60-year-old woman bitten by ‘Wolf Hybrid’ dog in face and neck in Phoenix

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A 60-year-old woman was bitten by a dog in Phoenix, Arizona, which firefighters described as a “wolf hybrid”.

The dog, believed to be the woman’s pet, bit her in the face and neck Thursday night at a home in the city, the Phoenix Fire Department said, according to ABC 15.

Following the attack, the woman was taken to hospital in stable condition where she is recovering.

Authorities have yet to release information regarding exactly what happened during the incident, while the exact breed of the dog remains unknown.

Wolf-dog hybrids are animals that are part of the wolf (Canis lupus) and partly domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris).

These hybrids are produced by crossing a wolf with certain types of domestic dogs, such as German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes.

This interbreeding is possible because domesticated dogs are descendants of wolves, so they are genetically very similar.

Stock image: A gray wolf. There may be hundreds of thousands of wolf-dog hybrids kept as pets in the United States.
iStock

Many questions remain regarding how, where and when the first domestic dogs appeared. Generally, this process is believed to have occurred around 14,000 to 12,000 years ago, although some research has indicated that it could have taken place much earlier.

Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans, sparking a relationship spanning thousands of years that continues to this day.

In the United States, many people keep wolf-dog hybrids as pets. One estimate places the number of these hybrid animals in the country at more than 300,000, according to the University of California, Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.

But these hybrids are banned in many US states and jurisdictions, and they are not a recognized breed. Additionally, some animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, consider them wild animals and oppose their breeding and possession.

While wolf-dog hybrids can make good pets in some cases, in others their owners may not be able to manage them or support them properly, according to the International Wolf Center. Although these animals contain genes from domestic dogs, which have been selectively bred to live alongside humans, this sometimes does little to temper the influence of wild wolf genes.

As a result, these hybrids may display instincts and behaviors that resemble those of wild wolves, which can become problematic when kept in human environments. This can make caring for them difficult.

Even within a single litter of hybrid pups, the mix of wild and domestic genes can lead to a range of different behavioral patterns, which means the nature of these animals can be quite unpredictable.

Newsweek contacted the Phoenix Fire Department for comment.

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