The world is going crazy over wolfdogs. We see that more and more breeders are offering hybrids between wolves and an established, popular breed. So, for example, we now have the Husky Wolf Mix or German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
These dogs are intimidating and beautiful at the same time. But they are also not for first-time dog owners. Especially the German Shepherd Wolf Mix, which we’ll talk about more in this article. But, you should know that if you want a wolf dog, you need a lot of experience in training dogs.
As the name suggests the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is a hybrid between the German Shepherd and a wolf. Some people also call these hybrids wolfhounds or wolf shepherds.
Why do German Shepherds already look like a wolf breed?
“Wow, that looks just like a wolf,” you probably thought the first time you saw a German Shepherd. In terms of look, coloration, and attitude, German Shepherds are strikingly similar to wolves. So, why do German Shepherds have wolf-like features?
Because they are descended from wolfdogs, German Shepherds have a wolf-like appearance. The first German Shepherd came from a dog that was thought to be a quarter wolf, and some wolf-dog hybrids seem more like wolves since they’ve been mated with wolves.
If you’re wondering what a wolfdog is, it’s a dog that is the result of a wolf mating with a domesticated dog.
We need to go further into the bloodline of German Shepherds to completely comprehend why they resemble wolves. You’ll learn about the history of German Shepherds and their interaction with wolves, but also where GDS wolf mixes come from.
So, while we know that German Shepherds (and other dogs) are mostly descended from gray wolves, the German Shepherd appears to be closer to wolves in terms of direct ancestry.
We’re about to look into the bloodline of the present German Shepherd to see if their distant wolf forebears are responsible for their wolf-like looks. It’s about to become exciting…
The Origins of German Shepherd Dogs
It’s easy to notice how the present German Shepherd resembles wolves, but let’s go back at the German Shepherd’s past to discover what happened along the road to give them this appearance!
In 1899, a man named Max von Stephanitz created the first German Shepherd. He saw a dog (formerly named Hektor Linksrhein) at a dog show in his native Germany that was thought to be a quarter wolf and the result of a few generations of careful breeding.
Von Stephanitz was a firm believer in breeding dogs for certain tasks, like herding dogs. He also sought to establish a breed standard because there were so many distinct shepherd dogs across the country.
After that he bought the dog and nicknamed him Horand von Grafrath because of his intelligence, obedience, beauty, and strength.
He was claimed to have a special fondness for this canine because of his wolf-like appearance. But also the fact that he was still a reliable and good pet.
Horand von Grafrath was the first GSD to be added to the Society for German Shepherd Dogs’ national breed registry. He became known as “the father of German Shepherds” as a result of this.
Horand was then bred with other members of the society’s canines who shared many of the same desirable characteristics.
The ancestry of this new breed was a little difficult to track at the time, and there was some controversy. That’s why details about the GDS bloodline aren’t known even to this day!
But they aren’t the only dogs that resemble wolfs so much! Take a look at the video bellow to see more dog breeds that look like wolves.
Are German Shepherds already part wolf?
It’s more than obvious how much like a wolf German Shepherds look like. So it’s not reaching too far to wonder — Are even purebred German Shepherds part wolf? Well, there are some known facts proving that they actually could be.
German Shepherds are descended from the gray wolves, so not the wolf we commonly know of. But German Shepherds are still not wolves, despite sharing 99.9% of their DNA with wolves and being therefore genetically quite similar. The Canidae family, which includes wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and foxes, includes all domesticated dogs too.
How wolves developed into dogs and how they diversified into so many various visual breeds, from Dobermans to Poodles is absolutely fascinating.
The direct ancestor of the German Shepherd is a dog called Horand von Grafrath. This is believed to be one of the first hybrid of a wolf and a dog. This dog was at least one-quarter wolf. That’s why many people believe that German Shepherds are even more closely linked to the wolf than other dog breeds. Their wolf parent is absolutely dominant in their DNA.
Despite the fact that Horand was supposed to be half wolf and von Stephanitz employed wolfdogs in the later crossbreeding, there is still considerable controversy regarding how much wolf is truly in the German Shepherd breed.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix – The wild hybrid
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix was created by Leendert Saarloos in 1935. when he crossed a German Shepherd with a wolf. His goal with this cross was to bring back the natural traits that the German Shepherd Dog had lost during domestication.
This breed is recognized by the UK Kennel Club but not by the American Kennel Club. You should also know that the wolfdog is illegal in several regions of the United States. So, please do thorough research before you get one.
It’s important to do research before getting any pet, but especially if you’re thinking about getting this mix.
When we say research, we don’t only mean reading this article, but to really dig in and learn as much as possible about them. Only then can you make a responsible decision. So, please don’t just rely on one article to tell you all about this wolfdog. We can’t cover everything that is important to know like their personality, training and exercise needs, health and so on.
But, we can give you a starting point for further research. Also, the best way to learn more about owning this dog is to talk to someone who already has one!
By talking with someone who has first-hand experience with dealing with these dogs you’ll better understand the unique characteristics of these two bloodlines. You will also get a better understanding of all the needs of your new puppy.
What this German Shepherd Wolf mix hybrid looks like
So how does the popular half wolf dog look like? Well, it depends. A male German Shepherd can weigh around 65 and 90 pounds, while females are between 50 and 70 pounds. When it comes to their height males are around 24 to 26 inches tall and females are between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder.
Wolves are obviously wild animals and there is no breed standard to them. So we can’t say how large a wolf can get, but generally speaking, their weight ranges from 70 to 100 pounds. When it comes to their height, wolves are between 31 and 33 inches tall at the shoulder. Females tend to be a bit smaller than males.
So how big do the GSD wolf dogs get? Depending on their age, gender, diet, and genetics, the German Shepherd and Wolf mix can weigh anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds and are usually between 20 and 26 inches tall. Therefore they are considered medium to large dogs.
Typical German Shepherds come in a variety of colors, even though black and brown are the most common. But, they can also have colors like sable, all black, white, and gray.
Wolves on the other hand are usually grey and white, but they can also be almost pure white, red, brown, or even completely black.
The color of a Shepherd-Wolf mix depends on what colors their parents are and what gene is dominant. You won’t see two wolfdogs that look the same.
Personality and nature
The German Shepherd and wolf have very different personalities. So, to be honest we can’t really tell you what the German Shepherd and Wolf Mix will be like. We can give you an overall idea.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent, energetic, and very powerful dogs. Many are shy when it comes to meeting strangers and prefer the company of their family, or their pack. Wolves are similar in the sense that they stick to their pack (other wolves). Obviously, they are even more fearful of people, but they are still intelligent and powerful, just like the GSD.
Because of these traits, the GSD wolf might not be a good guard dog. Sure, they are protective and will warn you if someone is on your property, but they will also be very careful when they see a stranger.
Also, this hybris is very unpredictable, especially in social situations. They might be calm one minute, and completely lose their mind in the next. They can also become aggressive when they are scared. But, all of this can be dealt with if you socialize them while they are still young. They also get scared by loud noises, which is why GDS wolf mixes live ideally in a quiet rural area.
We need to add that this mix is very curious, they want to explore the world, so they need a securely fenced and big yard where they can roam around. After all, they are to some extend wild animals. This hybrid will have a strong prey drive, as the GSD was bred to herd livestock and the wolf is a natural predator, so they will chase anything that moves.
Lastly, what are wolves known for? For howling. That’s their way of communication. And you can be sure that your GSD and Wolf mix will how too, a lot! They might even howl more when you leave them alone for long periods of time.
Care and grooming
There is no set rule as to what to feed your wolfhound, but you should feed your dog a high protein diet.
Avoid buying conventional store-bought dog food as it is high in carbohydrates and man-made ingredients, instead opt for fresh meat.
But, know that a raw diet has potential risks like the transmission of bacteria, but wolfdogs thrive with it. After all, this hybrid is part wolf, and what do wolves eat? Fresh meat.
Of course, be careful how much you are feeding your dog. Too much food can lead to obesity which isn’t healthy for any dog.
The German Shepherd and Wolf Mix have a medium-length double coat. A double coat in dogs consists of a coarse topcoat and a soft undercoat. These two coats grow independently of one another and to different lengths. The soft undercoat is shorter and grows much faster than the topcoat.
It’s also that shorter, soft coat that will fall out in the spring. Basically, your wolfdog will shed every year and lose their winter coats when the days get warmer. Because of this regular brushing is a must!
We recommend brushing your dog every other day and starting while they are young. You want your wolfdog to get used to brushing when they are puppies.
It’s no secret these dogs are full of energy. So, they need around one to two hours of exercise every day to stay fit and healthy. If not, they’ll become destructive and ruin your furniture and anything else they can chew on.
Wolfhounds are generally healthy, but they are still prone to certain health issues.
The health concerns for wolf hybrids are no different from those of other dog breeds.
For example, GSDs are very prone to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, but there are many other health problems that are common too, like:
- neurological problems
- bloat, due to his size and deep chest
- degenerative myelopathy
- exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
This is why taking care of your wolfdog’s health is just as important as it is for any other dog. This means that routine checkups and parasite screening are a must.
Now, when it comes to vaccination of wolves and wolfhound mixes it’s somewhat of a controversial topic.
Most veterinarians recommend vaccinations, but at the same time, there is no research or evidence that canine vaccines work in wild wolves.
Feeding and nutrition of a German Shepherd Wolf mix
Now, a lot of people are wondering — what do Wolf dogs eat? Deciding what to feed your wolf dog is not an exact science. But you should give your dog a protein-rich diet. Because clearly — wolfs eat a lot of meat. And what is meat? Protein with some fat.
Wolfs are wild nature creatures that hunt their food down. So a lot of people decide to feed their wolf dog a raw meat diet. Even if you don’t do this, you should still avoid buying dog food traditionally purchased in the store. This food is rich in carbohydrates and artificial ingredients.
You can buy different types of meat at your known butcher shop and simply boil it with no added salt or seasoning. Or you could just make your life easier and feed your dog a raw diet. But it doesn’t have to be only meat, you can also add some other sources of protein. Eggs, for example.
Otherwise you will have to investigate what kind of meat-based diet your dog would prefer. Your dog wants a diet that consists of at least 50% protein. You can add some carbohydrates like rice or grains, but always make sure that the food is mostly protein.
But there are also some downsides to a raw diet. This diet carries potential risks like transmission of bacteria. However, many people still believe that it can be very beneficial to the health of your dog. Remember how much you feed your dog. Too much food can lead to obesity. Wolf dogs are meant to be slim and muscular, not obese in any way. So keep an eye on their weight using a body condition assessment.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix cost and fraud
One of the main factors you should consider before getting a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is the cost of this hybrid. We don’t want to lie to you, these dogs cost a lot of money! Especially if you’re getting them from a trustworthy breeder.
You can expect to pay up to $2,000 for this hybrid! And if someone is offering you a wolfdog puppy for a fraction of the price and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. These dogs are rare and there aren’t a lot of breeders out there.
Also, beware of fraud. Many breeders advertise their pups as wolf mixes, but in reality, they are selling GSDs mixed with Malamutes, Huskies, or any other “Nordic” breed. Basically, they’re selling wolf-like pups rather than wolf-crossed pups.
So, this is another reason why we said you need to do thorough research before getting this hybrid. Not only to make sure you’re ready but also not to become a victim of scammers.
When you set your mind on a breeder don’t be shy to ask questions like:
- What generation of Wolfdogs are they selling?
- Does the puppy’s age correspond to the natural breeding season of a wolf?
- Can you see the parents?
Another factor you need to consider is the legality of owning such a dog. Many states have banned the possession of dog/wolf hybrids. For example, you aren’t allowed to own one in Orange County. So if you don’t want to get into trouble with the law, definitely check before buying.
Even if your state or local government doesn’t have laws or requirements regarding owning a wolf hybrid, you can still get into trouble for owning one. The reason for this is that wolf hybrids are usually not allowed in apartments that are managed by apartment owners’ associations. So, make sure you really can own a GSD Wolf Mix, before getting one.
Final thoughts on the legendary wolf dog
Now that you have learned a little bit about the popular half wolf, you might be wondering — Is this the right dog for me? Well, while they are a loyal companion, these pack animals definitely aren’t for first time dog owners. So if you you’re a first time dog owner, than their wolf genes might be a little bit to much for you.
Half wolf half dog mixes are very unique pets to have, and new people in your life would absolutely be fascinated by them. But there are still some major downsides. They are energetic, playful, wicked and love digging. Wolf dogs are reserved, shy and like to see themselves as angels. They can be a perfect combination of domestic and wild. However, sometimes their genes of a wild animal can take over and make them quite the nightmare.
It is not impossible to train this dog, but with their “wolfs” heritage, they will love to circle around you unless you are a firm and persistent. Early socialization and rigorous training will be key to control their unpredictable nature. In addition to that, you should be aware that this isn’t a dog for families with small children. As protective as they are towards small kids, it could get a little dangerous. It also isn’t advised to mix them with other animals, especially smaller ones.
Also, if you live in a smaller apartment in an urban area — definitely stay away from this hybrid. You will scare away the people around you, and half wolf half dog mixes just weren’t built for the city life. They need a lot of space and nature to live life to the fullest. Loud noises scare them off and they could act unpredictable.