By Jags Goldie Last updated: 27th October 2022

Lupo Italiano


Jags Goldie
Last updated: 27th October 2022

The Italian Wolfdog or Lupo Italiano is a large wolf-dog hybrid produced by crossing a female Apennine wolf and a male German Shepherd. It comes with a sturdy body, strong abdomen, well-built spine, long, muscular limbs, and a thick tail that is carried low. As in wolves, the Lupo Italiano displays high levels of sensory acuity and strong resistance to fatigue.

Lupo Italiano Pictures

Quick Information

CoatMedium-length, slightly harsh; short, fine hairs on the head, limbs, and thighs
ColorGray, red, cream, dark saddleback, solid black; white markings also occur
Breed TypeHybrid
LifespanUp to 16 years
WeightAbout 70-90 lbs
HeightMale: 24-28 inches
Female: 23-26 inches
TemperamentAlert, intelligent, courageous, energetic
Good with ChildrenRequires supervision
Country Originated inItaly
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationNot registered with any major breeders association or kennel clubs

Video: Lupo Italiano – The Search and Rescue Dog


The origin of the Italian Wolfdog traces back to 1966 when the foundation dog Zorro was produced from a controlled breeding facility in Italy, started by Dr. Mario Messi. The breeding program was set up with the objective of creating a wolf-dog hybrid that would not only feature the best possible traits from both its parents but also obtain a true working dog capable of living with humans.

The Italian Government officially recognized the breed and enforced laws to support the program financially. Over the last decade or so, the Lupo Italiano has been successfully employed as a search and rescue dog to detect victims of earthquakes and avalanche. It has also been used as a police dog for sniffing out drugs and explosives.

Temperament and Behavior

The personality of a Lupo Italiano can be described as lively, stubborn, and independent. It is a fearless dog, fiercely guarding its territory, also protecting its family from potential threats and intruders. Although it is suspicious of strangers, it forms strong bonds with the people it lives with.

Being resistant to extreme weather conditions, the Italian Wolfdog is well suited to work in mountainous regions. It is regularly used by the park rangers, game wardens, and emergency rescue teams because of its strength, agility, and a great sense of smell.



The Italian Wolfdog often jumps high up in the air from a standstill position and is a great climber and digger. Therefore, have a large pen with enough room for your pet to play and run. Do not allow it to run loose and make sure to walk it on a durable leash and collar.


Its thick fur should be brushed using a soft brush every week. Bathe your Italian Wolfdog occasionally with a quality dog conditioner or rub its hair with a wet cotton cloth to keep it clean and shiny. If it has dry skin, you may use Clovite conditioner for bathing your pet.

Health Problems

Some individual animals may be affected by infections caused by ticks, fleas, or heartworms. Make sure that you immunize it against diseases like distemper, rabies, and parvovirus.


The Wolfdog is not an ideal pet for inexperienced dog owners, and it needs firm, consistent training to curb unwanted behaviors. Remember, you cannot force your Lupo Italiano to obey commands including sit, stop, rollover, stay, etc. Do not use harsh corrective measures like hitting or kicking your pet.


Expose the Italian Wolfdog to as many positive experiences involving unfamiliar people as you can during its puppyhood. Make sure you introduce the pup to possible frightening stimuli like loud noises made by vacuum cleaners, kids, cars and vehicles on the street, etc. Set up bodily contact with the pup until it establishes close bonds with you.

Managing its chewing behavior

As the parent of your Wolfdog, you should display extreme tolerance while the pup is small. If the puppy has chewed on something, open its mouth by spreading your fingers gently and then say a word like “mine.” Do not hit, pin down, shake, or shout at the pup and never try to take any item forcefully out of its mouth.


Give your Lupo Italiano about four cups of dry dog food per day. You may occasionally add some raw fish and meat in its diet.

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