Kids and DireWolf Dogs: How they fit together

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, June 16, 2023
Beren Buffalo Bill.jpg
Beren (Buffalo Bill) very happy in his home with two huaman siblings a boy and a girl

Many families have children. Little humans come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. But, how well do American Dirus dogs handle children?

Let’s chat about our DireWolf Dogs with children today.

Jay and I do not have children.

A while back, we wanted our own family, but no children came. Because it was difficult, we sought a doctor’s advice. Jay’s tests returned with normal results. My tests did not. You see, I have a tilted uterus and hypothyroidism, a hormone that, if missing, often renders sterility.

Not able to have children of our own, we then turned to adoption. One of our best friends from college came to me with a wonderful proposition. When her husband’s sister could not long care for her two children, she lost them to the state’s permanent care. The brother and sister were now in need of a loving family.

Jay and I were more than willing to help our long-time friend. It would make our bond of friendship even stronger.

But a few months into the adoption process, our friend decided to keep the children in the family and raise them herself. Jay and I were devastated. We had specifically told her we would only open our hearts if no other family remained in the picture. She assured us no one was available and they could not take them.

Going back on her word deprived us of the family we longed to have.

From that moment on, we left the fate of children gracing our lives in God’s hands.

In His ultimate wisdom, it was not to be.

Jay and I sometimes think about what life would have been like if we had children in our lives. But then we remember all the many puppies and dogs we have been privileged to know. It warms our heart to have raised so many wonderful creatures throughout the years.

Unfortunately, though, without children in our home, we have no real way of knowing how our American Dirus dogs would take to little ones running around. Neither can we give our puppies the experience of being around them.

So, we must rely on our generous Dire Wolf Project families with children to let us know how our dogs do with kids in the home.

There have been a few select American Dirus dogs that have not enjoyed children.

I can think of three that I know of.

These American Dirus dogs seem to have a common character trait. They don’t want to tolerate the unpredictable nature children possess. They are very reserved and serious in attitude. They don’t like being surprised and are intolerant of strangers and strange dogs in their space. We don’t have many of those truly reserved dogs in the breed, but there are a few.

If you are looking for an American Dirus dog who works well with children, you are in the majority. The vast number of our dogs are not strikingly reserved and serious. Instead, they are tolerant, kind-hearted, and gentle… accepting life as it comes.

When a family with children hopes to have one of our dogs, I match them with a puppy that is of this more confident and accepting type… yet still calm and dignified.

Take one Utah family, for example. They have an American Dirus dog named Beren (fka: Buffalo Bill; Kodiak/Razar). I think I matched him perfectly with their family. I’ll let you be the judge.

Beren lives with Nicole Cliffe and her family.

Nicole is an author famous for co-founding and co-editing “The Toast”, an American anthology, humor, and feminist writing website which ran from 2013 to 2016. She has also been a book editor for The Hairpin and has written several books of her own. I understand she is currently working on a new novel. She has a page on Wikipedia if you want to check out her impressive writing background:

Nicole has two of our dogs, both of which are great with her two children, but Beren, in particular, has taken it upon himself to be the lover of all things childhood.

Here is the scoop in Nicole’s own words.

“My phone made a slideshow of Beren’s first day in his forever home. But the next day, when he met the kids, that’s where the cutest moments are. He and our nanny’s cat actually ARE best friends. People are sure I photoshop him, but he really is just this photogenic and hilarious and truly the best family dog of all time. Sansa [their first American Dirus dog] would be perfectly content to just be with me and me alone 24/7, she’s deeply pair-bonded to me, but Beren? Beren cherishes every minute with our kids.”

“Cuddle Puddle ([daughter] is lying on Beren and blends into his fur. [She] took a full nap on him and he didn’t budge.”

“When one of us is sick, Beren WILL insist on healing the sick family member via his love.

‘Shhhhh, hold still, let me do my work.’ - Beren

“If one of his human siblings is sick, Beren cannot be separated from them.

“My kids are frequently shocked to learn that most kids do NOT have a North American cuddlewolf, let alone TWO who spend their lives loving and protecting them.

“I can never ever be sufficiently grateful to you for our beloved dogs, the heart of our family.”

Thank you, Nicole, for those kind updates.

I LOVE receiving news from our puppy families!

Speaking of puppies, we have now placed the remaining puppies from the Genius litter for sale OFF THE WAITING LIST!

IF YOU HAVE BEEN APPROVED, but haven’t placed a deposit (or even if you have, but forgot to go active on time), the puppies are now “FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED”.

Come and get them.

They are sweet, kind, loving, intelligent, and gentle. And just like Beren… great for families with children.

Here’s the link to find out more about them:

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.