Wolfdog in the House: My, What Big Feet You Have

Kainan 9 14 14As I stand in the dog room waiting for Kainan to throw up, I have a little time to study his conformation. Oh yes, you read that right. I’m waiting for Kainan to throw up.

Don’t worry, he’s not sick. He’s sneaky…and a thief…and he just stole and swallowed half a bag of large marshmallows…bag and all. Sigh. Mr. Look-what-I-can-do strikes again.

How he reached the marshmallows from their position on our very high, very deep kitchen island is beyond me, but that seals it. There is nothing in this house our wolfdog can’t reach. NOTHING.

Anyhow, as with all stolen items, Kainan raced into the yard with his sugary, fluffy prize. Of course the flap-flap of the dog door inspired our other dogs to give chase, and the chase inspired Kainan to swallow his prize whole, instead of possibly being forced to share it.

And that, my friends is how we arrive at this pre-vomitus moment. Jim and I decided that a potential intestinal obstruction would be a bad thing. A few doses of hydrogen peroxide should do the trick. Yep, he’s drooling and making that funny smiley face that always precedes the “gulping head bob” portion of the about-to-toss show.

A rough price to pay, Kainan…have you learned your lesson? I doubt it. What you likely learned is that you should not get caught when you snag a forbidden prize in the house.

With a little “wait-for-it” time on my hands, I took the opportunity to study Kainan and wonder just how much wolf our wolfie guy is. When we look at him, it’s easy to see that he is part wolf. The physical characteristics are there…but it’s also obvious that he is a mix of parts. Let’s review.

Following are some wolf characteristics I found courtesy of Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary’s website. Let’s see how Kainan stacks up.

  • Wolves’ nails are darkly colored.Wolves do not have clear or pink nails like some domestic dogs do.

10551488_10204877036749359_4110038824873177390_oCheck. All black toenails…figures I’d end up with a teenager who is into the Goth lifestyle. And his nails are sturdy, he is already excavating a new storm shelter in the yard.

  • Wolves do not have blue eyes, this is a domestic dog trait only.

Check. Beautiful, light, golden brown eyes that make all the bitches’ hearts go flutter.

  • Wolves have highly slanted almond shaped eyes with heavy dark eye lining.

Good natural eyeliner. I’m jealous. Almond shaped, yes, but perhaps not as extreme as a wolf’s eyes would be. A little domestic dog showing through there?

  • Wolves have extra large feet, with two protruding front toes. Not smaller, rounded feet like domestic dogs.

Check. His nickname could be Bigfoot. And yes, those front toes do protrude. He could easily wear cowboy boots. He’s a good Oklahoma wolfdog.

  • received_m_mid_1409405286251_621389b0b728bf7396_0Wolves will not have sharply defined white tail tips like many domestic dogs. Most often wolves will have black tail tips.

Check. Looks like he dipped it in a bucket of black paint.

  • Wolves have a caudal mark/scent gland, often called the precaudal gland, (a dark spot positioned a few inches down from the base of the tail)

Well looky there. Check. Some breeds of domestic dogs will have this spot too, so don’t start eyeing your dog suspiciously if you see a black spot on his tail. The hair in this spot on Kainan’s tail is actually different from the rest of his fur. Interesting.

  • Wolves’ chests are very narrow causing their long legs to be close together ending in large feet that are splayed to the side. Shoulders & hips are narrow for faster acceleration.

Check, check, check. See Kainan, you should be proud of your scrawny chest and skinny butt. Someday, apparently after you gain control of those gangly legs, you should be able to run really, really fast. Chin up, big guy.

  • Wolves’ back legs have a significant cow hock (hocks turned in…basically knock-kneed in the rear) look to them when at a standstill.

Um. Yeah. Check. Back to that “scrawny is good” parenting stuff.

  • Wolves have a banded pattern of longer fur ticked with stiff black hairs that creates a v shape draped across their shoulders. This band of fur is called a dorsal cape.

Shadow wolfIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superwolfdog!  Yes, he has his cape. It’s really impressive if he raises his hackles. Nifty little sideways Mohawk hairstyle. Check.

  • When they walk, wolves’ tails will not curl up or over their backs like a dogs tail will. Wolves’ tails are extremely straight.

Ok, Half a check. Kainan’s tail does hang straight down most of the time, but if he gets silly he can ring that sucker up over his back in a flash. This is one of the areas where he deviates from his wolf heritage a bit. There appears to be some Husky/Malamute influence popping out from time to time…and yes, we may have proof of that. I’ll explain that in just a bit.

  • Wolves can have many vocalizations, but do not bark like the typical domestic dog does.

So true. He woo-woos, he garumphs, he howls, but he doesn’t bark.

  • Male wolves testicles will be peanut sized all year round (and not fertile) until a period once a year in the winter months that correspond with a female wolf’s estrus. After mating the testicles will shrink down again so as to be barely noticeable, unlike a male domestic dog whose testicles remain the same size all year.

Well, now isn’t this embarrassing for Kainan? And, as I have learned from another blogger friend’s experience, isn’t this blog entry going to accidentally attract a whole new class of readers through the “search” option? Sorry to disappoint, new readers…it’s not what you think. No porn here, just peanuts. And yes, check. Our soon-to-be-huge wolfdog has little nuts for nuts. Sorry Kainan. Hope that doesn’t scar you for life. (Kudos to me…I refrained from adding photographic evidence here.)

  • Wolves have smaller, rounder, thicker, well-furred ears, not larger, thinner, or pointier ears like German Shepherds.

(Insert game show buzzer sound here) Major non-wolf characteristic on the wolfdog checklist. Kainan has lovely, the-better-to-hear-you-with ears that are larger, pointier and a bit less fuzzy than a wolf’s ears would be.

All-in-all, and despite knowing nothing about our foundling’s parents, it is easy to surmise that one of his parents was closely in touch with his wilder roots. But we also know there’s some good old dog in there too. Thanks to the miracle of science, we actually do know that now.

You see, we did a little DNA test on our wolfdog friend. Now, keep in mind, the test clearly states that it is not designed to detect wolf or coyote content, and it’s not likely 100% accurate as it is a home administered test,  but we thought it would be fun to see what dog breeds the Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel DNA kit might reveal.

The Wisdom Panel home kit claims to identify 200 breeds and varieties of dogs including all breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The Wisdom Panel Professional (a blood test available through veterinarians) recognizes more than 235 breeds, types and varieties, also including all AKC breeds. A complete list of the breeds in each test’s database can be found on the Wisdom Panel website.

It’s an easy little test…you just use two special swaps to gather a little sample from the inside of your dog’s cheek. It’s thankfully not too annoying; it takes just 15 seconds per swab. Dogs seem to tolerate that amount of time with relative good humor.

Our test was conducted and shipped off about three weeks ago. Today, the results are online and…drum-roll…Kainan is likely a mix of Malamute, husky, and stump-the-DNA-testers.

One of Kainan’s parents, according to the test results, appears to have been a mix of primarily malamute and husky. The other parent, well, I bet the fine scientists at Wisdom Panel are still scratching their heads a bit. They tossed some “could be” breeds out there in the notes section of the results, but our bet is that that other parent was a gray wolf or at least high percentage wolf—a species that their test is not designed to detect.

Yeah, we knew that going in. We just wanted to screw with them. Jim and I are fun that way.

So we now have confirmation that our growing larger by the day, comical, in-touch-with-his-canis-lupus-roots pal is likely part husky/malamute, and…wait for it…wait for it…there it is! Part barfing wolf.

20140930_093441revYep, there are those damn marshmallows. Still intact in their fluffy goodness. Still perfectly encased in their plastic wrapper. You know, I could almost…well, no. That would just be gross.

Oh, wolf/malamute/husky dog. Perfectly good marshmallows are now in the trash. And you know, all you had to do was ask. I’d have happily shared them with you, dear boy.

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