In growing fed up with people misrepresenting their domestic dogs as “wolfdogs”, I have quickly composed the above sketches to illustrate the differences between a high-content wolfdog (top), and the two most common breed that are passed off as “wolfdogs” - a husky (middle), and German shepherd (bottom).
This is a VERY GENERAL diagram to show the differences between these animals. If your dog looks more like one of the lower breeds, it is NOT a “90% wolf” - In fact, it’s probably not even a mid-content mix. True high- and mid-content wolfdogs are VERY wolfy in appearance: There is no mistaking the presence of wolf DNA in their genes.
True wolfdogs will NOT have:
Blue or bi-colored eyes,
Pink or liver-colored nose pads/lips/paw pads,
Pure white fur (even white wolves have minor variations to their coat color)
Spots of contrasting color across the body,
Piebalding (white patches across the body),
Or brindle markings.
They WILL have a smooth stop to their brow, a narrow chest, rounded tips to their ears, lanky legs, very small angular eyes, and pointed-looking paws. Their tails are thick-furred all the way around (unlike a German shepherd’s, which has long fur only on the underside - this is know as a “flag” tail), and hair follicles that are straight from the root to the tip. They also have a double-coat of fur: Downy underfur, and thick guard hairs, which are longer on the neck and shoulder area than elsewhere.
Low-content wolfdogs are harder to phenotype, but nevertheless look VERY wolfy. These, too, will not usually have more than one of the above-mentioned doglike traits. If a supposed “wolfdog”, for example, has a curly tail and blue eyes, it’s not a wolfdog.
IF YOU HAVE A DOG AND YOU ARE NOT SURE IF IT’S A WOLFDOG, PLEASE DO NOT TELL PEOPLE IT’S A WOLFDOG.
I cannot stress this enough.
Domestic dogs are passed off as wolfdogs all the time and it increases demand for both lookalike mutts, and for actual wolf-dog hybrids. Someone who sees a shepherd/husky mix and is told it’s a wolfdog may think, “Hey! That was a pretty cool animal! It acts just like a normal dog! I want one, too!” so he’ll run off and buy an actual wolfdog, only to find that he’s completely unprepared for the behavioral issues that animal carries with it. He may also end up buying a wolf lookalike, and, aside from supporting an unethical breeder, will likely continue the cycle of passing off a normal dog as a wolf.
STOP IT. Respect dogs as dogs and wolves as wolves.