Wolf or Dog – Phenotyping Lesson

A phenotype is the physical appearance of an organism. The phenotype results from the genotype (or genetic makeup) of that organism. A wolf has a very specific phenotype and can be easily differentiated from a domestic dog.  While the wolf and domestic dog share many characteristics the wolf is truly a unique animal; one whose physical characteristics are perfectly adapted to the environment in which it lives.

As wolves gain in popularity due to “wolf culture” wolfdogs have become popular. Wolfdogs are a mix of wolf and domestic dog. Some breeders intentionally mix the two in hopes of achieving a wolf-looking domestic dog. When a wolf and dog are bred together the traits that are produced are a mix of both. But the breeder does not get to pick and choose the wolf traits that are carried to the offspring generation. Like wolves, wolfdogs tend to have powerful prey instincts. They are shy and will frequently hide from visitors. Often families find that their wolfdog is more difficult to handle than they anticipated, and those wolfdogs end up in shelters waiting to be euthanized.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary chooses to provide a place for these wolf dogs to call home. We provide veterinary care, physical care and emotional support for these animals.