Two things: they are often much larger than their parents (wolf and dog), and because of conflicting instincts also often dangerous to humans.
The reason I think it's a wolfdog is because the story my father always told us.
My father was born and raised in a poor sthole of a town in the south of the Netherlands. His father wasn't known to be a 'loving father' for his kids (he treated them like cheap slaves) and all he gave his kids was food, but after he had fed the animals first (he was a farmer). The road my grandfathers farm was located at was nicknamed "Hunger Alley"; that was around the 20's of the past century.
My father must have been 15 or 16 years old (he was born in 1911) and if he didn't have to work on the farm he was playing in the fields or in the forests nearby. Sometimes a traveling salesman (I had to google, and I think the proper name would be 'huckster') who traded in all kinds of junk, and his 'house' was a turf hut near the edge of the forest. He lived alone - his wife had died and he had no kids - and sometimes he visited the area where my father lived.
The man always felt sorry for my father and my father's brothers and sisters because he knew how my grandfather treated them, and sometimes he just gave them something, be it food or some toy or whatever. One day my father was again playing near the forest, and the man came around, and told my father that if he wanted he could choose something he liked from the cart he was pulling along.
My father looked on the cart, and saw a young dog, and he immediately fell in love with this dog. He noticed that despite it being a young puppy that it had quite massive paws, and being the son of a farmer he knew that this dog would grow to be huge. The huckster said he got it from someone from Poland, and that it was a wolf-dog hybrid.
So my father took this dog home, but found out very soon this wasn't your avarage sweet little doggie... The dog grew fast - my grandfather had taken a liking towards the dog, perhaps because they had similar characters, lol, and fed the dog well.
My father was never too tired to tell us that he and everyone were scared shtless of this huge dog: the animal was almost twice the size of a German shepard, it was simply massive and had huge fangs. The only one the dog would obey was my grandfather, a guy people had given the nickname 'de beul van Schaijk' (the brute from Schaijk).
My grandfather knew this wasn't a dog you would let run around free and so he kept it on the barnyard behind a fence and on a chain. But apparently this wasn't enough to keep that dog in, because sometimes he was able to brake loose by snapping the chain and splintering the planks the fence was made of. The dog then stayed away for a day or so, to return later with its head covered in blood.
This grandfather of mine, being the guy he was thought nothing bad of it, and assumed his dog had only killed and eaten a rabbit. These were not modern times, with internet, television, or radio, and anything remotely 'civilized' was far away from that village. However, it soon became clear the dog had killed a bit more than a mere rabbit: he had killed several cows during his frequent escapes, and eaten large parts of these cows. The cows that were found had there intestines all over the place and their throats had been ripped open.
Of course it was known that it had been my grandfather's dog - someone had followed the dog from a great distance - and people came complaining and wanted to be paid for their dead cows, and wanted the dog to be put down.
But as I said, my grandfather was as scary as the dog he owned, so people didn't push their demands... and all my grandfather did was build a large iron cage for the dog.
The bars of the cage were as thick as a finger, and when someone passed the cage, the dog became a furious monster and grabbed the bars and rattle the whole cage.
Somehow the story of this huge dog spread around, and one day a couple of people came round to ask my grandfather about this dog and where it came from and so on. They were from the police of a city far away, and were accompanied by a dog trainer (a young man who was also a boxer according to my father). They wanted to buy this dog and have it trained so it could be used as a police dog (!!!).
Well, my grandfather's love for money was greater than his love for the dog, and so he sold it.
The end of the story is that in the end they had to put this monster of a dog down because no one was able to handle it, and because it had nearly killed a couple of policemen during those tranings.
End of story? Not exactly....
When I was 20 years old an old biology teacher (I followed a training for lab assistent) started telling a story one day.
This teacher was a huge hombre himself, and he had a low rumbling but gentle voice. His hands were equally huge, and when a girl from my class asked him, giggling, about it, he said he had been a boxer when he was still a young man.
Aside from having been a boxer, he told us he had been a dog trainer. Sometimes he assisted the police in finding suitable dogs to work as police dogs. One day he was invited to come along with the police to a tiny village in Brabant, a province in the south of the Netherands. He then said he met the largest dog he had ever seen in his life, and that he never saw one that size again.
However, he had also noticed this animal was ferocious and really dangerous and not much worth as a police dog. But the other men wouldn't think of leaving the dog there, and against his advice they bought the dog. Finally this teacher told us the dog had to be put down soon.
You can understand I was flabbergasted after hearing this story. I had many doubts and I wished my father had been still alive (he died the year before) so I could check his story for more details and then return to this teacher and tell him about it.
Somehow I postponed telling this teacher about my father, and I became totally focussed on studying for my exams. Years later I thought I'd visit this teacher again, but I learned he had died already.
Edited by Abramelin, 31 May 2012 - 12:46 PM.