The amazing wolf like British Lupine Dog is a fascinating modern day breed created to have the legendary looks of the wolf but the temperament of a domestic dog. They are several new versions of wolf like dogs currently being developed but Natalie Lagstrom from BritishLupineDog.co.uk has what we believe to be the most wolf like dog in the world. She has been developing the breed for over ten years and continues to be a leader and an expert in the field of these amazing wolf like dogs.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Natalie about the British Lupine Dog and ask her some interesting questions regarding her canine passion. Here is what she had to say about this modern day wolf like dog breed!
Hello Natalie! Thank you for helping us with information on the breed.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m half english, half finnish and I live with my pack in the countryside in South East England at our Watermill Wolves and Naturally Pets training centre.
What is your background in the Canine World?
So I worked weekend in a dog rescue from about the age of 12, in a time long before the health n safety fairy put a stop to kids doing that sort of thing. I studied for a Degree and Masters in animal behaviour, before setting up my pet training and behavioural therapy clinic.
A lot of what I was teaching people, was about the natural instinct in our domestic canines, and how a lot of what we humans think of as ‘bad’ is just natural behaviour for dogs, that we don’t like! So teaching them to fit into our world needs to be done in a positive way that’re respectful to their nature.
That of course led me into wolves and wolfdogs – and all I can say is, they’re quite addictive! It’s a complete way of life you have to be 100% dedicated to – their needs come first every day – whether you’re sick, or its a holiday – whatever.
Did you have any dogs growing up?
Actually my first word as a baby was n attempt at the name of the cat, so I guess I was hooked on animals from the start – I have my mum to thank for that! I badgered my parents into adopting a rescue dog when I was about 8 – a lab x terrier mix who was as incorrigible as she was loving. She was followed by a rescue shepherd x husky , and the rest is history!
What inspired you to develop the British Lupine Dog?
It was something that came to me gradually, over quite a few years. First, I just started with the goal of breeding a family of wolfies for myself any my lifestyle – a wolfie social enough and trainable enough to act and take part in educational displays – and of course, a wonderful living companion. Then, I realised there was a niche.
There’s a lot of natural-looking working breeds, but they are usually really high drive and don’t have the composure of the wolf – and their health and conformation can sometimes be unpredictable. For me, the shape of the wolf has been ‘proven’ by millions of years of evolution – long, strong legs and head, but a super lean and athletic body. Most other dog breeds are short legged and heavy bodied by comparison.
Of course, especially in USA, many exotic animal keepers do own wolves and high content wolfdogs – but of course those animals are really adapted to a very natural lifestyle and can find it frustrating living in a more domestic environment.
The British Lupine is the best of both worlds – all the natural health and vitality, intelligence and poise of the wolf, but happy to live alongside us as companions. In many ways, recreating that original ‘companion wolf’ that walked alongside our ancestors for thousands of years, before we changed him into all the weird and wonderful shapes that we see in modern dogs.
What year did the British Lupine Dog become official and how did it happen?
So our database has been operational for about 10 years now. We aren’t recognised by UK kennel club, largely because our numbers are small and we have an ‘open book’ policy – because for us, avoiding inbreeding is very important. So after rigorous testing, we do allow outside animals to be added to our database and bloodlines.
What separates the British Lupine Dog from other wolf like dogs?
Firstly, our breeding programme is like no other. We are almost unique in having an absolute ban on large scale kennel breeders. These animals deserve to be raised with love, dignity and respect. As such, our numbers grow slowly – but the individual quality of care that goes into lovingly home raising each British Lupine baby is unique.
Wolfie pups become aware and learn at a much younger age than many other domestic dog breeds, so it’s important that the pups education for home life starts with a good breeder. Breeder and mum work together as a team – the bond between me and my ‘ladies’ is incredibly strong. We have a supportive mentorship scheme for new people joining the breeding programme, ensuring quality of care is always the best it can be.
Of course, there are other things that set British Lupines apart. They are one of the few genuinely mid-wolf content breeds out there (roughly equal parts modern wolf to modern dog ancestry) . We have spared no effort and expense, travelling the globe to find the very best lines of multi generational, selectively bred animals to add to our programme. They are fully health tested and DNA screened, temperament tested and judged carefully against our quality standard.
Tell us one of your favorite stories about a British Lupine Dog?
There are so many! Two of my favourite tales are about 2 sisters, my Alice and her sis Leia. Leia was a shy puppy – loving with family but reserved with strangers (quite normal for a lot of the breed. The confidence and ego to make an acting star are rare qualities in any breed!).
Leia’s human mum became pregnant, and of course from some people came the disapproval that it wasn’t safe to have a baby in the house with Leia. But shortly after the baby was born, I was sent the most beautiful photo of Leia curled around the baby, cradling her close just as she would her own pups.
For Alice, despite all her amazing acting work, the day that sticks in my mind is the day we volunteered to go meet some special needs children with quite severe disabilities. One little girl was initially too terrified of dogs to come into the room. But she kept coming back to peer wide-eyed through the doorway, and after a while, when the wolfies settled down to sleep, she crept closer.
She came to sit with Alice, and I gave her a brush and she spent a delightful hour brushing and fussing Alice while Alice so gently coaxed her forward, rolling over and basking in attention, gently licking her hand. At the end of the day, the little girl didn’t want to leave and came running back to hug Alice one more time. So I took Alice outside, walking with the girls family to their car, and Alice waved her goodbye. Those are the days that make all the hard work worthwhile!
Do British Lupine Dogs make good family dogs and why?
For the right family! They need a lot of time and energy and are not for the house proud! Between the hair, the dirt and of course destructive chewing, especially when young, they’re quite a commitment. They need high fences, plenty of exercise and they don’t like to be left alone. They will always be happiest if you already have a dog when you adopt one.
They can get on well with well behaved children but rules and manners are important. They’re smart and sensitive so they don’t take abuse! Training is about developing a trusting, loving bond!
While some British Lupines can cope with busy city life, others will prefer a quieter country lifestyle with less interaction with strangers. It’s important to always respect the breeder’s knowledge of her individual puppies when choosing your companion – they will know which pup might best suit your lifestyle.
What would your advice be to anyone looking to own a British Lupine Dog?
Contact us in the first instance to get some initial info. Then, it’s really important to remember to meet breeder. Only breeders under my tutelage my use the name British Lupine Dog – it’s always important to come to our organisation (British Lupine Club – or contact myself, the founder, at Watermill Wolves or Naturally Pets) if you want the genuine home raised British Lupine.
Meeting the breeder’s pack first hand is the best way. Get to know the family who you’ll be getting a pup from – are they really for you? All the online research in the world will evaporate when you meet them in person.
What are your future plans for the British Lupine Dog?
The acting and educational programmes continue to grow and grow. The youngsters we’ve added to the acting team are loving the experience and beginning to shine – time for some of the older ladies to retire and enjoy their life in leisure in the countryside! We have some lovely new breeders and owners joining the team now, and some exciting international collaborations in the works. I’m really looking forward to the next few years.
The British Lupine Dog breed that Natalie has created is truly amazing. It is the closest thing you can get to having a wolf with the companionship of a dog. For more stunning pictures of the British Lupine Dog and detailed information on the breed check out our article “Most Wolf Like Dog In The World!”
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Have you ever heard of the British Lupine Dog? Let us know what you think about this amazing animal!