Wolves as Pets... NOT a Good Idea
Wolves are wild animals and do not belong in captivity. While many people try to make them into pets, captive wolves still retain the natural instincts of their wild ancestors. Owners often misinterpret their unruly behavior as aggression. As pups, nearly all wolves and hybrids behave like docile dogs, readily playful and relatively submissive. However, as they approach sexual maturity, most become predatorial, wide-ranging, highly territorial, pack-oriented animals. Wolves greet each other by hugging, but they can't use their paws - so they use their mouths. Wolves in a pack can often be seen chewing on their pack-mates' faces. A wolf is going to treat a human just like another wolf. Wolves will run up, put their nose on yours, look you in the eyes and then lick your teeth. However, if you get frightened and pull away, the wolf will grab your face in its mouth to say "Hey, come back here… I just want to say hello." Unfortunately, owners often misinterpret this greeting as aggression.
Many of the instances of wolf pets not working out were caused by their owners misunderstanding basic wolf behavior and communication.
It took 10,000 years of selective breeding and training to get dogs to do what we want. Over those same 10,000 years, wolves have been living on their own. A wolf’s brain is about 30% larger than a dogs, thus making the argument that wolves can be roughly 30% smarter than dogs. Do you think an independent wolf, whose ancestors have always been responsible for their own lives, is going to come when you call or do anything you want? No, a wolf lives its life on its own terms. A dog will let you take a pair of slippers out of its mouth because we bred them to… a wolf would see those same slippers as their personal property and guard them from you .
Another common misconception is that wolves are mean or vicious. Though there has never been a documented case of a healthy wild wolf killing a human and there are more injuries caused each year by dogs attacking people than by pet wolves, the myth lives on. This myth contributes to many wolf or wolf-dog owners mistaking a greeting with an attack. When wolves greet each other they want to give others a hug, but they can’t use their paws… so they use their mouths. Wolves in a pack can often be seen chewing on their pack-mates’ faces. A wolf is going to treat a human just like another wolf and want to greet you like one. They don’t hurt each other because they have thick fur, but humans are a little more delicate. If you are really calm and gentle then the wolf will usually walk up, put its nose on yours, look you in the eyes and then lick your teeth. However, if you get frightened and pull away, the wolf will grab your face in its mouth to say “Hey, come back here… I just want to say hello.” It is times like these that owners can mistake a friendly greeting for an attack and will blame the wolf for any injuries even though the wolf had no intention of hurting the person.
The more time you spend observing wild and captive wolves, the more you will see that they are all individuals with different personalities and that they are not the scary Big Bad Wolf from little red riding hood – just misunderstood creatures. But, at the same time, they do not belong in your house or neighborhood.