Too often Plan B is called in to help with the rescue of a wolfdog only to discover once the rescue is in motion, the dog has been mislabeled and contains no wolf content.
In most recent cases to help educate the owners, animal control, animal shelters and the public, DNA tests were done on four dogs labeled as wolfdogs and one that was labeled a dog. As expected, the DNA tests indicated zero wolf content for the four and a mid-level content for the one everyone thought was a dog. Of note, one of the dogs that tested for zero wolf content was set to be euthanized by a local shelter because animal control had determined it was a wolf dog. The mislabeling of her was her death sentence. Thankfully this dog was saved and now lives happily with her new family.
Phenotyping is a skill and there are guidelines that offer assistance when trying to identify if a dog is a wolf dog. The following are two resources that have been highly recommended to Plan B
Why is this important?
There are many states within the US where wolf dogs are illegal. There are also areas where wolf dogs may be legal statewide but certain in counties, they are illegal.
Here is a map for reference. However, anyone looking to adopt, or foster wolf dogs should check with their local and state laws prior to taking on such a responsibility. This map is for reference only and is not intended to be legal advice or considered as such.
Additionally, for some it is “cool” to own a wolf dog and to let people know they have one. Again, this becomes a dangerous situation if in fact the dog has no wolf content.
Below is a dog that Plan B rescued. A distressed owner called stating her wolf dog was suddenly very aggressive and they were going to euthanize him unless we could help. Since he was a labeled a wolf dog, finding another home was proving difficult and they had determined euthanizing was the only answer.
Since her appointment to euthanize was only hours away we arranged transport and brought the dog to a local sanctuary where upon sight, there was no appearance of wolf content. DNA tests further proved the initial assessment.
The former owner had purchased the dog from a friend who gave her breeding papers showing the dog contained wolf content. Unfortunately, papers and “friends” can lie, however DNA tests don’t.