If you've ever wanted to own a real wolf in Wyoming, a word of warning—it's illegal, not to mention dangerous. The ASPCA notes that wolves raised as pets "can cause grave injury to humans, especially as they mature." Wolves aren't domesticated creatures that have resided with humans for generations—they are wildlife. Additionally, wild wolves are considered predatory animals in Wyoming, and ownership of a purebred wolf is strictly forbidden by U.S. law.

One individual recently learned this the hard way in Cheyenne. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department issued a press release on April 4 surmising the investigation and citation of an individual who was found to be in possession of a live wolf. "The individual was cited for a misdemeanor violation of Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulations, Chapter 10, Importation and Possession of Live Warm-Blooded Wildlife."

The press release went on to cite several other statutes in relation to the misdemeanor charge:

  • Per Wyo Stat. Ann. 23-1-304 (d)(vi), any information regarding wolves taken in Wyoming is not a public record.
  • Per Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-3-1008 (a)(vii), animal cruelty charges are not applicable to predatory animals.
  • Predatory animals are defined in Wyo. Stat. Ann. 23-1-101(a)(viii)(B).
    Misdemeanor fines are set in state statute.

Can You Own a Hybrid Wolf in Wyoming? 

No, Wyoming law strictly forbids ownership of a wolf-dog hybrid as a pet. Wolf-dog hybrids can prove just as unpredictable as their purebred relatives. Find details on what wildlife can be imported and owned in Wyoming by clicking here.

How Can You Tell if a Dog is Part Wolf?

All dogs are related to wolves, but after fifteen to forty thousand years or so of domestication, they became very different critters from their lupine relatives. Dogs, for example, learned to understand human expressions and emotions and have evolved to become omnivores. Wolves, by contrast, don't really understand humans and are carnivores by nature. What's more, they prefer to avoid contact with humans, as indicated in a 2021 study between dogs and wolves. That alone makes wolves more dangerous if there's a lack of communication between the pets and owners.

Aside from the obvious differences, how does one know if a dog is part wolf? It's an important question to ask, considering wolf-dog hybrids are also illegal in Wyoming. Many folks look to appearance first. Does your pup have more wolf-life features, like ears that don't flop, yellow eyes, a longer face, and a long, "sickle-like tail?" Those are traits more associated with wolves. But, in truth, genetic testing tends to be the standard for identifying wolf hybrids. "There are genetic tests available. Those tests look at 3-4 genetic markers, depending on whether it is a male or female. According to the testing lab, what the test can tell the owner is whether there has been wild wolf DNA in that domestic dog’s lineage in the past three generations," explains Wolf.org.

Reminder: wolf or wolf hybrid ownership is illegal in Wyoming. 

The Virginian Hotel In Medicine Bow, Wyoming

The historic hotel is still operational, with a great bar, restaurant, and rooms available.