When choosing a dog choose personality over breed

When I was on WMMG’s Edgewise the other day, I had a caller ask a question about a dog she desired to adopt.

She found a German Shepherd/Wolf Hybrid she absolutely adored. She wanted to know if this would be a good breed to bring home to her family. Her particular concern was for the safety of her children.

She said the dog was ¾ wolf. To some, that might be alarming genetically speaking; however, the truth is domestic dogs are 98% wolf before being bred with wolves. So my first thought was, Is the dog more or less wolf when bred with wolves?

I propose the dog is less wolf. If dog A is 98% wolf and it is bred with dog B that is 75% wolf, the end result would be a dog that is 73.5% wolf (.98 x .75 = .735).

The concern stemmed around aggression. Would an animal that is nearly ¾ wolf be aggressive toward children? Probably. But not any more so than a domestic dog that is 98% wolf.

All dogs are capable of being aggressive. The best way to determine how risky it would be to adopt an animal is to interact with it. That’s why I recommended that the caller take the children with her to visit the animal in its current environment.

Working at the shelter, I’ve seen it happen many times. A happy couple adopts a friendly dog only to return it to us a few days later because the dog was growling or snapped at one of the children. Having to return the animal is unfortunate for the family, the dog, and the shelter, but it is understandable. It’s also a situation that can be avoided.

When choosing a dog, don’t consider the breed of dog as the most important criterion. Instead, consider the animal’s personality and consider how it interacts with you and your children. The interaction will help you to determine the risk level of adopting a family pet.

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