Today's interview is really speacial. InaWolfsimage
works with an amazing breed called Wolgdogs. InaWolfsimage
took the time to talk with us here at PetPicks to bring awareness to this breed and help us all learn a little bit more about there dogs and why it's important to spread the word about them.
We also got the chance to sit down with a follow Wolfdog ambassador Shortwinger
. Head over to our Affiliate group, AnimalsofTheWorld
for her interview and learn even more about these amazing animals. fav.me/d7eln62WindInTheCoffeeCup
Your Wolfdogs are so beautiful. What exactly are Wolfdogs? Are they a breed of domestic dog or are they pet wolves?InaWolfsimage
Great question! Wolfdogs mixes or ‘hybrids’ are an animal that have wolf genes more closely introduced in the animal’s backgrounds. Wolfdogs can vary in content depending on how much was introduced into the breeding line and the type of breeding that was selected in order to preserve the animal’s content, temperament and selective characteristics. Most often these animals are bred wolfdog to wolfdog – not from a pure wolf and dog pairing. They are a domesticated breed of dog that are twenty generations or more from the original pure wolf gene that was initially introduced.
Highly intelligent and social creatures who crave companionship, wolf dogs require the unique individual who is willing to devote time in untold expenses for the sake of the animals well being. Sacrificing vacations and occasional outings is normal--wolfdogs require extensive care and needs the proper training. Not to mention that wolfdogs are hyper sensitive in regards to how they perceive and react to things. To have a well behaved wolfdog as a companion animal requires starting with training and socializing the moment a puppy is acquired. Socialization needs to be done everyday or else setbacks can occur which could prevent a puppy from thriving. This means exposing a puppy to everything imaginary in and beyond the home
There are more High Content wolfdogs in Zoos than actual wolves.
Wolfdogs are used in Film and Photography depicted as wolves.WindInTheCoffeeCup
How did you first get involved with Colorado Wolfdog Community Connection? Can you tell us a little about CWCC?InaWolfsimage
When I obtained Hotah, I started looking around for Ambassador programs at local Sanctuaries. Little did I know that I would meet a complete dead end at all of the facilities because there is no education here. Many of the Sanctuaries here in Colorado are Anti-Wolfdog and would rather put down a wolfdog than take time to rehabilitate. Well, since they do not want to play an active role in actually helping the Wolfdogs here, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Colorado Wolfdog Community Connection( or C.W.C.C.) is a commitment to an idea – the idea is to change the way Colorado handles their wolfdogs. Instead of Sanctuaries murdering them without public notice just because they have escaped the containment too many times or other petty things…I believe those animals have the right to be rehabilitated and found a new home with an experienced owner and safe environment! Not killed because of their tyrant-like ideals.
Soon C.W.C.C. will be going out to California to be involved with an upcoming wolfdog Education, Rehabilitation and Rescue center called Project Wildsong! Tala, Hotah and I will be taking our Ambassador training to the next level that will in the future help the un-noticed and overlooked wolfdog problem that’s kept hidden here in Colorado.
Tala, Hotah and I will be doing educational seminars in various areas in the southern region of California…if you’re interested in meeting wolfdogs, keep a look out for Project Wildsong, Wolf Totem Ambassadors and C.W.C.C.!!WindInTheCoffeeCup
Is there something about Wolfdogs that make them different from other dogs?InaWolfsimage
There are numerous differences between care for a dog and care for a wolfdog. One of the biggest issues when people acquire a pup is that they have failed to do the proper amount of research! Researching being done not only with Google, but getting involved with others who have wolfdogs and/or Sanctuaries and get hands on experience with this breed! THIS BREED IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! I understand that a lot of people really do love wolves and wish to have personal interaction with something that resembles a wolf but this breed requires A LOT of time, understanding and are very high maintenance! The commitment is very high and they typically have long lifespans…so this could be 17+ years of your life completely dedicated to this animal. If you really do have love for wolves, purchase a cute stuffed animal or make a donation to your local wolf sanctuaries – that are sadly overflowing with wolfdogs, not wolves.WindInTheCoffeeCup
How many Wolfdogs do you have?InaWolfsimage
I currently have two!
Tala - 7 year old Low/No content wolfdog
Hotah – 2 year old selectively bred High Content wolfdogWindInTheCoffeeCup
How long have you had your Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
Tala – a 7 year old Low/No content female wolfdog - Spayed
Hotah – a 2 year old High Content male wolfdog – Neutered
*Note - These two are NOT a breeding pair and do not have any offspring!WindInTheCoffeeCup
What do you love most about your Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
Their personalities and their ability to develop unbelievably deep bonds with their human companions.WindInTheCoffeeCup
What's the biggest misinterpretation people have about Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
As an advocate of education and abolishing the mystery about the breed and their distant wild kin that has sparked fear in people throughout history, there are quite a bit of misinterpretations! First and foremost – Just because your Nordic breed canine howls at night and has Wolf like coloring doesn’t make it a wolf. Uncountable Northern breeds and German Shepard Dogs are euthanized for being mislabeled as a wolfdog by either an owner who was scammed when they bought the puppy or under-educated Vets. There are many Wolf look-a-like breeds and mixes of different pure dog breeds that can produce a Wolf like appearance. This is just one case where education on this breed will save the lives of other animals! Please, take the time to learn the physical differences between dogs and wolfdogs like eye colors – Brown, Gold, Yellow, etc.
Blue eyes are a standard eye color on Siberian Huskies and Australian Shepards. NOT a high content wolfdog or wolf trait unless blind or leuistic/albino.
Wolfdogs do not make good guard dogs, they are shy by nature.
Wolfdogs are not protective, this is a GSD trait. You are the Alpha, you protect the pack – not your wolfdog.WindInTheCoffeeCup
Can anyone own a Wolfdog?InaWolfsimage
I would say no for various reasons. This animal by far and wide will not fit into your lifestyle, nor do most people that obtain one know how to properly conform their life around their wolfdog! It is a joke around the wolfdog Community that this breed is more ‘needy’ than any of their human children. Wolfdogs are illegal to own in many areas and most don’t understand the gravity of the situation they just undertook, such as secure containment and land space. This breed is NOT a lawn ornament. They are known to be highly destructive animals, they will more than likely chew on everything you own...pee on your floor so many times you lost track because they do not understand potty training like a dog. If you value your personal processions, I would suggest locking them behind a door and hoping that one day your wolfdog doesn't get too curious and decide to break it down to get what's inside. If you have anything but tile or hardwood....you will be coming home one day to find that your wolfdog remodeled your living by going ahead and doing the tear out of the carpet all by his or her self. You will trade your nice, designer clothes for jeans, t-shirts and hiking boots. You always want to smell fresh? Think again! Wolfdogs have a very strong oder and can be considered stinky so you, your house and your property will smell like Wolfdog. These are just a few things that make the breed hard to place and hard to find good, understanding owners that love this animal in a whole and are willing to deal with these behaviors without anger.WindInTheCoffeeCup
You said Wolfdogs have a very strong oder. What do they smell like? Like a wet dog?InaWolfsimage
I would say yes, a low content doesn't have need the pungent aroma that a high content has. WindInTheCoffeeCup
What's your favorite thing about photographing Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
I get to capture moments that show the truth of the wolfdog. I’d like to think my photos display the fun loving, kind of goofy and magnetic personality that my boy Hotah has! He has so much energy and a lot of facial expression. Tala is just honestly a precious princess and has one of the gentlest dispositions I have ever encountered in a wolfdog or dog. I owe a lot to this wonderful girl, in the past she has alerted me 3 times (one of those times fiercely guarding me – which comes from her mostly dog lineage) from what was more than likely a mountain lion (assuming because the area we were hiking at) and kept me from walking into a potential ‘ring of fire’, so to speak. If she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have known anything was there. She is my invaluable savior and best friend. I want people to see that bravery and love through her eyes, to showcase how gloriously adorable and lovable she is. Babou-Shka
Any advise/warnings to anyone who would want one?InaWolfsimage
Yes, I would warn that more than 70% of Wolfdogs do not stay longer than six months to a year in their original owners homes because the breed ends up being too much for them to handle. More than likely the animal will end up at a shelter…and is killed because of their breed. A lot of the ’Wolfdogs’ killed in shelters are not even Wolfdogs, but GSD and Husky mixes that are unfairly labeled as such and euthanized. A Wolfdog does A LOT of growing up in their first three years, which is how long it takes for this breed to reach full mental and physical development. Good and sturdy containment is a MUST for this breed as they can jump an 8 ft fence with pretty amazing ease than that you would imagine and are known to be un-relentless diggers and climbers! If your animal does happen to get out and after retrieving your escapee…you need to immediately secure that and any other potential weak spot to prevent any other disappearing acts. Once they find a way out, they will continue to do it and try to get around it whatever you’ve put into place to stop them. This breed is too much undertaking for a modern lifestyle!! If you are still absolutely dead set on sharing your life with this breed, I strongly advise you get out of the house and go seek a volunteer position at a local Sanctuary. Spend a year doing that and consider it like an ‘internship’ in understanding, care and commitment for this breed. Become involved before bringing a pup into your home and life if you really, really have a special calling for this breed.Babou-Shka
How did you come to know about them?InaWolfsimage
In elementary school, I remember choosing wolves for my first essay assignment that I ever had. I found out through my research of the animal during the study times with the school library resources. I cannot say I learnt much about them in specific at that time, other than one book had a picture of a Wolf and then a Wolfdog with a few sentences about what a Wolfdog is.WindInTheCoffeeCup
What's the weirdest thing anyone has asked you about Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
I think the oddest thing I have been asked is about the sizes of their sexual organs. The guy was pretty rude about it in fact, I questioned if he had a past with touching animals or something. Awwwkward! Lol.Babou-Shka
What is your first memory of wolfdogs and your favorite moment with them?InaWolfsimage
My first memory would be when I was sixteen and was on my way with my boyfriend to go fishing. You turn on a mountain dirt road to get to this reservoir and twist around for about twenty or so minutes but on this road is a house with a tall fence that stretched along for a quite a ways.
On our way back empty handed…for whatever reason, we decided to stop on the side of the road and feed our curiosity on what would need a fence like that? Stepping out of the car, closing the door and looking back up my eyes featured large canines that I could instantly tell were not Huskies or Malamutes. In their eyes, I could tell they were wolfdogs. A group of five looked at us from behind their fence with likewise curious faces, every now and then letting out a whine, licking at each other in the face. Sitting on the hood of the car I observed with fascination, inspiration and caution. As went to leave, we spotted the owner on her porch watching us! After a wave and hello, my boyfriend and I ended up becoming very close to these wolfdogs and learned a lot about the breed by hands-on experience.WindInTheCoffeeCup
Hotah looks very wolf-like. Does he ever get mistaken for an actual wolf?InaWolfsimage
Yes, I am constantly questioned if he is a wolf when we go out or when I show new people photos of him. This is both a good and bad thing in my opinion. Bad, because it’s so very common that the general public cannot tell the difference, just as much as people mistake Husky, Malamute and GSD mixes for Wolfdogs. The good side to this is that it gives Tala, Hotah and I the opportunity to educate people on the breed then also advocate the common beliefs are misconceptions that are exaggerated or false.Mouselemur
Are you ever afraid people will think actual wolves won't be needed to be preserved anymore now that there are Wolfdogs?InaWolfsimage
I don’t know the overall outside perspective, but I always remind people that wolves are an apex predator animal that are valued in the ecological pattern of nature. I prefer to use my tools in educating people to get to know more of what exactly the advocates for the wolf are protecting. A vague inside look of the kind of animal we’re trying to protect. Wolfdogs have very diluted instincts in comparison to their wild kin, so it’s a good way for people to begin understanding the wolf. Also I try to make very clear that if Hotah was not a Wolfdog, there would be no way of doing what I’m doing this him. I couldn’t take a wolf to a populated area on a leash…there will never be a time that the animal isn’t stressing and uncomfortable…which would make a very poor Ambassador, wouldn’t you think? Wolfdogs aren’t your Golden Retriever, but they are domesticated where they can interact well with humans if given the right environment and nurturing and couldn’t live in nature as they are. Yes, a high content wolfdog would die in the wild. Even they happened to catch a few wandering squirrels in their pen, does not make them a hunter. Lone wolves in the wild die from not being able to kill enough small prey to sustain themselves…especially in winter. How do you think a wolfdog that has been handed their food on the same time, every day, will fair? I try to invoke understanding of this in people so they can understand that they make look to most as a ‘pure wolf’, but these guys are very different. Nature needs wild wolves, wolfdogs have no place out in the wild.Mouselemur
Why did you choose to have a Wolfdog, and not a wolf or a dog?InaWolfsimage
It’s very involved to actually begin working with wolves and those opportunities are more available to those with Wildlife degrees and permits or Biologists. Even though wolves are majestic animal that captivates the human heart and has for eons, interacting with them on a level that you or I would like is not a reality. More than likely a pure wolf is going to avoid you and minimal contact will be established. I, honestly, thought it would be wise to leave that sort of deal to the experts and those who do know more than I. I know a lot, but certainly not everything. Naturally I could’ve applied for permits and all that jazz…and fostered a wolf, but I didn’t feel that was a good decision for the animal or I. I’ve been around both canines and felines my whole life, so I’ve known the pleasures of having an animal’s love and respect. After a while of spending over a year with the Wolfdogs I met by chance on a fishing trip, I decided then that I would like to mold my own life around this breed more often that I was. I was entranced by the mesmerizing wolfish stare and their presence…but I also fell in love with what they were all about, even the not so charming things like scent marking!WindInTheCoffeeCup
How do you exercise your Wolfdogs? How many times a day to you exercise them?InaWolfsimage
Exercise is extremely important with this breed, they can cover a wide span of ground very quickly due to their long legs and their stamina is unbelievable! There are many ways in which to exercise, but with Wolfdogs they need mental and emotional exercise as well! Having another companion canine for this breed is recommended!
Physically, the animal should be doing more than running around in their expansive fenced area. Walk the animal is encouraged even if the animal is uncomfortable in populated areas. Find a place that is not, and do it. I would suggest getting something like a horse lead and a strong secure harness, because they will walk faster than you and you can be pulled! The more walking you can do with your animal, the better!
Mentally, this breed can get bored very fast which eventually leads to behavior issues if left with no attention for long amounts of time. They do not retain training the same way other breeds do, though that is not at all to say they are un-trainable! Training with a Wolfdog is an everyday routine that can be done with good patience and perseverance and the right kind of training. This breed is extremely food motivated and a good positive reinforcement trainer can use this to their advantage and produce highly trained animals! They also need supplements that help keep them entertained and happy like Watermelon and Pumpkin! Putting bits of meat or fruit in some water and freezing it makes a wonderful mental simulation treat and helps to keep them cool on hot days! Antler chews are awesome for this breed in hopes to help keep at least some chewing centralized. Give them things to do, or they will find things to do and more than likely it won’t make you happy.
Emotionally, they need almost constant contact with their human companion because it is in their nature to grow extremely close to their families. This breed will not beg for attention and can feel dejected if not given the proper involvement in your life which can lead to behavioral issues. Another canine helps in the areas where obviously you cannot because of life responsibilities (going to work being the most common) and it is emotionally stimulating to have another dog to wrestle around with! Playing with your Wolfdog is a great chance to bond with your animal as well, but these guys play and wrestle really rough so keep in mind – you’re not a Wolfdog and could get a flailing paw to the nose that would severely hurt. Understanding the breed plays a big role in their over-all development as the animal matures, exposing them to situations as early as possible is strongly advised if you wish to do those things with the animal as an adult. They are very shy creatures that display nervousness if uncomfortable, which is harder to deal with as the animal gets older.
All in all, there is A LOT to their exercise and it’s a tremendous commitment to this breed!
Hotah’s exercise consists of play dates, dog park visits and walking! Though recently we have been staying at home or around the area because of financial troubles…but I still do what I can to keep him active! These physical, mental and emotional exercises are things that I personally do for my animals and there are tons of other ideas that other owners have thought up on their own. These exercises would be wonderful for any dog breed, so feel free to try some of them out for your beloved canine!
All of us at PetPicks
would like to give a big thanks to InaWolfsimage
for taking the time to do these interviews. We all really appreciate it.
For more information on Colorado Wolfdog Community Connection and how you can get involved, please check their website: www.facebook.com/ColoradoWolfd…