Animal Sheet: Gray Wolf
Although at AnimalWised we always recommend not keeping wild animals as pets. When dealing with the wolf (the ancestor of any dog), we must make a forced parenthesis, and without leaving aside the current and current refusal to wish to have a wolf as a pet, we must answer the question: ¿Is it possible to have a wolf as a pet ?, with a resounding yes. Well, it is a real event that occurred hundreds of thousands of times during the course of human history..
In other words, to synthesize the answer we will say: the human being has historically possessed wolves as pets, and from there come the current dogs. But history should not blind us, and prevent us from realizing that actually it is nonsense to pretend to have a wolf like a pet, although it is true that under certain circumstances it would be possible that this was the case.You may also be interested in: Is it possible to have a dingo as a pet?
The history of the relationship between the wolf and man
A thousand years ago, when mankind was hunter-gatherer, It was when the relationship between the human being and the wolf began. At that time wolves were hunted for their meat and skin. Since there were no fabrics, apart from vegetable fibers, that could properly shelter women and men during the rigors of winter.
In fact, all the hunted animals were fully exploited: meat, skin, bones and a long etcetera. The meat was usually consumed dried or smoked. The skin was used to dress or make containers to preserve materials. The bones were used to make utensils: combs, hooks or sewing needles, among many other uses. The tendons served as sewing thread.
parallel, orphaned puppies of these hunts, they were frequently adopted by the hunters themselves, as they were too small to eat. At first the idea was to wait for them to grow enough to serve as food, but with the time of coexistence between them (men and wolves), it gave rise to the hunters to realize that those grown wolf cubs were more useful as companions. of game or guardians, that as simple food.
The coexistence between the wolf and the man
The coexistence between both (humans and wolves), showed that intelligence, strength, speed and herd sense that was forged in the mind of the wolf with respect to the human being, was very useful. Countless times the wolves saved their human companions from certain death, bravely facing bears, pumas and other animals that threatened the hunter.
Those primitive men who were crude, but not stupid, soon realized what a great help their fellow wolf could offer. In this way, the adopted wolf diverted its destiny from future food / clothing, to become an inseparable companion of the hunter. His best friend.
A phenomenon that did not happen with other animals captured with the same initial purpose of becoming the future support of the tribe. Goats, reindeer, chickens, and other diverse domesticated species became future food, thus beginning the livestock period of humanity, and also the agricultural period later..
However, with the wolf the story was different. The domesticated wolf became the tough, fierce, and relentless rude companion who lived with family groups as one more member. It was not restricted to pens and fences in which other animal species lived among those tribal societies.. The tamed wolf was a free being, but no longer wild. He belonged to the human pack as one more member.
There is nothing new under the Sun. Human beings enjoyed the wolf as a pet in a period of their existence, although the word pet was meaningless at that time and it was more accurate to name it: hunting companion. Guardian, protector, and a long etcetera, until concluding as friend.
For this ancient reason, if it were necessary, the wolf could return to travel this long transit without any doubt. But the current question that we must ask and answer is the following: ¿Necessary? ¿Would have some use? ¿Would there be any advantage for the wolf or the man? I sincerely think not.
We are no longer a hunter-gatherer society. We are very different, and we do not need a wolf to accompany us to a supermarket to buy bread, yogurts, or a cake.
The breeding of wolf-dogs
In some parts of the world there are dog / wolf, or wolf / dog breeders. Depending on the genetic load that the animal called wolfdog has. There are 3 genetic gradations among these specimens.
- LC, hybrids with low genetic content. These are animals whose wolf genetics is between 1% to 49% of wolf genetic material.
- MC, hybrids with a medium genetic content. They are hybrids whose genetic load ranges between 50% and 75% of wolf genes.
- HC, hybrids with a high genetic content. These hybrids must exceed 75% of the wolf's own genetic load. They can only have between 1 and 3 dog characteristics.
These animals they don't react like dogs, but neither as pure wolves, for they are neither one thing nor the other. I will not enter to assess the suitability of this industry that is dedicated to selling such hybrids for a fortune. They are not wild animals, but they are neither tame nor easily manageable. ¿They are needed?
On the other hand, they are very healthy breeds. Its genetics eliminate the possibility of very common diseases among many dogs, such as hip dysplasia, among others.. ¿They are therefore convenient? ¿Could your genetics improve current canid breeds?
These possible answers, for or against, it would be interesting if they were debated among AnimalWised readers..
I think that if someone is infatuated with a wolfdog, it should be someone who lives in a very radical place. Immense forests, endless winters, and in remote places far removed from civilization.
Having a wolfdog as a lapdog is a error that can be paid very dearly, beyond the economically exorbitant price they ask for it. In the next section we will argue why.
What should we keep in mind about wolfdogs:
If, for whatever reason, a person decides to adopt a wolfdog, they must have a exhaustive prior knowledge on all the circumstances and peculiarities that orbit around the animal.
In the first place, you must make sure that the legislation of your country allows you to have it. There are places where its genetic load is prohibited, or limited.
In the case that it is possible to have it legally, it is very convenient that it lives with dogs. Since in this way the wolfdog is better socialized. Ideally, the dogs will be of the opposite sex and of similar size. It is essential that the caregiver has extensive previous experience with dogs.
The wolfdog has a sense of pack superior to that of dogs, and needs a pack for its mental balance. The wolfdog needs to be fed meat (1 or 2 kg daily). I couldn't live with I think.
It is necessary to make sure of the true genetics of the wolfdog, because as with all human activity, the picaresque also exists. There are breeders that offer wolf-like dogs, but their genetics have nothing to do with a wolf. It's a fraud.
The behavior of the wolfdog
The way that wolfdogs express their appreciation is very similar to that shown by pure wolves, and quite different from that used by dogs.
After sniffing you, the wolfdogs will try to bring their jaws close to your mouth and lick your teeth. It's their normal way of recognizing you as a member of their pack. The problem is that if you do not complete the ritual and turn your face away, the animal will give the feeling that you do not recognize it, and it will try to hold its face with its teeth in order to finish its greeting well and that you also lick its teeth. , as befits a member of the pack. They greet each other with a kind of tongue kiss, as you can see.
Wolfdogs make good friends with children, who are also considered puppies of their pack. The problem is that if the animal considers that the child can be hurt, or become very entangled, it will do exactly what it would do with a puppy of the same species: it will try to catch it with its teeth by the neck, or an arm, to take it to another place. Obviously, the kid will be scared to death and will probably be injured..
Finally, there is the issue of hierarchy, an essential element in herds. With complete security in its puppy stage the wolfdog will accept as alpha male or female its caretaker or caretaker; but this acceptance need not be eternal. At a certain time, when the animal is an adult, it can reconsider your hierarchy. It is a fact that may or may not happen. But in the event that the wolfdog decides to be he or she the alpha member of the pack, you will have a big problem..
Living with pure wolves
There are examples of people who have lived with wolves. Historically there have been quite a few cases of children adopted by wolves who have lived with the herd for years. This has occurred in many countries.
There are also relatively recent examples of harmonious coexistence between humans and wolves. The extraordinary naturalist and ethologist Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, managed to live with a pack of wolves, in which he was the alpha male. When some male tried to usurp his power, Felix would lift the wolf in his arms, separating him from the ground. Something so unusual and extraordinary for the wolf, that it immediately recognized the command of the alpha human and abided by his undisputed power..
Sadly, who died in an accident, Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente managed to stop the wolf from being considered in Spain as a vermin to be exterminated. From their memorable lessons on nature and the animals that made it up, the wolf and the raptors became protected species.
Image from rtve.es: