There are wolf-dog hybrids, wolfdog breeds and wolf-like dog breeds.
A wolf-dog hybrid is a cross between a wolf (Canis lupus) and a domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)
A hybrid resulting from the first cross is F1, if this hybrid is crossed again, the second cross is F2
To keep a wolf hybrid in the UK you will need a licence from the local authority, To keep a wolf or any animal with wolf in its immediate ancestry (F1-F2), you will need a Dangerous Wild Animals license.
The wolflike breeds Northern Inuit and Utonagon contain virtually no wolf content (if any), although they may have had wolf-dogs used as founder dogs of the breeds. The ancestors to the Northern Inuit dog were originally bred by the founder breeder Edwina Harrison (known as Eddie Harrison) and sold as wolf-hybrids. (more information below)
Wolf dog breeds, such as the Saarlooswolfhond (Saarloos Wolfdog) and Československý vlčiak (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog) are domestic dog breeds that have wolf content, they no longer require a DWA licence to be kept in the UK, but they do require a very experienced handler. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog tends to be a more sociable breed, the Saarloos Wolfdog has a more shy nature.
Saarlooswolfhond (Saarloos Wolfdog)
In 1921, Dutch breeder Leendert Saarloos started the breed by crossbreeding a male German Shepherd Dog to a female Eurasian Wolf. He aimed for an improved version of the German Shepherd Dog which was immune to distemper. Until he died in 1969 Leendert Saarloos was in full control over the breeding of his 'European wolfdog', and was, able to select individuals for breeding based on temperament and health. To obtain Netherlands KC recognition for his breed Saarloos was required to demonstrate the ability of his dogs. He started training some of his dogs in Schutzhund work. Although he had some success, the dogs were generally unsuitable, as they kept their wolflike characteristics, the European wolf is cautious, reserved and lacks the ferocity to attack. In every other respect the dogs were skillful and intelligent, and were later trained to be guide dogs for the blind, and search and rescue dogs.
The Dutch Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1975. In 1981 the breed was recognised by the FCI
Československý vlčiak (Czechoslovakian Wolfdog)
In 1955 an experiment took place in the Czechoslovakian Republic to cross a German Shepherd Dog with a Carpathian Wolf. The experiment established that the progeny of the mating of a male dog to a female wolf as well as that of male wolf to female dog, could be successful. The progeny of these matings possessed the genetic requirements for continuation of breeding. In 1965, after the ending of the experiment, a plan for the breeding of this new breed was developed. This was to combine the usable qualities of the wolf with the favourable qualities of the dog. CSV wolfdog site
In 1982, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was recognised as a national breed.
Northern Inuit Dog / Utonagan
The Northern Inuit is a breed developed in the UK. A wolfy looking dog, bred to be a family pet and companion. The breed is not to be confused with the Inuit sled dog, which is a working sled dog breed. The founder of the breed was a lady named Edwina Harrison who had a vision to create a dog that had the appearance of a wolf. In the late 1980s several imported dogs from the USA were added to Eddies crosses of Malamute, Husky and German Shepherd. These dogs were later named the Northern Inuit. The NI breeders split into two separate groups, The Northern Inuit, and Utonagan, meaning spirit of the wolf. Although originating from the same founder dogs, Utonagan is now a seperate breed. The Northern Inuit has now been outcrossed to other breeds to also become the British Inuit. A British Inuit dog has become the first 'Inuit' search and rescue dog in the UK.
Northern Inuit, British Inuit and Utonagon are not recognised by the UK Kennel club
Developed in Finland, by the founder breeders Blustag and Blufawn Kennels. The founder breeds include the Northern Inuit, Utonagan, and Finnish racing husky. Palouse at Blustag was the first registered Tamaskan.
The Tamaskan is now being established in the UK, USA and Europe.
The Tamaskan Dog Register is the official Governing Body, recording the pedigree and health records. The breed clubs are the Tamaskan Dog Society of Great Britain (TDSGB) and the National Tamaskan Club
The breed was created in the early 1950s to meet the need for military dogs in Yunnan. A group of 10 military wolfdogs were brought to Kunming (the capital of Yunnan province) from a Beijing military training program (the breed of these 10 dogs is unknown but they are thought to be of GSD origin) More dogs were needed so 50 suitable household dogs from Kunming and 40 similar dogs from the city of Guiyang were brought in. After training, the best twenty of these 90 'civil' dogs were then selected. The 10 wolfdogs from Beijing, these 20 'civil dogs' plus an additional 10 'shepherd dogs' imported from Germany. These dogs constituted the pool from which the Kunming Dog was developed. Kunming Dogs are widely used by the Chinese military and police.
The Chinese Public Security Bureau officially recognised the Kunming Dog as a breed in 1988.
In Italy, they are used by emergency services, and assist forest guards in their duties.
The Lupo Italiano, is a protected breed of which the commercialization and the reproduction outside the control of the Agency for the protection of the Lupo Italiano are strictly prohibited,they are not available for sale and are reproduced only following strict regulations
Deutsche Schäferhund, GSD, Alsatian wolfdog
The GSD is a herding dog, and not a wolfdog breed. The GSD has been used in the creation of the 'wolf' dog breeds above
It is thought by many that the original German Shepherd studbook shows several pure wolves were used as founders of the breed. Captain Max von Stephanitz, in his quest to produce the perfect working dog, used European herding dogs, including his favourite dog Horand von Grafrath, previously named named Hektor Linksrhein, who was allegedly one-quarter wolf. All GSD's can be traced back to Hektor. In the 1900's von Stephanitz wrote a book “The German Shepherd in Word and Picture”, in it he requested that breeders no longer include pure wolves in their breeding programs. (In subsequent reprints, all references to wolves were removed).
The breed was recognised by the UK kennel club in 1919, at the time it was feared that the public would not accept anything German, the Kennel Club changed the name to the ‘Alsatian Wolf Dog’. The name was eventually changed back in 1977 to German Shepherd Dog.