Throughout history, the lure of owning something different and the desire for status symbols has created a demand for exotic pets of all kinds, including wolves. Some feel that by owning a wolf, they own a piece of the wilderness or are helping an endangered species. Unfortunately, this is not true. There is no domestic situation that can fulfill the mental, social and physical requirements of a wolf, no matter how much he/she is loved. Wolves require many miles of territory, very specialized diets and specific and complicated social family structures. Regardless of how large of a backyard you have, the area is too small for a wolf. Other things to consider are the fact that inherent wild nature of a wolf cannot be removed. Wolves cannot be tamed or domesticated. They can however be socialized, which means they are wild animals without the fear of man and this leads to a dangerous situation. Another consideration is that many veterinarians will not treat wolves due to various state laws.
Lone wolves kept as pets often become stressed and neurotic due to confinement, lack of proper diet and lack of a pack social structure.
Wolves are predators and you will not be able to teach them that the neighbor's poodle is not a prey item. Also, if allowed to run with dogs, the wolf will try to discipline the dogs as though they are part of a pack. This may result in severe injury or even death to the dog.
Inevitably, many pet wolves become unwanted due to the inability to train them and the ever-increasing danger the wolf poses to the human family. Unfortunately, most zoos and wolf sanctuaries cannot take socialized wolves and the only alternative is euthanasia.
In an attempt to still own a piece of wildlife, many people have decided to trap and confine wolves and breed them to various dog breeds, resulting in a wolf hybrid. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are currently over 200,000 wolf-dog hybrids kept as pets in the US. Most commonly, wolves are bred to Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds. The idea behind breeding a wolf to a dog was to produce a wolf like canine with less of a wild nature. Regrettably, this is not was these matings produce. Though supporters of wolf-hybrids as pets have plenty of positive stories, hybrids in general tend to be more aggressive than wolves or dogs. They are also more dangerous since wolf hybrids are still predators and have now had the fear of humans bred out of them. Hybrids retain strong wolf hunting instincts and have been known to regard small children as prey. There are also many know human attacks by wolf hybrids. Regarding pure wolves, there has never been a reported case of a healthy wolf in the wild attacking a person.
Wolf hybrids, due to their wild nature, resist training and obedience and resent confinement. They are timid and readily bite when they feel threatened, teased or cornered. They are also unpredictable, destructive and adept at escaping confinement.
Another dangerous aspect of wolf hybrids is that they will usually strongly bond with one human. If they feel that this person is being threatened, even if he/she is actually just playing or having a heated discussion with another family member, an attack and potential tragedy can occur.
As puppies, wolf hybrids are very adorable, lovable and enjoyable pets. As they mature, their wild instincts and fearlessness take over and they soon become unacceptable pets. As with wolf pets, most wolf hybrids are euthanized.
It took 15,000 years to domesticate the dog and make it an acceptable part of human society. Wolves cannot be domesticated with just a few breeding with various dog breeds. If you are considering purchasing a wolf or wolf hybrid as a pet, please reconsider. There are so many dogs needing homes at area shelters. These dogs make much better pets than any wolf or wolf hybrid could ever be.