It is common knowledge today that the domestic modern dog can trace its ancestry back across millennia to ancient wild wolves.
In fact, even the species names are similar. The wild wolf is known as Canis lupus. The modern domestic dog is known as Canis lupus familiaris.
But as similar as the two species might seem on the surface, truly that is where most of the similarities end.
There are important fundamental differences to be aware of. In this article, we will dive into the topic of the Rottweiler Wolf mix and what you need to know about this very rare hybrid dog breed.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix
As we mentioned in the introduction here, a Rottweiler Wolf mix is always going to be a very rare combination.
In fact, it is far more likely that you might see a crossbreeding between a wolf-dog hybrid, or wolf-dog, and a Rottweiler dog.
However, it is genetically possible for a wild wolf to mate with a domestic dog, whether a Rottweiler dog or any domestic dog breed.
See a Rottweiler in Comparison with a Wild Wolf
In this short video, you can see a Rottweiler domestic dog in comparison with a pair of wild wolves.
While there is some similarity in overall size, it is clear the Rottweiler is both larger and stockier than a wild wolf and also exhibits a very different type of behavior.
Is it Legal to Own a Rottweiler Wolf Hybrid?
In their excitement to own a dog-wolf hybrid mix, many owners neglect to research the laws in their local area when it comes to owning a wild animal.
This is vital research to do because each state sets its own guidelines as far as how to regard hybrid animals living with people in a captive setting.
Some states may simply require you to provide proof of timely vaccinations, registration, and licenses. Other states may specify that you need to apply for a wild animal license or permit and provide a certain type of cage or kennel.
These laws can be fluid and are always subject to change. If possible, try to find someone else in your area who is keeping a dog-wolf hybrid and talk to them about how to prepare and what you need to do.
The History of the Rottweiler and the Wolf
Whenever you are considering adding a new canine family member, it is always important to do as much research into the breed history as you can.
This is, even more, the case when you are considering adopting or purchasing a hybrid or crossbred dog.
And it is quite simply critical if you are contemplating inviting a dog with any direct wolf parentage into your home, life, and community.
The Rottweiler is the eighth most popular (out of 195 American Kennel Club registered dog breeds) purebred dog breed in America today.
These dogs are truly among the most ancient of all modern purebred dog breeds. Historians and canine biologists have traced the Rottweiler breed line back at least 2,000 years – all the way to the time of the ancient Romans!
While today Rottweilers are known as a German-born and bred dog breed, and indeed the Rottweiler takes its breed name from the town of Rottweil, Germany, the breed’s ancestors were fearsome Western European guard and herding dogs.
Rottweilers today are prized for their smarts, skills, and strength in a diverse set of working dog roles, including police and military work, private protection and guarding work, guide dog and service dog work, search and rescue work and as a family pet.
According to Wolf Country, before wolves were wolves, they were miacids, small carnivorous mammals that lived a whopping 52 million years ago.
At some point, miacids branched into two genetic lines, canids and viverrids. Canids became wild wolves while viverrids evolved to become more cat-like in appearance and habits.
Today’s viverrids include the genetic, the civet, and the linsang, none of which are well-known or much discussed outside of biology and zoology circles.
The wild canids, on the other hand, continued to evolve from early feline-like dawn wolves into the grey wolf, the dire wolf, and, later, the coyote.
Live Science explains that it is more scientifically correct to say that today’s modern wild wolves and today’s modern domestic dogs share a common extinct wolf ancestor.
In other words, the evolution of wolves into domestic dogs is not linear. It is branched. In the same way that ancient miacids branched genetically into viverrids and canids, so too did this ancient now-extinct wolf branch into modern wolves and dogs.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Personality and Temperament
While a Rottweiler Wolf mix hybrid dog is a definite rarity in dog breeding today, it occasionally does occur.
It takes a very skilled and knowledgeable canine breeder to accomplish this because the wolf estrus (fertility) cycle is different from the domestic dog.
Also, wolves that are of mating age often become intolerant of human presence, which can make achieving a mating pair difficult.
This being said, let’s take a look at what type of personality and temperament a Rottweiler Wolf mix might have should this pairing occur and successfully produce puppies.
Rottweiler personality and temperament
The Rottweiler dog’s personality and temperament have consistently landed this dog breed in the top 10 most popular purebred companion canines in the United States.
However, Rottweilers are actually not considered to be an ideal dog choice for first-time or inexperienced dog owners.
These dogs have evolved from a truly ancient line of fighting, herding, and working dogs. They are intelligent and independent. They are strong, brave, and powerful. They can be stubborn and rambunctious if bored, lonely, or poorly trained.
A well-bred, well-trained Rottweiler, in contrast, will be a calm, confident dog that is tender and affectionate, playful and even silly towards family and simply aloof with all others.
This aloofness is why some people think that Rottweilers are more like wild wolves than many other dog breeds.
However, this is actually not the case. There are other dog breeds much more like wild wolves (as well as genetically closer to wild wolves) than the Rottweiler dog breed.
Wolf personality and temperament
As the International Wolf Center points out, a big aspect of the evolution separating the modern wild wolf and the modern domestic dog centers around tolerating human presence and company.
While modern domestic dogs have mostly evolved to seek out, enjoy, and even crave human company and attention, wild wolves have evolved to remain intolerant of human presence.
While wolf pups may interact in ways that seem similar to dog puppies, this changes once the wolf pups hit sexual maturity. This is when managing the influence of the wolf’s temperament and personality can become very difficult and even dangerous.
For everyone’s safety, any hybrid dog owner of a dog-wolf hybrid will need to be extremely sensitive to this and very experienced in hybrid handling, training, and interaction.
Rottweiler Wolf personality and temperament
Wolf Park explains that the Rottweiler Wolf (or any wolf-dog hybrid) will have a mix of genes that are not naturally complimentary to each other.
This is especially true for a Rottweiler Wolf mix.
For example, the Rottweiler is a great guard dog. The wolf makes a very poor guard dog because they are shy around people and will either retreat or, if provoked, possibly become dangerously and uncontrollably aggressive.
Another key difference is the maturity rate difference between wolves and dogs. Wolves mature later than do domestic dogs – a difference between one to four years for wolves and six to eight months for dogs.
Wolves also go through a lot more hormonal and behavioral shifts while they are growing up and it is hard to predict how this will impact a hybrid Rottweiler Wolf mix puppy.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Size, Height, and Weight
Even though many people liken the Rottweiler dog to a wolf because of these dogs’ keen hunting, tracking, and scenting skills, in so many ways the two animals are not much alike.
This is very true when it comes to size, height, and weight differences. This also means it can be hard to predict in advance what size your Rottweiler Wolf mix puppy will be in adulthood.
Rottweiler size, height, and weight
The Rottweiler can weigh anywhere from 80 to 135+ pounds in adulthood, placing it right on the border between a large dog and a giant dog breed.
Adult males typically weigh up to 15 pounds more than adult females, although this is not always the case.
An adult male Rottweiler can stand 24 to 27 inches tall, while an adult female will typically stand 22 to 25 inches tall (paw pads to shoulder girdles).
Rottweilers are somewhat top-heavy, with massive heads, wide shorter muzzles, jaws, and broad shoulders, becoming narrower towards the hindquarters.
Wolf size, height, and weight
As Wolf Worlds explains, there are three main species of wolves today: the timber wolf (or the gray wolf), the Ethiopian wolf (which may or may not be a “true” wolf), and the red wolf.
Live Science further explains that there are at least 40 known sub-species of these three main species.
Most popular references to wolf-dog hybrid mixes involve the gray wolf/timber wolf. This is the largest of the three wolf species.
Gray or timber wolves can easily weigh anywhere from 50 to 110 pounds, although as PBS Nature points out, there is at least one gray wolf on record that weighed 175 pounds.
Gray or timber wolves can stand anywhere from 26 to 32 inches (paw pads to shoulder girdles).
Red wolves are usually smaller in weight and height, weighing between 50 and 85 pounds according to Defenders of Wildlife. Red wolves are critically endangered and you are not likely to find a hybrid wolf dog mix with a red wolf parent.
All species and subspecies of wolves tend to be long and lean in every respect.
Rottweiler Wolf size, height, and weight
From this overview, you can gather that your Rottweiler Wolf mix dog is going to grow up to be a big dog and possibly a giant hybrid dog.
This means your canine companion is going to require quite a bit of space both indoors and outdoors.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Training and Exercise Needs
Another area where you will see quite a bit of contrast between each canine parent is in terms of training and exercise.
This is one area where the wolf influence can make keeping any dog-wolf hybrid particularly challenging.
Rottweiler training and exercise needs
The Rottweiler is definitely an active dog breed with the stamina to match, especially in puppyhood.
These dogs have a very long history of working consistently with yet independently of people, keeping their own counsel about how best to do their jobs. This can make training Rottweiler a challenge.
As well, Rottweilers that are poorly socialized and trained may become rambunctious, unruly, or even aggressive.
Rottweilers need early, ongoing, positive socialization and training and plenty of daily exercises to avoid becoming difficult or destructive.
Wolf training and exercise needs
Training a wild wolf is a challenge even for experts. This challenge only grows greater if the training does not begin in puppyhood.
As Ambassador Journey explains, a wolf-dog that is trained from puppyhood will often grow up to see you, their owner, as a fellow pack member.
But because wolves are pack animals by nature, they cannot be left alone – ever. They need a tremendous amount of exercise and enrichment each day because wild wolves roam over miles and miles of territory.
This roaming serves several purposes, including searching for food, guarding their territory, and seeking mates.
Wolf hybrids may also choose to “mark” their territory as they would in the wild, which means you may face what a dog owner would consider being “inappropriate elimination” which is a very hard habit to break.
Wolf hybrids or wolves that are socialized to people still tend to retain the tendency to howl loudly for long hours both day and night, which you may not be able to train them not to do.
Rottweiler Wolf training and exercise needs
From this, you can easily see that owning a Rottweiler Wolf mix is going to be a full-time job for every single day of the time you and your wolf-dog share together.
This is a huge commitment to take on and should not be entered into lightly.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Shedding, Grooming, and Coat Care
Both the Rottweiler and the wild wolf have a short, thick, double-layer coat that will shed seasonally and year-round to keep the coat functional.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Longevity and Health
The health of your Rottweiler Wolf pup will be entirely in your hands starting on day one. Learning as much as you can about the potential health issues you may face together is an important part of preparing for ownership.
Rottweiler longevity and health
On average, the Rottweiler dog will live between nine and 10 years.
According to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the Rottweiler has the following known genetic (heritable) health issues that parent dogs could potentially pass along to puppies:
– Hip and elbow dysplasia.
– Eye and cardiac issues.
– Juvenile Laryngeal Paralysis & Polyneuropathy (JLPP).
As the United Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) further explains, Rottweilers have a higher than normal incidence of canine cancer, specifically a type called hemangiosarcoma. Unfortunately, there is no genetic pre-test for this.
Wolf longevity and health
The typical wild wolf has a potential life span of 12 to 14 years in a captive setting (wolves in the wild do not typically live anywhere close to this long).
Wolves in the wild typically face the greatest danger from other predators, rivals, and simple hunger or pests. There is less documentation about the health issues faced by wolves in a captive setting
Rottweiler Wolf longevity and health
Overall, the influence of the wolf gene pool may add a year or two to your Rottweiler Wolf mix dog’s life.
Otherwise, the Rottweiler genetics brings a host of potentially difficult heritable (genetic) health issues that can be treated somewhat but not cured.
Rottweiler Wolf Mix: Is This the Right Dog for You?
As The Atlantic highlights in detail, any wolf-dog hybrid is going to be fundamentally unpredictable.
The Rottweiler Wolf Mix has highly specialized needs and some believe they simply do not belong in a captive setting as companion canines. It will be up to you to decide if you have the time, money, and resources to care for one of these unique animals.