Can Domestic Dogs Breed with Wolves?

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: March 9, 2023
© Roman San/
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Wolves are majestic creatures that many people have a deep admiration for. With their striking beauty and impressive strength, it’s no wonder so many love their traits. In fact, many people ask if wolves and domestic dogs can breed with each other.

Yes, domestic dogs can breed with wolves. However, it’s important to realize the complexities of the wolf hybrid. Below, we explain why domestic dogs and wolves can breed, along with the difference between a wolfdog and wolf hybrid. We also detail everything you need to know about having a wolf hybrid as a pet.

Did Dogs Today Evolve from Wolves?

An Apennine wolf in the wild close up
Wolves are majestic creatures that many people have a deep admiration for.

© de Simone

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Think You Can?

We are often told that our domesticated dogs evolved from the majestic gray wolf we know and love. While that is partially true, it is much more complex than many people think. A genome study published in 2014 proved that while domestic dogs and gray wolves have similarities in their DNA, they are related due to the fact that they share the same ancestor.

This means that dogs are descendants of an extinct wolf species and so are gray wolves. The species of wolf that our dogs originated from may have only existed thousands of years ago. So, while domesticated dogs and wolves are related, our pups are not direct descendants of today’s wolves.

Can You Breed Domesticated Dogs with Wolves?

You can breed a domesticated dog and wolf in a safe and informed setting, and they will create fertile offspring.

Some people assume the breeding process is similar to that of a zebra and a horse. These stallions can mate, but their young is sterile. Thankfully for wolf hybrid lovers, this is not the case with dogs and wolves.

Hybrids range in size and appearance based on the domesticated dog breed. They have an average lifespan of about 12-15 years.

What Are the Most Common Wolf Hybrids?

Technically speaking, wolves can be bred with any type of domesticated dog breed. While any combination can successfully create a litter, certain breeds are more common. Some of the most common breeds of dog that mate with the wolf include:

  • Siberian huskies
  • German shepherds
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Akitas
  • Chow chows

When breeding any of the dogs listed above with a wolf, the result will be a stunning wolf hybrid.

Wolfdog vs. Wolf Hybrid – What’s the Difference?

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog running down a path
A wolf hybrid is a dog that has been bred with a pure wolf and a domesticated dog breed, or a pure wolf and a wolfdog.

©Best dog photo/

When discussing the creation of hybrids, two terms are often thrown around: wolf hybrid and wolfdog. Many people do not understand the difference between these two terms, which has led to quite a bit of confusion. Let’s break down the differences.

A wolf hybrid is a result of a pure wolf and a domesticated dog bred together, or a pure wolf and a wolfdog. Essentially, a dog can only be considered a wolf hybrid if one of its parents was a pure wolf. On the other hand, a wolfdog is a dog that is anywhere from two to four generations removed from a pure wolf. A wolf dog is created by breeding two wolf dogs together, or by breeding a wolf dog with a domesticated dog. If neither of the parents are pure wolves, then its considered a wolfdog.

The confusion surrounding these terms is understandable. Some wolfdogs have a striking resemblance to pure wolves. Because of this, many people will automatically assume they are wolf hybrids, and they might even advertise them as such. Now that you know the true difference, you won’t be fooled.

Are Wolf Hybrids & Wolfdogs Legal to Own?

If you are interested in owning a hybrid or wolfdog, look up the laws in your state. If you are allowed to own a wolf hybrid or wolf dog, there may still be some regulations in your city or county that you need to be aware of. Serious fines typically come with breaking these rules, so it’s essential to be educated.

That being said, here are the states in which it is possible to legally own a wolf hybrid or wolfdog:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Keep in mind that you still need to research the rules in your county even if you live in the above states. Individual counties can require permits or specific regulations.

Are Wolf Hybrids & Wolfdogs Good Pets?

Now that you understand the details surrounding these dogs, you may be wondering if they make good pets. First of all, it’s important to realize that no two dogs or wolf hybrids will be the same. Just like any other mixed breed dog, you cannot control which traits the offspring will inherit. This means that some wolf hybrids or wolfdogs will be more “wolf-like” than others. It’s best to be aware of the type of behaviors they may possess.

Possible Wolf Hybrid and Wolfdog Behaviors

  • High prey drive: Wolves have to fend for themselves in the wild, and this often means hunting and chasing after small animals. Even if your dog is only part wolf, they will still likely have a high prey and chase drive. You will not likely be able to have any cats or small pets in your home. Additionally, your wolf mix may chase after small prey that enter your yard.
  • High roaming potential: Wolves roam freely and explore the world around them. Because of this, wolf hybrids and wolfdogs might be more inclined to escape from yards. This is especially true if they are not sterilized, as their reproductive hormones increase the need to roam.
  • High energy levels: Wolves are intelligent creatures that require daily enrichment in the form of exercise and mental stimulation. If your wolf hybrid or wolfdog is not getting enough exercise, they may participate in a variety of undesirable behaviors. Not only can these behaviors be destructive and hard to manage, but they can even be dangerous.
  • Heightened curiosity: Wolf hybrids and wolfdogs are known for being inquisitive creatures. They want to be familiar with every inch of their territory, and even the areas surrounding their homes. Because of this, these pups are known to dig, sniff out, and chase scents. They may even shred items in the home due to general curiosity.

The wolf hybrid or wolfdog is not an ideal pet for an inexperienced dog owner. If you are interested in owning a dog that is part wolf, you will need to be confident as a dog owner and willing to educate yourself on wolf hybrid training. Wolf mixes can be wonderful companions, but only to those that are equipped to handle them correctly.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the wolf hybrid is a complex creature that requires specialized care and training. Be sure to review the information above, including behavioral habits and legality of ownership. Once you have a clear understanding, you can better determine if a wolf mix is the right dog for you!

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The Featured Image

beautiful wolfdog laying on top of a rock
It is illegal to own a wolfdog that has more than 98% wolf DNA.
© Roman San/

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About the Author

My name is Amber, and I am a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. My love for animals and their pet parents drove me to work remotely in this field, aiming to provide pet education and guidance whenever it's needed. There’s nothing I love more than helping you feel empowered about your dog or cat’s care!

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