Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Truth about Bruce's Lineage, and a Wolfdog Rant

I have blogged in the past the facts about us adopting Bruce from a local rescue group, and many of the behavioral and aggression difficulties we have endured with him.

 I believe I have mentioned that I felt the rescue was not completely truthful with us, and perhaps slightly happy to be getting rid of Bruce.  At our initial meet and greet, I commented on his height, narrowness, and structure.  They were vehement in stating that he had no wolf heritage, and I did not argue with them.  Bruce was officially adopted out as a Siberian Husky x Alaskan Malamute x German Shepherd.  I can obviously see the Malamute, and the GSD as well.  Husky not so much, given he is 30" at the shoulder, which is taller than most Malamutes and GSD's, and absolutely dwarfs Sibes.

Bruce was an owner surrender to a local Humane Society.  They have a six week wait period and individuals wishing to surrender an animal must meet with a counselor prior to doing so.  This tells me that perhaps his original owners really cared for him.  Their reason for surrendering him is that they were expecting a baby.

When we adopted Bruce, we were provided with some paperwork from a local low cost clinic, and the names of his original owners had been blacked out with a Sharpie. I was able to mostly read through this Sharpie. Based on the age and date from his first visit, I assigned him his birthday. 

Fast forward several months later.  I was on a Northern Breed Facebook group, when I came across a picture of some animals that looked similar to Bruce.  I clicked on the poster's profile, only to learn that he was a "breeder" of wolfdogs, and not that far from me.

I sent him a Facebook message, introducing myself.  I told him of how I came to have Bruce, and asked if he had any litters born around October 1, 2009, and if so, did he sell to someone with the last name of **** or any variation of it.  He had a litter born that day, and did sell to Bruce's original owners.

This man was very nice, and provided me with pictures of Bruce's parents.

Bruce's dam, a purebred Alaskan Malamute.
mid content wolfdog
Bruce's sire, a middish content wolfdog.
So now I knew the story of Bruce, and a little of his lineage, which does include some wolf ancestry.

Now for my rant.  Bruce's "breeder" is a pretty nice guy, and seems to take care of his animals.  However he "misrepresents" their wolf content, which is a huge deal in the wolfdog community, and he shouldn't be breeding.

I love woofers, but I do not agree with the way they are bred.  People are throwing together animals randomly, and wolfdog "breeders" do not do any sort of health testing, be it hips, elbows, or eyes, on their animals.  The vast majority of these "breeders" can only trace back their animals lines 1-3 generations, and have no idea of any sort of genetic issues that may pop up.  They breed animals that are known to have poor temperaments, particularly those that are high content.  I get that high contents should be indistinguishable from a wolf, but if that's the point, get a permit, build a zoo like enclosure, and get a wolf.

They are not breeding towards a goal, or attempting to better a breed.  The one exception to this is the Alaskan Noble Companion Dog, which is a "breed in development" and is being done by a brilliant person is who doing everything correct. The wolf content in her animals is none/very minimal, but retain a nice look with wonderful temperaments and tractability.  Not only that, she health tests every single animal, and all puppies prior to them being sent home.

Many breeders do not adequately screen or educate potential buyers.  This is one of many reasons so many wolfdogs end up in rescue, and why they are a much maligned breed.

I am pro-rescue, but not anti-breeding.  I am against irresponsible breeding, breeding without a purpose, and those who are not bettering a breed.  Plenty of woofers will always be in rescue, much like any high strung, demanding breed of dog, so I will always have a way to have a wolfdog in my life, without supporting the breeding of these animals.


  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting post with us. We didn't know about this. Bruce is sure beautiful and lucky to have you as his momma.
    stella rose

  2. I take it said breeder did not have a requirement that the product of his breeding choices come back to him rather than go to rescue. Beyond indiscriminate breeding and not health testing, I have a huge problem with that. Responsible breeders should be taking their animals back or at least helping to re-home them. Same goes for rescues. They should be honest and truthful about the animals they are placing.

    Bruce is sure stunning though.

  3. I am always so interested in tracking down lineage/history on animals. Having two registered horses, it was quite easy with them, but rescue dog mysteries are usually unsolvable. Even though it wasn't all necessarily good news, I still think it's cool that you were able to piece together more about Bruce.

    I loved Ceiridwin Terrill's book 'Part Wild' on wolf-dogs and attended her reading/booksigning here in Denver. I think they are, for the most part, not a great idea since they can be so much more difficult to manage than dogs.

    Like you, I am pro-rescue and not anti-breeder. I support breeding healthy, nice-tempered, lovingly raised dogs and after having some challenging rescue cases, I might want a puppy someday whose parents and background I know.

  4. I'm glad I met Ace's original owner and got some idea on how he'd grown up. I wish I'd asked even more questions and asked about the person she got him from. He was from an accidental litter between two farm dogs, and it would've been easy to find his parents' owners in that tiny town of Ada, Minn. But, oh well. Those details weren't important to me at the time.

    Bruce's story is so interesting, and it brings up so many different issues. I feel I'm not educated enough about wolfdogs to really have an opinion on their breeding, but I agree with the points you made.

    So glad Bruce ended up with you guys.

  5. Found this post fascinating. I do not have much knowledge about wolfdogs and their breeding and purpose of. Would you be so kind as do to a post and educate those of us who do not understand. I get your meaning but am a loss as to why people will try and breed wolf and dog and what can be the outcome. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. I always thought Bruce was a strikingly beautiful dog. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Breeding purely for looks is a terrible thing to do. So many "breeders" do this without thinking of the consequences, whether it be health or behavioural. Audi is another result of careless breeding and even though he has "good lineage" in terms of show dogs, his health is deteriorating so quickly.

  7. Bruce is incredibly handsome and noble, and he's very lucky that you adopted him. He's a lucky dog, but I have to wonder how many of the other pups that the breeder has sold have not ended up as lucky (I'm with you on your thoughts about breeding). Good job on the research. I'm sure it helps you knowing what behaviors to expect. Bruce is an amazing dog.

  8. I commend you for adopting Bruce and tracking down his story. I'm sure it helps you work with him. It's a disturbing story though in the manner these dogs are being breed. It takes special handling and if there is not full disclosure, there is going to be issues. While I'm.not anti-breeder, I wish there were better regulations, licensing or such to provide better protection for both the adopters and the dogs themselves. Thanks for sharing your story. Bruce is a lucky dog.

  9. That was a really great post! And I agree, it is super important to be honest about the breed of dog. ESPECIALLY if their is some wolf in there. These dogs are gorgeous and amazing BUT should not be for just anybody. Same as PitBulls. I am a huge PitBull advocate but I wouldn't say it is a breed for everybody. Different breeds need different things. Loved this post
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!


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