The German Shepherd Wolf Mix certainly makes for an extraordinary dog.
As you will have guessed from their name, these dogs are half wolf!
They are easily noticeable not just because of their huge size, but also for their striking resemblance to their wolf parent.
However, these part-wild animals are not for the faint-hearted.
Their protective instincts and wild side means they can be unpredictable and even aggressive at times. But in the right hands, this mix can be an intelligent and vigilant breed.
Are you up to the challenge?
Keep reading to learn just how Wolfdogs are bred, what it takes to own one, and much more…
|Breed Quick Facts
|Thick double coat, medium in length
|Gray and brown
|Twice yearly shed
|Protective, intelligent and shy
|Need firm and consistent training
Table of Contents
What Is A German Shepherd Wolf Mix?
A German Shepherd Wolf Mix is a cross between a German Shepherd and a wild wolf.
They are commonly known as a Wolfdog.
A Wolfdog is simply any dog who has one parent that is a wolf, and the other that is any breed of domesticated dog. Most commonly, a Wolfdog refers to a cross between gray wolves and German Shepherds. There are actually three different types:
- Saarloos Wolfhund (Gray Wolf x German Shepherd)
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog (Gray Wolf x German Shepherd)
- Volkonsoby Wolfdog (Gray Wolf x German Shepherd)
Which Wolfdog you get depends on which species of wolf the German Shepherd has been bred with. However, all the types of Wolfdogs share similar characteristics despite their different ancestries.
German Shepherds are most often used in Wolfdog crosses due to their likeness with wolves and how versatile a working breed they are. There are however other Wolfdog crosses other than the German Shepherd, most notably the Labrador (Wolfador).
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix looks just like a wolf.
Part of the reason for this is because their German Shepherd parent already shares many features with wolves – large mouths which display their rows of white teeth when smiling; pointed ears and round, bright eyes; dense double-layered fur; and a thick, bushy tail held high.
One of their most stand-out features is their size.
They are often bigger than both of their parents thanks to a genetic feature known as heterosis and can weigh up to 100 pounds and stand 30 inches tall.
Because of their unpredictable nature and the fact that one of their parents is a true wild animal, they are banned in many US states.
Even in those they are not banned, there are strict rules and regulations about owning a Wolfdog.
Appearance & Pictures
Size and Weight
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix often ends up growing bigger than both the German Shepherd and the Wolf.
This is because of a clever genetic trick called hybrid vigor.
Hybrid vigor is simply the idea that when a hybrid is created between two species – such as the domestic dog and the wolf – the outcome is fitter in one way or another than both of the parents, because of the genes combining.
This means you can expect this mix to average 70-120 pounds in weight and measure 20-30 inches tall.However, these are just averages and given that there are no breed standards there can be mixes who are smaller or larger than this.
The color of this mix heavily relies on the color of both parents.
There are 11 official German Shepherd colors and when you combine this with a wild gray wolf you can get the following combinations:
- Black and Tan x Gray
- Black and Cream x Gray
- Black and Red x Gray
- Silver x Gray
- Liver x Gray
- Steel Blue x Gray
- Sable x Gray
- Gray x Gray
- Red Sable x Gray
- Bi color x Gray
- Panda x Gray
- White x Gray
- Black x Gray
Usually, the wolf parent is a mottled shade of gray, and the German Shepherd is a black and tan. This means Wolfdogs are usually a unique marbled and patchy gray and tan.
|Ease of Training
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is half wild wolf and this shows in their personalities.
In the wild they are pack animals and at home this translates to a fierce loyalty and extreme protectiveness over their families, whom they consider their pack. The pack mentality that this mix has is dampened down by their German Shepherd parents, but they still maintain some of that natural wariness that wolves in the wild have of humans.
There is a common misconception that breeding a German Shepherd with a wolf will make an even more ferocious guard dog, but this often backfires since wolves are shy and reserved when threatened.
This can make these mixes shy and nervous.
They have an inherent mistrust for anything out of the ordinary and thrive on routine in their day-to-day lives.
To bring out the friendly German Shepherd side of the mix, they need plenty of early socialization to other dogs, new situations, and changes in their home.
Both parents have strong prey drives, so expect them to want to chase everything. They also love to dig, with an instinct to dig burrows just like wild wolves.
To provide an outlet for this energy they will need lots of space outdoors to roam, play, dig, and explore. This mix will not cope well with living indoors all the time.
Overall, this mix is a tamed version of their wild wolf parent. They are unpredictable, aggressive, energetic, protective and shy.
Some people believe that because of the Wolfdog’s pack instincts that dominance training is the best way to train these intelligent guys. Dominance training involves establishing yourself as the ‘alpha’ over your dog, following the hierarchical structure that wolf packs supposedly have in the wild.
However, despite all of their similarities to the wolf, they are still part German Shepherd and will likely respond poorly to dominance training.
You are much better off using positive reinforcement.
These mixes are intelligent and loyal so they will be eager to please and therefore much more likely to follow your rules if you are kind but persistent and firm with instructions.
As far as socialization you should start as early as possible.
However, even when trained properly by an experienced owner, Wolfdogs are still unpredictable and therefore only suit the most knowledgeable of owners.
Common Health Issues
The average lifespan of a German Shepherd Wolf Mix is 12 to 14 years. In human years that’s 77 to 88 years old!
Their hybrid vigor means that in general they tend to be healthier than both their parent breeds.
Although they do not suffer from any known common health issues, there is a question over how well the rabies vaccine works in these dogs.
The vaccine has not been tested in Wolfdogs and therefore it cannot be certain that it works or is even safe for them.
A German Shepherd Wolf Mix puppy will cost around $800.
This is relatively cheap given they are such a rare and legendary dog. However, they are cheap because they are not in high demand and they are banned in many states.
In fact it is hard to find a breeder.
These dogs are sometimes illegally bred and therefore do end up in rescues. Here are three specific Wolfdog rescues where some of the dogs are likely to be German Shepherd cross wolf amongst other wolf crosses.
- Howling Woods Farm
- Never Cry Wolf Rescue & Adoption
- Dark Forest Kennels
There are three types of Wolfdogs and all of them come from Europe.
The most common German Shepherd Wolf Dog is the Saarloos Wolfhund.
Saarloos Wolfhunds originated in the Netherlands in 1935 when a zoologist called Saarloos crossed a German Shepherd with a Siberian gray wolf. Saarloos’ intention was to make the German Shepherd a better working dog. He believed they had become too domesticated and loved humans a little too much.
Further generational crosses took place later, continuing Saarloos’ work until the Saarloos Wolfhund was produced.
Unfortunately, Saarloos’ work failed, and this mix makes neither a better guard dog (they are too shy) nor a better pet (they are too unpredictable) than the German Shepherd. This is because recent genetic research shows that this dog is more wolf than they are German Shepherd, making them more like their wild ancestors than the domesticated ones.
Because of this the American Kennel Club does not recognize the breed as they are too wild and unpredictable.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, German Shepherds were crossed with Carpathian Gray wolves with the idea of creating a border patrol dog. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was slightly more successful than Saarloos because they wanted simply the physical characteristics of the wolf to enhance the German Shepherd, rather than their aggressive tendencies.
With similar aims as in the Czech Republic, Russia become the third country to breed the German Shepherd with wolves. This time the Caspian Steppe wolf was used. These wolves are known for their unusually friendliness towards humans. They became known as the Volkonsoby Wolfdog, however they are not recognized by any Kennel Club internationally.
Caring for these dogs comes down to three important tasks: feeding, grooming and exercise.
German Shepherd Wolf Mixes have a much higher requirement for protein than standard domesticated dogs.
Feeding kibble will not be enough to keep these huge dogs healthy.
They need a balanced raw diet that has been tailored to their specific needs under a vet’s guidance.
In the wild wolves spend a good part of their day hunting and eating whatever they catch. Providing your mix with a raw diet by hiding it around their outdoor space will encourage them to use up some of their endless energy and use that intelligent mind of theirs to sniff it out and eat it.
Next up is exercise.
Wolves can travel up to 50 miles a day so it is no surprise that this mix is full of energy. They need plenty of space to roam outdoors as they are not fond of being walked on a leash. However, they love to play games and will need at least 2 hours a day of vigorous exercise such as playing frisbee or tug-o-war.
The final part of their care is grooming.
As heavy shedders with a thick double coat they need grooming once a week. Like their German Shepherd parent, this can be done using a slicker brush.
An important part of the weekly groom should be checking them for ticks and fleas. With the amount of time they spend outdoors they are particularly susceptible to picking up ticks and they are therefore at a higher risk of the diseases carried by them too.
What To Expect As Pets
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix is not suitable for those without experience.
They need an owner who knows how to handle and train them well, as well as one with a large and well-secured yard for them to roam and play in.
Wolfdogs will howl and it can be heard up to 10 miles away. They howl more when left alone or when bored but they will howl to some extent no matter what. Because of this these dogs are not suited to the city.
Ultimately, these dogs take a lot of time, money, and effort to keep.
Despite their mighty looks they should not be bought as status pets. They require an experienced, knowledgeable owner with good reason to own this breed. If you are looking for more a pet-friendlier dog then consider the Blue Bay Shepherd.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big do German Shepherd wolf mixes get?
These dogs grow to be some of the biggest out there
They can weigh up to 120 pounds and measure more than 30 inches tall. However, on average they are close to 100 pounds and 25 inches tall.
What would you feed a German Shepherd wolf mix?
These mixes should be fed on a well-balanced raw feed diet with vitamin and mineral supplements.
Is there any wolf in a German Shepherd?
Just like all domestic dogs, the German Shepherd descended from the wolf.
However, they are no more related to the wolf than a Frenchie or a Spaniel, given that the ancestors of all domestic dogs evolved around 30,000 years ago from the wolf.
Wolfdogs are any breed of domestic dog crossed with a wolf, but the most common and only recognized of these are German Shepherd cross wolves.
There are three types:
- Saarloos Wolfhund: German Shepherd x Siberian Gray Wolf
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog: German Shepherds x Carpathian Gray Wolves
- Volkonsoby Wolfdog: German Shepherd x Caspian Steppe Wolf
The German Shepherd Wolf Mix typically takes after their wolf parent in both looks and temperament.
Although they are protective and loyal, they are generally shy and nervous dogs especially when faced with strangers or new situations.
Just remember that they are a half wild animal and are unpredictable.
They need a lot of outdoor space to carry out all the normal activities their wolf parent would have done in the wild, including roaming, digging, hunting, howling, and playing.
Do you think you could handle this mix as a pet?
Let us know in the comments section below…