Wolf hybrids allowed

We've read a lot about wolves in Oregon, including the now-famous OR-7. But my question is about a wolf-dog or wolf hybrid. Is it legal to breed, sell or own a wolf-dog? If you can have one, are there any restrictions in Oregon?

— Jean T., Medford

That's actually two questions, Jean. But we'll allow it because we can answer both with the same word: yes. Wolf hybrids are allowed in Oregon, and there are restrictions, at least locally.

The state has no rules on hybrids, according to hybridlaw.com, but Jackson County has some local rules.

According to the county's website, owners of wolf hybrids are subject to a $100 licensing fee, which includes an inspection of the site where the hybrid will be kept. The inspection is meant to ensure that the hybrid has a suitable living space and that the animal is not at risk of escape.

The $100 fee is the least of the likely expenses. When outside and not on a leash, a wolf hybrid must be in a pen or kennel with concrete floors or buried wire to prevent it from digging its way out. Outdoor facilities also must have an additional fence surrounding the pen, with a minimum 3-foot distance between the fence and pen.

When outside of its pen, a wolf hybrid a must be securely harnessed and "under the direct control of a capable person."

There is an ongoing debate about whether it's safe to have wolf hybrids around humans. But animal behaviorists note that while most dog species have been trained to be submissive to humans, wolves are by nature a dominant species and that nature can lead to aggression toward people.

Personally, Jean, all things being equal, we'd go for a good labradoodle instead.

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