Lupine dogs are ‘classified’ by W.O.L.F. as either Classic, Intermediate or Advanced.

The primary goal of the classification system is to provide owners with an understanding of the level of difficulty the dogs will experience when adapting to a modern lifestyle and provides a method by which potential owners can find themselves a suitable match. As a result, alongside genetics, behavioural characteristics make up a significant part of this evaluation. Roughly speaking, ‘classic’ lupine dogs will find it easiest to adapt to and live within a modern domestic environment and will behave most like your average companion dog, while ‘advanced’ lupine dogs are most likely to require specialist care and facilities, requiring a more ‘natural’ lifestyle to be happy and safe – ‘intermediate’ lupine dogs fall between the two.
Dogs are evaluated based on both genetic background (verified by Embark) and also the behaviour of the dog or, in the case of puppies, their parents behaviours. Behaviours which most relate to safe management of the dog are used for evaluation. For example, two classic parents will have puppies registered as ‘classic’. Pups who have a classic and intermediate parent will have a predicted grade allocated based upon parental behaviour and embark/pedigree analysis. Grades will be re-evaluated when the dog reaches maturity and if assessed for breeding status.
NOTE: Due to welfare and management considerations, ‘borderline’ dogs will always be graded ‘up’ – for example, a dog on the classic/intermediate border will be classified intermediate. It is essential that a ‘intermediate’ behaving lupine dog never finds itself in a home suitable only for a ‘classic’ lupine dog.
NOTE: We do not use physical phenotyping (evaluation based only on physical appearance) for two reasons: firstly, this has least impact on welfare and owner suitability matching. Secondly, as the breeding programme develops, we are seeing a steady improvement in ‘the physical natural type’ of the lupine dog, which may prove deceptive in future generations.

CLASSIC:
Genetics: Typically these dogs will have significantly more ancestral modern dog breeds than wolf specific DNA (or even no ancestral wolf DNA at all).
Behaviour: All Lupine Dogs are expected to be ‘high maintenance’, especially when young – they can be destructive in house, require lots of social contact with family, require regular time outside their enclosure/living area to explore and experience environmental enrichment, require ‘escape proof’ containment, and will be physically demanding due to their size, athleticism and intelligence. Their play can be rough and high energy and they all have a healthy prey drive. However, classic animals will show the highest level of adaptability given appropriate training and socialisation.
Trainability: While their smartness can lead them to pick up bad habits, these dogs will typically have more motivation for training than intermediate and advanced lupines. Reliable recall training should be possible.
Guarding & object holding: Should not show significantly more food/object guarding behaviour than other dog breeds. Any unwanted behaviour will be open to ‘shaping’ by positive reinforcement from young.
Same Gender Aggression: Same gender aggression should not be significantly higher in classic lupine dogs than in other dog breeds who show this tendency, especially when neutered. Certainly when trained they should function well, under control on lead in public places. They can breed on a domestic dog breeding cycle.
Greeting behaviour to other dogs: Should have a relatively high level of tolerance for the unnaturally high levels of bounciness during greetings bred into some domestic dog breeds.
Reaction to strange people: Should remain calm in the presence of strangers. While they may be initially aloof, they should ‘come round’ to well behaved strangers quickly.
General fear: While dogs may be cautious of some novel/ unnatural experiences, they should be open to adaptation, especially if introduced when young.

INTERMEDIATE:
Genetics: Typically these dogs will have maintained similar levels of ancestral modern dog breeds and wolf specific DNA.
Behaviour: All Lupine Dogs are expected to be ‘high maintenance’, especially when young – they can be destructive in the house, require lots of social contact with family, require regular time outside their enclosure/living area to explore and experience environmental enrichment, require ‘escape proof’ containment, and will be physically demanding due to their size, athleticism and intelligence. Their play can be rough and high energy and they all have a healthy prey drive. These natural habits can usually be ‘shaped’ with extensive training and socialisation from young, but while they may enjoy time indoors with owners, it’s highly likely they will also need a significant sized safe outdoor enclosure able to provide natural enrichment. They may display just some or all of the following traits:
Trainability: These dogs will typically have less motivation for traditional training. They respond best to short, highly motivational and reward based training. They will show a moderate level of distractibility and off-lead recall in adult dogs is possible in some animals but NOT guaranteed to be reliable – as such, they may have to remain on leads outside of their enclosure.
Guarding & object holding: May show some natural desire to hold onto and protect resources essential for survival such as food. This undesirable behaviour should be open to ‘shaping’ by positive reinforcement.
Same Gender Aggression: Same gender aggression may be higher in these dogs than in some dog breeds who show this tendency, although neutering will reduce this effect. When trained they should be able to function under control on lead in public places. Bitches may show an extended period between seasons compared to most dog breeds, but it’s likely that just like other dog breeds, the males will be fertile all year.
Greeting behaviour to other dogs: Should have some tolerance for the unnaturally high levels of bounciness in greeting behaviour bred into some domestic dog breeds.
Reaction to strange people: While they may remain aloof to strangers, they should however remain calm in their presence when under control of the owner with no outward aggression.
General fear: While dogs may be cautious of novel experiences and environments significantly different to those experienced naturally, they should all be comfortable leaving their homes to explore in a quiet, natural setting. (Note: due to selective breeding, many will show greater levels of confidence and with appropriate socialisation from young, may be able to enjoy a variety of environments).

ADVANCED:
Genetics: Typically these dogs will have maintained more ancestral wolf than modern dog breed specific DNA.
Behaviour: All Lupine Dogs are expected to be ‘high maintenance’ – they can be destructive in house when young, require lots of social contact with family, require time outside their enclosure to explore and experience environmental enrichment, require ‘escape proof’ containment, and will be physically demanding due to their size, athleticism and intelligence. Advanced lupine dogs may be difficult to ‘shape’ (change) these natural habits, and while they may enjoy time indoors with owners, it’s highly likely they will also need a significant sized safe outdoor enclosure able to provide natural enrichment. Their play can be rough and high energy and they all have a healthy prey drive. They may display some or all of the following traits:
Trainability: These dogs will typically have the least motivation for traditional training. All training must be short, highly motivational and reward based. They are likely to respond negatively to correction-based training. They will show a high level of distractibility and off-lead recall in adult animals is NOT expected to be commonly reliable – as such, they may have to remain on leads outside of their enclosure.
Guarding & object holding: Most likely will show a strong natural desire to hold onto and protect resources essential for survival such as food. This behaviour will be less open to ‘shaping’ by positive reinforcement than classic or intermediate lupine dogs. While it can often be ‘improved’ with positive shaping, care must always be taken regarding access to desirable objects, particularly in the proximity of vulnerable individuals such as children.
Same Gender Aggression: Once sexually mature, same gender aggression is commonly higher in these dogs than in many other dog breeds and while neutering can help, it rarely completely eliminates this issue. They should breed on an annual cycle – both males and females will have a winter surge in breeding hormones which may make management more difficult during these times (increased same-gender aggression, agitated energy levels, increased desire to roam, dig and howl)
Greeting behaviour to other dogs: Will have a low level of tolerance for the unnaturally high levels of bounciness in greeting behaviour bred into some other dog breeds. With extensive training and socialisation they should function under control on lead in public places where other dogs are also under control and on leads but should not be expected to play loose with them.
Reaction to strange people: While they may remain aloof to strangers, they should however remain calm in their presence when under control of the owner with no outward aggression.
General fear: While dogs may be cautious of novel experiences and environments significantly different to those experienced naturally, they should all be comfortable leaving their home to explore in a quiet, natural setting. (Note: due to selective breeding, many will show greater levels of confidence and with appropriate socialisation from young, may be able to enjoy a variety of environments).

Classification Evaluation Process
A classification is assigned to an adult foundation dog at the time when the breeder applies to W.O.L.F. for a Foundation Dog Registration. Full details are provided within Lupine Foundation Dog application form. In summary: W.O.L.F. require details of the animals pedigree (including Embarkvet breed results) and completion of Lupine Dog Temperament and Behaviour Evaluation.