Experts Are Struggling to Identify This Mysterious Wolf-Dog Hybrid Found in Montana

Wolves are elusive animals, and when it comes to hunting their next meal — no holds are barred. Packs have a way of wreaking havoc on livestock, inevitably making ranchers a wolf’s biggest predator. Although the breed was just recently reintroduced into Yellowstone, wolves have been recolonizing the wilderness areas of Montana since the late 70s. Recently, a mysterious wolf-dog hybrid was found in the state, and it has experts scratching their chins to identify it. Follow along to learn more. 

1. The mysterious wolf-dog was killed by a rancher

May 16, 2018, presented a normal opportunity for a rancher to shepherd his livestock in Denton, Montana — population 247. Not out of the ordinary, the rancher shot and killed what he assumed to be threatening wolf. He contacted the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, as is the protocol after killing a wolf. But authorities were not convinced that the creature was a wolf.

Next: The reason this creature may not be a certified wolf. 

2. Authorities could not determine the creature was a wolf

A routine once-over of the animal turned into much more for the wildlife authorities. According to them and the Great Falls Tribune, “The canine teeth were too short, the front paws were too small, but its claws were too long. Its large, floppy ears and its shaggy fur were also uncharacteristic of a common wolf.”

When Warden Sargent Kyle Anderson of the Fish, Wildlife and Parks took a gander, he said that “based on the photos, we have some doubts as to whether it was a pure-bred wolf, or a hybrid or a wild dog of sorts.”

Next: DNA testing 

3. The animal is being tested at a Bozeman lab

Montana wolf hybrid paw

Scientists comparing the size of the paw | Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 4 via Facebooka

As speculations started swirling across Montana and now the nation, the Fish, Wildlife and Parks of Montana decided the most important plan of action would begin with a full DNA testing. This will be the tell-tale of the origin of the questionable creature.

Next: Everyone has an opinion 

4. The theories have begun to swirl

Bran Stark's direwolf

A direwolf in ‘Game of Thrones.’ | HBO

To no huge surprise, individuals started speculating what this mysterious wolf-dog could actually be and rest-assured the theories are entertaining. Similar to those surrounding bigfoot sightings, the following speculations are deep-rooted in ancient history and folk tales of which some individuals believe to be the truth. Is it a direwolf, a werewolf, or something else?

Next: The wolf-dog hybrid 

5. The wolf-dog hybrid


Wolfdog | fury123/iStock/Getty Images

The popular and perhaps the most logical explanation for the creature is what is believed to be a wolf-dog hybrid. In fact, this is not the first instance of reports surrounding such a breed. Wolves and domesticated dogs are absolutely able to breed together, producing quite testy and territorial offspring more reminiscent of a wolf’s characteristics.

Next: A Native American legend holds great truth. 

6. The shunka warakin

shunka warakin

Shunka warakin | Sergiodlarosa/Wikimedia Commons

Native American legend makes mention of a wolf-hyena-like mix of a dog called “shunka warakin.” This animal was believed to be the culprit guilty of terrorizing Montanan livestock. Interestingly enough, the shunka warakin, also called “ringdocus,” was killed and displayed in an Idaho museum in the late 1880s. Some people speculate that this wolf-dog hybrid is actually the resurgence of the shunka warakin.

Next: The dogman

7. The dogman

Perhaps the most absurd and hilarious of theories is that of the dogman. One person speculated that it “could very well be what’s being called Dogman. They’re spotted each day and the government quells any and all reports. Several people report being strong armed into keeping quiet about their reports by men wearing black suits. These are just facts. Look into if you don’t believe it.”

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