WHAT IS PHENOTYPING FOR THE WOLFDOG???????
We dont not phenotype animals via pic or by the net, do to the legal issues that may arise from it, and it is suggested by professionals that it is not the responsible way to gather WOLFDOG information.
I like to say that nature will take her course, one size does not accurately define all WHEN IT COMES TO THE WOLFDOG!!!!. Nature will always surprise us, it is not black and white always, there are anomolies. So how do we come up with the terms high content, mid content and low. But keep in mind, that that the percentages and math content are not the same as genetics. Here is the magic of Phenotyping. I think it is rather humorous when people often decide from a pic, what the content of a animal maybe, and have never examined the animal live and in color. The scientific method is based on facts compiled with live observation, which is then married to some common sense. We can tell the difference from a poodle and a wolf.
Phenotyping is important in many ways, it helps determine the presence of WOLF HERITAGE in a purchased, or rescued/adopted animal. It is found that phenotyping is much more effective than blood quantum percentages on paper. This allows behavioral traits to be matched to physical traits, so when you are educated in these matters, you can then best determine the true content of a wolfdog. Thus again leaving the ridiculous notion of just a pic will tell the whole story, one must be present to view a live animal and observe all the characteristics of both wolf and dog. Knowing this information, and effectively identifying all the markers, makes a world of difference in the determination.
The filial generation is simply know as the F generation, and represents the number of parent child relationships in the wolfdog breeding sequence. If you breed a domestic dog to a full bloodied wolf, its offspring is considered a f1 in the parent child affiliation. So, the f1 that is breed to a domesticated dog, their offspring would be called a f2. This would be the second generation to the original parent child relationship. Any dog with at least 5 generations of a wolf found in its breeding history is considered a wolfdog.
Phenotyping vs. genotyping a WOLFDOG, this is the most important step in the process of determination of true wolfdog content. Simply put, the genotype is the animal's physical DNA traits(what makes it a dog) while the pheno in its outward expression "looks", and behavioral differences in the genotype markers, shall we also add behavior and movement, which again cannot be defined by a pic.
Candidates for WOLFDOG phenotyping should be at least 12 months or more in age, anything before that could be difficult as the animal is ever changing in colors/size/mannerisms ect. Because of this, it is to difficult to pinpoint the accuracy of true content of a wolfdog. So lets break down the Canine, how do we do that?
This method involves separating the candidate into 20 or more categories or parts. These parts should be categorized as, is it dog/or is it wolf. One should be familiarized on the strong differences, so at the end the individual totals could be added up. It would be very helpful if the person doing the phenotyping is a professional, or at least someone who has some knowledge of booth wolf/dog characteristics, as it is a true trained eye.
The categories are the following:
Head, face, teeth, eyes, ears, muzzle, nose, neck, chest, shoulders, forelegs, pasterns/wrists, feet, back, hindquarters, tail, coat, colorations, walk and movements. It is a (compare and contrast) survey, please note that physical displays are not the same as behavioral. Both Physical and Behavioral manifestations should be accounted for in a proper assessment.
The head of the wolf is large or in the case of higher content wolfdog, in the comparison to its body, unlike a normal dog which is smaller, however jackal and coyotes will have a sleeker appearnce and their heads not as large in comparison to their bodies. Its head should have a slight slope to the skull, which is different than a harsh stop. The width of the skull should be 2/3 from the occipital bone length, giving it a nice wedge shape, not conical. For the most part, modern dogs/Canines do not possess this type of skull shape or structure, they may or may not have a pronounced slope there or stop, but some breeds can show this also.
The Canine traditionally has about 42 teeth. Wolfdogs and wolves will have larger more pronounced teeth, that as a whole a larger more curved canine appearance.
Masks in facial markings range in all color variations and can be open or closed in their appearances. Typically they can be subtle in the appearances and lack sharps lines of demarcation. Wolves, or wolfdogs will have extended check tufts. This is furry anonomly that also ads to the wedge shaped appearance on the head and face, that is most unique to the wolf and wolfdog, again depending on the content of the animal. Ears are medium in size in average, but again can change due to the dog bred into the line of the wolfdog, wolves as a whole do not have a larger ear like you would see in a GSD. However they can be small or large, rounded or not so, followed by well furred on the inside, and set not so close together on the skull. This is a trait you would see in a GSD. These will never be floppy either, however they are for three to four months in a wolfdog puppy, as they slowly come up.
The wolf and wolfdogs face is very unique indeed with its very strong features. Wolf eyes and higher content wolfdogs will have more of a slant to their eyes, less rounded in the shape and appearance. The eyes should always have a nice eyelined look. Some wolves and wolfdogs can have deeper slant and darker richer liners. The wolfdog and wolves eye color can range from, rusts, grays, deep golds, light golds, green, silver and rarely blue. Sometimes wolfdogs can have parti colored eyes, or even bi eyes. All wolves and wolfdogs have blue tones in their eyes that change the first 6 months to a year.
Sometimes there is a particular stance that they have, i refer to it the wolf stance and it is very unique body language. It is when they look, or walk and their heads are lowered to almost a even line with the back. The animal appearance is what we called dialed in, it is serious and poised.
The chest is narrow, and they can have long bodies with very deep keels (the aread that is the ribcage). The ribs should reach to the upper most part of the elbow in its length, which gives it the name keel and it resembles this on a boat. Traditional non wolfdogs/canines, have a wider chest and can be barrel shaped (rounded). Shoulders are very close at the withers and seem to almost touch in a wolf or higher content wolfdog. The domestic canine will have a wider set at the shoulders, and less angles.
The wolf leg is very unique in its structure. The elbows will turn slightly into the ribs and wolfdogs with higher content may display this characteristic. They are large boned, long and straight toward the wrists/pasterns. Sometimes legs can be difficult to evaluate in wolfdogs do to some stockiness of some of the breeds bred into the lines. But a good long pastern also called the wrist, is always indicator of wolf heritage. Along with the legs, please not that some wolves and wolfdogs can have a narrower chest. This may or may not be always indicative of wolf heritage.
Wolves and wolfdogs can and do have very unique feet, depending on the content, as they can vary in size and animals bred with them usually norther breeds are the preference. Some are webbed, they also can turn slightly outward more or less do to the sub species characteristics and again dogs breed into the line if it is a wolfdog. The footpads can be black or spotted in variances, again depending on content of the animal.
The toes are long and can be somewhat arched or very much so in their overall appearance. Dews Claws are mostly present in the front region of the legs, but depending on the mix in the wolfdog, can and will show up in the hind quarters being the back legs. Full blooded wolves are unlikely to have this feature. Their toenails very in color on the same foot which includes browns/ taupes/black and self colored.
Tails should be bushy in appearance and straight while at rest and tip should rest on hock of back leg, never curved or curled. Please keep in mind the the higher of content in the wolfdog, the more lesslikely to having a curled tail. However this should never be confused when flagging their tails high in a alpha stance. Flagging is a normal canine behavior.
Wolfdogs and the wolf's fur is thick and multi layered from a soft down undercoat to large guardhairs.
Fur texture and colors can very greatly fro, white, black, greys, creams and sables. However all colors should be well blended.
Wolfdogs and wolves should have vcape, or referred to as the saddle on the area between the shoulders and upper back.
It is noted that wolves and wolfdogs will change color variations from their birth to their adulthood, which we refer to as phasing out.
Wolves and higher content wolfdogs have a very fluid slink and appear very cat like in their gate. The higher the content the more obvious this is as they single track.
The movements coupled with momentum and airless/effortless, they can change angles quickly with smooth transitions that are seemless in the appearances, like a beautiful dance that has been choreographed.
THE FINAL NUMBERS
Based on the wolf characteristics versus the dog, please note that you really have to do a study, that is much more in depth study of the marriage of wolf and dog characteristics. You must really know also the great northern breeds that are commonly found to be mixed in wolfdogs.
In the descriptions above, the quick reference, however not fully complete, start to compile your list.
If your animal scores (1 to 2)on the list, it is possible to say very little to no content.
If your animal scores (3 to 9) in the wolf features, is could be low content,
however some breeds may display the wolf features in the list and why you must know the norther breed mixes and characteristics. This would also include GSD.
If your animal scores (10 to 15) it could be mid content.
If your animal scores (15 to 19) most likely a high content wolfdog or else......