Did you know that dogs and wolves can interbreed? There are actually quite a few wolf hybrids to create fierce and intelligent canines.
One example is the Kunming Wolfdog, also known as the Chinese German Shepherd. They’re a sharp and hardworking crossbreed that dog and wolf lovers alike would want this pooch.
Do wolfdogs always fascinate you? Keep scrolling to find out more about this incredible fido.
History: What is a Kunming Wolfdog?
Although there’s limited documentation about what breeds make up the Kunming Wolfdog, it is believed that they were founded during the 1950s by crossbreeding German Shepherds from Germany and local military wolfdogs.
They were created for military and police purposes in Yunnan, China. They were officially recognized as the Kunming dog, named after the province’s capital, by the Chinese Public Security Bureau in 1988. Eventually, they became useful guard dogs and watchdogs.
If you’re wondering whether this fido is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the United Kennel Club (UKC), they’re not because they’re still considered rare. Yet Kunmings are recognized by the Continental Kennel Club (CKC) and Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA).
For this breed, the tiny genetic difference between these two species creates a big difference in personality.
So, to help you understand the Kunming Wolfdog better, here’s a quick overview of their parents.
Meet the German Shepherd
This fierce canine descended from ancestral German herding dogs, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that a breed standard was drafted for German Shepherds (GSD).
Back then, owners didn’t consider this purebred as companions. Instead, they saw them as herding and farming dogs.
They’re a medium- to large-sized breed with a muscular, graceful stature with a height that can reach 25 inches (65 cm) and can weigh 88 pounds (40 kg). They tend to be aloof when meeting strangers for the first time, but will eventually warm up to those that are close to their human family.
German Shepherds are known for being extremely loyal and excellent in defending their owners.
Meet the wolfdog
Many states have regulations on this dog and wolf crossbreed. They need a lot of resources and patience. Wolfdogs are powerful, muscular, and, like their wolf parents, skittish when nervous.
What many people don’t know is that this hybrid is a genuine athlete.
One anecdote notes, “If that exercise is not forthcoming, wolf dogs tend to make it up themselves. One Wolfdog chewed through the drywall in his owner’s home and let himself into the garage. He then partially destroyed his owner’s car.”
There are high- and low-content wolfdog varieties of wolfdog, which means some will have a higher presence, and some will have lower wolf genetic makeup. The personality of this dog will be more difficult to anticipate with a higher percentage of wolf genes.
Generally, they can grow as tall as 33 inches (84 cm) and can weigh up to 120 pounds (54 kg).
What does the Kunming Wolfdog look like?
Just like its parents, the Chinese German Shepherd is muscular, with big, fluffy heads and long, rectangular-shaped bodies. Their tail is long and bushy that curls up when they’re intrigued.
They have round, dark eyes that are set forward on their face, much like a wolf’s eyes. Their ears are large, triangular, and pointed, and their muzzles are black.
Kunmings have shorter hair than their GSD parents but have similar fur colors. Their coats have black saddle markings, with the rest of their fur ranging from light straw to deep rust. This fido is not hypoallergenic like other crossbred dogs, but we’ll discuss more on that later.
The Kunming Wolfdog’s size
The Chinese German Shepherd is a large dog and stands a bit taller than a GSD. Kunmings can range from 25 to 27 inches (63.5 to 68.6 cm) in height, and their weight varies widely from 66 to 84 pounds (30 to 38 kg).
Because of their size, they are best suited for wide-open acres of land to roam — they would not be happy in an apartment or standard-sized backyard.
This short video will show you how big and long-haired a Kunming Wolfdog can get:
Temperament: Are Kunming Wolfdogs good pets?
Yes, they are, but as with all dogs, they come with quirks. Kunming dogs are incredibly smart but quite reserved with strangers. They’re also one of those breeds that thrive when kept active. After all, breeders created them to do guard, police, and military duties. With that said, they’re more suited for experienced owners who enjoy being on the move.
So don’t let the 4-letter word “wolf” discourage you from owning this hybrid. Kunmings may be powerful and alert canines, but they’re quite approachable and easy-going.
Although their size is an excellent quality in being a service dog, they’re not the right choice for someone looking for a service or therapy dog.
For quirks, a bored Kunming dog will cause trouble and can be destructive, so be sure to get them plenty of exercise and room to roam. For those who have other pets, especially small ones, this dog has a high prey drive, and you should keep them away or have this fido as your only pet.
Potential owners of the Chinese German Shepherd breed have to be very careful when it comes to socialization. It’s true: a wolfdog doesn’t have a natural inclination toward social etiquette nor people-pleasing. With that said, the only way to deal with this is to socialize them as early as possible.
They can be mouthy and bite if not trained as a very new pup. If you’re not careful, they can be aggressive and try to dominate your household. Once trained, they can be well-mannered around your little ones and guests that they’ve learned to associate with.
The cool thing about this dog is that they love learning new skills! So, once you have a handle on both their attention and their wolf instincts, you can train them to do pretty much anything. This is a canine that enjoys being challenged.
If you want an in-depth explanation and training tips about wolfdogs, like the Kunming, you should watch this video:
How to care for your Kunming Wolfdog
Even with short hair, Kunmings are double-coated and will shed during the shedding season. It’s best to use a stiff-bristled brush for your wolf hybrid every day.
Other grooming recommendations for this breed are pretty standard. Check and clean your doggo’s eyes, ears, and teeth once a week.
Bathing every two weeks is advisable for those Kunming dogs who stay indoors more often. If your pooch is active and does some outdoor work, then a weekly wash would be better.
Don’t forget to clip his nails once a month!
Physical and mental stimulation goes hand in hand, so a total of at least 60 minutes of exercise daily is sufficient for this fido.
For feeding, an adult Kunming requires an average of 3 to 4 cups of dog food daily, which can be a raw diet or mixed with dry kibbles.
Keep in mind that the amount of food you give your dog, whether it’s a purebred or a wolf hybrid, should be based on factors such as their age, size, energy level, and health.
Is this wolf hybrid healthy?
Kunming dogs are pretty healthy, with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. They don’t have many genetic illnesses, but they can still develop some health problems.
Some of those are degenerative myelopathy, bloat, elbow and hip dysplasia, as well as canine diabetes.
They can also suffer from Von Willebrand Disease and canine lupus, but it’s pretty rare.
If you want this breed, please note that not many veterinarians or clinics will accommodate wolfdogs as patients. Before getting one, scout for a vet that you can rely on in case anything serious happens to your wolfy dog.
Where to buy/adopt a Chinese German Shepherd
If you’ve made it this far and are still interested in being the owner of a Kunming Wolfdog, you are most likely going to need to travel to China to purchase one or have it delivered.
There are about 6 to 8 puppies per litter, and though the Chinese breed this dog,
Should you find a puppy or adult to purchase, I recommend you read the article by Jill Moore on her experiences with wolfdog hybrids.
But hold up! There’s another thing you have to think about. Are you even allowed to own a wolfdog as a pet in your city or state? Just like Pitbulls, you will have to deal with whether this hybrid is legal or illegal to have in your location.
Is it legal to own a Kunming Wolfdog in the U.S.?
The answer to this would depend on where you live. While the Federal Animal Welfare Act defines and regulates hybrids as domestic dogs, some states still restrict or outright prohibits wolfdogs.
States that restrict wolfdog ownership by requiring permits and enclosure standards include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia.
States that entirely prohibit private ownership of wolfdogs include Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.
The remaining states, as of 2013, allow for wolfdog ownership. Some have specific laws regarding the permitted percentage of wolf genes to consider the hybrid a domesticated animal, though. Check with your local wildlife agency before adopting to align with your state’s laws.
Kunming Wolfdog breeders & rescues
We didn’t find any specific breeder or kennel for Kunmings, but we did find a few websites that offer wolfdogs in general. You can check with them if they have this particular hybrid. Just to clarify, we can’t vouch for these sites, so please do your own research to make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable puppy seller.
Be prepared to answer questions and ask a few of your own to find out if a puppy or a wolfdog is the right match for you.
Here are the websites that have available wolfdog puppies for sale:
There are also several wolfdog rescues worth checking out because owners are not often prepared to handle this breed and then give up the dog. Visit the following adoption sites regularly to see if you can spot a Chinese German Shepherd:
- Texas Wolfdog Project (Montgomery, TX)
- Howling Woods Farms (Jackson, NJ)
- Southern Ohio Wolf Sanctuary (Chesapeake, OH)
Other wolfdogs that you might like
The Kunming is just one of the few wolfdog hybrids around. If you’re interested in canines with wolf genes or you just love large and gigantic dogs or fidos who look like wolves, these breeds won’t disappoint:
Japanese Wolfdog (AKA Shikoku)
If hybrids like these are too intense for you, a German Shepherd mix might be more suitable for you, such as a Sheprador or a Gerberian Shepsky, maybe another rare dog like the Canis Panther would catch your interest, too.
Is the Kunming Dog the perfect pet for you?
This wolfdog may be a lot to handle, but they’re fiercely loyal to you and the rest of your pack once it gets proper socialization and training. They’re excellent guard dogs, too!
If you’re looking for a canine to be your police partner and it’s legal to have this fido in your state, then you may have found the perfect dog.
With traits like being energetic and hardworking, you may think that they’re like any other dog. But keep in mind that they have wolf genes, so they’re more recommended for experienced owners.
What do you think about this wolf hybrid? Have you had any experience with any wolfdog? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.