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.
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.
photo source Not your typically “Dogs Breakfast”.
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.
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.
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