Wolfdog owners want to change big, bad reputation - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Wolfdog owners want to change big, bad reputation

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Among the advertisers appealing to your softer side this year were Budweiser. Do you remember the commercial where a lost puppy gets hunted by a big, bad wolf? Two San Diegans who own wolfdogs say the old fairy tale stereotypes don't fit the animal.

Ashley Greaves named her wolf dog Teddy Bear, because as a puppy he was so cute and cuddly.

"He grew up to be a big bear. He's still really sweet, just like a little bear," Ashley said.

About a year ago, Ashley and Teddy Bear befriended Howie Savige and his two-year-old wolfdog. Mohegan was born in Montana, and he's 95 percent pure wolf.

"Very friendly, more skittish when he meets new people or is around new things. He's more afraid of you than you're afraid of him," Howie said.

Wolfdogs can be unpredictable. Teddy Bear grew up going to a dog park, and can go leash-free with both big and small dogs, but Howie didn't feel comfortable letting Mohegan run wild.

We wanted to know if Eric Schmitz was nervous when Teddy Bear and Mohegan created a "wolf wall" around his dog, Carl.

"Not really. I've actually seen a couple of them before. It's more the owner than the dog. As long as they've got a good owner, all of them seem pretty friendly and docile," Eric said.

But wolfdogs do have a lot of energy, which can lead to destruction.

"He ripped up my carpet the first six months I had him, I put wood floors in. Right now I need two new couches," Howie said.

Exercise is the key, which means 10 miles of walking a day. Mohegan and Teddy Bear are now wolfdog ambassadors, and go to dozens of events a year to educate the public and break down their big, bad reputation.

"They do have a bad reputation for certain things. They can be destructive. They can be a little bit aloof and not listen, but you have to appreciate what's wild in them, and you've got to be wild enough yourself to be a companion to them," Ashley said.

Some of the footage used in the above videos was shot using a GoPro camera.

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