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by RDH on 09 December 2008 - 19:12

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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 03:13 am

What are your views on german shepherd/ wolf hybrids? How are their temperment? Any health problems? Do you agree or disagree about breeding the two? and why?

I'm just carious about the topic and tried to research it for more information. I happen to run into one at Petsmart and wanted to know peoples opinion about the mix.

by justcurious on 09 December 2008 - 19:12

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don't know about hybrids but you might be interested in the breed: american tundra shepherd - ats. they bred tundra wolf with american gsds back in the 60 - it was a military run program - so the breed is a dozen generations or so from the wolf input so are no longer hybrids but an actual breed - i believe the breed is 1/4 wolf.  the little i know is: pretty good overall health with solid hips etc.  temps are more varied i think, you can get some sharp shy temps but they can also be very solid when carefuly breed.  i know some have been amazing sar dogs but i don't think they have been too successful at police work though great guard dogs; i'm not sure i haven't kept up on the breed.  there was a really knowledgeable breeder we met a number of years ago but i not sure he's still breeding but his name is R. W. Jacobsen - jake - and his kennel name was von Valhalla the only pict i have is of a female named  Frija von Valhalla wish i had a pict of his male dracul who i believe was frija's sire.  i think these dogs are bred primarily around ks & mo. they can be great but not for the faint of heart imo

by OGBS on 09 December 2008 - 19:12

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It is a stupid idea!!!

If the person actually had a dog/wolf in Petsmart they are stupid also. Only a fool that does not truly understand what they have would take one of these hybrids in to a place with as much commotion as a pet store or any other store, especially during the holidays. 

The real issue here with the wolf/dog hybrids is that you have taken a wild animal with its fear of man (this is a part of how it survives) and you cross it with a dog that through evolution has no fear of man. You have created a wolf that does not fear man. This is very dangerous, especially for small children that the hybrid may view as prey. To answer those who might ask the question about all wolves potentially viewing children as prey I agree with you, except that we have not invited all wolves to live amongst us. Wolves stay away for a reason. 

The wolf/dog hybrid is an animal that has a brain that has travelled two very seperate paths and is now trying function as one. It makes for a very un-stable animal.

by OGBS on 09 December 2008 - 20:12

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I always find it interesting that when someone breeds hybrids that they came from a military program. This is complete bullshit!

The only government run program was in Communist Czechoslovakia. They bred GSD's and a few other breeds of dogs with Carpathian Wolves. They stopped the program because it was a miserable failure.

by RDH on 09 December 2008 - 20:12

Posts: 169
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The pic looks like a long hair sable gsd :)


The dog I seen at petsmart looked like a overgrown bicolor gsd. (looked to be 100+ lbs) I spoke to the owner and pet the dog not realizing what type of dog it was. I just said nice looking shepherd. He said oh its a german shepherd/ wolf. I was shocked because it looks like a large bicolor gsd. The dog seemed anxious though (his eyes were a bit red) and kept pacing. I don't know much about this hybrid but it was interesting to see one in person.

by Two Moons on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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I kept a wolf hybrid for several years, she had to be put down after loosing her sight.  She was a wonderful creature in that she bonded so closely to me sometimes she would hold on to me and not want to let me leave her.  Sometimes it broke my heart that she couldn't be a real wolf in the wild with a pack, running free.   Almost pure she was not an animal to take lightly, the wild instincts always showed thru.  Extremely intelligent.  The breeder did a poor job of breeding, too much inbreeding, thats what caused the eye sight problem.    I did breed her to a German Shepherd I had at the time, he was also amazing, someone shot him at 14, he was still running the country side.  

Anyway, the pups they produced looked mixed, not a dog and not a wolf, and got into very much trouble.   One was even dumped off in my part of the county and had people hunting for him.    I would never repeat the experience.

A low percentage cross is a dog with an unpredicable temperment, the higher percentage wolf hybrid is a wolf, not a pet period.   Anything that doesn't bump back is potentially food and that includes domestic animals and small children.

I would not recommend owning a hybrid wolf, there are breeds that look like wolves without the wolf blood.

I would own another wolf but only as a wolf, raising wild animals is a whole different experience.  If you don't have the facilities and the know how I wouldn't recommend this either.

Stay away from people like petsmart..  

Check into some of the exsisting breeds that mimic a wolf instead.


by justcurious on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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by Sunsilver on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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You tell 'em, Two Moons!

I have no experience with hybrids, but what I've heard is exactly what others have said above.

The brother of a friend used to do SAR in Italy with a purebred Italian wolf. He was the only one who could handle the animal, it was definitely a one-man wolf. He was walking it in the park one day when an off-leash dog came running over to say 'hello' Following his instincts, he hid in some bushes. The dog followed it. He warned it to stay away, by growling and rasing his hackles. When the dog insisted on coming closer, he ripped its throat out.

That's the instincts you are dealing with when you cross a wolf with a dog!

by OGBS on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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Sorry justcurious, but, I do not see one iota of eveidence about our military starting this project or why they would turn it over to him. What I do see is a person that wants to breed hybrid wolf/dogs and wants fools to help him pay for it through "contributions"???

Where is the proof that his "creations" are being used in the military, SAR, law enforcement, etc??? Not even one story about a satisfied customer?

His web site is a joke and so is he!

by Evadic22 on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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Breeding dogs with wolves is a very ignorant thing to do IMO

by Two Moons on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

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I really was touched by her, she just had a way of connecting with me one on one.   I watched her design a trap once to catch turkey poults that would steal her food out of the bowl.   She moved the bowl with her nose to the corner of her dog house and would lay in wait on the other side until she heard them pecking in the bowl.   She caught several that year.   My turkeys ran free at the time.   She did howl.... that lonesome wolf howl, made the hair raise on ya to hear it. 

You could take her for a walk but it was really her taking me.   She was close to 200 pounds when I was forced to put her down.

I have a picture somewhere but its a print and I'd have to get it scanned to post it.

I'll see what I can do about that sometime.

Wild things should remain wild, something I've learned since.   Thats where they truely belong.

Oh well, too many old memories.

by justcurious on 09 December 2008 - 21:12

Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 05:32 am

the program did take placem, not sure for how long the military kept with it but it was abandoned as were many of the dogs which was very sad. what they wanted to achieve was to enhance the workability and loyalty of the gsd with the more primal sensing & alerting as well as stealthiness of the wolf. Mr. Frank Catinia, who just died a few days ago, served in the k-9 corp during vietnam and when the military ended the program he continued developing the breed.  i think he was the one to named the breed american tundra shepherd or ats; and he is recognized as the breed's founder.  i'm not military historian so can't say who actively pursued dog breeding or crossing dogs with wolves i would guess a lot was not discussed publicly.  but the us mil. agenda, as i understand it, makes sense to me so i believe the people who told me the us military was trying to breed a military dog by crossing gsd & wolf. the link will tell you more and there are some pict on the site as well.

regarding hybrids & wolf mixes: my limited experience is a wolf mix or breeds with recent wolf bred into their lines will generally create a dog that is very sensitive to it's owner.  they need to be homes very early and i don't believe they transfer owner very well so getting a 6 week old pup is a big plus.  they bond very very strongly with the owner(s) and will act instinctively on that person's thoughts & emotions. so if you are emotional or prone to reacting strongly to people and or situation i would not recommend a wolf mix because they will pick up on your unconscious/unspoken thoughts and feelings and may act in what they perceive as being protective while we see it as an unprovoked attack. so unless you can really read a dog/wolf body and facial communications you could very quickly find yourself way over your head.  they can be truly amazing once-in-a-life-time dogs but they are not easy to live with because of this sensitivity so unless you have 'mad skills" and a large tract of land i would stick with a straight up gsd - i have yet to see a better sight than a well-trained, well-loved gsd. -jmo

by Shelley Strohl on 09 December 2008 - 22:12

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Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2004 07:18 pm

We spend 100 years breeding the wolf out of them, and somebody wants to do WHAT???


by AKVeronica60 on 09 December 2008 - 22:12

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I had a friend who had a wolf hybrid...the most beautifully put together dog I've ever seen.  Angulation, movement that our GSDs should have, conformation..just nearly perfect.  She had an odd temperament...mostly compliant and relunctantly social to visitors, acted kind of shy when you came to the fence if you were there by invitation, but once came right at a guy in serious confrontation--- he tried to walk into the yard and he wasn't supposed to be there.  Contradictory behavior.  I rather liked her, I visited with her when I visited my friend.  Veronica

by RDH on 09 December 2008 - 23:12

Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 03:13 am

very interesting comments...very appreciated. I was looking at a site a few hours ago and a guy in texas breeds them with a certain percentage of wolf in them. The more wolf the more money. There was another site I found where this other guy has wolves he owns and sells hybrid pups.  I know they are banned in certain states (mine). I wanted to hear from people with experience or have strong opinions on them. Judging by the comments they are bad news..huh?

by muttlover25 on 10 December 2008 - 00:12

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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2005 02:05 am

Most states have laws about wolves and wolf hybrids that would be something to consider. Also liability wise you have to check and see the amount of coverage you would need most times its a1million dollar policy sometimes more. I know alot of idiots in our area have malamute mixes or even husky mixes that they will say are mixed. I went up to a shelter in our area to pull a GSD they a beautiful sweet tempered Malamute I asked about him and they said since the "owner" said it was mixed with wolf they had to euthanise him!  He was clearly a malamute but again since this idiot stated wolf he was euthanised.  Look at the amount of wolf hybrids needing rescues definately NOT something I would get into.


by jc.carroll on 10 December 2008 - 02:12

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I've met a few wolf-dogs, but never owned one. They seem to epitomize the term "companion" but ones I met were by no means pets. Their minds are on a different level than a dog's. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just different; and not for the average owner.

Insofar as the tundra shepherd...

"This "experiment" the "Superdog" project entailed crossing the Alaskan Tundra Wolf (Canis Lupus Tundrarum) and the German Shepherd Dog to try and produce a superior line of shepherd like dogs." [source

False. The military did have their Bio-Sensor program, affectionately known as the SuperDog program when it became declassified, but that focused on stimulating puppies psychologically from the first day of their birth. It did not include outcrossing with wolves. I know of no verified military program that seriously used wolves as part of the process. The Bio-Sensor program was a success in that it produced superiorly adapted dogs with keen-ness of mind, stable nerves, and a clear head.

In oter aspects, the program was a failure. With the end of the active wars funding for the program fizzled and a lot of these dogs were left to linger in their kennels, never having a chance to be worked. One person described them thusly: "they looked like GSDs, but they had a far-away look in their eyes." They never got kennel crazy, they just got very, very distant.

by RDH on 10 December 2008 - 02:12

Posts: 169
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wow interesting facts. I agree its bogus to but an animal down for peoples ignorance.

by mobjack on 10 December 2008 - 02:12

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Me personally, I'm against the hybrids.

Don't want one, would never advocate anyone having one or breeding them. I do know two people that have them.

One couple I know has 5 of them in their sanctuary (all rescues) and works very hard with other wolf/hybrid sanctuaries and rescues educating the public AGAINST hybrid breeding and ownership. Some of theirs are are low content, some high. None of them are "pets" in the least. All except one is very shy and skittish natured.

The other couple I know of has a stunning high content (78%) wolf/malamute/GSD cross. Looks exactly like a wolf. Same coloring, slender build, almond eyes. They do take her to Petsmart type stores often and have since she was a pup. She's very well socialized, very calm and friendly and obedience trained. Temperament reminds me of an old been there, done that Golden Retriever. They've had hybrids for over 30 years and obviously know what they're doing and looking for in raising and keeping one. They've readily admitted that socializing and training them is a lifetime project and she is the exception not the rule. But they have never, to my knowledge, ever recommended anyone else getting one. In fact, I've always heard them discouraging people from doing so.

by jc.carroll on 10 December 2008 - 03:12

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A bit more on the Tundra history:

Mr. Frank Catania was reported to be working on a wolfdog program for the government. I don't know if he was actually a service member or not. Internet say "yes" but other sources make no mention of direct service; so I can neither confirm nor deny that. He may have been working on the side under contract; as is a common practice with the military's experimental projects. As to his service history, it is tragically easy to exagerate one's military career. There are a depressingly high number of fake vets out there, and last year the FBI had no less than 25 investigations into fake Medal of Honor recipients!

*sorry 'bout the hijack*

What I can confirm: Mr. Catania's project was on a five-year contract, and during the time of breeding male wolves to female GSDs no dog came about that was suitable for military purposes. The project was not Bio-Sensor, and was considered a failure. The wolfdogs were not "doggy" enough to be K9 partners, too nervy, and too prone to flee rather than fight.

An old thread on PDB (this site) about the Wolf Dogs [link]

A thread on about Tundra Shepherds [link]


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