An Australian Shepherd Wolf mix is a hybrid breed that results from breeding a wolf with an Australian Shepherd.
While some may assume that all dogs derive from wolves, and therefore breeding a wolf with a dog is moral, this isn’t always the case.
Australian Shepherds are a popular domesticated breed of dog, whereas wolves are wild animals that cannot easily be domesticated when bred with a dog.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix dogs are one of the lesser known hybrid Aussie Shepherd breeds, but that’s not to say that they don’t exist in the country.
Here is the ultimate guide to the Australian Shepherd Wolf mix!
What is an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix?
An Australian Shepherd Wolf mix is a hybrid dog caused by the breeding of an Australian Shepherd with a wolf. Australian Shepherds look fairly wolf-like in their appearance, so this hybrid intensifies the wolfish look.
It is unclear why people would buy this hybrid breed, but we can assume it is mostly because of the blend of characteristics. Everyone wants to own a wolf, right?
If you mix the protective, defensive, and wild nature of a wolf with a domesticated, loyal, intelligent, and affectionate Australian Shepherd, you’ve got yourself a (potentially) safe wolf pet.
There are several reasons why people breed Australian Shepherds with wolves. It could be as an attempt to domesticate wolves and to protect their species. Unfortunately, in most cases, people will breed and buy these hybrids for the sake of money.
History of Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes
While the history of Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes is unclear, let’s take a look into the history of the parents themselves.
Australian Shepherd history
Australian Shepherds were originally bred in California in the 19th century as Californians attempted to standardize the perfect herding dog.
This breed was a result of breeding from herding dogs such as Australian collies, hence the name, Pyrenean Sheepdog, and the Basque Shepherd dog.
The Australian Shepherd became popular across America for those who owned ranches and farmland. They valued the dog’s intelligence and work ethic as they could protect and herd livestock.
This breed remained purely a working dog for an entire century.
During the mid-20th century, rodeo performer Jay Lister took his trained Australian Shepherds to rodeos across the country. The crowds were impressed by the tricks the dogs had learned – so much so that a breed club was formed to try and promote the Australian Shepherd.
The Australian Shepherd was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1979, and then by the American Kennel Club in the 1990s. While the breed was still primarily considered a working breed, people began to fall in love with their affectionate characteristics.
Nowadays, Australian Shepherds are a popular companion dog, and often compete in dog shows.
Wolf Dog history
The history of wolves is a lengthy one, so we will focus on the history of wolf dogs.
Wolf dogs are crossbreeds between gray wolves and domesticated dogs. The reason why this is possible is that both animals belong to the same biological family, Canis lupus familiaris.
However, despite common misconceptions, a wolf is not a dog, and a dog is not a wolf. While dogs descend from wolves, their evolutionary paths split somewhat 15,000 years ago.
Wolf dogs were first documented in 18th century England. However, it wasn’t common for wolves to be bred with domesticated dogs until the 1960s. This is because it takes several generations of breeding for the mixing of genes to allow wolf dogs to be domesticated.
This means that most wolf dogs are more dog-like than wolf-like.
Nowadays, wolf dogs are usually a hybrid of a gray wolf with a Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and occasionally a German Shepherd.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix behavior and temperament
As with most hybrid breeds, the Australian Shepherd Wolf mix exhibits characteristics from both parents. While wolf dogs are mostly dog-like, that doesn’t mean their temperament won’t be unpredictable like a wolf.
To understand this hybrid, let’s take a look at the behavior and temperament of the parents.
Australian Shepherd behavior and temperament
Australian Shepherds exhibit everything that a working dog should have – intelligence, high energy levels, obedience, and loyalty.
As well as those traits, Australian Shepherds are incredibly affectionate, playful, and easy to train – making them an ideal companion for a family.
However, due to their high energy levels, owners must be prepared to meet their exercise requirements.
Australian Shepherds are known for their destructive boredom when their needs aren’t met, so be prepared to find chewed-up shoes and furniture if they haven’t had enough exercise for the day.
Australian Shepherds are also incredible watchdogs. Their protective nature means that they will defend their household and humans – though this does mean there is a potential aggressive streak towards humans they are unsure of.
However, as they can be trained so easily, this can be avoided with proper training from a young age.
Wolf behavior and temperament
Wolves are one of nature’s best apex predators because of their highly protective characteristics. They form bonds with their pack, which means that if anything (or anyone) was to get in their way, the wolves will do whatever it takes to prevent harm to their pack.
Their courageous primal instincts means that wolves will not show you mercy – the complete opposite of a domesticated dog.
Wolf dogs, however, are more dog-like than wolf-like. Still, that doesn’t mean to say it will make the wolf a friendly dog. Wolf dogs are intelligent and protective in the same way as a wild wolf, but they are far more tolerant of humans.
These are stubborn dogs that aren’t overly affectionate, but they will form bonds with one or more humans who take the time to train their dog properly.
Wolf dogs are, after all, a direct descendant of wolves, so their primal instincts will still remain. This means that their behavior and temperament is mostly unpredictable, so it is common for a wolf dog to be stubborn, aloof, and potentially aggressive.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix behavior and temperament
Each hybrid dog will act differently to one another, but generally speaking, Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes are usually 75% Australian Shepherd and 25% wolf dog when it comes to behavior and temperament.
This means that these dogs are highly intelligent, protective, trainable, energetic, and loyal. They won’t be as affectionate as purebred Australian Shepherds, but with proper training, they can form incredible emotional bonds with their human(s).
The most important characteristic of this hybrid breed is that it is highly energetic. If the dog’s exercise needs aren’t met, not only will it exhibit the destructive boredom of an Australian Shepherd, but it could also get aggressive and stubborn like a wolf dog.
As their behavior and temperament can never be 100% predictable due to the primal instincts of a wolf dog, Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes should only be handled by experienced owners.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix size, weight, and height
Wolf dogs are slightly bigger than Australian Shepherds, averaging to around 26-34” tall to the shoulder and weighing up to 54 Kg. Therefore, Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes are usually bigger and heavier than standard Australian Shepherds.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix training and exercise requirements
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix hybrids are incredibly energetic dogs, which means they must receive the right amount of exercise daily. If they don’t burn all the built-up energy they have, these dogs have a tendency to get destructive.
When they’re bored, they will chew, bite, and tear anything from shoes to furniture to clothes. In some cases, due to the wolf dog primal instincts, they might even get stubborn and aggressive.
It is imperative that future potential owners of Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes are prepared to commit to the exercise and training needs of the breed.
Luckily, these dogs are easy to train due to their intelligence – however, the primal instincts of a wolf dog means that they could easily outsmart the trainer. Their behavior is still unpredictable, remember.
On average, an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix should get a minimum of one hour exercise per day. This can be one singular hour-long walk through the woods, or two half-hour walks split during the day.
Other than their walks, Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes must be distracted during the day. This means you should encourage them to tire themselves out by playing with toys and running around the yard.
However, make sure to train them with boundaries to only play with toys, and not destroy them. They can easily become aggressive with toys – especially if you take the toys away from them.
These dogs are incredibly strong and powerful animals, plus they are fast. This means that you need to be willing to deal with their power when walking them on a leash and harness (a harness will give you much more control).
If they see a small animal, they could easily try to chase it. If they are off the leash, they could easily sprint away from you. It doesn’t matter how good you think their recall obedience is – remember, they are still a wolf dog.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix grooming and care
Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes are fluffy, hairy dogs that will shed a lot of hair. You will need to be prepared to follow them around with a vacuum cleaner.
The best way to promote healthy shedding is to brush them daily with a wired bristle brush, such as this Hertzko Slicker Brush.
They should be groomed once every 2 months by a professional groomer – although only commit to this if your dog is okay with strangers. Their nails must also be clipped regularly.
Unfortunately, their coat means that Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes are not hypoallergenic.
Australian Shepherd Wolf mix health risks
As with any large dog, Australian Shepherd Wolf mixes come with a potential for a range of health issues. This includes:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Collie eye anomaly
Wolf dogs are prone to health problems in the same way as other large dogs. This means they must be vaccinated properly against illnesses like parvovirus, plus care to prevent fleas, ticks, and mites.
Wolf dogs are also prone to tumors and respiratory issues, which is one of the reasons why people are advised against purchasing a wolf dog.
If treated properly and kept healthy, an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix can live between 10-14 years.
Should you get an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix?
While almost every dog lover wants a pet wolf, it is not a good idea to get an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix.
If you think about it, breeding a domesticated dog with a wolf isn’t the most moral thing you could contribute to the animal kingdom. You wouldn’t breed a lion with a cat to create a friendly lion, and the same goes for wolves and dogs.
Unfortunately, the main reason why wolf dogs are bred is for money, because breeders know that people will fall for these unique animals.
Sure, it’s probably the only way to domesticate wolves, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.
Also, not many people are prepared to meet the requirements of an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix. They are often left in rescue shelters due to neglect from previous owners, which usually results in the dog being put down.
If you’re not prepared to exercise the dog daily and to commit to intense training and unpredictable behavior, you’re not prepared to own a hybrid breed like an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix.
It’s worth mentioning that some states will have different regulations on owning a wolf dog.
If you are in a position to get an Australian Shepherd Wolf mix (preferably by adoption), make sure to check with your local authorities whether it is allowed in your area.