The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is nothing new. In fact, wolf-dog ownership has been a fluctuating trend since the 1950s, according to Mission: Wolf, an organization dedicated to educating the public about wolves, wolf dogs, and conservation.
However, wolf dogs, and particularly the german shepherd wolf mix, have been in existence for quite a long time.
In spite of this, ensuring predictable qualities in a german shepherd wolf mix can be difficult, especially if you obtain a newer generation hybrid or obtain a wolf hybrid from an irresponsible source.
We should also note here and now that the German Shepherd Wolf mix is not the ideal dog for most people.
Are you curious to learn more about this fascinating crossbreed? Then join us today as we mesh the wild with the domestic – let’s talk about the German Shepherd Wolf mix!
What Is A German Shepherd Wolf Mix?
The German Shepherd Wolf mix is a cross between a wolf and a German Shepherd dog.
A German Shepherd Wolf Mix is exactly what it sounds like – it is a purebred German Shepherd dog mixed with a wild wolf. Also known as a Shepherd Wolf or simply a Wolf Dog, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix has been rising in popularity amongst animal lovers intrigued with the idea and aesthetic of a wolf-like companion.
Unfortunately, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix often winds up being much more than most people bargain for. Sadly, many of these dogs wind up in shelters or sanctuaries within their first year or two of life, surrendered by overwhelmed owners who were unprepared for what this type of dog could bring to the table.
Because the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is a mix between a domesticated dog and a wild animal, qualities like temperament, health, and even appearance are left up to chance.
However, according to the average German Shepherd Wolf Mix, there is a standard we can go off of when it comes to giving you a brief overview.
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Breed Overview
Type: Crossbreed, Hybrid, Designer Dog
Names: German Shepherd Wolf Mix, Shepherd Wolf, Wolf Shepherd, Wolf Dog
Height: 22 to 26 Inches
Weight: 60 to 120 Pounds
Temperament: Shy, Curious, Intelligent, Stubborn, Independent, Energetic
Lifespan: 12 to 14 Years
Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, Gastric Dilation Volvulus, Arthritis, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, Degenerative Myelopathy and Cataracts
Best Suited For: Highly Educated and Experienced Owners
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Wolf Dog Hybrids
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is an alluring dog for a few reasons. First, this hybrid tends to be beautiful and exotic-looking. Another reason the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is highly sought after is due to a few common myths and misconceptions.
Sadly, these myths and misconceptions are commonly realized too late by owners, who in turn wind up surrendering their dogs. Here are a few of those myths and misconceptions so you can be prepared:
- Wolf Dogs Make Better Guard Dogs
- This is actually false. The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is inherently shy and skittish, especially around people he does not know. This, in turn, makes him a poor guard dog.
- The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Is Highly Intelligent And Easy To Train
- The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is highly intelligent, but he is not easier to train because of this. In fact, these dogs can be very stubborn, standoffish, and sometimes even aloof with people.
- The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Is A Hybrid And Thus Healthier Than Purebreds
- Although hybrid vigor does exist, it’s still important to remember that it is not guaranteed and it is still a topic that is up for quite a bit of debate. The German Shepherd Wolf Mix can still be prone to the same number of serious genetic health issues as both of his parents.
- The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Does Well Living As An Outdoor Dog Only
- This is perhaps the biggest myth of all. Although a German Shepherd Wolf Mix may be aloof and independent, this is also a dog that is highly social by nature both on his wolf side and his domesticated dog side.
Overwhelmed owners who resort to keeping their rambunctious or unmanageable wolf-dog outside for the majority of their lives are likely to wind up with a dog that is distressed, temperamental, and potentially aggressive.
Where Did The German Shepherd Wolf Mixed Breed Come From?
Wolf dogs like the German Shepherd Wolf mix are often turned over to shelters or sanctuaries due to being high maintenance or unpredictable.
Although wolves are our dogs’ ancestors, the process of domestication over hundreds of years has led to an incredible shift between the two animals. In fact, recent studies have shown that domesticated dogs are born with an innate understanding and desire to be near and develop a relationship with human beings.
Wolf pups, even when born in captivity, possess a natural distrust for human beings and do not possess the same ability to read human body language or pick up on queues the same way their dog cousins do.
So while dogs do come from wolves, a wolf-dog could be considered a step back in the evolutionary process of canine domestication.
But where did wolf dogs come from and, more specifically, where did the German Shepherd Wolf Mix originate?
It is likely that wolf-dog hybrids have been around for centuries, with the breeding of these two animals beginning around 1766. Although one of the first recorded instances of a German Shepherd Wolf Mix being born was the Saarloos Wolfdog, also known as a Wolfshepherd.
This German Shepherd Wolf Mix was created by Leendert Saaroloos, who bred a German Shepherd with a European Wolf.
The goal of this was to create a dog that was larger, stronger, and more independent than most other purebreds. While many of these goals were met, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix also exhibited other traits as well.
These included the traits of their wild parentage, such as a skittishness of man, an incredibly high prey drive, an incredible energy level, and potential aggression.
Still, throughout the years the German Shepherd Wolf Mix has been growing in popularity. In fact, today the Wolfshepherd is considered one of the most popular wolf-dog hybrids in the United States.
Are you considering a German Shepherd Wolf Mix?
There are a few things you should know first. With that noted, let’s talk about this unique dog’s temperament, health, exercise needs, and care requirements in more detail below.
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Could Be Unpredictable As Far As Temperament
Wolf dogs can be difficult to train and may be unpredictable as far as temperament.
Raising a German Shepherd Wolf Mix could be an incredible and rewarding experience, but just because your friend found favor with a German Shepherd Wolf Mix does not mean you will.
Remember, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is a cross between a domesticated dog and a wild wolf. This means a number of his traits will be left up to chance, including temperament.
Social by nature, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix requires plenty of attention from his owners. He will view them as his pack, and as such will deem them his family. Without consistent interaction, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix could become depressed, anxious, temperamental, and even aggressive.
This is not the ideal dog for a home with children and smaller pets, though he can do well with other larger dogs.
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix may be standoffish with those he doesn’t know, but he could have fear-based aggressive tendencies if he feels threatened or cornered.
It’s incredibly important to ensure that your German Shepherd Wolf Mix is properly trained and socialized at an early age to help reduce potential behavioral issues.
If you do have young children in the home, refrain from leaving them alone with your German Shepherd Wolf Mix. As with all dogs, it’s suggested that you teach age-appropriate children about the responsible ways to interact with the German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
Work with youngsters, family members, and outside friends on basic canine body language, and be watchful of your German Shepherd Wolf Mix around children, pets and company.
You should also note that the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is highly intelligent and independent. While this could make training exciting for the owner who enjoys a challenge, it also means that the German Shepherd Wolf Mix could become bored easily.
He does best with lots of interaction, exercise, mental stimulation and attention to ensure he is happy and healthy throughout his life.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix Dogs Will Be Heavy Shedders, But Grooming Is Generally Standard
German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs have long, double-layered coats that shed heavily throughout the year.
Grooming a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is not all that different from grooming a German Shepherd. Like a standard German Shepherd, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix will be a heavy shedder that sheds year-round and most heavily twice a year during shedding season.
The shedding season occurs during spring and fall, and during this time it is suggested that you brush your German Shepherd Wolf Mix between two to three times a week to help remove loose hair.
Outside of shedding season, we suggest brushing your German Shepherd Wolf Mix at least once a week.
The Furminator Deshedding Brush
For brushing double-coated dogs like the German Shepherd Wolf Mix, we suggest a brush like the Furminator. This is a quality deshedding comb that works to combat the buildup of debris and loose hair, pulling it from the undercoat.
Not only can this reduce the amount of loose hair around your home and on your clothing, but it can also help reduce doggy odor as well as the potential build-up of yeast and bacteria in the fur.
We like that this brush is a self-cleaning brush that allows you to remove the loose hair using a small button without ever having to stop brushing. We also recommend investing in a slicker comb and dematting comb for your German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
Along with brushing, your German Shepherd Wolf Mix will also need other care regimens added to his grooming routine. These include bathing, dental care, ear cleanings, and nail trimming.
Bathing A German Shepherd Wolf Mix
Bathing your German Shepherd Wolf Mix will not need to be done too often. In fact, overbathing this hybrid can lead to skin issues and sensitivities. Instead, try to keep to a routine and bathe your German Shepherd Wolf Mix once every six weeks or so, and only more frequently if needed.
When you bathe your German Shepherd Wolf Mix, be sure to use a quality shampoo free of dyes, alcohol, or parabens that could strip your dog of the natural oils his skin produces that help to keep his coat healthy.
Instead, stick with a shampoo that is specifically designed for use on dogs and that is made with high-quality ingredients.
Brushing Your German Shepherd Wolf Mix Dog’s Teeth
While it may seem like a daunting task to dig into your German Shepherd Wolf Mix dog’s mouth, it’s very important to keep up with routine dental care. Just like people, dogs can develop serious dental disease and tooth decay, which can lead to other serious health issues down the road.
Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day using a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste specified for canine use.
You might also consider seeing your veterinarian annually for a routine dental cleaning to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while also preventing dental disease.
Keeping Your German Shepherd Wolf Mix Dog’s Ears Clean
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix can be prone to ear infections, especially if his ears are not kept clean and free of moisture, debris, or waxy buildup.
To ensure you are keeping your dog’s ears clean, we suggest investing in a quality ear cleaner made for dogs. It’s also important not to use a q-tip when cleaning your dog’s ears. Last, be sure not to get water directly into your dog’s ear canal. This can lead to infection down the road if not thoroughly dried.
Keeping Up With Routine Nail Trimming or Grinding For Your German Shepherd Wolf Mix
Last but not least, don’t forget to focus on those nails. At least once every few weeks your German Shepherd Wolf Mix will need his nails trimmed or ground down to help keep them from cracking or splitting during play or exercise.
A German Shepherd Wolf Mix Requires Plenty Of Training and Socialization From An Early Age
Any wolf dog like the German Shepherd Wolf mix is going to require plenty of training, socialization and mental stimulation beginning early in life.
As we did mention briefly above, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix can be unpredictable when it comes to a number of temperamental traits. For this reason, it’s especially important that you take time to train and socialize your German Shepherd Wolf Mix early on in his life.
As with all dogs, it’s ideal to begin socializing your German Shepherd Wolf Mix during puppyhood. Socialization will include introducing your dog to new environments, places, people, sounds, sights, smells, and animals as often as possible.
Try and help your German Shepherd Wolf Mix see these experiences as positive, and refrain from forcing your dog to do something that is clearly frightening or stressful for him. This could only exasperate fears down the road and lead to worsened behavioral issues or fear-based aggression.
Socialization should not stop when your German Shepherd Wolf Mix is an adult. He should be around his family as often as possible to help ensure he remains mentally and physically sound.
Along with socializing your German Shepherd Wolf Mix early, it’s also imperative to begin training as early as possible.
Although a German Shepherd Wolf Mix may not be as easy to train as a standard German Shepherd, he is trainable.
In fact, German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs are highly intelligent, and with the right motivation, they can build a strong bond with their owner and be eager to please them.
During training sessions with a German Shepherd Wolf Mix, it’s very important not to use aversive techniques like punishment or fear. This can lead to anxiety and stress for your dog, which in turn can lead to aggression down the road.
Instead, stick with positive reinforcement techniques that utilize treats, praise, and patience.
Innovet Pet Freeze Dried Training Treats
High-value training treats can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring your grab and hold your German Shepherd Wolf Mix dog’s attention. We like the above training treats by Innovet Pet because they are simply freeze-dried liver treats.
These natural and healthy treats contain 100% beef liver and nothing else. They are rich in protein and can help ensure that your dog is not only paying attention to you but also staying healthy while training.
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix Is Not The Ideal Dog For Novice Dog Owners
German Shepherds alone are best suited for more experienced dog owners, so it’s no surprise that a German Shepherd Wolf mix would be best suited for more experienced dog owners as well.
With the popularity of shows like Game Of Thrones, it’s easy to see why a German Shepherd Wolf Mix would become so popular in recent years. However, and as we’ve mentioned a few times, this is a dog that is not recommended for novice dog owners.
The German Shepherd alone may be one of the United States’ most popular purebreds, but he is already best suited for more experienced, active dog owners and families.
Add some wolf DNA to the mix and you’ll get an intelligent, energetic, high maintenance, and even needy hybrid.
The ideal owner of a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is going to be someone who is very educated on the crossbreed and who understands the importance of proper exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, and training.
An ideal owner should also understand that the German Shepherd Wolf Dog may exhibit behaviors more akin to a wild wolf than a dog, and these behaviors will need to be worked with.
This could include skittishness, shyness, wariness, and even aggression. As such, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix is not ideally suited for homes with children and smaller pets, as we discussed above.
These dogs are very brainy and athletic, and they will need a good hour or so of dedicated exercise each and every day to ensure they are not only healthy and fit but also happy.
Routine exercise could include long walks, hikes, jogs, or runs. Along with this dedicated exercise time, your German Shepherd Wolf Mix will also need some free playtime as well.
Easy Walk Front Clip Dog Harness
When you are walking your German Shepherd Wolf Mix outside, it’s wise to invest in a quality dog harness that helps to reduce pulling while also ensuring you have plenty of control.
We like the above Easy Walk Front Clip Harness because it helps reduce your dog’s natural urge to pull by clipping in the front, therefore refraining from putting pressure on your dog’s throat or chest. The front clip harness is also ideal for teaching good walking manners and is more highly recommended for strong, athletic dogs with a tendency to pull than choke chains or prong collars.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs will also thrive in homes with lots of securely fenced land or a large yard in which they can run and play freely. An owner should also be able and willing to commit time to training, and an ideal owner may be one with a flexible schedule or an owner who works from home.
Remember, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix may be part wolf, but this is not an outdoor-only dog. If left to his own devices in a backyard all day, you are sure to wind up with a hybrid that develops some very serious behavioral issues down the road and that may even become unmanageable.
And speaking of being unmanageable, when it comes to mental stimulation, don’t slack.
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix could be prone to destructive issues, depression, and anxiety if he becomes too bored day after day. You can reduce this behavior by ensuring your dog is not only properly exercised and socialized, but that he has plenty to do on those occasions when you are not there.
Puzzle toys that utilize food can help keep your German Shepherd Wolf Mix busy, as can common KONGS and snuffle mats.
The German Shepherd Wolf Dog Could Cost Between $800 to $1,000 Depending On Your Source
Depending on the source you go through, some German Shepherd wolf mix dogs can be very expensive.
German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs range in price from $800 to $1,000, though this cost can vary depending on your region and the quality of your breeder.
Because a German Shepherd Wolf Mix pup does come with so many controversial qualities and a somewhat controversial breeding history, it’s incredibly important that you do your research and take your time when selecting a breeder.
Avoid going through backyard breeders, online sellers or those with a poor understanding of responsible breeding practices to obtain your German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
If you are very concerned about obtaining a German Shepherd Wolf Mix with behavioral issues, we suggest investing in a dog that comes by way of an experienced wolf dog breeder and a dog that is at least a third or fourth generation wolf dog.
Of course, do keep in mind that there are countless German Shepherd Wolf Dogs currently in shelters and sanctuaries due to overwhelmed owners.
For this reason, you might consider rescuing a German Shepherd Wolf Mix from a shelter that specializes in these types of dogs instead of buying a puppy from a breeder.
Most adoption fees for a German Shepherd Wolf Mix range from $250 to $500 and they often include a free initial vet exam. Many shelters will also have had their dogs undergo behavioral testing and some basic training before placing them with their new owner.
If you prefer to go through a breeder, be sure to ask plenty of questions. You may be able to meet or at least see images of your puppy’s parents to get a better idea of what he or she will grow up to look like, and you can also find out information on past health issues or behavioral issues in previous litters.
A German Shepherd Wolf Dog Mix Could Be Illegal In Your Region
Before you invest, it’s important to make sure that owning a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is actually legal in your area.
Before you commit to a German Shepherd Wolf Mix, we should note that they are not legal in all States or cities throughout the US.
Like many other controversial dog breeds and mixes, the German Shepherd Wolf Mix has been labeled by some as a potentially “dangerous” dog breed, which means he could be banned in particular regions.
To get a better understanding of your area and the legalities of owning a German Shepherd Wolf Mix, we recommend looking into Breed-Specific Legislation in the United States.
So, Do We Recommend A German Shepherd Wolf Dog?
Although the idea of owning a wolf dog can seem exciting on paper, in reality wolf dogs are not the ideal dog for most owners or households.
Getting a German Shepherd Wolf Mix should be done carefully and the decision should be given plenty of forethought long before you commit.
Remember, while German Shepherd Wolf Mix dogs are considered “dogs”, they are not the same as the domesticated dogs we have come to know and love today.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is going to be a wild animal. There are plenty of owners who have had wonderful experiences with their wolf dog hybrids.
Still, it’s best you are educated and fully ready for the incredible commitment you may be undertaking when it comes to raising a German Shepherd Wolf Mix.
If you are put off by this information, there are other breeds you might consider that look like wolves, but are actually domesticated dogs with more predictable temperaments.
Some dogs we suggest you take a look at include:
- The Alaskan Malamute
- The Black German Shepherd
- The White German Shepherd
- The Husky x German Shepherd Mix
- The Northern Inuit Dog
- The Canadian Eskimo Dog
- And The Tamaskan Dog
We hope that you’ve learned enough about the German Shepherd Wolf Mix to make an informed decision as to whether or not this unique animal is the right addition to your home.
Have you ever met a German Shepherd Wolf Mix or are you considering getting one? Tell us below in the comments.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.