While the wolf has inspired our imaginations for generations, it is generally unwise and unkind to consider keeping one in your home! The British Lupine-Dog International Society holds a registry to support responsible breeders and owners of wolf-look-alike dogs who retain this natural health and appearance, but which have been bred and raised ethically as family dogs with excellent temperaments. The British Lupine-Dog International Society Gold Standard ensures all Lupine puppies are the ‘creme-de-la-creme’of natural-type companion dogs.
BLIS supports an exciting breeding programme aimed at preserving the natural health and vitality of the domestic dog by undoing the damage done by breeding for extremism and inbreeding. The goal is to combine the best qualities from a variety of rare bloodlines available in the UK and Internationally (we have overseas ‘ambassadors’ in a growing number of different countries). Unique to BLIS, each dog is assessed for health, type and temperament as an adult, and puppies must be raised ethically in a home environment, making it one of the most stringent breeding schemes available to date. The BLIS ‘Gold standard’ ethics and home puppy rearing code ensures every puppy has the best start, ready to become your perfect family companion.
The British Lupine Dog is a robust, athletic & happy wolf-look-alike dog, the ideal companion for the active home. The Breed is generally non-guarding, playful & intelligent, and they thrive on positive interaction and training. They are large, powerful and athletic, and require an experienced handler who knows how to use technique & their ‘brains’ – they don’t respond to ‘brawn’!
British Lupine Dog Factsheet:
Weight: 26 kg (min bitches) – 56kg (max dogs)
Coat: Mid to long acceptable eyes: Yellow to brown acceptable.
Colours: White to black, with variety of grey and brown
natural blends in between all acceptable
General Conformation & health: Athletic, powerful dog with excellent natural
conformation. Generally free from many of the conformational flaws
affecting other large breeds due to rigorous health testing.
General Demeanour & temperament: - intelligent, trainable with mid level drive, but will ‘switch off’ and relax in the home. A playful, affectionate, deeply loyal dog – the commonest fault may be separation anxiety if left completely alone.
Our ‘working profile’ is available as part of our ''Interested in becoming a British Lupine-Dog Society Gold Standard Breeder' Information Pack (see 'contacts' page)
Creating the breed: Originally, the natural companion dog (or ‘wolf alike dog’) has been re-created in the British Lupine Dog by selecting puppies with the best natural qualities from a wide gene pool, including German Shepherd, Husky, Malamute, Northern Inuit, Utonagan and Saarloos (find out more on our ‘breed history’ page)
Of course, in most lines, this was many generations ago. Nowadays, the British Lupine-Dog International Society (BLIS) has a strict breeding policy that is unrivalled in most dog registry organizations. New blood is regularly introduced to maintain genetic viability, and breeders from several different recognised registries are welcome to use our Accreditation Scheme to promote the high Standard of Quality they take in the care and breeding of their dogs - but ALL breeding dogs are FULLY health, temperament and type tested before parents can be Accredited and puppies from them registered, ensuring every British Lupine-Dog International Society (BLIS) registered puppy comes from the very best background. (see ‘About the British Lupine-Dog International Society (BLIS)’ below for details). Added to that, every BLIS breeder must sign our Code of Ethics enuring every puppy is home reared with the highest possible standard of home care, giving them a head start on the way to becoming you perfect family companion!
The British Lupine Dog is a beautiful dog, but they are not a breed for everyone. Here are some tips and pointers to consider when deciding if this is the breed for you:
•British Lupines are large breed, and require generous quantities of quality dog food and joint supplements, as well as fresh meat, especially during adolescence. A good diet when young, and your British Lupine Dog should maintain an active lifestyle long into old age.
•Your dog will approach physical maturity between about 12-18 months. However your dog may not finish behaviourally maturing until 18mths – 3 ½ years, and may hope to have an average lifespan of 12 years or more.
•Although more relaxed as adults, young dogs are playful and interactive. They can become destructive and bored if un-entertained for long periods. A safe ‘play’ zone’ can be useful when you go out, but for longer absences, pets sitting/daycare may be a necessary option for young dogs to prevent separation anxiety.
•Regular grooming during periods when the dense undercoat is in moult, typically in the spring, can be necessary to remove dead hair from the coat. The outer coat doesn’t tend to tangle, so out of moult, minimal grooming is required!
•These dogs are the modern ‘SUV’ of the pet world. Able to take part in activities such as Cani-x, rig racing, agility, rally, obedience and more. Regular exercise is a must, but they don’t need hours of running daily! A family play in the park is just fine.
•It is important to have a garden, as well as somewhere to walk your dog. These dogs love to play, making a garden a must.
•It’s no good being too house proud with a British Lupine! They expect to be ‘one of the family’ –even after winter walks!
•British Lupine Dog’s are a friendly, playful and intelligent breed.
•Although great family companions, they are large and can be energetic, making some of them unsuitable for families with young children. However, they respond well to positive training from young, and are generally polite once out of adolescence!
•They are generally non- guarding.
•They love their family, and don’t cope well with long working hours!
•They can turn their paws to many canine sports or family activities, but also excel in the sport of ‘couch potatoing’
•They love playing with water – so watch those muddy winter puddles! Stagnant summer pools must also be avoided as a health risk.
•Because of their size, enthusiasm and intelligence, training from young is a must!
•These dogs are not easy to threaten or intimidate – but they respond beautifully to positive, reward-based training. They are highly creative – while this can mean they bore easily when young, it also means they excel at learning fun tricks, or taking part in a wide range of canine training disciplines.
•Begin lead training from the first day you get your puppy as they will get strong quickly!
•Other basic commands such as Drop, Stay and Come should also begin using rewards at once.
•Socialisation with dogs and strangers must also begin as soon as possible, and must happen several times a week. In particular, practice recall on a long lead and walking past other dogs while on a lead without pulling– it won’t be long before your BLD may be bigger than many dogs in the park, and he must learn to come away when called!
•Entire males can be more energetic, so early neutering is recommended unless you are a breeder!
Some organisations and breeders are now recognising the need to undo some of the damage done to our dogs over the centuries by selective breeding for extremism (such as sloping back), and extreme ‘line’ breeding (in-breeding with close relatives). Others are seeking to re-create the majesty and dignity of our dog’s wild ancestors. The British Lupine-Dog International Society is different. It offers a structure of achieving both those goals – and (unlike almost every other organisation) insists on a quality family pet life for all dogs in the breeder’s care – after all, British Lupine Dog puppies are bred to be human companions! This makes the British Lupine Dog Gold Standard registered dog the 'creme de la creme' and a true breed apart!
Breeders functioning under the British Lupine Dog Gold Standard banner perform to the highest of welfare and quality standards –both in the breeding and in the aftercare service they offer to puppy owners.
The British Lupine-Dog International Society takes an unrivalled approach to registering 'Gold Standard' dogs. We support breeders who provide the very best of care for their dogs, and who ensure they perform all the health tests necessary to undo the damage done by careless historic domestic breeding. They also have to provide an ethical and educational home upbringing for their puppies, beginning to teach them their role as a family pet. Only the very best British Lupine Dog breeders achieve the British Lupine Dog 'Gold Standard' Accreditation Award.
We also award ‘Ethical Assured’ breeder certificates to wolf alike and wolfdog breeders from other lines to support their endeavours.
See ‘About the British Lupine-Dog International Society’ for more details.
History of the Wolfdog and
A brief history of ‘the dog’:
Before mankind lived in cities and chained dogs outside their homes, we had a co-operative relationship that spanned centuries – if not millennia – with socialised, ‘domesticated’ wolves. These wolves lived alongside our prehistoric hunter-gatherer ancestors, guarding their families and tracking their prey. These animals were already evolving all the social behaviours necessary to live with humans – tolerance, affection, loyalty - but were fit and healthy, free from the extremism and inbreeding we later inflicted on them.
As our culture developed, we moved into cities and bigger settlements - so the ‘companion wolf’ began to change. Initially, it was lifestyle changes that created the first ‘dogs’ – living in villages, they no longer had to range so far – living with humans with weapons, they no longer needed to be big enough to bring down large prey – in fact, it was smaller animals who needed less food who did best. If they were a little delicate, or had shorter coats, it didn’t matter so long as they were attractive to humans and so were looked after.
Over time, our technology developed too. We developed metalwork so we could contain large animals, and we domesticated other animals as food sources (livestock). The needs of man from his ‘best friend’ were changing – and his ability to choose specific mates for his canine companion was also now present. So he bred some dogs for herding, some for guarding, some for companionship.
In more recent times, dogs have been bred for new reasons – ‘showing’ took off in the Victorian times. Breeding for extreme or unusual physical characteristics, and ‘line-breeding’ – a eugenics-inspired concept for inbreeding to ‘purify’ desired traits – all became popular practices, with the most flamboyant dogs (rather than practical) often winning prizes.
Today, the modern role of the dog has changed again. In this generation, a dog is judged most by his ability to lead a happy, healthy life as a loved family pet. The challenge for the ethical modern dog breeder is to try to stay true to the fundamental core of the dog-human bond – he is first and foremost our ‘best friend’. Ethical modern breeders now turn to proven science to help them breed healthy dogs. There’s no longer the need to play lottery, gambling with puppies lives – we can genetically test for a variety of hereditary illnesses, we can use knowledge of behavioural sciences to help produce happy family friends.
The British Lupine-Dog is an attempt to re-create conformationally the original wolf-like companion dog, in all his natural, healthy glory – but fully able to behaviourally cope and function in the modern human world! The British Lupine-Dog International Society has, at its core, the desire to go back to this root value of the dog-human relationship.
A brief history of wolf-alike and wolfdog breeding:
Wolf dogs in history
For many centuries, the wolf was shrouded in myth and mystery. Often hunted, never the less wolfdog hybrids and ‘tamed’ wolves do crop up occasionally in the history books and folklore tales. Validating these tales seems impossible nowadays.
In the Americas, tales of breeding of wolves with domestic dogs by tribal peoples are common. If they did occur, it’s likely they were natural/accidental matings, rather than planned by humans!
When the rush to populate the Northern American continent came, sled dog breeds were created by mixing indigenous tribal dogs (which may or may not have had wolf content) with the vast numbers of large-breed dogs shipped north for the sledding industry. There are rumours, too, of matings between wild arctic wolves and sled dog bitches in heat.
New DNA evidence suggests that in Europe, casual cross-breeding between wolves and rural dog populations has been going on to some small degree for thousands of years (if not always), with wolf genes found in rural pastoral breeds, and ancient dog genes found in wolf populations. Formal crossing between dogs and wolves began in Europe in the early part of the 20th Century, with the development of the Saarloos wolfhund (a cross between European wolf and german shepherd) and the Czechoslovakian wolfog (which crossed Carpathian wolves with working-line shepherd dogs). Initially, the former was a gentle but shy animal, while the latter was a high-energy working-line breed, developed by the Czech police force.
In more recent decades, several breeders and breed organisations globally have tried (with varying levels of success) to breed natural vitality and conformation back into domestic dogs. While some sought to ‘salvage’ good qualities from various dog breeds and combine them, others chose to re-introduce actual wolf content, in an effort to rediscover what they thought had been lost.
Wolfdogs in uk
Currently in the UK (similar to many other countries in the world), there are a range of different wolf-alike dog breeds and wolfdogs being developed to different standards. Many of these dogs can all trace at least some part of their ancestry to dogs descended from the kennels of a lady called Edwina Harrison who had a range of different large cross breed dogs in the 1980’s. One of the first lines to develop was the ‘Northern Inuit’ – many other breed types have branched out since then, including the Utonagan and the British Timber Dog. There are also a rare few wolfdogs in existence in some lines (typically Saarloos or Czech, but occasionally wolf hybrids).
When looking at the different wolfie types and breeds that are being developed around the globe, it’s easy to get confused by some of the definitions. Here’s a quick guide to help you out:
‘Wolf alike dog’
‘Wolf alike dog’ – a wolf-alike dog is a dog crossbreed (eg, shepherd x sled type) or very low-content / historical wolfdog who (although he looks the part), will behave very much like a domestic dog – for example, confident round strangers. It’s worth bearing in mind that these dogs, although not wolves, are often the pinnacle of canine athleticism – they do need an owner with experience of large/energetic breeds, and similar to other large breeds, need appropriate space at home!
‘Wolf dog’ – the phrase ‘wolfdog’ is usually reserved for dog-wolf hybrids with a greater or more recent introduction of wolf genes. These animals may be expected to show a mix of dog and wolf behaviours, depending on their genes. This means they are not for novices – they will take experience and dedication to teach them to be comfortable in a human world. The higher the ‘content’ (percentage of wolf), the higher the chance of getting ‘domestically-incompatible wolfy behaviours’ – but it’s a bit of a lottery, and you have to really trust to the experience of the breeder in selecting appropriate breeding animals.
‘Wolf’ – no animal should be called a ‘wolf’ unless s/he is 100% wolf, and a 100% wolf makes a terrible (and unhappy) pet! Most wolves are endangered in their natural environments, and most countries have laws prohibiting their exploitation in the exotic animal pet trade.
Disreputable breeders/owners misrepresenting wolf-alike dogs or wolfdogs as the ‘real thing’ often cause trouble for honest breeders – as well as the dogs themselves and the public alike! Not only are people ‘conned’ into paying ‘big bucks’ for a fake, but if the dog is friendly, other people who like the dog mistakenly then buy a real wolf or high content wolfdog, thinking it will behave the same! Of course, if they’ve picked a breeder of the ‘real thing’, it doesn’t – it behaves like a real wolf, frightened in public!
British Lupine Dog is a registered Trademark – only dogs registered with this organisation are genuine British Lupine Dogs.