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Are wolf-dog hybrids safe as pets or guard dogs?

It's generally acknowledged that the modern dog -- everything from the tiny little Pekingese to the lumbering English Mastiff -- descended from wolves. That split took place so long ago that nobody is certain when people first started keeping dogs as domestic pets.

Despite the deep ties between dogs and wolves, wolves are not domesticated -- and they aren't meant to be kept as house pets. Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped a lot of people from trying to turn hybrids of wolves and dogs into pets -- with disastrous results.

The wolf-dog hybrid has become increasingly common in America, despite efforts to stop people from breeding these dangerous animals. They're illegal in many states, including Pennsylvania. In others, owners are required to keep them behind high fences and post warning signs so that neighbors are aware of the danger.

That doesn't stop people intent on owning one from purchasing pups anyhow from breeders in states where they are legal. Sometimes, an owner simply has a romanticized notion about the relationship between human beings and wolves. Other owners are looking for an unusual guard dog and think that the wolf hybrid will be suitable.

They're both wrong.

Officially, wolf-dogs are not the deadliest dog in the country -- but that's probably only because there are less of them around than there are pit bulls and the other dangerous breeds higher up on the list. Because of the dog genes in the animal's makeup, they are essentially feral animals. They have all the aggressive natural tendencies of a wild animal without the wild animal's innate fear of human beings. They lack the breeding that would make them good guard dogs -- although they're likely to be highly territorial.

Unfortunately, a lot of owners simply lie about their hybrid's bloodlines. They'll pass the hybrid off as a mixed breed of some sort -- even to the vet. That puts everyone who comes into contact with the animal at significant risk.

Don't let anyone convince you that wolf-dog hybrids are safe to own in any capacity. If you are attacked and injured by one, make sure that you seek immediate treatment. It may be necessary to contact an attorney with experience in dog bite claims in order to fully recover your economic damages.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
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