Posts Tagged ‘wolfdog’

Collie and wolf cross

From The Wolves of North America (1944) by Stanley Young and Edward Goldman.

And that’s how they made German shepherds. LOL.


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tazi mating with wolf

This image appeared on a Kazakh instagram account. 

The wolf appears to be a steppe wolf (Canis lupus campestris). In Kazakhstan, people keep wolves as pets and “guard dogs” fairly often, and according to Stephen Bodio, they are obsessed with wolves.

The dog is a tazi, a sighthound of the general saluki breed complex, that has quite a few wolf-like characteristics. The breed is usually monestrus, like a wolf, coyote, or a basenji, and females engage in social suppression of estrus and sometimes kill puppies that are born to lower ranking bitches.

I wonder if the wolf-like traits of this breed are somehow reinforced by occasionally crossings with captive and wandering wolves like this. As far as I know, no one has really looked into the genetics of the Kazakh tazi, but it is an unusual dog that lives in a society with a very strong tradition of keeping captive wolves.

We know that gene flows between Eurasian wolves and dogs is much higher than we initially imagined, but I don’t know if anyone is looking at breeds like these for signs of hybridization. The only study I’ve seen looked at livestock guardian dogs from the Caucasus, and it found quite a bit of gene flow-– and it was mostly unintentional.

It would be interesting to know exactly how much wolf is in Kazakh tazis. I would be shocked to learn that they had no wolf ancestry.

I seriously doubt that this is the only time a captive steppe wolf and a tazi were found in this position.

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jack russell wolf

Yes. For real, apparently.

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This is dubbed in English, so you can understand the method. They don’t believe in closed registries out on taiga. The dogs they use in the crosses don’t even have to be domestic!


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This dog’s image comes from a site that says it is 40 percent “Timberwolf” and 60 percent “Norwegian elkhound.”

I don’t know if those percentages are accurate or if this dog has any recent wolf ancestry at all.

But it is said to howl. Norwegian elkhounds really don’t howl. They are know for their barks. I remember my grandpa’s elkhound would rake his back on the lower rung of a split-rail fence in the front yard, and he would bark each time he raked his back against the rail.

I don’t know why anyone would puff an elkhound as being part wolf.

All Norwegian and Swedish elkhounds can have relatively recent wolf ancestry. 

I am skeptical that this particular dog is of recent wolf ancestry.  It might be. It looks more like a wolf than the F1 poodle/wolf crosses that Erik Zimen bred.

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The dog on the right is a cross between a low content wolf dog and a Labrador. The dog on the left is his son, produced through mating with a black Labrador mix.

Here is the low content wolfdog with his grandson and “daughter-in-law.”

My guess is the majority of the litter were black, but this one wasn’t. There also had to be a gene for the black mask in the Labrador mix mother.

NB:  I use the term “wolfdog,” rather than wolf hybrid.  Dogs and wolves are part of the same species, Canis lupus, and can’t technically be hybrids.  However, crosses between dogs and coyotes and crosses between wolves and coyote would be hybrids.

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German shepherd dogs were deeply rooted in the German identity. Adolf Hilter exploited the German shepherd's identity for propaganda purposes. This particular dog is a German shepherd with wolfish coloration, which further adds to the mistique. This dog is not Blondi, Hitler's pet GSD. She was an entirely different color and size.



Great post at Borderwars.

I need to mention that I have repeated the line about the wolfd0gs of the Rhine many times on this blog. The mention is supposedly in Tacitus’s  Germania

I did so without checking the primary source, but because so many credible dog authorities used this stories, I posted it verbatim.

Those authorities got their information from other credible authorities, so no one checked the primary source.  I don’t blame anyone for making this mistake. It is often very hard to find credible historiographies of dogs. Many dog histories are about making fantastic claims.

The golden retriever historians are to be commended for their very good historical research, and the widespread acceptance in the breed societies of the verified breed origin stories. As far as I know, this is the only breed where the actual historical record was used to debunk a myth about the retrievers being derived from Russian circus dogs and for this debunking to have such broad acceptance. All too often, breed fanciers hold onto fanciful stories, even if the history seems overly fantastic and requires many assumptions– and contradicts the genetic evidence.

For the record, one of these sources did not claim any relationship between these “wolfdogs” and the German shepherd. It was just mentioned as a type of dog that was in Europe. I figured that it could have been laika-type spitz or one of the early German herding spitz breeds.

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