Answers to the most frequent questions about the species.
If dogs are on a leash or otherwise under the control of a person, it is unlikely that the wolf will approach. Wolves will usually be more disturbed by our presence than anxious to get rid of a potential intruder in their territory. Exceptional approaching situations can occur when the wolf shows a particular interest in the dog (for example if it is a female in estrus). In this case, the advice given above is valid to make the wolf move away and avoid interposing between the two animals.
The closest and easiest dog breed to be confused with the wolf is the Czechoslovakian wolf dog (CLC), too often mistakenly called “wolf”. The CLC is a dog that has a strong propensity to run away from its owner and from its home, and it is often confused with a wild wolf creating unnecessary alarmism among the inhabitants. For this reason it is recommended to the owners of these dogs to facilitate identification thanks to evident collars and to use fences suitable to contain the CLC within the property.
Dogs and wolves can mate, because they are biologically the same species (Canis lupus) and they can produce fertile offspring which are called “first generation hybrids”. The hybrids from the point of view of their appearance and colouring (phenotype) can have mixed characteristics between wolf and dog.
There is no scientific evidence that hybrids are more dangerous to humans because they are less fearful.
Many dogs have clearly different paw prints than wolves. Often they are smaller, some have also clearly rounder paws. But there are also dog breeds where you cannot distinguish single paw prints from wolves.Only a sequence of footprints followed for a significant track on the snow or sand allows (always with a margin of uncertainty) the distinction between wolf or dog through gait recognition, which in some cases is characteristic (in the wolf the front and back legs move on the same line). In any case, in order to distinguish a wolf track from a dog track, molecular genetic analysis on the biological samples collected along the track (scats or urine) or an image/video of the moving animals are always necessary (e.g. by camera trapping).