United Dire Wolf Project Breeders

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Dec. 18, 2018
Kodiak Puppy
Kodiak (Skipper/Anastasia)


First of all, the most important thing is to record each and every negative health report openly and honestly. Without reporting every potential genetic incidence of ill health, we cannot hope to contain the health issues that arise or come to any understanding from where it could have originated in order to cleanse the lines.

Secondly, we honor our lifetime genetic health guarantee. Doing so keeps all of us breeders accountable for the dogs we bring into the world.

Next, we inform all owners of puppies from the litter in question regarding the newly identified genetic health issue. Informed owners can catch symptoms early and are more likely to report back if symptoms are seen.

Then, we review the new health data to determine if this information allows us to make a definitive conclusion which can be remedied immediately. If so, then we alter our breeding plans accordingly. This may include breeding or not breeding certain dogs together that otherwise would not have been matched, eliminating entire lines from the breed or perhaps changing some aspect of how we breed. However, if the new information does not give us enough information to alter future breeding, then we carry on, but with extreme caution, making sure to inform new owners of any potential issues and their symptoms and closely watching the puppies as they grow. I have a pamphlet in my head right now, in light of this new information, that I want to put together to include in each puppy packet, which will describe the most common health issues we have seen in recent times so that families can be aware. (This health group is another example of the open efforts we wish to bring to our community so that owners remain informed immediately of any new health issues in the breed).

Lastly, if there are any predictive health tests that we can perform, whether formal or informal, that will help us determine the genetic nature of the disease in question, we specifically perform them on the breeding dogs within that line to ensure that the line is clean. That being said, in many cases, there are no predictive health tests available for deleterious health conditions. This means that due to the inability to utilize a predictive health test, we must test the lines by breeding. This may, indeed, initially produce an increase in the problematic health issue, but without doing so would keep the health issue just under the surface in the breed instead of cleansing the lines to completely eradicate the issue. Without predictive health testing, we must see the disease in order to eradicate it.

Our number one goal as Dire Wolf Project breeders is to produce the healthiest and long-lived dogs that we possibly can. Masking health issues because we are afraid of them showing up will not help us with that goal. In the Dire Wolf Project, breeders look at ill health straight on. We acknowledge the good and the bad. Health issues can never be completely eradicated and therefore there will always be a certain degree of them that appear. It is our duty to acknowledge it, track it, and eliminate as much of it as we humanly can.

Thank you for being a part of the process and for your willingness to communicate to us and this group when issues arise.

We would like to send you a free gift for spending some time with us at the Dire Wolf Project.

10 Ways to Alter Your Dog's Diet for Immediate Health Results

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.