By:
25-02-2016

Stray Dog Taken Into Care Is A Wolf-dog Hybrid

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Early in 2016 an animal rescue centre received a photograph of a mysterious breed of dog that had been observed wandering the streets of South Central Los Angeles, California, that appeared to be ownerless and in a state of ill health. A concerned citizen, realising that approaching the frightened animal was not a viable option, took the photo and sent it to the Hope For Paws animal sanctuary whose staff were better equipped to deal with the situation than her and who were able to take the stray back to the centre after some coaxing. The unusual appearance of the animal raised questions at the sanctuary about whether this was a domestic dog, a member of another caninid species or a hybrid.
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A hybrid of two caninid species.

Most domestic dogs belong to the species Canis lupus familiaris whereas this particular example found on the streets of L.A. appears to have been the result of cross-breeding between a domestic dog and a wolf. Canis lupus, the Grey wolf, and Canis lupus lycaon, the Eastern timber wolf, are both native to North America and belong to the same genus as the household dog and are able to hybridise as a result. It is believed that most Eurasian dog breeds are descended from the Grey wolf, making this ancestral species their closest relative. Wolf-dog hybrids may occur when feral dogs encounter wolves in the wild or in captivity as the result of dog breeding programs.

The wolf-dog was found in poor physical condition.

Upon bringing the wolf-dog to the safety of the rescue centre it was apparent to the staff that the lost and neglected animal was in need of intensive veterinary care. The malnourished and dehydrated state of the wolf-dog, determined to be a female and duly named Julia, showed that she had struggled to find food and water during her time wandering the streets.
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