Wired to protect their lawns from other packs as well as invaders from other species, they are also wide-ranging creatures, and in the wild they are known to travel up to 30 miles a day. A wolf`s genes tell them to take to the streets (and get out of any enclosure they`ve been taken to) and defend their territory. Wolves also mark their territory more often and more frequently with urine than dogs. The number of greyhounds in Florida is unknown, although 179 greyhound permits are currently issued to zoos, ranchers, and owners. A wolf considers other animals (except other wolves) to be dinner. Pet greyhounds often do short work of cats and small dogs and can also attack larger animals, so it is not recommended that they have access to small animals, including other dogs. Wolves are not naturally aggressive. Dog-wolf hybrids with a higher percentage of wolves tend to show reduced wolf aggressiveness. Aggressive hybrids usually come from breeding with aggressive dog breeds such as rottweilers or pit bull terriers. The butchering of a semino bark by a greyhound reignites a debate about the wisdom of creating these hybrids. While Florida Fish and Wildlife needs a 10-foot fence to secure thoroughbred wolves, sometimes these minimum standards aren`t enough.
As we recently learned how to meet a new animal, when a wolf hybrid is afraid, its survival instinct can surprise you with extraordinary abilities. „They are very affectionate. They`re very emotional,” said Theresa Hense, 34, who lives in Tampa and owns three greyhounds. „They get hurt very easily.” In Florida, unlike 13 other states, anyone can keep a greyhound. Animal control officials said Spirit and its owner, Diane Pound, recently moved from Michigan to Seminole, where greyhounds were declared illegal in 2000. Wolves typically weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. They have slender torsos with narrow breasts, long legs and large feet. Their large heads have larger teeth and stronger jaws than dogs. A dog-wolf hybrid will probably be thinner and more legal than a dog. At Shy Wolf Sanctuary, we currently have three adoptable greyhounds named Willow, Sierra and Ozzy. Before one of our pets is adopted, we take the time to get to know their personality and work closely with potential families to ensure they are ready to live up to the commitment they have made.
Unfortunately, people who like the idea of owning a fearsome predator, as well as those who have a lost nature fetish, often don`t understand what they`re getting into. In many cases, a person will think they`ve had experience with greyhounds in the past — maybe they had or thought they knew a hybrid, but it was actually any dog — and decides to have a greyhound puppy. „Only this time they get the real thing,” Collings says. „And when the puppy is five or six months old, he ate the couch or scratched through the dry wall.” Private ownership of wolf hybrids is illegal in some states. These are Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming. Zoos, educational institutions, circuses and other organizations are often exempt, but no permits are granted to individuals. In addition, there is no approved rabies vaccination for greyhounds. While the federal government officially considers them pets (and leaves their regulation to states and municipalities), they are treated as wild animals when it comes to rabies. Thus, a greyhound that bites a person can be considered a risk of rabies – even if it has been vaccinated.
The USDA, which regulates veterinary drugs, does not renew approval for the use of the standard rabies vaccine with „hybrids” (the vaccine is approved for dogs, cats, ferrets and horses). Euthanasia is necessary, says the USDA, because the only reliable test for rabies requires an examination of the animal`s brain. Genetic testing is theoretically possible, but because it is often reserved for wildlife management and law enforcement agencies, it is essentially inaccessible to most individuals and, most importantly, not 100% accurate. Phenotyping – allowing an expert to assess an animal`s physical and behavioral traits – remains the most accessible way to identify a greyhound. Unfortunately, few are trained in greyhound phenotyping, and as a result, many dogs are mislabeled. „A high-grade greyhound is likely to behave much more `wolfie` than a low-content animal,” Wilde adds. „With a very satisfied greyhound, you can start with the puppy in the house, and then when he reaches puberty, you will build a pen outside.