Colorado is a canine-loving state with lots of dog-owning households. Labradors, poodles, pit bulls, and Frenchies are common breeds across the Rocky Mountain Region, but what are the rules when it comes to owning a wolfdog?

Wolfdogs are hybrid species that result from breeding a domestic dog with a wolf, such as a gray wolf, eastern wolf, red wolf, or Ethiopian wolf. German shepherds, Siberian huskies, and Malamutes are the main types of dogs that wolves are bred with to create the hybrid species. Some wolfdogs are a combination of 50 percent wolf and 50 percent dog, while others can be more than 90 percent dog and less than 10 percent wolf. Backyard breeders often breed wolfdogs to sell or keep as exotic pets.

Wolves and domestic dogs are very similar physically and genetically, but they are still two separate species with many different and distinct features. For one, wolves tend to act more feral than average domesticated dogs and can be more aggressive, too. This is why the breeding of wolfdogs and wolf hybrids continues to be a controversial topic.

Francesco Bazzani/Unsplash
Francesco Bazzani/Unsplash

A Federal law doesn't exist against owning a wolfdog, however, the status of wolfdog hybrids varies from completely banned to restricted, to completely unregulated, depending on the state you live in.

There are several states where people are allowed to own a wolfdog, but there are strict regulations on caging vaccines and identification. Other states have no laws at all regarding wolfdog ownership. It is illegal to keep a wolfdog hybrid as a pet in twelve states.

It's perfectly acceptable to have a wolfdog as a household pet in Colorado. All domestic/wild canine hybrids are exempt from license requirements in the Centennial State, which means no special permits are required to own a wolfdog either. That being said, it's still important to check local laws as some counties or municipalities can make owning a wolfdog illegal.

As pets, wolfdogs need lots of space with constant access to run and exert energy. If that ability is limited or if space is confined, they could get agitated or suffer from health issues.

It is illegal to own a pure wolf in the United States; they are classified as an endangered and regulated species.

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