Running with wolf dogs

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Feb. 17, 2023
American Alsatian DireWolf Dog, Cotton Candy, looking happy in the snow.
Cotton Candy an American Dirus direwolf dog looking happy

The American Dirus dog breed is NOT a wolfdog.

The Dire Wolf Project has never, nor will it ever, introduce wolf content of any kind into this breed for any reason.

Today, I want to share with you a great article written by a wolfdog breeder. It highlights the reasons why according to wolf sanctuary 90% of “pet” wolves and wolfdogs are euthanized by age two! It allows us to see into the tragic world of wolfdog breeders and what they must do to overcome the vast misconceptions about their crossed wolves.

Running with Wolfdogs
August 20, 2022

“What is Misrepresentation & Why Does it Matter?

Misrepresentation is when a dog or wolfdog is falsely labeled as a breed or mix that it is not. While many people think that they own a wolfdog or know someone that does, in reality there are far fewer real wolfdogs out there than claimed- the majority of them are misrepresented pure dogs!

“Misrepresentation is a very common and serious issue, and can result in scenarios that are potentially deadly to wolfdogs and dogs alike. The most common type of misrepresentation are pure dogs being labeled as wolfdogs. This is most common for huskies, malamutes, German shepherds, and mixed northern breeds (although I have seen dogs of almost every breed misrepresented as wolfdogs over the years). Many people claim that their dog is a wolf, or half wolf, or part wolf, when it’s actually 100% dog.

“Why does it matter, though, if someone wants to call their dog a wolf or wolfdog, or if the really believe it themselves?

“Because, in essence, labeling dogs as wolfdogs creates a false and unrealistic image of how real wolfdogs look and behave. If people hear about a wolfdog that’s both beautiful and loyal, protective, bold, good in the home, and gentle with the family, many will want one! So, they go out and buy what ends up actually being a real wolfdog, and are shocked to find that its behavior and personality is completely unlike that wonderful “wolfdog” someone talked about.

Because, that wolfdog they heard about wasn’t a wolfdog at all, but rather a dog. Their real wolfdog isn’t loyal or protective, but rather shy and skittish. It isn’t good indoors, but rather shreds the couch and chews everything. It doesn’t stay on the property, but instead escapes every fence you can build. It isn’t gentle with the kids, it plays rough and even accidentally hurts them! This isn’t the dog they heard about and wanted, and in many cases like this these wolfdogs are abandoned, sent to the shelter where they are euthanized, or given over to sanctuaries if they are lucky.

“Due to rampant misrepresentation of dogs as wolfdogs, there are extremely widespread misconceptions about how wolfdogs will behave and their traits. Many people think that they want a wolfdog, when in reality they aren’t aware of their true behaviors and tendencies; in the vast majority of cases, what people truly want is a dog!

“So, if you think you have or had a wolfdog, or know someone who does, that is “the best dog ever” without quite a few challenges, chances are that dog is really… a pure dog.”

The following picture is of a high content wolfdog next to a Siberian Husky, often mistaken as a wolfdog.

FYI: The following “breeds” are wolfdogs ranging from low to high content:
Tundra Shepherd
Tamaskan Dog
Northern Inuit Dog
Alaskan Noble Companion Dog
Blue Bay Shepherd
Native American Indian Dog
Czechoslovakian Vicak
Saarloos Wolfdog

They are stunningly beautiful, but please think twice before you purchase one. Wolfdog sanctuaries are full of wolfdogs left at shelters or abandoned… many, many more are euthanized each year. This is no way to treat a creature born into this world by no fault of its own.

If you are interested in a large family companion dog with wild features that is 100% domesticated dog, the American Dirus dog is the only dog specifically bred to mimic a wild canid without breeding in wolf content.

All other wolf look-a-like breeds specifically bred to look like a wolf have varying degrees of wolf content. Do not be fooled.

The Dire Wolf Project hasn’t reached our ultimate goals for the breed yet. We have many dogs that have some wild features, but it takes time to breed back wild traits without using wild animals to achieve them. The timeframe is lengthened greatly when the first and second focus of the breed is on superior health and a loving family companion dog temperament above the looks we hope to achieve throughout the entire breed.

If you find yourself fascinated with our project and want to support us and become one of our growing network of devoted families, we have three puppies still hoping to find their forever homes. You could be one of them!

Here is the link to check them out:

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.