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SE: Why wolves kill dogs

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

In 2014, 17 hunting dogs were killed or injured by wolves in Värmland. Worst affected were near Arjang where a third of all cases were reported. Far from all dogs are killed or injured, even if you hunt in the middle of a wolf territories.

Most wolves in Sweden never attack any dog. Some wolves attack one or two dogs and a few attack three or more dogs in the same year. And it is almost always dogs used for hunting which are attacked (80 percent).

Research from Viltskadecenter , which is a service unit within the Swedish Agricultural University, shows that the risk of a dog used for hunting in a wolf territories will be injured or killed is approximately 1 in 9000 hunting days, if it is a lone wolf or a pair of wolves in the territory . If there is an entire family group in the territory the risk increases to 1 in 5000 hunting days.

In other words, with 150 hunters in a wolf territory hunting 20 days per season, so one can expect an attack every three years if there is a wolf pair in the territory and every two years if there is a family group.

It has also been shown that there is a difference between wolf damage depends on what breed of dog used for hunting: For example you can see from the statistics that almost all dachshunds and driving dogs are killed when attacked by wolves. In contrast beagles and Swedish Elkhound/Moosehounds fare better, only a few killed. It may be due to the size difference but it is far from clear.

Another interesting connection that scientists have seen is that dogs exercising in an exercise yard or kennel run less risk of being injured or killed by wolves.

The reason for this is not clear, but one theory is that these dogs are more “socialized” than dogs staying indoors. And through this social skills so can the kennel dogs manage wolves in a smoother manner.

Exactly what makes wolves attack dogs are a little uncertain but evidence suggests that wolves consider dogs as competitors. So says Jens Frank, one of the researchers at Viltskadecenter.

“They see the dog as another wolf but if it is a competitor for mates or prey it is hard to tell, says Jens Frank.

Joacim Lindwall