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Call of the Cryptid: The Andean Wolf, or Hagenbeck’s Wolf

Wade Wainio, 02/27/2019

How true is the Andean Wolf (AKA the Hagenbeck’s Wolf)? Does it exist? If it does, how unique and mysterious is it? Is there even enough to go on?  

Normally when I write about cryptids here, I try to include a fair amount of sources, including ones that seem credible. Of course, anyone writing about cryptids can hit some big speed bumps. In this case, it’s simply a lack of information.

Basically, every article I’ve found discussing the Andean Wolf says pretty much the same thing. Interestingly, though, I can go a little bit in depth here through the wonders of Wikipedia. Yes, that may be considered lazy, but they say more than any other place I’ve looked. So, as we go on, feel free to add the words “supposedly,” “allegedly” and “reportedly” into these sentences.

What is known about the Andean Wolf?

Here are the basic story parts I’ve gathered: In 1927, Lorenz Hagenbeck was in Buenos Aires, where he bought a unique animal pelt said to belong to a wild dog of the Andes. That’s a little speed bump already. Lorenz Hagenbeck didn’t even know for sure it came from the Andes. It was just said to come from there, so today it’s called the Andean Wolf. Similarly, descriptions are vague. It’s said to have a pelt and a mane somewhat different from other canines. That’s about it. There are no accounts of its behavior, like dramatic stories of it prowling in the night.

Anyway, 13 years after Hagenbeck acquired the pelt (in 1940), a German Doctor named Ingo Krumbiegel is said to have inspected it. He paired it with some skull, concluded it was a new species, and called it Dasycyon hagenbecki.

Then it’s believed that, some time in 1960, scientists investigated it again, deciding it was just a domestic dog. Later, other scientists are said to have examined the pelt, but it was too contaminated to make a definitive statement. Frustratingly, I didn’t see anything about which scientists tested it, or where. It’s also said the aforementioned skull was lost in World War II!

Basically, there isn’t much to this story. However, some aspects of it are potentially real. In fact, maybe the whole thing is real. In an odd way, this is both one of the most and the least cryptic cryptid stories I’ve found so far. It could all be totally fake or totally real. Some parts could be true, others could very well be false.

Parts that are Probably True

There apparently was a Lorenz Hagenbeck, a circus owner and the son of zoo director Carl Hagenbeck. Given this sort of background, it’s believable Lorenz would be interested in things like exotic animal pelts. Honestly, though, the story of Lorenz Hagenbeck is more interesting than this cryptid, which sounds more like a semi-unique dog. Fortunately, Ingo Krumbiegel was also a real German zoologist, known for interest in other cryptids. In other words, this story is not a complete and total lie, which is nice.

In Conclusion

The Andean Wolf could very well be real. It could very well be just a slightly different wolf from what is commonly observed. For better or worse, this sort of thing happens among animals, and even among human beings. Is it an entirely different variety? Probably not. Basically, this is an uncontroversial case, without much to confirm or deny. Until there’s more general information, the most interesting aspect of this story is Mr. Lorenz Hagenbeck and his father themselves.


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