Monday, April 4, 2016
The Wolf-Dog Hybrids Bred to Defend Russia’s Borders
Protecting the borders of the largest country in the world is no easy task, but luckily Russian troops can rely on the help of Volkosobs – highly-trained wolf-dog hybrids created specifically for this purpose. Volkosobs inherit the size and strength of wolves, but retain an obedient and friendly attitude toward humans that they do not perceive as threats.
Getting the best of both species seems like a worthy pursuit, but getting the desired result took years of research and failed attempts. Over 200 wolf-hybrids bred at the University of Cologne, in Germany, were deemed failures as they all exhibited the typical wolf characteristics of extreme fearful-caution around humans. But scientists and animal experts at Russia’s Prem Institute of Internal Troops finally made a breakthrough in the year 2000. They key to their success was Naida, an usually sociable Caspian Sea Wolf who got along great with humans. Interestingly, during the breeding stage, Naida actually chose a dog as her mate, despite originally being presented with the option of a male wolf.
In 10 years, Naida birthed 40 ‘volkosobs’ (Russian for ‘wolf-dogs’) that shared both her wolf instincts and the father’s friendliness and obedience to humans and they have since then been used to propagate the species. A highly-trained volkosobs is valued $2,000 and $3,000, but in order to benefit from the use of these amazing creatures exclusively, the Russian Military does not sell wolf-dogs. Instead, it only leases them to domestic security organizations, under very strict conditions.
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