Is it Legal to Have a Pet Wolf?

Jupiterimages/ Images

A wolf is considered a wild animal and not a traditional house pet. With this is mind, it's not impossible to own a wolf as a pet. However, you must be aware of the current wild and exotic animal laws in your area to see if this is permissible.


Wolves are prohibited from being privately owned in Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. No residents are allowed to sell or purchase a wolf within these states. However, wolves are allowed for public exhibits, in a zoo for example, as long as state regulations are met.

Partial Prohibition

"Partial" applies to the type of wild animal the states will allow. In Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Virgina a partial prohibition is enforced allowing certain types of pet primates, while others are still prohibited. In Connecticut, the commissioner can issue a permit that will allow the resident to possess certain live fish, wild birds or mammals, states Michigan State University.


A permit or license is required to possess a wild or exotic animal in Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Texas. Depending on the type of animal, different classes of permits are required. In Indiana, there are three class permits that specify that wolf owners require a class III. This class entails more than the basic requirements for class I and II, requiring a fee and chain link fence around the perimeter where the wolf lives.

No State Law

Of the 50 states, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington, West Virgina and Wisconsin have no laws against owning a wolf. They may require certain certifications or vaccinations for the wolf if it's privately owned. Pending legislation may change some of the laws of these states. Iowa has a pending legislation that would place them on the list with the other states, prohibiting ownership of a pet wolf.