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Breaking Olympic wolf news: that's not a wolf in Kate Hansen's hallway

Wolf-ish? Yes. Wolf? Likely not, say the experts.

American luger and dance enthusiast Kate Hansen shared a picture of a furry, four-legged animal roaming down her hallway in Sochi. It definitely had four legs, was definitely some kind of canine, and well, that's where the internet stopped agreeing.

So we went to the experts, and asked; what the hell is that wandering down the halls of a Sochi dorm, and was it a wolf?

Douglas W. Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist at the Yellowstone Center for Resources and a pioneer in the field of reintroducing wolves into the wild, thinks not:

Dog - 100%. Looks and behaves all dog. Husky is the breed - dog is the species.

We also asked Daniel Stahler, PhD, a wildlife biologist from the Yellowstone Wolf Project, if Hansen's hall monitor could be a wolf.

Almost certainly this is not a wild wolf. There are hundreds of thousands of wolf-dog hybrids in the U.S. alone, and many more worldwide. My guess is that this is someone's pet, or a Sochi stray. But the fact that it's casually walking down the hall and not looking particularly stressed indicates it's comfortable around people.

Hybrids are typically crosses between captive bred wolves (zoos, private breeders, wildlife sanctuaries, etc.) and northern breed domestic dogs like huskies, malamutes, etc. This definitely looks wolfie, so probably does have some wolf genes crossed in there. Hybrids make very poor pets for most people, as they are a canid stuck in a world between man's best domesticated friend and it's wild progenitor. Many end up abused, killing pets, or hurting people. This one seems pretty mellow to be walking down a hallway, which is why it's probably a pet.

That's my opinion from reviewing the video.

So there's science for you, just ruining the internet's best hopes and dreams yet again. (Though this whole exercise was worth it just to read a wildlife expert describe a stray dog in Sochi as "pretty mellow.")

Update! This is a Jimmy Kimmel hoax. From the Orlando Sentinel:

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel orchestrated a hoax with U.S. Olympic luger Kate Hansen, Inside Edition reports. The syndicated magazine got confirmation of the video foolery from Sandy Caligiore, a publicist for the United States Luge Association.

Jimmy Kimmel is the King in Yellow.