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Wolfdog Content

Wolfdogs come in a wide range of wolf and dog mixes.  Some have greater wolf traits and others are much more doggy in their characteristics and behaviors.  To classify the wolfdog we use what is called Content.  There are low contents, mid contents and high contents that help to describe the amount of wolf characteristics, traits and behaviors in the animal.  There is an assortment of dog breeds mixed into the wolfdog that give slightly different looks and behavioral traits to the wolfdog.  This is due to the lack of a true breed standard for the animal.  Typically every wolfdog breeder creates a look and behavior that they like.  In the past a wolfdog’s content was determined by two things:  the animal’s percentage from it's pedigree and it’s Filial Generation.  But over the years the percentage method has lost favor and now we typically use DNA testing or phenotyping for traits and behaviors to determine a content range.  Below you will find a very basic overview of how we determine percentages & F generations.

 

Percentages:

On paper,  calculating percentages seems extremely simple.  Its is very basic math.  You take the sire and the dam's percentages, add them together and divide by two to get their offspring’s percentage.

 

Example 1:
The sire is a male wolf                      The dam is a pure female husky
(100% wolf)                                         (0% wolf + 100% husky)

Equation is 100 + 0 = 100 ÷ 2 = 50% wolf and 50% husky

 

The trouble is it is very rare to see that breeding.  A scenario like example 2 is more the norm:

 

Example 2:
The sire is a wolfdog                         The dam is a wolfdog
(96% wolf and 4% Malamute)          (86% wolf and 2% husky and 12% malamute)

Equation is 96% + 86% = 182 ÷ 2 = 91% wolf
           4% + 12%  = 16% ÷ 2 = 8% malamute
           0% + 2% = 2% ÷ 2 = 1% husky

This gives you a 91% wolf, 8% malamute and 1% husky mix

 

But the percentages aren't necessarily dependable.  First of all, wolfdogs have been bred in captivity for generations and a number of the original wolfdog breeders misrepresented their lines and raised the percentage of the puppies to make the animals more alluring or to boost the price tag on a puppy.  Some breeders have purposefully inflated the costs of  high content puppies to the point that they are as much as $2-5,000 as compared to the much more affordable mid and low contents.  Additionally, some breeders owned pure wolves with no permit so they downgraded them from pure to "98%" to make them legal.   So it is difficult at best to verify a true percentage.

 

Another difficulty in accurately determining the percentage of wolf or dog in the wolfdog is how each puppy in the litter inherits the sire and dam’s genes.  Every puppy inherits its genes from both parents.  Each gene consists of DNA that determines a specific characteristic. The way the genes interact with one another as they are passed down to the offspring affects the looks and behavior of the puppy.  In a litter of wolfdog puppies there are a number of combinations of genes that can occur that will cause all the puppies in the liter to have slightly different looks and behaviors.  We can illustrate this using the following breeding:

Sire: 89% F3  

The sire has more physical wolf qualities, yet he is more docile and people oriented

Their pups are on-paper 87.5% F4

Pup 1

He inherited much of the sire's physical appearance and temperament.

He inherited much of the sire's physical appearance and temperament.

Pup 3

He took on more of the dam's traits physically, but more of the sire's behaviorally

He took on more of the dam's traits physically, but more of the sire's behaviorally

Dam: 85% F3

The Dam has a more well defined mask, and      dog-like pelt. Yet behaviorally she is much more like a wolf

Pup 2

He inherited much of the sire's physical appearance and temperament.

Pup 4

He resembles one of the paternal great-great grandparents physically, and inherited the Sire's docility

Pup 5

She resembles one of the maternal grandparents and inherited her dam's behavioral traits

Content:

 

Most wolfdog people have abandoned the percentages due to the difficulties in obtaining the true pedigree.  Today, most people use low content, mid content and high content categories to describe the wolfdog rather than a percentage.  Typically, the contents are broken down as follows:

Recently a new generation of wolfdog owners have developed a new math to classify their companion animals.  They have added categories such as Low/No, solid low, upper low, low mid, solid mid, upper mid, low high and extremely high.  In doing so the new math has led to greater misrespresentation of the content level of the wolfdogs.    

Filial Generation:

The filial generation (also referred to as the F-factor or F- number) used in conjunction with the Content can be a better method of determining the the overall wolf content than the percentage.  The filial number refers to how many generations away from a pure wolf the animal is.  An F1 is the first filial generation or one of the parents was a pure wolf.  An F2 is the second generation or one of the grandparents is a pure wolf.  
 

An F1 will be almost indistinguishable from a pure.  An F2 will have more wolf-like characteristics and behaviors and intensities, while F3s and 4s will have somewhat diluted characteristics.  As the F# gets larger the wolf traits become more diluted and the wolfdog will look and behave more dog-like.  

To see the range of wolfdogs please visit our  pictorial guide to contents  and our content description pages