A timber wolf dog is a hybrid animal created by mating a wolf and a dog -- often a large breed such as a husky or a German shepherd. Although the idea of owning a half wolf might be alluring, wolf dogs can be difficult to manage and become aggressive. Deciding whether one fits into your household requires some research, analyzing your environment and consideration.
Dogs Vs. Wolves
According to Encyclopedia Britannica Advocacy for Animals, wolf dogs have a strong inclination toward their wolf side when it comes to instinct and behavior. This means they are territorial and often act in packs, sometimes challenging the alpha -- in this case, the human owner -- in an aggressive way.
If you are considering adopting a wolf dog, be open to working with a trainer who understand wolf mentality. Even then, you must understand that wolf hybrids tend to favor their "wolf side," sometimes refusing to be dominated, which means they make difficult pets and rarely can adapt well to a home environment. A trainer who specializes in hybrids will know what traits to work on for the best results.
Figure Out the Legalities
Wolf hybrids are illegal in many states, where they are not considered pets and cannot be kept in private homes. For example, New York state laws prohibit ownership of "any hybrid offspring of a wild dog and domesticated dog." Wolf hybrids are also prohibited in California, Maryland and many other states.
Other states -- such as Alabama, Louisiana and Montana -- allow wolf hybrids as pets, though there might be specific regulations in place regarding registration, ID and even spaying/neutering the animal.
Even if a hybrid is allowed in your state, your insurance company may decline to cover any damages caused by your animal, so ask questions in advance and figure out your options, such as buying additional insurance if possible.
Consider Your Family
Wolf hybrids often maintain their predatory behavior and might not do well around small children. Screaming or running around could trigger that predatory behavior, resulting in injury to the child.
Predatory behavior also means that small pets -- including cats, rabbits, chickens and even small dogs -- can be at risk. If you decide you want to own a wolf hybrid, you might need to give up on the idea of having other pets.
One way to reduce risks is to adopt an animal hybrid from a rescue such as Howling Woods in Jackson Township, New Jersey. These organizations specialize in rescuing hybrids and training them so they become the best possible family pets.
Examine Your Home Situation
Hybrid wolf dogs are territorial animals and need a lot of space to move around and keep their minds busy. A bored hybrid can become destructive or try to escape. They are also known for being possessive over random objects, which can lead to fights and injuries if you or another pet tries to take the item away.
Setting up the proper environment -- which includes a high fence your hybrid can't climb -- is a good way to help your pet feel safer and more at home.