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Reactions to Non-Traditional Wolfdogs

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:40 pm
by Tiantai
Lately on facebook I have noticed that at times when I question about certain non-conventional wolfdogs it seems to get controversial with many of the various wolfdog owners. I get the point that a lot of the reputable wolfdog breeders prefer northern spitz over other dogs when breeding them to their wolves and wolfdogs, but I don't see how mixing wolves with Great Pyrenees, poodles, or even pit bulls is wrong. To me, a non-traditional wolfdog such as a labrador-wolf is still a legitimate wolfdog. I assume that it MIGHT be due in part to fear of bybs using these examples of non-traditional wolfdogs to try and counter-argue with the wolfdog groups' causes in educating the public about the differences between wolves and dogs.

But it doesn't change the fact that these hybrids still exist and that the spectrum for identity wolf-content needs to go BEYOND just phenotyping. I mean, when wolfdog rescuers come and determine if an alleged wolfdog is a legitimate hybrid or just a crossbreed before taking it to their rescue facility, they don't judge by appearances alone, or at least as I was told by a reputable wolfdog breeder in the WolfdogZ group, they don't. It is the behaviours and other natures that they look for which they use to determine if the animal is a hybrid. So overall, I have seen in posts that many owners and wolfdog experts have stressed that one cannot always judge an animal's contents or exactly how many generations of wolf was introgressed into the dog from a single photo. They would need to meet the animal in person to find out. That was the message I got from Christa, Jerry, and Rowan long ago.

But when other owners start posting pictures of their wolfdogs and asks for others to guess the phenotype or F generations in their animal, suddenly, the above message is defeated because here we have this person inviting others to play the phenotype game. But if I was to hypothetically post a photo of an F3 low-content wolf-poodle cross, would they know it was an F3? Chances are, many would just assume that it was just a mutt with no wolf in it. I mean, if one was to look at the F1 wolf-poodle hybrids bred by Dr. Erik Ziemen, the wolfdogs look barely any wolfish.
Basically some argument do get sparked when I often try to point out in many groups that the F generation phenotype game, which is what I often see in these groups as well as various wolfdog educational sites, is too narrowly focused on hybrids between gray wolves and northern spitz-type dogs (mostly because these are the types of dogs that wolves are often bred with). So while the content photos are very informative, the flaw I have noticed with judging based on phenotypes alone and I am sure that a lot of others have too, is that they don't always work when one looks at non-traditional wolfdogs. If a high-content wolfdog was mixed with a pitbull-lab, the offsprings would likely look something like this one:
On a side note, I actually like the idea of these different wolfdogs. When you think about it, many northern Arctic spitz themselves are already slightly wolf-like in behaviours due to their primitive natures. For example, a lot of Siberian Huskies are generally not interested in pleasing their owners; a trait that they share with captive wolves. And most of these dogs still carry that hunting instinct when they spot rodents. So even when not bred with wolves, they still have a trace of behavioural resemblances, but fortunately are not enough to be too problematic as a captive wolf would be. But when a person mixes one of these primitive breeds to a wolf, the hybrid usually gets common traits that overlaps between the spitz's primitive behaviours and the wolf's wild nature which may cause the F1 to seem more wolf-like than it actually is. But since every wolfdog is different, how people determine what is more wolf-like in a hybrid is also case by case and subjective to human-biases.

Re: Reactions to Non-Traditional Wolfdogs

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:24 pm
by Tatzel
I remember having seen a blue merle wolfdog somewhere here in the forum before... I thought it was curious!

Re: Reactions to Non-Traditional Wolfdogs

Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:04 am
by Nimwey