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Kunming Wolfdog (Chinese Wolf Dog): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Kunming wolfdog_Bandersnatch_shutterstock

Height: 24-28 inches
Weight: 60-90 pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Colors: Tan, black, white
Suitable for: Active families, experienced owners
Temperament: Energetic, obedient, easygoing, curious, stubborn

If you’ve always loved German Shepherds but feel that they are a little too safe and commonplace, then the Kunming Wolfdog may be the perfect pup for you.

These Chinese wolf dogs look almost exactly like German Shepherds, but they have a bit more of a wild streak to them. These dogs are descended from German Shepherds that were crossbred with wolves.

The result was a dog that’s equal parts obedient companion and stubborn rogue. Kunming Wolfdogs are beautiful and majestic, but they’re not for everyone. If you’re thinking about bringing one home, read this guide to make sure you’re ready to add one of these pups to your family.

Divider 1Kunming Wolfdog Puppies — Before You Bring One Home…

Kunming Wolfdog puppy
Image Credit: Maria Collado, Shutterstock

Any sort of Wolfdog is exciting and exotic, and the Kunming Wolfdog is no exception. However, owning one comes with challenges that you won’t have with a regular dog, and it’s important to consider these before committing to one.

If you rent your home, you should know that many landlords will refuse to rent to anyone who has a Wolfdog. If you own your home, you may lose your homeowner’s insurance by bringing a Wolfdog into it.

Many vets won’t treat them either. In fact, Wolfdogs are illegal in many states, and they’re usually subject to harsher punishments when they misbehave. If you have a Wolfdog and they bite someone, for example, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to put them down, even for a first offense.

That’s not to say that these dogs are evil or poorly behaved — far from it, in most cases. However, you’ll need to check your local laws before adopting one, and you’ll need to be even more dedicated to training and socializing them than you would be with a regular pooch.

If you stay on top of their obedience work, though, there’s no reason that a Kunming Wolfdog can’t make a wonderful pet. If you don’t think that you can trust yourself to do that, however, then you’re better off getting something easier (and more legal) to handle. You owe the dog that much, at least.

Divider 83 Little-Known Facts About Kunming Wolfdogs

1. They make excellent military and police dogs.

Wolfdogs were often used in China for police and military purposes, while German Shepherds have been used for the same purpose in the rest of the world. When you mix the two, you get a dog that’s a natural law enforcement pup.

These pooches can be highly obedient while still retaining a fierce spirit, making them perfect for running down bad guys. However, it can also make them a poor fit for hanging out with kids unless they’ve been thoroughly trained and socialized.

2. The amount of wolf inside varies from dog to dog.

One problem with Chinese Wolf dogs is that they’re often illegal to breed or they’re bred by people who aren’t exactly forthcoming with information about their practices. As a result, you’ll never know how much wolf is inside each dog.

If the dog has high wolf content, they’ll be much more difficult to train and socialize. However, the less wolf they have, the more dog-like they’ll be. The only issue is figuring out what, exactly, is inside your pup.

3. They’re quiet dogs.

Despite having been bred for military and law enforcement purposes, these dogs rarely bark. Instead, they take care of problems themselves — and they certainly have the ferocity to do it.

The upshot for you is that they can be good apartment dogs, provided that they’re sufficiently exercised. You certainly don’t have to worry about your neighbors complaining about their barking.

Divider 3

Temperament & Intelligence of the Kunming Wolfdog 🧠

Kunming Wolfdogs are extremely intelligent animals, and they can quickly pick up on any sort of command that you’re trying to teach them. They have an inquisitive nature, which helps them learn but also gets them into trouble.

Their razor-sharp intellect makes them accomplished escape artists. You’ll want to make sure that your fence is completely secure, because if it isn’t, they’ll surely find and exploit any weaknesses.

Kunming Wolfdogs aren’t typically people-pleasers, so you may have issues training them. As a result, it’s best if only experienced owners take on the task of raising them.

They’re typically self-assured and confident, although they can be suspicious of newcomers. That’s due in part to the intense loyalty that they feel toward their families. However, it can be a problem whenever you decide to have guests over.

If you provide them with sufficient exercise, you’ll find that they’re fairly laidback and relaxed. If you don’t, they can become destructive, digging holes in your lawn and chewing up your shoes.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Deciding whether to trust one of these dogs around your family will ultimately come down to how well they’re trained and socialized. If you spend enough time working with them, they can be lovable and affectionate family pets.

If not, though, they can be a menace. These dogs tend to be a little mouthy, so they may bite or snap at people if not taught better manners.

They’re not ideal for families with small children, as they don’t have as much patience as some other breeds. If you have little kids, never leave them alone with the dog, and teach them how to behave around the dog so they don’t accidentally provoke them.

If you have older kids, though, you’ll need to be careful when they have friends over. They are fiercely protective of their families, and they may not take kindly to seeing strangers roughhouse with their brothers and sisters.

Given how much exercise these dogs need, it may be nice to have more than a single person around to take care of them. Being able to enlist several people to play with them or take them jogging can make things less stressful for everyone involved.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Kunming Wolfdogs tend to have dominant personalities, and as such, they may not get along with other dogs. However, if properly socialized and raised with others, they may be able to make canine friends.

Still, they’ll likely never be good fits for the dog park. They’re a bit too aggressive to play well with strangers, and if anything goes wrong, the Wolfdog will always take the blame.

They have an extremely high prey drive, so you’ll never be able to safely keep cats or other small creatures around them. You may have some luck if you give them an extreme amount of training and socialization, but we wouldn’t risk it.

That said, these dogs are still quite social, so don’t leave them alone for too long. If you do, they’ll become depressed and destructive. They can be prone to separation anxiety, so don’t adopt one if you can’t spend time with them.

two Kunming wolfdogs_Bandersnatch_shutterstock
Image Credit: Bandersnatch, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Kunming Wolfdog

Kunming Wolfdogs are rare, so it’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen one, much less taken care of one. They’re still dogs at the end of the day, so their care requirements aren’t much different from regular canines, but they still have a few special needs that you should be aware of.

We put together a quick primer on how to raise one of these dogs. If you ever manage to get your hands on one, this information could prove useful

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Although Kunming Wolfdogs aren’t as big as German Shepherds, they actually eat more. These dogs have voracious appetites and may require as much as 8 cups of kibble per day.

You should take care to give them the best kibble possible. Try to find one that’s extremely high in protein, as well as high in fat and fiber. This will keep them feeling full for longer, potentially reducing the overall amount that you have to feed them.

Avoid ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, or animal by-products. These provide little in the way of nutrition, but they will pack on the empty calories, potentially leading to obesity. What’s more, they’re poorly tolerated by many animals and may cause digestive issues.

You may need to buy them a more expensive food to meet all these requirements, but considering how expensive buying one of these animals can be, the expense of feeding them properly shouldn’t be an issue.

While they eat more than many other dogs, you should still avoid overfeeding them. Being overweight is terrible for their health, so practice strict portion control. Pick up their food when they’re done, and don’t allow them to free-feed.

Exercise 🐕

Kunming Wolfdogs are extremely energetic, and as a result, they have high exercise needs. At a minimum, they require an hour of strenuous activity every day.

The good news is that once you get their zoomies out, they tend to be laidback and docile the rest of the day. This makes them equally suitable for both living in an apartment or a house with a yard, as they’ll be happy to lounge around after exercising.

Given their natural obedience and love of exercising, agility training may be a good way to tucker them out. They also tend to do well in other canine competitions, such as obedience events.

Don’t work them too hard when they’re still puppies, though. Until their bodies are fully developed, putting too much strain on them could cause spinal issues later in life. Avoid high-impact activities like running, jumping, or even stair climbing until they’re fully mature.

Once they’re grown, they make excellent jogging companions, or they can be perfectly happy just chasing you around the backyard. It’s not hard to convince them to exercise.

Training 🦮

The combination of their natural intelligence and obedience background makes them relatively easy to train — once you earn their respect, that is. If they don’t respect you, you won’t make any progress trying to train them. That’s why they’re generally not recommended for first-time owners.

You should do obedience work with them every day to keep them sharp. Fortunately, they love it, so it shouldn’t be a chore for either of you. You will need to keep things fresh, though, as they can get bored if forced to do the same things every day.

Training and socialization should start the day that you bring them home and last until they die. These dogs need both more than your average pup, so don’t skimp if you want a dog that’s capable of being around people.

Only use positive reinforcement techniques when training them, as they can become stubborn and hostile if punished. If you reinforce the behaviors that you want them to keep by rewarding them with treats or praise and ignoring bad behavior, you can quickly have a well-mannered dog on your hands.

If training isn’t going well, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. It’s much better to outsource training than to forego it entirely. Ideally, though, you’ll handle all training sessions yourself, as this will cause your dog to respect you more, while also forging a tighter bond between the two of you.

Grooming ✂️

Kunming Wolfdogs have a double coat that sheds constantly, so if you don’t want fur all over your house, you’ll need to brush them with a stiff-bristled brush every day.

They need to be bathed more than other dogs, so you might need to toss them in the tub twice a month or so. They’ll also need to be bathed right away if they become visibly dirty.

You’ll need to trim their nails as needed and brush their teeth every day. If you start doing this while they’re puppies, it will go much more smoothly once they’re adults. After all, the last thing that you want to do is wrestle with an angry wolf.

Their large ears need to be cleaned out once a week with a damp cloth to prevent infection.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Kunming Wolfdogs tend to be fairly healthy animals, and they’re often healthier than their German Shepherd forebears. However, like German Shepherds, they have a downward-sloping back that can cause joint and spine problems later in life.

Also, there may be other issues that your pup is prone to that you are unaware of. It’s just part of the risk you take when owning a wolf hybrid, as it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll get detailed or reliable information about their health history from the breeder.

That’s troublesome, given how unregulated the breed is, especially regarding the amount of wolf inside each dog. As a result, it’s hard to say what a “typical” Kunming Wolfdog looks like from a long-term health perspective.

There are quite a few diseases that may affect one of these dogs, but it’s hard to say with certainty whether the breed as a whole is predisposed to them. There’s simply not enough data at this point to draw such wide conclusions.

Still, we’ve listed the most common conditions that may plague Kunming Wolfdogs. The list may seem long and intimidating, but that’s more to cover our bases than to warn of general unhealthiness. It’s unlikely that your dog will have many health issues, if any (assuming that you care for them properly, of course).

Minor Conditions
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Skin allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Intervertebral disc disease

Divider 3Male vs. Female

Males tend to be significantly bigger than females, sometimes by as much as 20 pounds and a few inches.

As far as temperament is concerned, though, it’s hard to handicap that either way, given how rare the breed is and how most of the dogs are still located in China.

You’ll be taking your chances with either sex. However, sex shouldn’t play nearly as big a role in the dog’s personality as the level of wolf DNA in them does, and that’s hard to determine with any sort of accuracy.

Divider 5Final Thoughts

If you love German Shepherds but want something with a little more pizzazz, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Kunming Wolfdog. These Chinese wolf dogs look like their German Shepherd forebears, but they have more of a wild streak to them.

That makes them a poor fit for inexperienced owners. However, it’s not likely to be much of an issue, as these dogs are extremely difficult to adopt; you’ll likely have to arrange a flight to China to get one. Also, you need to check your local laws to see if it’s even legal to own one where you live.

Assuming that you manage to bring one home, though, you’ll find that they can make loving and protective pets. The upside is that no one will mess with the house that has an actual wolf roaming the backyard.

Featured image credit: Bandersnatch, Shutterstock

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