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Is it legal to own a wolf in the UK?

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Peggy Jehly has been working with wolves and wolf dogs for a number of years.

Provided you have a licence granted by your local authority under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976 it is legal to own a wolf in the UK. The list of dangerous animals to which the Act applies is found in The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No.2) Order 2007. You will also need a licence for a first filial (F1) wolfdog where one parent is a wolf and the other is a domestic dog. The same applies to an F2 wolf hybrid. It is legal to own an F3 wolfdog without a licence. I would recommend that you telephone your local authority. The wolf is listed under the ‘SCHEDULE KINDS OF DANGEROUS WILD ANIMALS’ to the above statutory instrument (see below).

Inspection and conditions

In order to get a licence, you have to satisfy an inspection by a veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon who will decide whether the premises that you have are suitable to hold the animal for which the license applies. The local authority may grant a licence with conditions and the local authority may at any time vary the licence by specifying new conditions.

Fee

The fee for the licence will vary considerably from local authority to local authority. It might be less than £100 or more than £1000. And these costs refer to a one-year renewable licence. It is not cheap to look after a wild animal when you bear in mind that this is just one of many costs. You’ll have to ask your local authority what the costs are.

Application, insurance and planning

The application process may take months. Of course, you’ll have to have insurance and the local authority may demand that you have insurance in place during your application for a licence. There may be further expenditure in order to satisfy the conditions that the local authority places upon you in order to grant your licence. You may need planning permission if an enclosure is required under the conditions. That may take a considerable time to process as well.

Other Canidae species and exceptions

Out of interest, the following animals in the Canidae family also require a licence: wild dogs, jackals, the maned wolf, the bush dog and the dhole. The following animals are excepted meaning you don’t need a licence: foxes, raccoon dogs and the domestic dog but not the dingo. I hope this helps.

Peggy Jehly has been working with wolves and wolf dogs for a number of years.

Peggy Jehly has been working with wolves and wolf dogs for a number of years. Photo: BBC. She loves wolves and says they are not bad guys.

The list of Canidae requiring a license

Below is the relevant section of the schedule. ‘Canidae’ is the family of dog-like carnivorans.

Section 7

SCHEDULE KINDS OF DANGEROUS WILD ANIMALS

NOTE: See section 7(5) of this Act for the effect of the second column of this Schedule

Scientific name of kindCommon name or names

Family Canidae:

All species except those of the genera Alopex, Cerdocyon, Dusicyon, Otocyon, Pseudolopex, Urocyon, Vulpes and Nyctereutes.

The species Canis familiaris, other than the subspecies Canis familiaris dingo, is also excepted.

Wild dogs, wolves, jackals, the maned wolf, the bush dog and the dhole.

Foxes, raccoon dogs and the domestic dog (but not the dingo) are excepted.

Below are some more pages on wolves.