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Shelter Saves Giant Dog, Then DNA Test Reveals Why He Wouldn’t Stop Growing

By: Carol Kingston | Last updated: Oct 14, 2023

A Longtime Animal Lover

Nancy Smith is a huge animal lover. So much so that she decided to found an animal sanctuary. Her main goal was to help all the animals in need that she could.

Each member of her team has been hand-picked to ensure a top notch team of passionate and driven individuals. Although each of the members have extensive experience, none of them had ever encountered anything like this.

A Heart of Gold

About a decade ago, Brittany Allen started working at the shelter. As soon as she saw the rescue dog, she knew exactly the steps she needed to take. Although the dog intimidated her a bit, they had an instant connection.


Source: Pinterest

However, when she learned what had happened to the dog before he was taken to the shelter, she was infuriated.

She Got a Strange Call

One day, Nancy Smith received an extremely strange phone call. This was just one day before she was heading to Florida where she was going to be picking up an animal from the Broward Animal Shelter.


Source: Shy Wolf Sanctuary

The caller refused to identify himself and would only tell her that he wanted to surrender his pet. When he was asked the reason behind the surrender, he explained that the dog grew “much larger” than he had anticipated.

Time to Get Help

The puppy was quite young, but was still big enough to scare his owner. The dog was already developing features that the man had never seen on a puppy before, such as massive claws and large teeth.



The man was starting to realize he was in over his head with this animal.  It was time for him to face the facts and get help. So, he made a call to Nancy Smith.

He Outgrew His Bed

Nancy asked the caller why he was having so much trouble with the dog. The man explained that, despite his best efforts in preparing to be a pet owner, nothing could have prepared him for this.



At first, everything went smoothly with the pup. But soon, the dog kept growing and growing – without stopping. When the dog had outgrown the largest dog bed available, the owner began to worry.

Too Much Trouble

The man had wanted a big dog, but what he got was not what he had expected at all. By the time the little pup, who he had named Yuki, was 8-months-old, he had already grown to a height of 8 feet!

Source: KSAT

Very quickly, Yuki grew too large to be inside the house. The man even built a shelter space in his yard, hoping it would better accommodate the dog’s size. Despite these measures, the man’s problems persisted as Yuki continued to grow.


A Gigantic Beast

During a phone call with the dog’s owner, Nancy informed him that her shelter was at full capacity. Frustrated with this answer, the owner decided to drop Yuki off at a different shelter.

Source: Wolves For Films

Brittany Allen then received a phone call at home, saying that an animal was abandoned at Broward County Shelter. When she arrived, she took one look at the huge beast and was in shock!


Come Quickly!

No one at the Broward Animal Shelter had ever seen such an animal, in all the years they had been open. Because of his size, the crew had to tie up Yuki outside.

Source: ShelterPetsRock/Twitter

They called Nancy, begging her to come quickly. They wanted to get help for the creature as quickly as possible. After that, they knew they would need to contact the authorities. Nancy soon jumped into her vehicle and headed to the shelter.


An Unlikely Connection

Brittany Allen was no newcomer to seeing animals being abandoned by their owners. She already had 10 years of experience at the shelter where she worked. Although this newest rescued animal was her most intimidating, she felt an immediate connection with him.

Source: brit_allen_/Instagram

Looking into his piercing eyes, she was frustrated with Yuki’s owner. She was willing to do whatever it takes to find out where this animal had come from.


Nancy's First Encounter With Yuki

Nancy will never forget the moment she saw Yuki for the first time. He had enormous jaws that hung wide open, releasing his hot breath as he panted. His long claws ticked on the cement floor as he paced back and forth.

Source: Click Orlando

The scariest part was the size of Yuki’s head and teeth. She had chills down her spine as she analyzed the beast. Unsure of exactly what species Yuki was, Nancy decided to order a DNA test.


A Surprising Shift

When Yuki was left at the shelter, he was in reasonably good health compared to a lot of the animals that ended up in the sanctuary.

Source: perierga/

He surprisingly had a very outgoing personality and loved to greet everyone who came by. Despite his terrifying appearance, the team started to consider him their ambassador, and began to bond with the animal.


The DNA Test Results

The results of the DNA test Nancy had ordered confirmed her worst suspicions. The test showed that Yuki was 87.5 % Gray Wolf, 8.6 % Siberian Husky, and 3.9 % German Shepherd.

Source: Imgur

In short, he was a high-content wolfdog — a breed that is illegal to own or breed in Florida.


The Truth Behind Breeding Wolfdogs

Throughout history, humans have always had quite an intense fascination with wolves. Because of this fascination, there has been a rise of wolf-dog hybrids.

Source: Imgur

Uneducated buyers and breeders have attempted to create a breed that has the beauty of a wolf but is as friendly and loyal as a dog. However, many don’t know the consequences of this action.


A Risky and Dangerous Breed

It is extremely risky to create a wolf-dog hybrid. You will never know the traits each dog will inherit. There is absolutely no way to tell which wolf traits will be dominant in each puppy. 

Source: greensh/Pinterest

Some puppies will look like wolves but act like dogs, while others will look like dogs but have the personality of a dangerous wolf. Because of this, some states do not allow the ownership of a high-content wolfdog.


Too Wild For a Shelter

Both wolfdogs and wolves need tons of space to run around. They also need a lot more food than a regular dog. Training wolfdogs requires much more intense training.

Source: W.O.L.F Sanctuary

Wolfdogs are usually too tame to survive in the wild but are way too wild to stay in a dog shelter. When these wolfdogs are abandoned, it is extremely difficult to re-home them.


Abandonment Issues Galore

Two decades ago, Shy Wolf Sanctuary opened its doors. Since then, the sanctuary has seen a large rise in the amount of abandoned wolfdogs.

Source: Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Today, wolfdogs are the most abandoned exotic animals in the sanctuary. Before Nancy could get around to contacting the dog’s previous owner, she noticed Yuki behaving strangely.


A Change in Behavior

Not too long after Yuki arrived at the sanctuary, he was walking around and got his leg caught on a palmetto. He hurt his knee on the right rear leg and was left with an open wound.

Source: Imgur

Because of this incident, Yuki had to have five surgeries to fix the injury. Around the same time, the workers at the sanctuary began to notice that Yuki was starting to act a lot more aggressively in his enclosure.


So Many Trust Issues

They began to get to know Yuki a lot more and saw his personality develop. After a while, he finally let a few women into the cage with him. Yuki did not trust a lot of people, but he did trust Brittany.

Source: Sunass

They at least had each other. However, neither one had a clue what was about to happen.


Viral Internet Star

Brittany put up a photo of Yuki one day on the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Facebook page. The photo she uploaded showed the true, massive size of the canine. It was evident that he clearly dwarfed Brittany.

Source: MadeMeSmile/Reddit

Soon after the photo was uploaded, it went viral on social media. So many people expressed their shock when they saw the size of the wolfdog. In fact, many thought the photo was a hoax!


The Internet Was in Disbelief

Brittany came up with the perfect response to these hoax accusations. “It’s just his fat angle guys. We all have one.” People all over the world were commenting on the picture. Nobody could believe that Yuki existed!


“They definitely are creatures that demand respect. It would be a much different encounter in the wild than what I do with these guys. The animals I work with have never been in the wild and never will be, so they are more socialized,” Brittany said.


Raising Awareness About Wolfdogs

“We show off their adorable moments in the hope of helping people identify with them at least and maybe change their fear response into a healthy respect through education,” she went on, “… And also giving an animal a chance at a decent life when otherwise they would be euthanized.”

Source: Malaysia DOG Training/Facebook

People all over the world loved seeing this photo. Soon after the photo was circulating around the world, the sanctuary had to deal with some terrible news.


Yuki Not Being Himself

Yuki had not been acting like his normal self for quite some time. He was not eating much and wasn’t getting excited when his favorite people came around. Even when he was shown his favorite toy, he had no interest.

Source: Imgur

Staff at the sanctuary noticed him moping about his cage. He would seldom engage in any sort of play time. This was shocking to everyone at the sanctuary, and they decided it was time to dig further to figure out what was wrong with Yuki.


Tragic News

After looking into Yuki’s health further, they found that he was suffering from terminal cancer. The team hoped that Yuki would be able to survive no matter what.


He was obviously a fighter. Ultimately, the team decided that they wanted to make sure that the time he had left was spent making him happy.


Leaving His Mark

Yuki first arrived at the shelter in 2008. Since that day, he had made a made a huge impact on all the staff and visitors of the sanctuary. Everyone always fell in love with the giant dog thanks to his cheeky and fun personality.

Source: hogan_zeb/Twitter

Having lived at the sanctuary for 12 years, Yuki had definitely left his mark on everyone he met. However, his legacy at Shy Wolf Sanctuary extended even further than the adoration of his fans.


An Impact for Years to Come

Source: Rumble

Ever since the photo of Yuki and Brittany went viral on Facebook, more visitors and support have come in for the sanctuary. To this day, Nancy Smith and the rest of the team continue to raise awareness regarding the plight of wolfdogs.