The recent popularity of the wolf is a tremendous tribute to one of the most magnificent animals on earth. The wolf is one of Mother Nature's most intelligent creatures, and is one of the three most socially structured animals on earth. It has a very keen sense of all of its surroundings that exceeds the typical sense of sight, sound, and smell. It is a very shy animal. They will run from a threatening situation long before they will become defensive. There has never been a incident in the recorded history of North America where a healthy wolf in the wild has ever attacked a human being. Their regal appearance, their intelligence, and their social nature has caused many people to want to bring one into their home as a pet. Unfortunately, the very reasons that people want these animals are the same reasons why they do not make good pets. Wolves are wildlife, not pets!

Ironically, the popularity of the wolf (and the wolf-hybrid) is causing them and their owners a great deal of difficulty. As a general rule, the behavior of the wolf is significantly different from that of a dog. They require a very specialized home. Wolf puppies are very adorable, cute, playful, and loving. But they grow up to become very large, strong, determined animals: The type of interaction and behavioral development techniques that have proven effective on dogs, quite often do not work with wolves. People who have wolves in their lives need to be aware of the behavioral tendencies of these animals, and know how to effectively deal with them. They need to know about their instincts in order to provide them with a healthy and happy home:top of page

Since it is becoming more widely known that pure wolves are difficult to manage as pets, it is becoming very lucrative to breed and sell wolf-hybrids. These are the offspring resulting from the cross breeding of a wolf with any member of the Canid family. The most popular hybrid is the cross of a wolf with a domestic dog. The result is thought to be an excellent animal; a combination of the majestic nature of the wolf and the loyal responsiveness of a dog. In many cases these animals become very loving, devoted, and well behaved family members. Unfortunately, many of these animals become very unpredictable! In any given situation, it is difficult to determine whether the animal will behave as a wolf or behave as a dog. It is an absolute necessity to be able to reasonably predict what situations will trigger wolf behavior, and what situations will trigger domestic dog behavior: It takes a person who is well versed in wolf behavior to effectively interact with a wolf-hybrid and develop it into a well behaved family member. As this breeding proliferates, more and more of these wolf-hybrids are being bred with other wolf-hybrids. This is only camouflaging the problem. It is suppressing the wolf-like instincts to various levels within the animal's psychic, and therefore furthering their unpredictability. It is now much more difficult to determine how intense any given situation must be before a behavior change occurs. One thing that must be remembered is that wolves are very shy, but they are predators. Predatory behaviors may arise in situations that we as humans do not see as potentially predatory. Despite all this, there is still a vast number of people who are willing to devote the time and dedication needed to provide a wolf or a wolf-hybrid with a safe, secure, healthy, and happy home.

With this kind of confusion about these animals and their behavior, it is much better for those who are looking to bring one into their lives to look more at the arctic breeds of dogs; i.e. Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Norwegian elkhounds, etc. These breeds are far better suited for living happily in a domestic situation. Their behavior is much more predictable, and they are more inclined to be obedient and socially responsive, and many even have that wolf-like appearance that is considered so regal and majestic.top of page

With the vast amount of breeding of wolf-hybrids by people who have absolutely no knowledge of canine genetics, anatomy, or biology, there is a significant number of these animals that develop physical and psychological problems. These animals need to be dealt with professionally, and should not be in private homes until these problems are corrected. Quite often these animals need to be euthanized. But this prolific breeding also produces some quality animals that need loving homes. The UNITED STATES WOLF REFUGE is dedicated to bringing together those people who have the knowledge, dedication, and proper living facilities with those animals who are in need of them, and can pleasantly reside in them.

It is commonly considered that wolves, man, and lions are the three most socially structured animals on earth. For humans, it is essential that we belong to, and are loved and accepted by our family. The same is true for wolves. For wolves, it is the pack. For both man and wolves, being an accepted member of a social unit (family/pack), and knowing their place within that social unit, is the essence of their existence. Dogs will more readily accept their place within their social unit. Wolves, on the other hand, will have a greater tendency to challenge where they fit in their social unit. This will not necessarily be a physical challenge, but a challenge of wills. How head-strong and determined is the person or animal that is just above him in the hierarchy of its social unit?top of page

Wolf-hybrids also will challenge where they fit. It takes the proper knowledge and tremendous perseverance to effectively deal with these challenges. After almost 200 years of persecution by humans, wolves have developed an intense wariness and apprehensiveness toward humans. Because of this, each time a wolf or a wolf-hybrid is displaced from one family/pack to another, it becomes much more difficult for the new owners to establish the bond that is necessary for a close and devoted relationship. If you plan to share your life with a wolf or a wolf-hybrid, it is an absolute necessity that you insure that the animal feels loved, and that it belongs and is accepted by you and the rest of your family/pack. Once it feels this, its level of love and devotion will greatly exceed that of any other breed of dog.

Wolf-hybrids also will challenge where they fit. It takes the proper knowledge and tremendous perseverance to effectively deal with these challenges. After almost 200 years of persecution by humans, wolves have developed an intense wariness and apprehensiveness toward humans. Because of this, each time a wolf or a wolf-hybrid is displaced from one family/pack to another, it becomes much more difficult for the new owners to establish the bond that is necessary for a close and devoted relationship. If you plan to share your life with a wolf or a wolf-hybrid, it is an absolute necessity that you insure that the animal feels loved, and that it belongs and is accepted by you and the rest of your family/pack. Once it feels this, its level of love and devotion will greatly exceed that of any other breed of dog.top of page

Getting a wolf-hybrid to feel it is accepted is often quite a challenge. It takes a great deal of patience, understanding, and love. Reducing their level of anxiety will help tremendously with the bonding process. Like humans, wolf-hybrids are only anxious about things that they don't understand. These animals are very intelligent; and they need mental stimulation as much as they need water, food and love. Gradually introducing them to a variety of new and different positive experiences is quite effective in lowering their anxiety level. Allow it to go different places with you, see different things; smell different smells; meet and interact with other people and canines. A wolf-hybrid cannot be simply left in the back yard where it is fed and occasionally played with, and then be expected to feel that it is a member of that pack/family. Any canine that is left to be nothing more than a "back yard ornament" will invariably develop some socialization or behavioral problems. It must be involved in just about everything that goes on. If you are inside, let the animal be inside with you, if it wants. Some of these animals become anxious from the confinement of being inside. If you are outside, let the animal be there with you and share in the activities.top of page

As stated earlier, to displace a wolf from one living situation to another is often emotionally devastating. Once you bring a wolf into your home, be prepared for a life-long commitment. The amount of dedication, commitment, and love that is required of the new pack/family to gain a displaced animal's trust and acceptance is significantly greater. If those who are interested in having a wolf were made aware of the responsibility of a wolf ownership, and that it was a commitment that they must fulfill for the remainder of the animal's life, there would be a significant reduction in the number of displaced wolves.

Displaced wolves are becoming a much more frequent occurrence. The reasons people are giving them up, are all quite familiar. "When I got it, I didn't know what to do!" "The landlord won't let me keep it!" "My wife is afraid of it!" "The breeder said that it would be good around my kids!" "That animal can clear my fence so I have to keep it chained!"... ...and on and on! If a prospective wolf owner is aware of basic wolf behavior and what is needed to provide it with a safe and happy place to live, the acceptance and bonding process will be much faster and more effective. This will lead to harmony and a pleasurable relationship for both the animal and its new pack/family.

he six -ingredients of any happy, healthy relationship:

P U L C E D

  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Love
  • Consistent
  • Equitable
  • Discipline

If you find yourself in situation where you MUST find a new home for your wolf, the following is a tried and proven method that has resulted in many wolves finding new homes that have what is needed to provide for their health and happiness. Finding Your Wolf a New Home. top of page