An early death from cancer - part 2

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, March 4, 2024

Yesterday, we mourned the loss of a beautiful Dire Wolf Dog that passed on much too soon at 6 years old, most likely from cancer.

This dog’s father also passed from cancer at 8 years old.

This led many of you to feel concern for the breed.

I also feel concern anytime any significant health issue arises within our tiny population.

The good thing is there is plenty of evidence coming out now that the Dire Wolf Project has been on the right track by mixing up the genes through regular and systematic crossbreeding.

Nationwide®, the nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance, performed a study in 2022 showing some incredible findings.

Their study reveals that…

Despite Goldendoodle

health insurance policies

more than tripling

in the last few years,

Goldendoodle cancer claims

occur HALF (47.7%) as often

as the average cancer claim.

Conversely, while purebred Golden Retriever health insurance policies have been reduced by 4%, cancer claims have increased 2x the average projected rate.

At the same time, purebred Poodle health insurance policies have dropped by 32%, while cancer claims have increased 1.5x the average projected rate.

There is no doubt, health data on crossbred dogs highly suggests that there is a genetic component to the over 100 different types of canine cancer.

And, what’s more…

This significant cancer rate reduction among Goldendoodles is seen IN SPITE OF THE FACT that both purebred parent breeds, Poodles and Golden Retrievers, have VERY HIGH cancer incidence rates.

The Gardner Animal Care Center in Massachusetts reports the following statistics,

  1. “Approximately 60% of Golden Retrievers will develop cancer, a number more than double the average of all other breeds.”
  2. “An estimated 40% of all Standard Poodles will die from some form of cancer.”
  3. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in all but 11 purebred dog breeds.”

In fact, according to Nationwide®, “Purebred dogs are nearly two times more likely to have a claim for cancer than mixed-breed or crossbred dogs.”

In an article on dog breeds, PetMed declares, “Research shows 27% of all dogs die from cancer.”


If Goldendoodles are half as likely to make a claim for cancer as the average insured dog… and 27% of all dogs die from cancer… then, we can assume Goldendoodles  have a reported cancer incidence rate of around 13.5%.

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Within the Dire Wolf Project, the current reported cancer + tumor (benign or unknown) rate over the last ten years is 2.2%.

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Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of the Dire Wolf Project community who understands the ebb and flow between inbreeding and outbreeding of the strongbred™ dog?

Truly, there is no other dog breed in the world challenging the establishment quite like the Dire Wolf Project.

Regular and systematic crossbreeding is essential for a healthy breed-wide population.

Someday, I hope the strongbred™ ideal will overtake the entire dog breeding world, increasing the health and longevity for all dogs.

in the meantime, YOU are the smart one, because you have done the research to find us.

If you are looking for a healthy, long-lived dog with the shadow of the largest wild canine to ever roam our planet, we have what you desire coming up in our next litter.

A highly genetically diverse second-generation litter with a dire wolf size will arrive at the Dire Wolf Project sometime around March 25.

Find out more about the officially confirmed Luck of the Irish litter below:

P.S. If you hope for a giant puppy from the Dire Wolf Project and are not yet on the waiting list, your first step is to complete our puppy adoption questionnaire.

Here’s the link:

If you have already been officially approved for a puppy but aren’t yet on the waiting list, place your $600 deposit to hold your place in line.

Email the Dire Wolf Project’s administrative assistant: for more information on how to do that.

P.P.S. Cancer is a scary thing, for sure.

Some of you may have dogs around 6 to 8 years old.

Some things you can do to make sure your furry friend has the best chance to fight any crazy metastasizing cells would be to feed your dog the very best food you can, mimicking a raw whole prey diet as closely as possible.

If you can’t go completely raw fatty meat and bones, feed some meals raw and other meals grain-free kibble with added nutritional supplementation. (Don’t mix raw meat and kibble at the same time, though.)

Completely eliminate artificial ingredients, toxins, and mystery meat from your dog’s diet.

P.P.P.S Chisel successfully bred with Grace yesterday, so look for puppies from this match sometime around 63 days from now in early May.

What? You don’t know who Chisel or Grace are?

Meet our dogs here:

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.