With a Spielberg television show and Eminem music video in the books, Mikey is a leading actor for canine roles that require a wolfy touch.
His handlers, Terri Wemigwans and her husband, Richard, run Native Canines, a small DeWitt business dedicated to the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, or Vlcak (pronounced vul-chuck) for short.
âI donât want this to come across like someone should get one,â said Terri Wemigwans. âIt is a full-time job just socializing them.â
Wemigwans brings decades of experience dealing with wolfdogs and animal handling. âI worked with wolfdog agencies all around the United States for 30- some years and was the vice president, or president, of many wolf organizations and rescues.â
Her yard is fenced in with three acres of land for her Vlcaks to exercise in. They require constant discipline, are terrible puppies and challenge trainers constantly because of their high degree of intelligence.
âThey donât belong in everyoneâs hands.
This is the most primitive breed of dog in the world.â
This breed wasnât created for its wolfy looks. âThey were created to be a working dog by the Iron Curtain,â Wemigwans said. In 1955, the Soviet-era Czech Republic conducted experiments mating Carpathian wolves with German shepherds to procure a breed with the strength of a wolf and temperment of a dog for military uses. These experiments continued into the â80s with mixed results.
âSome Vlcaks to this day are in service, but they were not the superdogs the military wanted to create.â
The bond of the animal to its specific trainer was problematic, Wemigwans said.
âIf you were the trainer, raised this dog and sent this dog off to another trainer to take over, it wouldnât mind them at all,â she said. The best ability of a Vlack is its tracking, Wemigwans added.
Michigan law expressly prohibits wolf hybrids of any sort with the Wolf/Dog Hybrid Act 246 of 2000.
However, the Vlcak is a verified dog breed despite its wild past. The AKC recognizes it as a working dog, while the UKC and FCI recognizes it as a herding dog.
Mikey is a showline of the Vlcak. âHe is very professional in Vlcak terms.
Iâm talking a sound-thinking very intelligent animal. He loves work, meeting people and is a rock solid choice to play a wolf or wolfdog,â Wemigwans said.
âHe can run in traffic, walk on escalators and go into parties with 500 people heâs never met.â
He is not a trick dog, Wemigwans said. âIt is very rare to find that wolfy of a look with a dog that can hold himself in a professional manner.â
Though training is instrumental to this, Wemigwans credits Mikeyâs genetics as well.
âHe is from breeders with really good stock with verified pedigrees and temperaments.â
Getting a call to do the video for Yelawolf âs song âBest Friend,â which features Eminem, music video was exhilarating, Wemigwans said.
âMarshall Mathers and Yelawolf know they changed our life. I got back and got âMinority Report,â where Mikey was hired by Steven Spielberg.â
It was a unique role, because it called for a vlcak specifically in the show canon, instead of the usual wolf request.
Mikey is filming in an adaptation of Jack Londonâs “Son of the Wolf,” with Wemigwans tagged on as a producer.
âThese animals give me everything.
They changed my life and are my passion. People have an idea of what a wolf dog is and Mikey can show that he is not only a balanced animal, but a trustworthy animal and wonderful canine citizen.â