The Lycan Shepherd dog is a brand new breed in development that has been turning heads due to its gorgeous wolf-like appearance.
The Lycan Shepherd is so rare there is very little information publicly available about this new dog breed-in-progress. However, there are photographs posted by a handful of owners that attest to the beauty and uniqueness of this emerging dog breed.
In this article, we bring you up to speed on what is known about the Lycan Shepherd dog breed, including approximate shape, size, temperament, coat, training needs, health issues, and suitability for a home where kids and other pets may be present.
So now read on to learn all about the Lycan Shepherd dog breed!
The Lycan Shepherd is named for the breed’s similarity to a Lycanthrope.
As Dictionary University explains, a Lycanthrope is a human with the ability to transform themselves either into a full-on wolf or into a being who has traits that are wolf-like.
Because the Lycan Shepherd is so very new in terms of being a dog breed in development, there is not a lot of existing information about the breed.
Meet Two Generations of Lycan Shepherd Dogs
In this owner-made YouTube video, you can meet a Lycan Shepherd dog puppy and his dad.
While Lycan Shepherd dogs are hard to come by at the moment, there is demand and interest and that is typically what drives a breed’s development and official registration.
Why Isn’t the Lycan Shepherd Dog Recognized and Registered Yet?
In the United States, the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the official purebred dog breed registration oversight organization.
The AKC has very strict guidelines and standards for what a new dog breed must do in order to receive recognition and registration as an AKC purebred dog.
There are several tiers that any new proposed dog breed must move through.
As well, the breed history must have at least 40 years’ worth of documentation and pedigrees before the AKC will even consider recognizing the new breed and opening up registrations for breeders and owners.
The Lycan Shepherd has a long way to go before this new hybrid dog breed will have amassed the required data and documentation, not to mention lineage and sheer numbers, to qualify as an AKC-registered purebred dog breed.
Lycan Shepherd Versus Blue Bay Shepherd
There are more than a few different shepherd dog breeds under development at the moment. Some look quite similar – enough to make for some confusion when trying to sort out which dog you are admiring.
The Blue Bay Shepherd is perhaps the best-known new shepherd dog breed that is just entering the developmental phase.
As with the Lycan Shepherd, there is really only one dog breeder that is working seriously at the moment to establish the new breed and stabilize the characteristics into an early stage breed standard.
For the Blue Bay Shepherd, the dog itself takes the breed name from Palm Bay, Florida, where the breeder is located.
For the Lycan Shepherd, as we mentioned here earlier, the proposed breed name references a dog with human-like and also wolf-like qualities.
As with the King Shepherds and the Shiloh Shepherds, two other shepherd-type dog breeds in development, the Blue Bay and Lycan dog breeders appear to be incorporating the iconic German Shepherd dog breed line into their new breeds-in-development.
Because the Blue Bay Shepherd and the Lycan Shepherd are the two newest shepherd-type dog breeds in development, these are the two-hybrid dog breeds that are most frequently confused for each other.
How Did the Lycan Shepherd Dog Begin?
The Lycan Shepherd dog is part of the Lycan Shepherd Project, which was founded by an experienced animal warden and dog breeder who also breeds bulldogs.
The dogs are designed to display certain desirable appearance and temperament traits as outlined by the breeder.
Larger brain-to-body size
The goal is to develop a canine with superior intellect, especially with respect to their ability to solve problems. As the breeder points out, the wolf has a larger brain-to-body ratio than the modern domestic dog.
Leggy, rangy wolf-like appearance
The lithe, lean body type and long legs of the wolf is a desirable appearance trait in the Lycan Shepherd. This body type is also associated with a high level of athletic ability.
Great work ethic
The addition of the German Shepherd dog breed line ensures the Lycan Shepherd dog breed will inherit the solid work ethic and trustworthy nature of the GSD and Malinois breeds.
Meet the Three Dog Breeds That Form the Foundation of the New Lycan Shepherd
The Lycan Shepherd breeder explains in this YouTube video that there are three main dog breeds that he is using to create the new Lycan dog breed.
Those three breeds are as follows:
- Blue Bay Shepherd.
- Working line German Shepherd.
- Belgian Malinois.
So let’s take a closer look at each of these dog breeds to get a better sense of what to expect if you decide to add a Lycan Shepherd dog to your family when that option becomes available.
Working Line German Shepherd Dog Breed
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the German Shepherd dog breed is the second most popular companion canine in the United States, outranking 194 other purebred dog breeds to gain this honor.
But while many people know the German Shepherd dog breed at least by sight, what most people don’t realize is that there are two different GSD breed lines: a show dog line and a working dog line.
The Lycan Shepherd dog breeder is specifically using the working dog GSD line to help develop the new Lycan dog breed.
The working dog GSD line is bred primarily for temperament and personality traits – for work ethic, intelligence, problem-solving abilities, trustworthiness, and similar characteristics – rather than towards a strict appearance standard.
This produces dogs that are purebred but show greater variance in the way that they look. This also typically produces dogs that are stronger and more sound in terms of health because there is more genetic diversity permitted in the breed line.
On average, the German Shepherd purebred dog breed weighs between 50 and 90 pounds and stands 22 to 26 inches tall, with males outweighing females by about 15 pounds and standing on average about two inches taller.
This dog’s overall life expectancy is seven to 10 years.
With strangers, the German Shepherd is typically aloof, but with “their” people this dog is extremely affectionate, loving, and vocal.
German Shepherds are a top pick for K-9, police, military, and private security and protection work. GSDs also make great service dogs and are excellent canine athletes.
Belgian Malinois Dog Breed
The Belgian Malinois is sometimes confused with the German Shepherd dog. In truth, the two do look somewhat alike and are both favorite breeds for K-9 work.
However, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Belgian Malinois is far less well known overall than the German Shepherd, ranking 46th out of 196 dog breeds in terms of popularity as a companion canine.
The Belgian Malinois weighs between 40 and 80 pounds and stands 22 to 26 inches tall, with males outweighing females by up to 20 pounds and standing about two inches taller. They have very long legs and slim bodies and are amazing athletes.
The Belgian Malinois has an unusually long lifespan for a medium to large breed dog. These dogs can live 14 to 16 years.
The Belgian Malinois comes from the herding dog group and inherits a very strong chase drive and prey drive. They are bred to work long, hard hours herding livestock, guarding, protecting, and serving animals and people.
Like the German Shepherd dog, the Belgian Malinois is generally aloof and guarded with strangers and very loving and devoted to “their” people.
Blue Bay Shepherd Dog Breed
The Blue Bay Shepherd, like the Lycan Shepherd, is really in development only by one dedicated breeder, at least at the time of publication of this article.
The breeder’s operation is called Southern Bay Ranch in Florida.
The Blue Bay Shepherd has an unusual blue-black color and the breeder’s stated goal is to create a shepherd-type dog with a wolf-like appearance.
So here, the breeder is really focused on breeding to a certain desired appearance standard and developing a breed line based on the conformation (appearance) of the dog as well as an emphasis on a gentle, loyal temperament with no aggression issues.
Because the ultimate goal is a domestic dog with a wolf-like (lupine) appearance, the breeder began with both wolf-dog and domestic dog foundation animals (parent dogs). The breeder states that they have used European German Shepherd dogs as well as wolf dogs.
As of the time of publication of this article, the breeder states that they are entering their sixth year of hybrid generational breeding and that they are hand-issuing signed pedigree certificates and each puppy has a unique number.
How Can Hybrid Breeding Help Strengthen a New Purebred Breed Line?
As you just read, whenever there is a strong emphasis on breeding for certain specific traits, especially appearance traits, this can narrow the genetics of the breed line.
Over time, with less genetic diversity, undesirable genes can be passed down along with desirable genes.
This is important to know because, with as much as people now know about the canine genome, there is still just as much left to learn.
Breeding for certain appearance traits can be complicated when the gene combination that produces a certain eye or coat color or a specific coat type may be linked to health weaknesses.
The breeder doesn’t always know this until the health issues show up later on in the breed line.
This is why hybrid breeding can be desirable for the future of the dog breed, as the Journal of Canine Genetics and Epidemiology points out.
Hybrid breeding, where two or more purebred dog breeds are crossed to produce a totally new dog breed, can reintroduce more genetic diversity and thus reduce the incidence of genetic health issues.
Using the example of the Lycan Shepherd, for instance, we now know there are three different dog breeds involved in shaping the new breed – two purebreds and one another hybrid in development.
The best place to start when trying to identify and remove health concerns from the new hybrid breed line is with the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database. This database keeps a record of known genetic health issues for each parent dog breed.
The German Shepherd has a huge list of genetic health issues: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye issues, cardiac issues, degenerative myelopathy, autoimmune thyroiditis, and temperament. As well, the GSD has an unusually brief life expectancy.
The Belgian Malinois has three main genetic health concerns: elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and eye issues. Malinois has an unusually long life expectancy, however.
So already it is easy to see how crossing the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois lines might add much-needed genetic diversity to the GSD line in the interests of an enhanced life expectancy and reduced health issues.
Adding in the in-development Blue Bay Shepherd, with this new hybrid’s wolf-dog influence, expands the genetic diversity in the Lycan Shepherd dog line even further and introduces desirable temperament traits that have gotten watered down in GSDs.
Clearly, creating a whole new dog breed is often a labor of love and can be a lifelong project. The breeder often starts with nothing more than an idea or a vision of what might be possible with strategic breeding and careful genetic study.
It will be interesting to follow the development of the Lycan Shepherd!