The Real Reason You Shouldn't Keep Wolves As Pets

If you love your dog, but wish that your life was more like those Kato attack scenes from the Pink Panther movies, a wolf might just be for you. And that's the whole list of reasonable excuses to own a wolf.

Wolves are undeniably cool, as attested to by the airbrushed tee shirts on every guy at the fair. They're not, however, famously strong pets. Human beings noticed this a few dozen centuries ago and we've been doing our best to turn them into pugs and dachshunds ever since, but there's always going to be a contingent of folks dedicated to the good old days. In the same way that people keep going to 1950s-style diners and Medieval Times restaurants, some folks just really want a pre-domesticated canine as a throwback to the days when we were still hiding in caves. Generally from pre-domesticated canines.

If you're dead set on owning a wolf, you've probably already done some reading and know that, as Wolf Park points out, they'll need a minimum of 1600 square feet of space all to themselves. You'll have to enclose the area in an 8-foot-tall chain link fence with an overhang to ensure that they stay put. In short, you'd better pack your bags and head to the country, because pretty much any urban or suburban living space is already out.

They'll huff, and they'll puff, and they'll eat your kid

Any wolf or wolf-dog hybrid needs to have been hand-raised and frequently handled from around the age of two weeks old in order to become accustomed to human interaction. Not that humans are going to cut it, interaction-wise — they're highly social creatures, so you'll need at least two of them at a time. Look at that, you're outnumbered already.

Still on board? Let's talk feeding. A wolf or wolf hybrid won't go for Kibbles n' Bits the way a standard dog does. They need meat. At least five pounds a day. They'll also require skin, bone, and fur to munch on if they're going to live their best lives. You'll want to be extra careful feeding them, though. Wolf Haven International reminds us that since these creatures haven't been bred into domesticity since before there were pyramids the way dogs have, they don't instinctively know when their food source is being threatened, and might see your possession of their snacks as a threat. Wolf teeth are all about lethal effectiveness, and even a half-hearted snap could put you in traction.

So there you go. You could definitely do all of that, if you wanted to. Or you could get a dog.