they are making some kind of statement for ownership of the breed, but what they are really doing is setting everyone up for heartache. Every time someone loses control of their hybrid and a tragedy happens, it's big black mark on every owner out there, worse than with pit bulls.

Ultimately, it's the animals who pay the greatest price every time.

Chris said...

“David Wilde” your an idiot idk why you prceive the wolf dogs as such a threat or danger to people but they are not. I don’t see much mention of personal experience which doesn’t surprise me consider the incorrect facts your quoting. If you had personal experience with wolf dogs you would realize how truly wrong your points are. Are they dangerous? Yes they are as dangerous as any other large semi aggressive dog breed is considering every dog to this day came FROM A WOLF. Als

Chris said...

Anyone considering adopting a wolf dog please do not take this mans word as anything but jaded perspective and nothing more than screwed personal opinion. Most of these opinions are not true and the facts are simply wrong. Regarding them being service animals I will admit to not knowing the full scope of wolf hybrids being service animals or not I know that based on ownership and personal experience I wouldn’t suggest having one as a service animal just based on their temperament I would suggest a gsd or other common service dog breed. Can they be trained to be service dogs? YES they can just because they have a higher percentage of wolf in them that does not make them untrainable nor does it make them incapable of being service animals. It is not recommended because although it is not impossible to have them as service dogs it will be much more difficult training them and socializing them to be one. It would be easier and reliable to have a more domestic dog breed. In conclusion can they be service dogs yes they can anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Should they be service dogs? Probably not, unless you have ample experience with both service animals and wolf hybrid demeanor and training and understand the intensity of the timeline you will face in training a wolf hybrid to be a service dog

David Wilde said...

Chris... this is a ten year old post that is only getting new views because you posted on it. That's aside from your misuse of "your" it's "you're". So when you decide to call someone an idiot, try having some actual intelligence yourself.

Your entire repartee drips with knee jerk reaction and blatant ignorance with blind worship for your wolf dog cult. Look at you begging people not to listen to me while making an unsupported claim that my post is unfactual. How interesting that you and others like you consistently fail to post any actual counter information supported by professionals or scholars of any form.

All any of you do is accuse my information of being wrong while I provided links and supporting information you likely refused to consider. You all act like having a wolf dog is a sacred right of passage in some twisted church while equally acting as if everyone should have one. So enjoy your indignity.