It appears that the recent popularity over new hybrid dog breeds (like Labradoodles) has spawned a more dangerous market for hybrid dog/wolf pups. Animal activists are warning about the potential for attacks. Moreover, the new breeds could still be illegal in some states and may expose owners to strict liability.
In torts, we often discuss the liability associated with the possession of wild animals, particularly wolves (which are popular with many pet owners). State laws not only prohibit such ownership but sometime prohibit half-breeds — animals that are half dog and half wolf.
The hybrids have become the rage in the United Kingdom, which allows ownership if the pups are three generations removed from the wild animal. They sell for £5,000 — creating a serious market for breeders (including some who may not wait for three generations to pass).
They are often cross bred with German shepherds, akitas, malamutes, huskies and other large breeds.
Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today, insists that “[t]o live in a domestic situation with a part-wolf is insane . . . Hybrids are a potential disaster area.”
These owners may find this to be an expense habit in the United States where wild animals are subject to strict liability. Even domesticated animals are held to such a standard if they have known vicious propensities. While many have heard of the “one free bite”rule, it is a bit of a misnomer. You do not get one free bite with a dog if you knew or should have known about its vicious nature or breed.
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