Wolfdog Help

We get many requests each month from people asking if we can take in a wolf or wolfdog, and while we wish we could help with all requests, the truth is that like other rescues and sanctuaries we receive far more requests than we have space available. See below for your options.

In our experience, at least 75% of the people who believe they are dealing with a wolf or wolfdog are not: many breeders are dishonest or ignorant, and most people (including most veterinarians and shelter workers) are not familiar with what constitute the true physical and behavioral differences between dogs and wolves. This pamphlet provides some information on proper identification. For the animal’s own safety, we strongly suggest you do not label it as a wolf/wolfdog without compelling evidence.

IF YOU CAN KEEP THE ANIMAL: For owners who are having difficulty handling their wolfdog pet, we encourage you to try to make things work if possible—if the animal is surrendered to a shelter it will almost certainly be euthanized. There are a number of excellent resources available on caring for and handling wolfdogs. These include the books of Nicole Wilde (Wolfdogs A to Z and Living with Wolfdogs) and Dorothy Prendergast (especially Above Reproach: A Guide for Wolf Hybrid Owners), and the websites of The Wolf Dunn, The Wolfdog Project, Mission: Wolf, the Florida Lupine Association, and Wolf Park. Wolf Park also offers periodic seminars on training and handling wolfdogs. If your animal is extremely skittish, fearful, or difficult to train, consider finding a nearby experienced dog trainer who is willing to work with you. Also consider reading up on handling rescue dogs or dogs with fear problems, as many of the solutions applicable to these dogs will work with wolfdogs as well. If you would like any additional advice or references, feel free to email the Sanctuary Manager at curator@wolvesofsaintfrancis.org.

IF YOU CANNOT KEEP THE ANIMAL: If keeping the animal is not an option, or if you are not the animal’s owner, it may still be that the animal has little to no wolf blood in it, as noted above. If this is the case, your options in finding it a home greatly increase. If you need help identifying and/or finding a home for an animal, email us at curator@wolvesofsaintfrancis.org. Include in your email:

  • your and the animal’s location
  • your relationship to the animal
  • the animal’s age and gender
  • the animal’s backstory as far as you know it
  • why the animal needs a new home
  • how long it has to find a new home
  • a thorough description of its behavior and temperament, including comfort level around family and strangers, behavior around other dogs, training history, and any negative behaviors such as resource guarding, high prey drive, or bite incidents. (Please be honest!)
  • several good photographs of the animal from various angles (including full-body facing the camera and in profile; chest, legs, and feet; head from the front and in profile; back of animal including tail and legs; any videos that show the animal moving, vocalizing, exhibiting what you believe to be “wolf-like” behaviors, etc.
  • your contact information

One of us will get back to you as soon as possible, and we will do everything we can to help you.

OTHER RESOURCES: You may also contact other sanctuaries for advice on handling or finding homes for wolfdogs. Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue maintains a very useful page with a list of wolf and wolfdog sanctuaries, organized by state, along with a summary of state laws on owning wolves/wolfdogs. If you need help placing an animal, consider especially any sanctuaries near to you; as well as Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue and W.O.L.F., both of which can network to help you locate potential homes. (Note that Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue can provide placement assistance but is not itself a sanctuary.)