Wolf Dog Hybrids – Are They Legal?

Wolf Dog Hybrids - Are They Legal?

If you love dogs but you want an exotic pet instead of a domesticated one, you might be tempted to purchase a wolf dog hybrid.

These animals are created when a wolf is bred with a dog.

Are wolf hybrids thought to be like dogs?

Interestingly, in some U.S. states wolf dog hybrids are considered to be domestic animals. In others, however, they are considered to be wild, and even dangerous, animals.

If you’re interested in purchasing a wolf dog hybrid, you first want to be sure that your state allows them before you go ahead with your plans.

Legal issues aside, you probably also have some questions related to wolf dog hybrids. Let’s take a look at them.

What, Exactly, Is A Wolf Dog Hybrid?

Grown Alaskan Malamute

While we know that this animal is a mix between a dog and a wolf, more specifically a wolf dog hybrid is a wolf that’s mixed with domestic dog breeds such as Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies, and German shepherds.

The type of wolf that’s usually bred with a dog to create a hybrid is a gray wolf, red wolf, eastern timber wolf, or Ethiopian wolf.

The different animal species that are used during this process is what results in different appearances of these hybrid animals.

Are Wolf Dogs Safe?

One of the first thoughts that come to many people’s minds when wolf dogs are mentioned is if they are safe or aggressive.

This is especially of concern if you have children, but it’s important to know that this is a tricky issue without a straightforward answer.

Wolf dog hybrids are often misunderstood because in some cases they’re considered to be unpredictable and dangerous, whereas in some states they are legal to own as pets, which gives the idea that they are docile.

One of the reasons for this contradiction is that it’s not easy to know how much wolf is in the wolf dog hybrid that you have purchased.

Wolf dogs are actually defined as animals with a pure wolf in their family, no more than about four generations back, as The Bark reports.

That said, it’s impossible to prove the animal’s pedigree. In addition, genetic testing isn’t available for individuals to use so you’ll never know for sure if your wolf dog hybrid really does have wolf genes in it, and to what degree.

Sometimes, to determine how much wolf is in these hybrids, the only thing to do is phenotyping.

This is a process that takes into account the animal’s behavior and physical appearance.

Look Of A Wolfdog

So, if the animal has traits that show it is more of a wolf than a dog it will be said to have a higher wolf content, and therefore will be seen as being more unpredictable and potentially more dangerous than a domestic dog.

However, hybrids with more dog traits will be said to be less high-maintenance than wolves.

There are some important characteristics to know about wolf dog hybrids in general. For starters, they have a high level of affection.

They are highly intelligent and can easily be trained, which is important to do from when the wolf dog is a puppy.

The above traits are especially true of hybrids with more dog content.

On the flipside, wolf dogs are not seen as having high levels of friendliness or kid-friendliness, as The Spruce Pets reports.

The more wolf content is in the dog, the more wary it will be of people.

Basically, how wild the animal will behave depends on how much of a wolf it is.

If the hybrid is more wolf than dog, you can expect it to be a bit more aggressive.

As the site goes on to explain, wolf dogs aren’t easygoing and can become aggressive, which is another reason why they should be trained from a young age.

Be careful when choosing hybrids from the same litter.

They can be vastly different when it comes to their behavior and appearance, so you could be getting two animals with completely different personalities from the same family!

How A Wolf Dog Hybrid Varies In Appearance From A Domestic Dog

Huskey Vs Real Wolf

There are some physical traits you can look for that signal the animal is more wolf than dog.

Wolf dogs that have a higher wolf content will have longer legs and bigger paws than domestic dogs.

They have narrow chests and large heads, with erect fluffy ears that tend to be rounded in shape.

Their muzzles are longer than those of dogs, and they can have a range of different eye colors, such as brown, amber, green, and sometimes even blue.

Wolf dogs will also have webbed toes on their paws and front legs that are so close together that they touch, or almost make contact, when the wolf dog stands still.

Which States Allow Wolf Dogs?

Now that you know a bit more about wolf dog hybrids, you might be wondering if your state allows them to be kept by individuals.

As mentioned earlier, in some U.S. states wolf dog hybrids are considered to be domestic animals. These states include:

  • Arizona
  • Indiana
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Kansas
  • Montana
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

What does it mean for you that these states consider wolf dog hybrids to be domestic animals?

Basically, some of these states will specify that your wolf dog hybrid has to have a certain maximum percentage of wolf in it to be considered a hybrid.

You’ll have to contact your state wildlife agency to find out what the specific laws are pertaining to the ownership of wolf hybrids.

States In Which There Are Wolf Dog Hybrid Restrictions

Wolf Dogs In Cage

In other states, wolf dog hybrids are considered to be wild and therefore private ownership of them is allowed but you need to follow severe restrictions. These states are:

  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • California
  • Florida
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • Missouri
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia

The laws in these states do vary greatly. In some of these states, you’ll need to have a permit for your wolf dog hybrid in order to own it.

In others, you’ll have to ensure that you comply with the wolf’s enclosure standards, while others will have strict laws pertaining to rabies that could result in devastating consequences if your wolf hybrid bites someone as that could result in the animal being put down.

States In Which Wolf Dog Hybrids Are Illegal

Wolfdog Illegal Map

Finally, there are some U.S. states in which owning a wolf dog hybrid is completely illegal so you sadly cannot own them. These states are:

  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Wyoming

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Wolf Dog?

Wolf dogs can live between 13 and 16 years, so they can live as long as some domestic dogs.

They’re a challenging pet but if you have your heart set on owning one, then be sure you can look after it correctly.

A wolf dog hybrid will require important care that you need to be committed to ensuring.

Animal rescue groups have stated that many wolf dog hybrids get euthanized due to pet owners being unprepared for the challenges they face when it comes to the time and effort they need to commit to these pets, as Fox31 Denver reports.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of the most important tips to follow if you want to own a wolf dog hybrid:

You need to build your wolf dog an enclosure

Wolf Dog Sanctuary

This outdoor enclosure should be large enough for the animal to run around in because wolf dog hybrids are very energetic.

If you’re thinking of keeping your wolf dog inside, think again: their wolf traits mean that they’re not good pets to keep indoors.

They will mark carpets and furniture with their urine and can be destructive because they’re so full of energy.

While wolf dog hybrids can be trained, they aren’t eager to please their owners in the same way as domestic dogs are, which can be challenging.

The enclosure must be safe.

You don’t want your wolf dog to escape and damage your property or hurt people.

A thick chain-link fence should be placed all around the enclosure so that the wolf dog can’t escape.

In addition, since wolf dogs are very smart, you want to make the fence at least seven or eight feet high so that they can’t climb out of their enclosure.

You should also place concrete in the ground so that the fence is more secure because wolf dog hybrids are strong enough to damage a simple fence.

You can’t feed your wolf hybrid dog food

Trying To Feed Wolf Dog

Although you might think that dog food will be safe and healthy for these pets, they require a diet that’s more aligned with what they would eat in the wild.

This means you should feed your wolf hybrid raw meat every day, such as turkey and chicken, while also supplementing their diet with fresh grass.

You should also give your wolf dog hybrid supplements in the form of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as alfalfa, pumpkin, garlic, and wheat grass to keep them healthy and ward against health problems such as arthritis and digestive problems.

You need to give your wolf dog hybrid enough exercise

You should ensure that your pet gets at least three or four hours of exercise every single day.

Not only will this keep it healthy, but it can help to prevent the animal from becoming aggressive from a lack of stimulation.

You will probably need to own more than one wolf dog hybrid

Even if you dedicate lots of time and energy on your wolf dog and spend lots of time with this pet, it will require stimulation in the form of another wolf dog hybrid.

Are Wolf Dogs Good Guard Dogs?

Wolf Dog Kissing A Child Girl

One of the things you might have heard about wolf dog hybrids is that they’re excellent animals to guard your property.

However, this isn’t the case. Wolf dogs tend to be shy animals. When they see someone they don’t know, they will usually hide away.

Since they can become fearful, this can also make them aggressive with people they do know, which is why it’s important to be gentle and not intimidating around your wolf dog pet so that it doesn’t feel scared.

If you have children, always supervise them when they’re around the wolf dog to ensure that they don’t frighten the animal.


Wolf dog hybrids are intriguing because they seem to offer the best of both worlds for pet owners: they have a bit of wildness in them because they’re wolves but they’re also like dogs.

However, that’s not entirely the case. As we’ve explored in this article, wolf dog hybrids can be quite challenging pets to own.

While some can be a bit more like dogs, others with higher wolf content can be potentially dangerous.

If you want to own a wolf dog hybrid, you have to ensure that you will put in a lot of effort when it comes to feeding the animal, setting up a correct and safe enclosure for it, and dedicating time every day to bonding with your pet.

If you’re up for the challenge of training your wolf dog and respecting that it might never be a domesticated animal, you can end up with a rewarding relationship.

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