Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Want a Pet Wolf? Phillip Elden Says You Better Reconsider

Phillip Elden

Wolves are some of the most revered animals in the United States and worldwide. They are beautiful, majestic, and, in many ways, very familiar. But, just because they look like domestic dogs does not mean they make great pets. Conservation expert Phillip Elden explains that evolution has a lot to do with this.
According to Phillip Elden, dogs and wolves have vastly different personalities. Dogs have been man’s best friend for 10,000 years or more, and they are acclimated to domestic life. Wolves, on the other hand, are innately wild and free. Dogs have been bred to be relatively docile, so even a puppy raised on the streets will not be as aggressive as a wolf raised in captivity.
Even experienced dog owners who decide to bring a wolf into their pack find that their behaviors are very different than their canine counterparts. Phillip Elden cites the “mouth hug” as one example of why. Dogs tend to sniff each other as a greeting. Wolves routinely bite each other’s faces in what humans and domestic dogs may take as an act of aggression.

Still, wolves are beautiful and powerful, and many people try to harness these traits by breeding them with dogs in the hopes of creating a gentle and only somewhat-wild pet. Phillip Elden says that this is a terrible idea because it is impossible to predict how genetic traits will pass in a single generation, especially by breeders who are not animal experts. These wolf dogs often wind up left out on the street or taken to an animal shelter where they are subsequently euthanized as they can’t be adopted out safely.
Phillip Elden says there are plenty of dogs that have the look of a wolf with the temperament of a labrador. Malamute, husky, and German Shepherd mixes all fit the bill, and these canines will almost certainly be a better companion than a wild wolf.