A Labrador wolf mix won’t suit every home! So, today we’re going to take a closer look at what to expect from this half wild, half domestic combination.
- What does a Labrador wolf mix look like?
- Are Labrador wolf mixes friendly?
- Labrador wolf mix health
- Is a Labrador wolf right for me?
A Labrador wolf mix combines the world’s most popular dog breed with something a little wilder. Like all mixed breeds, the traits that puppies will inherit are unpredictable. This mix can be very loyal and social, but also has the potential to be quite aggressive and territorial. So, a Labrador wolf won’t suit most homes. And, since the wolf is a wild animal, laws in some parts of the world may not allow Labrador wolf mixes as domestic pets.
About the Labrador wolf
There are actually two things people are often referring to when they say Labrador wolf. The first is a subspecies of grey wolf known as the Labrador wolf. This wolf gets its name from its native home – Labrador, Canada. As a wild animal, the wolf is not kept as a pet, and instead is occasionally sighted around Canada. Though, due to overhunting in the 20th Century, these sightings are rare.
The second thing people mean when they say “Labrador wolf” is a Labrador Retriever and wolf mix. This is a half domestic, half wild hybrid that many pet owners are interested in. However, just because a mixed breed looks cool doesn’t mean it’s right for every home. And, even with the influence of the Labrador, a Lab wolf mix’s care needs are too complex for most owners. We will be focusing on the Labrador wolf mix in this guide.
What Does a Labrador Wolf Mix Look Like?
A Labrador wolf mix is also sometimes called a Wolfador. This cross combines the popular Labrador Retriever breed with a wolf. There are five wolf subspecies which are most often used for creating these hybrids: the grey wolf, the timber wolf, the red wolf, the arctic wolf, and the Ethiopian wolf. A Wolfador’s exact appearance will vary depending on which wolf is used, and which parent they favor.
If your mix favors their Labrador parent, they will be large, with a short dense fur coat. Labs have three standard fur colors (black, yellow, and chocolate), but in wolves, this range is much larger. So, a wolf Labrador mix can have grey, black, white, or any other shade. Wolf coats are usually longer, too, so your pup may grow up to have a wilder, more wolf-like appearance.
But, all Wolfador crosses will be large adults, with long tails and a long, healthy muzzle. Some might favor one parent more than the other, but others might look like a perfect mix between the two. It’s very unpredictable, and often you won’t know what puppies will look like until they are born!
Labrador Wolf Mix Temperament
Like appearance, temperament can be unpredictable in all mixed breed dogs. Puppies can favor one parent, or be a blend of the two. Labradors are well known for their friendly, social personalities. They are energetic, intelligent dogs that like to spend their time around their family. They also need just as much mental stimulation as they do exercise each day!
Wolf temperaments are quite different to a Labrador. So, puppies can be very varied. As wild animals, wolves are much harder to train, and will not suit a typical domestic environment. Wolves are pack animals, so have very high social needs that a single owner would not be able to fill. They are usually happiest when kept with other dogs, but may see very small dogs or other pets as prey.
Socialization is important in any dog or mixed breed, but it goes without saying for a Wolfador. And, even with the best socialization, it’s likely that a Labrador wolf will never suit a traditional pet role. These animals are only suited to very experienced owners. Novice owners would be better with a purebred Lab, or a different domestic breed that looks ‘wolfish’. Though a wolf hybrid may look interesting, bringing one home without the proper facilities and knowledge will only lead to it being abandoned, or given up in rescues.
Labrador Wolf Mix Health
Mixed breed dogs are prone to health conditions, just like purebred domestic dogs. But, there’s a chance that veterinarians would not be happy to work on a wolf hybrid, since it is part-wild animal. So, a major task before committing to this breed is finding a veterinarian with the knowledge, experience, and willingness to tend to your hybrid.
As a large combination, this mix can be prone to joint problems like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis. Other common issues that they can inherit from Labradors and wolves include:
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Dental issues
- Heart disease
- Exercise induced collapse
- Centronuclear Myopathy
In Labradors, many of these health problems can be tested for and avoided in breeding programs.
Laws on Labrador Wolf Ownership
A major issue around hybrids like the Labrador wolf mix is their legality. In some states, wolf dog hybrids are illegal to keep as domestic pets, due to their wild heritage. In others, they are classified as dogs, and require the same vaccinations, care, and restrictions on any other domestic dog. And, other states may require owners to purchase a wildlife permit before bringing home a wolf dog.
If owners fail to comply with the restrictions in local legislation, their wolf hybrids might be taken away, or even euthanised. So, it’s really important to check the laws on wolf dog ownership where you live, as well as the suitability of this mix as a pet for you.
Is a Labrador Wolf Mix Right for Me?
Labrador wolf mix dogs are very unpredictable. This is because the Lab is so different to the wolf! Labs are known for being friendly, social dogs that make friends with everyone. But, wolves can be much more wary and territorial. So, resulting puppies could really fall anywhere between these two options. Not to mention the different appearances they could have!
If your Lab wolf mix inherits more traits from its domestic parent, it is more likely to suit life as a pet. But, those that inherit a greater amount of wolf DNA will often never adapt to life as a domestic companion. The best way to raise them will not necessarily be the same as that of a dog. So, even experienced dog owners can struggle.
If wolf hybrid ownership is legal where you live and is something you’re considering, it’s very important to do plenty of research before diving in. For most people, it’s a better idea to choose a domestic dog breed that simply looks more like a wolf, like a Husky, a Czechoslovakian Vlcak, a German Shepherd, and so on.
Labrador Wolf – A Summary
Combining these two animals can produce some interesting and varied results. Some puppies may suit domestic life, but others will simply be too wild to adjust. Before investing in this mix, it’s important to be as prepared as possible, and to check local legislation on wild pet ownership.
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References and Resources
- Clements, D. (et al), ‘Dogslife: A Web-Based Longitudinal Study of Labrador Retriever Health in the UK’, BMC Veterinary Research (2013)
- Keijser, S. (et al), ‘Quantification of the Health-Status of the Dutch Labrador Retriever Population’, Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2019)
- Farrell, L. (et al), ‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease’, Canine Medicine and Genetics (2015)
- Lofgren, S. (et al), ‘Management and Personality in Labrador Retriever Dogs’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2014)
- Pavlovik, D. (et al), ‘Prevalence of Dental Pathology in Wolves (Canis Lupus, L.) in Croatia – A Case Report’, Veterinarski Archiv (2007)
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website