Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary – Cochrane, Alberta - Atlas Obscura

Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

Cochrane, Alberta

A rescue facility that caters specifically to wolf-dog hybrids, and educates about these unique animals. 


The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary opened in 2011 with a mission to rescue abandoned wolfdogs and provide them with a safe place to run, play, and socialize.

Wolfdogs are wolf-dog hybrids, bred as exotic pets for wealthy buyers. Demand for them has surged in recent years, partly due to the direwolves shown on HBO’s Game of Thrones. But wolfdogs with a high proportion of wolf content make poor pets—their innate fear of humans, lack of affection, and extensive need for exercise often proves too much for their owners. Many places prohibit owning or breeding wolfdogs, and they cannot survive in the wild, they are usually put down by dog shelters.

Right now 23 wolfdogs are permanent residents of Yamnuska, along with one coydog (coyote-dog hybrid) and a few farm animals including goats, chickens, and turkeys. In addition to their rescue work, they provide educational resources, promote awareness of the mistreatment of these animals and push for breeding regulations. Some of the wolfdogs act as ambassadors, helping educate the public about wolf conservation.

Know Before You Go

The sanctuary is open year-round, five days of the week (it is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sanctuary tours are available to walk-in guests, but a booking is required for the interactive tour. The sanctuary has a strict policy prohibiting outside dogs.

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