Wolves are lovely animals that many like because of their beauty and popular television shows that made them glamorous. However, many people wish to keep them as pets and wonder if it’s allowed. So, can you have a wolf as a pet in Canada?
There’s no general answer to whether you can own a wolf as a pet in Canada. The rules differ from one province to another. Even within provinces, some municipalities still have rules on owning wolves. Most provinces make their ownership unlawful. But some require a permit, and others allow hybrids.
Despite the absence of a consensus, you can easily know the laws on wolf ownership within your municipality. I break down wolf ownership throughout the country and the predominant rule in each province on keeping a wolf as a pet.
Keeping Wolf as a Pet in Canada
The shortest answer to whether you can keep a wolf as a pet is No. But that isn’t a general answer that applies all over the country. Each province and, in some cases, municipalities have their rules as to owning wolves. In some, it’s a total No. In others, you can own it with a permit. There are also places where you can own a wolf-dog hybrid without a permit.
Rules on Wolf Ownership in Canadian Provinces
Here are the general rules on owning wolves as pets in Canadian provinces and territories.
It isn’t allowed to own wolves as pets in Alberta. This is because they’re considered fur-bearing animals under provincial law. However, you can still keep wolf-dog hybrids as pets legally in the province. To do this, you don’t need a permit.
Due to the nature of laws on owning wildlife animals in the province, you may need to check with your municipal office to see if local bylaws allow or prevent such pets.
Newfoundland and Labrador
It’s prohibited to take fur-bearing animals without a license, according to the Wildlife Act of Newfoundland. Wolves are part of this category of animals, making it illegal to take, trap, or kill them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely to be kept as a pet within the province if you don’t have a license.
The same law also requires that anyone who comes into possession of wildlife get a permit. Such a person must apply to the Minister for a permit to keep the animal in captivity. So, if you’re planning to keep a wolf as a pet, you’ll need a permit, even if it’s legal. However, in most cases, the importation of the wolf or wolf-dog is illegal, making it possible to breed captive wolves.
You can’t own wolves or hybrid wolf-dogs in Ontario because wolves are native to the province. Even municipalities within the province also have their prohibition on wolf ownership. For example, Toronto includes wolves among its prohibited animals, according to the Animal Bylaw.
Owning or selling a wolf as a pet is illegal in British Columbia. However, you can still keep wolf dogs as pets. But their wild nature means you’ve to be careful when you own such animals.
Here is another province where it’s illegal to keep or raise wolves as pets. Even wolf dogs are illegal in the province. So, you can’t keep a hybrid of a crossbreed between wolf and dog. The laws are likely the same across all municipalities, and Montreal, for one, makes hybrids illegal.
It’s illegal to keep wolves as pets here, too, as it isn’t part of the animals residents can hold in captivity without a license. But if you’re considering getting a wolf-dog hybrid, you should consider asking your municipal office first. That’ll help you know if there are restrictions on owning such animals within your locality.
You can’t own a wolf as a pet in Manitoba. The bylaws of Winnipeg specifically prohibits the ownership of wolves. Wolf-dog hybrids are also not allowed in the municipality, and this likely applies across the province.
The laws that prohibit keeping wildlife as pets in Nova Scotia don’t include wolves. This means it’s likely legal to keep a wolf or even a wolf-dog as a pet. However, you can only do so with a permit under the law. In Halifax, wolves aren’t part of the exotic animals prohibited from being kept as pets.
Prince Edward Islands
The PEI list contains a list of animals prohibited as pets in the Prince Edward Islands. Animals on this list are generally wildlife species considered dangerous to humans, endangered, or not native to the province. Among the prohibited species is all Canidae apart from dogs. Since the wolf is part of this species, it means it’s also illegal. As well, a wolf-dog hybrid will also be considered illegal.
Wild wolves are extinct from the province, which means that any wolf or wolf-dog hybrid found in the region is a pet. While no specific laws are making it illegal to own a wolf as a pet, the law requires anyone who wants to keep an exotic animal must collect a permit first. Thus, if you plan to own a wolf or hybrid wolf dog here, be ready to get a permit.
The Three Territories
Owning wolf dogs is legal in the three territories of Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest. However, you can’t breed such hybrids with native Arctic wolves as that is considered illegal.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not you can own a wolf as a pet in Canada will depend on which province you find yourself in. Some allow you to. Some require a permit, and some completely outlaw it. In some provinces where owning a wolf is illegal, you can still own a hybrid wolf dog. However, if you’re planning to keep a wolf or hybrid as a pet, make sure you’re familiar with both provincial and municipal laws on the matter. Most importantly, make sure you’re ready for the responsibility and risk that comes with keeping a wild animal as a pet.