I received a sewing machine as a Christmas gift and I finally found the time to get it out and learn how to use it. After figuring out how to thread the machine and what in the world a bobbin was, I started my first project. Project # 1: try to make a dog coat for my crazy husky. It has been over 10 years since I was in home economics so it took me some time to get everything in order. After making a mistake or two, I finally got it down and was sewing like a champ. I worked all night on the coat and I think it turned out pretty good for my first go around. The dog was not pleased about having to wear it but she wore until the next morning then I let her free. Next project is a 3 tier skirt, updates to come.
Living With Wolfs February 10, 2011
As far back as I can remember I have always had a passion for animals. Growing up in the country, we always had them around. From the day I was born, I have never been without a dog in my life. I was normally limited to how many by my father and they were never allowed in the house unless it was below zero outside. They were in turn, just a dog. So, naturally, when I got my own place I had to fill it with pets.
I worked as a Vet Tech for 5 years before I finished my BS degree. There I learned a lot about the common dog. The more popular the breed, the more problems they tend to have. The most common dog in America is the lab. I could write a book on the many health conditions they tend to get in their life time. I knew my next dog was not going to be in the top 10 list. Then I started to wonder, what would be the best breed for me to own? I noticed a trend in my research, the closer the dog was to the wolf the healthier they were. I came across a breed called wolf dogs or wolf hybrids. I never knew you could own a wolf and I thought just the idea was foolish. Here is some interesting reading material.
Generally speaking, the more wolf in the mix, the more “wolfy” the dog will be. This will also depend on the number of generations away from pure wolf. There are a few differences in a wolf vs. a dog. Google helped in this area:
- Pure wolves cycle once a year – pups are born late March through early May. Dogs are born year-round.
- Pure wolves and high contents are born black (or very dark gray). Even Arctics, who eventually turn white, are dark at birth. Dogs are born in a variety of colors.
- High content (adult) hybrids look very wolfy. Some physical characteristics of the wolf are: long, leggy body; thick, double-coat; extra-large paws; ruff of fur around the neck and shoulder area; elongated snout; long, curved canine teeth; slanted eyes ranging from brown to amber to yellow (never blue) in color; small, furry, rounded ears; straight tail (as opposed to the malamute/husky tail which curls up over the back); black nose. Note: None of these characteristics should be used in and of itself to determine wolf content, since a number of them may be common to wolves and some dogs.
- Early, consistent socialization of the hybrid is necessary at an early age, to adults, children, other animals, noises, situations, etc. If this is not done, the animal may grow into a skittish, unmanageable, fear-biting adult.
- Destruction – the wolf is a digger by nature, and the destruction in your home can be extreme, i.e. the living room couch, other furniture, even the walls themselves. Many high content hybrids can open just about anything (despite baby-proof locks) including the refrigerator, cabinets, and doors.
- The fact that wolves do not defecate in one area like domesticated dogs, combined with the natural inclination to mark their territory, makes housebreaking wolves and high content hybrids extremely difficult.
- High content hybrids are not good watchdogs, due to the wolf’s timid nature. Do not expect a high content hybrid to protect you or your property. High contents and pure wolves don’t bark much (usually one warning bark, as opposed to the dog’s repetitive bark), so they don’t make good “alarms”, either.
- Howling – wolves and hybrids howl, whether out of loneliness, at sirens, or for their own wolf reasons. Take into consideration what type of neighborhood you live in and what your neighbors will put up with. Not everyone appreciates the eerily beautiful howl of the wolf, especially at 4:00 am.
- Mouthing – mouthing and nipping are natural behaviors which must be modified at an early age. Teaching an adult 120 lb. hybrid not to bite is no fun, not to mention dangerous.
- As far as being good with kids, yes, they can be brought up and socialized with children. But be aware that the prey instinct may be triggered by the young/small child running, or falling down and crying. Many hybrids grow to be very large in size, and play roughly as well. * Regardless of breed or content, no large dog should EVER be left alone with a child.*
- Obedience – wolves are extremely intelligent. They do, however, have their own reasons for doing things.
Owning a wolf dog takes a lot of work and patients. They are not like wolfs we see on TV or in the movies. They are pretty much like your common dog but “cat like”. They are not evil creatures that if you met in the woods will eat you for dinner. However, they are not for everyone and the owner must have a lot of previous dog training, but they are wonderful to snuggle with on a cold night 🙂 If you are thinking about owning one check your state and your city laws before purchasing one. They are illegal in a lot of states.