Owning a Pet Wolf

Many people, mostly kids and teens, think they want to own a wolf. Few think about what is really involved in acquiring and owning a pet wolf.

Buying a Wolf

You cannot simply walk into a pet store and buy a wolf (indeed you should never buy any pet from a pet store.. but let’s leave that for another article to discuss). You cannot walk into an animal shelter and adopt a wolf, and in most places you cannot trust that people selling “wolves” are really selling “wolves”.

In most areas catching wildlife and keeping it as your own is illegal, and it is very unlikely that you would be able to physically do this even if there were no laws, as wolves are rather elusive.

So how does one buy a wolf? Some areas have special breeders for wolves, who do sell the pups. Generally they only sell to zoos and other breeders, and indeed they would have typically got their animals from zoos and game farms.

In most areas ownership of a wolf requires a special permit and anyone selling to a person without such a permit would be in trouble, including having their own permit revoked.

Culls are low quality animals, inferior for breeding purposes these are the animals most often put up “for sale”. These wolves would be sold for the lowest prices (usually with the requirement that they be spayed or neutered). Even still, these lowest quality wolves would be sold for several hundreds of dollars.

Most sellers thoroughly screen the potential buyers, but some people sell through auction markets for exotic pets and animals – again you still require a permit to purchase a wolf this way.

File:Canis lupus-Wolf-Polar Zoo Norway-Bardu.JPG

photo source for a Wolf in a Zoo


Keeping a Pet Wolf

Keeping a wolf is not like keeping a pet dog, they are far more wild in nature, with a strong prey drive and more of a sense of territory, and need to roam. When we see wolves confined in zoos we note that they often pace and show symptoms of stress or depression from living unnaturally. If you want to keep a wolf you must be certain you can provide it with proper care, rather than simply “wanting a cool pet”.

A wolf should be thought of as somewhat like a high-maintenance husky. It cannot be let outside without being controlled with a good fence. It must not have access to livestock, or other pets, which it might kill. It must receive sufficient exercise to meet its energy needs. Under the best circumstances this means a wolf should have at least 10 acres of space, a pack mate (other wolf), and the area must be fenced with 8ft high chain link – dug into the ground by at least 1 ft.

If it is to be kept more like a pet, a wolf, still requires the security of a good fence, and sufficient exercise. It should have a 5 mile walk/run daily. Special care must be taken to the understanding that wolves still have high prey drives and will chase most anything that runs.

Most cities, and counties, have laws regarding the keeping of such animals, and one should look into this early on if a wolf is a pet they seriously want to have.

The feeding requirements for a wolf are similar to a dog with more attention on a good meat source in the food (many commercial dog foods use far too much corn, and filler). Some keepers of wolves insist they only be fed raw diets.  In many cases this is raw horse meat.

Veterinarian attention is a must, but not all vets are willing to treat such animals so this should be considered.

File:Wolves Kill.jpg

photo source  Not your typically “Dogs Breakfast”.

Part Wolf?

Be aware that a lot of people market puppies as “half wolf” or “part wolf”, in most cases this is not true. Typically these are half huskies where the father is unknown. The only way you can be sure if a pup really is “half wolf” is if the mother was a wolf and has genetic certification to prove it.


Be Realistic About Keeping a Pet Wolf

Why do you want a pet wolf? Is it because you want to be “different”? This is not a good reason to get a pet wolf (or any pet). The best, and only, reason to get a pet such as a wolf is because it fits your lifestyle (home a lot and very active physically), and you can provide it with a good home, focusing more on its needs as an animal than your needs for social status.

File:Eastern wolves WSC.JPG

photo source - Many dog owners cannot even get their dog to focus on them so would struggle with a wolf.

Most people struggle with basic training for regular Pet Dogs… one of the most common reasons dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is that their owners failed to train them and they became unruly.  A wolf without proper handling will be a disaster!  In other words you might “Think” you want a dog.. but really are not suited to being a good owner for one.

Related Links

The Six Most Dangerous Dogs

Exotic Pets:  Fennec Foxes

Eight Unique Dog Breeds

Other Ways of Owning Pet Wolves, Pet Tigers, etc.

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User Comments
  1. Wiggles18

    On August 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    That would be awesome! If I had the time and money I would definitely get me a pet black wolf. Or even something like a panther or cougar. Some sort of big animal like that would be cool as a pet. But, I would probably cut it off at a wolf or cougar. I don’t think I would like a tiger, lion, or bear; I want an animal that I am 100% confident I would be able to handle if it ever tried to turn on me.

    Awesome article.

  2. Inna Tysoe

    On August 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Good advice as ever.


  3. PR Mace

    On August 22, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Well done article. I don’t think wolves should be kept as pets.

  4. Ethics0006

    On August 22, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Amazing !

  5. GodsGrace

    On August 23, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Very Brave Work

  6. K Kristie

    On August 23, 2010 at 2:47 am

    wow, I didn’t know wolves can be kept as pets.

  7. PSingh1990

    On August 23, 2010 at 6:55 am

    nice share…………..

  8. Kinga

    On August 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Great article! Very interesting.

  9. webseowriters

    On August 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for such a nice share

  10. Sourav

    On August 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Interesting… Wolf as a pet!

  11. Milton H Peebles III

    On August 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    After I got out of the army I got a half timber wolf-half chow puppy. I met the mother when I bought Kea. She was very lovable when I walked up to her. I chose the puppy that came to me. He was smarter than any dog that I ever owned. I could walk him without a leash and he never left my side. No one else could do that.
    You didn’t mention one problem that you can have with half-breed wolves. They are more likely to have health problems. My Kea only lived for a year and spent many visits to the Vet.
    I enjoyed reading your article and I put it in Stumble.
    Take Care, DreamSweet and Let Your Heart Shine
    ~ milty

  12. Jimmy Shilaho

    On August 24, 2010 at 3:34 am

    You really amaze me by how much you know that none of us can yet fathom. I didn’t know anyone would want a wolf for a pet leave alone for any other reason.

  13. victim of dog attack

    On September 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Anyone that thinks they could 100% control a Wolf is dog food.

  14. Brenda Nelson

    On September 3, 2010 at 10:23 am

    to Victim

    you are RIGHT.. I wrote this link NOT to encourage people to get a wolf.. but to discourage it!

  15. Jamison

    On December 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    My friend owns a wolf and he’s very well traind and very good watchdog loves to play and listens very well so why not have a pet wolf you just have to know how to handle one like my friend his dad and me (his dad taught me how and what to do)

  16. Josi

    On March 1, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I own a full, 100% wolf. He is a sweet heart and very, very shy. His shyness is the wild in him, but once he see dog, person, or even my cat is friendly he can’t wait to go meet them. He chews constantly (but don’t all pups?) but he is very smart and this is easily corrected by giving him his bone or toy. The only problem with him is that as much as he listens to everything I say, he can not be house broken. This is due to their amazing sense of smell. I am a cat person and can not stand most dogs but Bo and I instantly bonded and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. OH and in response to Milton, yes my pup also follows me EVERYWHERE, he started to even the first day we met. I am so sorry for your loss. With my experience shared, Brenda, I would like to hear your personal experience with wolves.

    –i also forgot to add that i feed him high protein dog food and a boiled egg daily, not carcasses as depicted.

  17. Brenda Nelson

    On March 4, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Josi, glad you are feeding him well, they certainly need a high protein diet.
    You should be able to house train him. Wolfs are not known to be messy, crate training works best.

  18. AArdvark

    On February 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Imagine your bloody carcass being ripped apart by your pet wolf.

    Morale: don’t get a pet grey wolf.

  19. Swift

    On March 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I own a full wolf. I took precaution and studied on everything before I considered purchasing one. Everything said that they are extremely high maintenance, would require lots of exercise, and would be extremely hard to train. I think it’s only fair that everyone should know that I have learned from him, along as dogs, that each has has it’s own individual personality. Ours is mellow and was extremely easy to train. With food as a reward he was happy to do anything. He gets about a one hour walk a day and is worn out. We feed him plenty of meat and dog food. We do have to assert our dominance every once in a while. Our full blood Siberian husky female required a lot more patience then he did. I’m not trying to post this as a free pass for everyone to go and get one, as you can rest assured that most wolves do require extremely hard work, but rather to point out that I guess we were lucky. And yes, he’s full wolf from his parents genetic certifications.

  20. Kayla

    On March 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    o im so late but i have a half wolf baby.. she isn’t a baby she is going on 8. her owners gave her away because she jumped up, i would say that it was impossible to train her, she trained us. she kills everything.. that comes in the yard.. pest wise.. and she is a big baby. she doesnt leave her yard.. which is my yard and my and path to my best friends yard a couple of houses down, she doesnt do well with other animals when we are around she is very jealous and protective but she seems to love puppies and she adores my hamster. she likes outdoors but when she comes inside we have no messes she house trained herself. she runs all the time and everywhere. pros she is her, a protector and a pest killer, cons she jumps up on everyone and she is big so she can hurt little ones, she does what she wants to do.

  21. Marty Schultz

    On January 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I have a full wolf and she is one of the most loveable and loyal pets I have ever had. Yes it took a lot of love and time to housebreak her but it was worth it. She gets in bed with me at night and cuddles sets at the table and eats with me off a spoon. I am soon to get another one on Feb 2013. So yes they can and will be loveing friends if you take the time

  22. P. Gale

    On March 10, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I have two 85% females. they are very smart girls got them at 3 weeks old and rasied them on bottle . they are very smart girls i wouldn’t trade them for anything. If you don’t know your wolves you don’t need one just to be saying you have one. They are not like dogs. yes mine come and go in the house as they want i have a fence round the yard they go out of the house into, then i have another fence round the whole farm where i let them follow me round during the day and they run and play. and are fed very good. you gotta trust them and they gotta trust you. I am looking for a male black or red to add with the females. can’t wait to get him. but plz if you don’t know what your getting yourself into don’t get one for a pet.

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