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Do You Really Want to Buy a Pup from this Unscrupulous Breeder?

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Misrepresentation by wolfdog breeders is so rampant that many people don't know what a real wolf or wolfdog looks like.  Many wolfdogs being sold today are nothing more than poorly bred husky, malamute and German Shepard mutts.  Let's take a closer look at the representations this breeder is making.  Hopefully, this will help you, the puppy buyer arm yourself with enough education that you don't get ripped off by irresponsible, unscrupulous backyard breeders. 

 

Licensed Breeder

The website leads you to believe that Mountain View Wolf Hybrids is licensed by someone who might oversee what they do.  But it really gives no indication who the licensing entity is.  Is it the city, county, state or the USDA.  What is the permit number?  

 

Registered Litters

There have been a number of wolfdog registries come and go over the past decades.  Some made valid attempts at setting a breed standard for wolfdogs.  Some were designed to verify lineages that would help to determine each dog's content however they were not capable of actually verifying a percentage.  Other registries were simply personal registries set up by breeders to track their own offspring.  Today very few of the organizations are still in existence.  It is quite the alphabet soup, but here is a list of a few of those wolfdog and personal registries:

 

International Canine Registry (ICR)
Iowolfer Association  
LupineAwareness   
National Esquimaux Dog Association (NEDA)
National Wolf Hybrid Association (NWHA) 
United States Wolf Hybrid Association (USWHA) later became USAWA
United States American Wolfdog Association (USAWA)
Wolf Breeders Association (WBA) 

There are a few Dog Registries that will register a wolfdog however they do not verify the information given on the application.  These registrations are highly suspect and should be questioned.  They are not known for verifying backgrounds of the animals.  Some of the Dog Registries that have issued paperwork on wolfdogs are:



Continental Kennel Club (CKC)  www.continentalkennelclub.com
Dog Registry of America (DRA)  www.dogpapers.com
United All Breed Registry  www.unitedregistry.com
United Kennel Club (UKC) AKA UKC Intl.  www.ukcdogs.com
World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC)  www.worldwidekennel.com

New Breed

Be cautious of anyone advertising a "New Breed" such as on this breeder's page.   Often unscrupulous wolfdog breeders call their dogs something else to side step legalities in their area.  When wolfdog breeding is banned we often see a handful of new breeds crop up, but they are still wolfdogs.

 

Birth Dates  

The birth dates of the pups can be another helpful indicator when trying to weed through the irresponsible breeders from the list.  Unlike most domestic dog breeds that go into heat twice a year the wolf has an annual cycle.  Each fall testosterone levels increase in males while estrogen levels begin to increase in the females.  High content wolfdogs mimic the wolf's cycle and as such all high content wolfdogs breed from January through March in North America.  After a 62-63 day gestation period the pups are born in late March through May.  When you see puppies advertised as 92 or 98% with a birth date of 12/16 as in our fictitous ad it is another indicator that the breeder is misrepresenting the content of the animals.  As the content decreases in the animal the breeding season can change. Low contents can breed twice a year at any time of the year.

 

Rare or Non-Existent Species

The rare and non-existent subspecies listed in the ad is yet another good indicator of misrepresentation.  Historically, there were 2 species of wolves in North America:             

                      canis lupus - the Gray wolf
                      canis rufus - the Red wolf
 
Scientist had broken the two species down to 24 subspecies of Gray wolf and 3 subspecies of Red wolf.  In 1993 the number of subspecies was significantly paired down by mammologists so today there are only 5 subspecies of the Gray wolf and the one species of Red wolf.  Breeders often misrepresent the heritage of their dogs.  Some try to make the pups more alluring by labeling them as rare subspecies such as the Mexican gray, Arctic or Red wolves.  Worse yet, some breeders make up subspecies such as the non-existent Mexican-Red wolf.

Here is a list of the most often advertised:

 

Arctic Wolf:  This is a true wolf subspecies canis lupus arctos that can still be found roaming the wild from Greenland through the high arctic.  There are a small number of pure arctos animals held in zoos and some have been bred and are now in private hands.  The legitimate arctos breeders are very well known and it is fairly easy to trace back their lineages.  Many breeders fraudulently advertise that their white pups are arctic wolfdogs when in reality they are nothing more than mixes containing  Samoyed, Great Pyrenees, or white German Shepherd.  One of the best ways to determine if the breeder is feeding you a line is to look at the puppy.  All arctos pups are born a dark charcoal color.  They are never born white.  They typically phase from charcoal to white over a period of time.

This is NOT an arctic wolf pup.  This is a very low content Great Pyrenees - Malamute - wolf mix

This IS a high content arctic wolf mix puppy

Mexican Gray:  This is also a bonafide subspecies of gray wolf - canis lupus baileyi.  They are endangered and have been heavily protected since 1976.  In 1977 the government began capturing the remaining wild wolves for a captive breeding program designed to save the species.  Over the next 30 years some Mexican grays have been released to the wild, but they are heavily monitored.  

Breeders of smaller animals will often label them as Mexican mixes to explain away the size of their offspring.  Seeing ads like our fictitious ad offering Mexican gray wolfdogs is always an indicator of misrepresentation.

This is NOT a Mexican wolf mix.  This is a mid content coydog

This IS a  pure Mexican wolf held in one of the captive breeding programs

Red Wolf:  The Red wolf actually does exist, however, like the Mexican gray it is endangered and heavily protected.  In the 1970s the government captured the 17 existing Red wolves found in Louisiana and Texas and began a captive breeding program to save the species.  The animals that have been reintroduced to the wild and are monitored so it is not likely that any wolfdog breeders have access to this species.  Even with reintroduction efforts there are less than 200 Red wolves.

This is NOT a Red wolf mix.  This is a mixed breed dog

This IS a pure Red wolf held in a captive breeding program

The Content and Pedigree


Hands down this is the most misrepresented category of them all!  Many of the more dishonest breeders will deliberately inflate the content of the puppy to justify selling the pups for excessive amounts of money.  Let's face it, many of the wolfdog breeders are in actuality selling nothing more than mutts for $500-$3000.  By labeling them as 92 or 98% “rare breed” wolf they can charge more for the "rare" breed. 

 

Many breeders will proudly offer a 3 Generation Verified Pedigree such as: 

Please note that this is a FAKE pedigree for illustrative purposes

Don't be satisfied with a pedigree such as this.  You owe it to yourself and the puppy you bring into your family to obtain as much information about the lineages as possible.  Let's look at why this pedigree would be suspect:

The red shaded areas indicate the areas on the pedigree that should draw a red flag for a puppy buyer.  It is not very often that someone obtains a permit to collect a wolf from the wild.  Looking back in pedigrees dating back to the 1950s there are a few.  Afterall,

where do you think the original founding stock for wolfdogs came from?  But you should question any animal within the last 2-3 generations coming from the wild.  Anytime an Unknown name is listed you should question the validity of the so-called "Verified" lineage.  How hard is it to keep track of who was bred to whom? 

 

Lastly, don't fall for statements touting that your pup comes from some great line such as the AAA Line in this illustration.  Don't
believe it unless you see names of the animals in the lineage.  You should also be wary of any breeder who touts that their animals are related in some way to White Fang or Two Socks from Dances with Wolves.  Jed, the animal who starred in White Fang was actually a very low content wolfdog.

 

Why is this all so important?  You want a healthy puppy don't you?  You want to obtain as much historical information about the line as possible so you have an idea of what illnesses or problems might come up later in your puppy's life.  Did a great grandfather die from bloat or cancer?  Did the father suffer from hip dysplasia?  Many health issues are hereditary. 

 

Pups or Cubs?
Another red flag on breeder websites is the reference to the babies.  Many backyard breeders label the babies as cubs rather than puppies. Canines have puppies, cats have kittens, big cats and bears have cubs.

 

Coloration and Markings of Pups


If you fell for those cute, cuddly puppy pictures in our ad you would more than likely be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous backyard breeder.  In reality, high content litters typically have a similar or uniform appearance and should be a dark brown, gray, charcoal or black color.  It is also important to look for markings on the wolfdog pups.  Some white spots on the chin or chest are acceptable, but you don't want to see large white spots or streaks in a number of areas in a high content wolfdog.

 

Let's take a look at some true High content litters:

This is a 96% F2 litter. Each of these pups grew up to be an agouti coloration

This litter is 89% F3. Each of these puppies grew up to be agouti colored

This litter is 98%. The 3 pups on the left are black phase and the 2 to the right are typical agouti colorations

This litter is 87% F4. You can see a well bred litter can still remain uniform as the breedings are further removed from the pure wolf. The 2 pups on the top left side grew up to be lighter agouti while the 3 on the bottom right tended towards a slightly darker agouti color.

This litter is the perfect example of poor breeding. The parents are a brother and sister, as are the grandparents and the great grandparents. Three generations of improper in-breeding lead to this multi-colored litter. Note the light cream colored pup under the dam's muzzle, the bi-colored pup at the chest and the 2 darker 'normal' colored pups.

This is a high content arctic wolfdog litter. Note the piebald coloration on the right. The pups are from a brother - sister mating which could have brought out the irregular coloration, or the lineage might include a piebald husky in the mix. It is interesting to note that the dam of this litter also had some piebald coloration until she was over a year in age. Both of these pups grew into adults with typical arctic coloration with no spots.

Now let's take a look at some of the puppy photos from our fictitious website:

These "cubs" were advertised as 96% Wolf - 47% Timberwolf and 49% Mackenzie Valley wolf Sorry, but not even close! This is a mixed breed dog

Note the multi colored litter, the white splotches on paws and white streaks. These are mixed breed dogs not wolfdogs

and don't forget the curly tails!

This litter is advertised as 95% wolf - 46% Artic and 47% Mackenzie Valley wolf These are actually very low content Great Pyrenees - Malamute wolfdogs.  The dam was a Great Pyr, the sire was a mid content malamute wolfdog

This one was advertised as 92% wolf - 46% Arctic and 46% Mexican Redwolf  Sorry, but not a hint of wolf there and certainly not a Mexican Redwolf!

Another way to determine if the litter is truly high content is to take a look at the pigmentation around the eyes, the nose and the paw pads.  High contents have black colored skin lining the eyes.  The nose pad should also be black and cobbled and the paw pads should be black.  When you see snow noses or pink stripes on the nose or pink pigmentation on the paw pad that clearly points to the dog in the mix.

 

Parents

You should stay clear of any breeder that refuses to let you visit his or her kennel.  First and foremost there are breeders who paste photos of animals that they have never owned on the web and misrepresent them as the parents.  They use these photos to entice you to purchase a pup that should grow up to look just like the photo.  In reality, this is a highly fraudulent technique.  To protect yourself as the buyer you should visit the kennel to see the sire and dam of the litter you are choosing from.  It is best if you can actually interact with the adults to determine more about the behaviors of the parents.  It doesn't hurt to see pups from previous litters or other adults from the lineage as well.  A site visit will also give you a clearer picture of how the animals are truly raised and cared for.

 

Rescue

A huge red flag when surfing the internet for wolfdog ads is statements such as "We also do Wolfdog Rescue!"  All responsible breeders should take back their offspring when it does not work out with the adoptive family.  This is NOT a rescue.  If the breeder truly rescues unrelated animals that is wonderful.  But do they breed these rescues with no know lineage?  Or worse yet, do they make up fraudulent histories on the rescues?