Frequently Asked Questions About Wolves

If there are any questions you would like to see here and answered, please write me to me, at my contact me page and I'll be sure to respond.

Please Note: This page is always in progress, more photos will be added as time allows to correspond with answers and questions. It is not any one single thing that makes a wolf what it is, though dogs can have some of the following traits I list below, they will not have *ALL* the traits I list, that wolves do have.  For but a couple examples , CDN Eskimo (Inuit) dogs have the long guard hairs that make up a cape the same as wolves have. Some northern breed dogs can have the caudal mark. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Wolves

 The following written years ago for my guide are copyright to WEV. 


1) What is the difference between a dog and wolf?

A: Though a wolf is not a dog, a dog is considered a domesticated wolf. There are no known behaviors found in wolves that cannot also be found in domestic dogs what may differ is the frequency, intensity and in the context in which the behavior is expressed.  Those differences expressed can also differ depending on the breed and or breed type of dog. You can say through the domestication process the behaviors have been watered down in domestic dogs, in some breeds more than others. Some traits found in wolves and to some degree dogs as well are of the following.


Prey Driven: All canines are predators and have a certain degree of prey drive, some much more than others depending on the type of canine. Prey Drive: meaning they will give chase to things that run, for example small animals.  Once this drive(predatory/prey drive) is triggered via fast movement and the wolf gives chase, what once may have started out as only a chase initially can fast become a situation where the object becomes something to then kill.   Wolves, were built to be efficient predators and survivors, this predatorial instinct and drive is WELL developed and extremely strong/intense.  Which is but one reason wolves are not pets!


Dominancy issues: In the wild wolves have a hierarchy and each one has a rank, each wolf has the instinct, drive, and incentive to climb the social ladder of rank. Meaning they will eventually want to become the dominant leader in the pack, not every wolf however manages to do this and a more dominant alpha leader may thwart attempts by a subordinate wolf.   This does not mean the current dominating leader cannot and is not challenged, and even  taken out permanently (killed) or driven out, by other subordinate wolves once they no longer are strong enough to maintain their alpha leader status.  *Wolves will continuously test each other starting as young puppies,and this continues throughout their lives. What may look like play to us, may be in all actuality a test of leadership, or weakness.*  (klinghammer)


Female Wolf Asserting Dominance over young male

Shyness: Wolves in the wild are inherently shy creatures, this will serve to help keep them safe from potential dangers such as hunters in the wild. After around 14-16 weeks the window of opportunity for a pups socialization to others is already starting to close.  Meaning anything they come upon not socialized to prior they become wary of and shy away from. In captive situations to help with this issue, and so that wolves are comfortable in a captive situation and not stressed, pups are socialized to as many people as is possible such as veterinarians, young people, old people, doorways, umbrellas, different clothing such as winter jackets and mittens, hats, tractors, and other machinery, etc, otherwise the pups as adults will view such things as something to be suspicious of, and may even freak out in fear over.  


Diggers:   Wolves like to dig,  they can dig holes so deep that a 6 foot tall man can completely disappear.  Wolves typically will dig for a few different reasons

a) to create dens for pups to be born in the spring

b) To dig to keep cool in the hot summer months, the colder earth serves as a sort of air conditioning.

c)  *digging up roots/shrubs,mice/voles/rabbits they may smell

d) digging out of boredom


Territorial: In the wild wolves are highly territorial for good reason; it is a hard life and resources (food, mating rights of females) become a competition. Wolves will thus drive out even kill other wolves or stray roaming dogs infringing upon their marked territories. Contrary to popular belief that wild wolves mate with free ranging dogs, most dogs will be viewed as either a meal or enemy trespassing to be killed.


Destructiveness: Having raised quite a few wolves over the years from infancy to adulthood in captive situations, has given me a first hand seat into their true destructive natures.   Wolves are soo intelligent ,and sooo curious they like to take things literally apart to see how they work. By the time pups are approx. 3 monthsof age they are destroying anything and everything they can get their paws and teeth on, and they are ready to be placed outside. You cannot train this behavior out of a wolf pup like owners do with domestic dogs, and it would be wrong to try to.  In the wild parents and the other family members *adults* within the pack allow the pups to explore and experience, they are allowed to grab anything they want and chew it up if they want to. Pups are allowed to get away with a LOT, a LOT more than any domestic dog pup is allowed to in a domestic living environment, this is apart of growing up as a wolf,  and is completely normal behavior. Everything a wolf does is with intensity and exaggeration. 

 Howling: Wolves love to howl, they howl to reunite their pack members when separated, they howl when mourning the loss of a pack member, they howl when excited, they howl prior to a hunt and after eating in bonding sessions, they howl to alert other wolves (wolf packs) they are in the area, and they howl just because they feel like it. I am sure there are reasons wolvs howl, that humans are not even aware of.

Pure wolf dharma
white wolves are not born white but phase over time to the white color you see here


To a wolf possession is 100% of the law, once a wolf lays claim to an object, usually a high cost item (food) but not always.  It is theirs, and they will guard it religiously, until they are done with it. In captive situations when the wolf pup has something in their possession that may not be good for them I play the trading game, this game should be taught in case the wolf ever gets a hold of something they should not have. The trading game is just how it sounds; you have something better in trade to give the wolf for what they have in exchange. 


Wolf Guarding Bones
courtesy Mike C.

2) Can wolves be trained like dogs?
A: Yes to some degree and no.  I have always considered wolves very cat like in how they move, and even act in some ways, training is one of those ways. Cats are highly independent and do not like to take direction very easily, the same can be said about wolves. However give a wolf  incentive to work and they will do it, some even happily so, as it gives them something to do, and works their minds to problem solve.  They are capable of learning commands, however one has to use positive reinforcement such as a clicker and food rewards.  Young wolves in the wild and in human captive raised situations, look to the leaders in their canine and human pack members, for direction as they mature, however evolution has designed them, to break out of their dependence on others, and express their independence. I have found that wolves are of the most independent creatures around.   You can train and teach wolves to do *some* things, however I would not consider wolves bomb proof when it comes to commands and reliability in training no matter how much time is spent.

3) What are the physical differences between a wolf and a dog?
A) There are quite a few physical and biological differences and I will address them below:
1) Wolves’ nails on every foot are darkly colored as in charcoal (dark grey)  (dilute black) to dark black and  in the case of Arctic wolves a taupe color. (The *tips/ends* of Arctic nails lack color.)  Due to various definitions and spectrums of the color taupe, ranging from light taupe which appears tannish/pink  to  a smokey brownish color, the color of actics nails by stating taupe can confuse some people. They do lean more towards a lighter smokey tannish/pink color, BUT arctic nails can also be a darker taupe, they just are not black.  Some dogs can have dark nails especially dark colored dogs, but wolves do not have clear /pink/ ,  white/pink , or white nails like the domestic dog. PLEASE NOTE: That just because a white wolf may have arctic colored nails does not mean it's necessarily pure canis lupus arctos, I have a pure wolf here that is predominantly arctic and 1/4 another subspecies, besides my pure arctics and she has the arctic colored nail.

Wolf's black nails
click to enlarge

PURE ARCTIC'S NAILS (light taupe)
Arctics nails can be a darker taupe however (Click pic to enlarge)

Example of darker taupe nails on arctic wolf's paw


Wolf pups nails are light/white when young
BUT by approx *8-10* wks will have started to transition, and BY 10 weeks at most have darkened up.

Black wolf pups nails also start off light/white

2)   Wolves do not have blue eyes this is a domestic dog trait only.  Blue eyes is a recessive gene, both parents must carry this gene for pups to acquire it. Wolves do not carry this gene. Some pale colors, especially pale greens can sometimes appear bluish in tone and mistaken as blue.

Purebred Siberian Husky with blue eyes
courtesy Jill Porter

3) Wolves have highly slanted almond shaped eyes with heavy dark /black eye lining.


4) Wolves have extra large feet, with two very large protruding front toes. Not smaller and or rounded feet like a dogs.
5) Wolves will not have sharply defined white tail tips like many domestic dogs.  Most often one will view wolves that have black tail tips. Some tail tips have more of a pronounced black tip than other's might have.  Please Note however, that domestic dogs can also have black tail tips *example* included here

Note the black tip on this wolf's tail
click to enlarge

Picture of white tail tip on a purebred dog

Black tail tip on domestic dog
note the slight curl on dog in motion

6) Wolves have a caudal mark/scent gland *often called precaudal gland* (a dark spot positioned approx. 3-4 inches down from the base of the tail,) it can tend to have a bluish tinge to it with a few longer stiffer hairs that poke out of it. The spot can be a few different shapes. Even Black phase wolves though it is harder to see have this spot on their tail. Some black phase puppies have a few white or black stiff hairs poking out of this area. The spot looks a little shinier in appearance. MOST Domestic dogs even *if* they have the mark itself on the tail  (which still would not be all that common, are most likely to be seen on dogs with wolf heritage or old working northern breed lines,) however it is not a functioning/working precaudal gland.  PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER : That there is a breed of dog called the Rhodesian Ridgeback this older breed (often called the African Lion Dog Or African Lion Hound) surprisingly though classified as a sight hound has a precaudal gland and it is said to be a functioning one at that. Wolves also have scent glands between the toes and on the face. (On cheeks close to the mouth, behind the ears and in the eyes) as well as a few glands close to the anus (both sides as well as immediately below.) The wolves at AWA on a daily basis like to rub their heads/cheeks, against objects, be it each other or even trees/fences, and even us their caretakers! This is away to let others know they were there through scent marking.



7) Wolves’ canine teeth are very large and they are more curved and thicker than the typical domestic dogs teeth are, they can reach lengths up to just over a couple inches long.  They are adapted to crush huge bones in one crunch. Claws and Jaws work together to hold down the meat, (claws which also can rip up hide) and jaws to cut/slice, shred, and break bone.


8) Wolves’ chests are so narrow their legs appear to be side by side causing their large feet to splay to the side when standing still. Legs are long and lanky. Shoulders & butts are narrow for faster acceleration.

wolf front in summer appearance

9) Wolves back legs have a significant cow hock look to them when at a standstill. The tail is slightly in the way in this picture of Tibet Night Song, but cow hocked means the canines hocks turn in, which makes it's toes point /splay outwards. 

cow hock
click to enlarge


10) Wolves have banded fur and it lies differently than a dog’s fur does.  Wolves have a banded pattern of fur ticked with stiff black hairs approx 1 ˝ inches long that outline a v shape draping down their backs, (dorsal cape) some capes are more readily noticeable than others. On black wolves it is still there but harder to see. (Banded means each individual hair has a few different colors per strand.) See pic. The dorsal cape starts behind the shoulders and comes to a point on the mid back.


wolf dorsal cape on white wolf (click to enlarge)
though not ticked with black you can clearly see the longer guard hairs making up this dorsal cape

Dorsal cape on grey colored wolf, click to enlarge
look just behind the shoulder blades on the upper back down

11) Wolves though they have (dew claws) a fifth digit on the front paws, they will not have rear dew claws like many dogs can and do have
12) Wolves’ tails when they walk will not curl up or over their backs like a dogs tail will. Wolves’ tails are extremely straight.  Even dog breeds that have straighter tails (Like Geman Shepheds for example) will still have a slight curl to them when they run or walk/prance. A Wolf's tail will however depending on their mood, show a lot of different emotions, and can be held in various positions from straight out in a horizontal position, to straight up in a vertical one, and everything inbetween.

wolf at a trot

German Shepherds Tail Curling Up

12) A wolf’s fur (pelage)changes color consistently as it ages. Some more drastically than others. A black phase wolf can be born pitch black, yet phase so light they can appear almost solid white or bright silver by the time it is 6 years of age.  Black dogs even though they may get a few white hairs as they get to be seniors, stay black. Even grey/silver colored wolves change color, although may not appear as drastically to phase as black wolves do over time.

blackphase pure wolf pup


13) Wolves can have many vocalizations, but do not bark like the typical domestic dog does. They have an alarm bark that sounds like a rapid blowing, fast puffing like sound, or a high-pitched yip that can almost be coyote like and are alarm calls.  Wolves can also scream when agitated/alarmed. Wolves are by nature very quiet shy animals, and unless you live with them you would be hard pressed to ever hear them alarm bark/scream, since wolves are not easy to view in the wild to hear such sounds.

14) Wolves howl, and though domestic dogs can howl some being pretty darn good at it   even, I have yet to hear this howl mimicked by a domestic dog in quite the same way and range/pitch as a wolf’s howl. A wolf’s howl is one of the most haunting beautiful sounds to ever hear. And for the most part unrivaled by domestic dogs.
15) Male wolves testicles will be peanut sized all year round (and not fertile) until mating season once a year in the winter months to correspond with a female wolf’s estrus, after mating they will once more shrink down so as to barely be noticeable, unlike a male domestic dog whose testicles remain the same size all year, and is able to mate any time of the year.
16) Wolves will not have pink/black, pink reddish noses.   

Siberian Husky and Malamute cross
This dog has a pink and black nose seen often in northern breed dogs. NOTE: the open white face

17)  Wolves eyes can be various shades of amber from light to dark ( yellow orange- brown orange) various shades of yellow from pale lemon colored to a deep gold, various shades of green, and yellowish green, in the case of arctics they have a brown looking eye when young which lightens up some over time but will still not be light yellow,(in certain light and when photographed actics eyes can appear a lot lighter than they actually are)   What wolves won't have is blue eyes. (wolves do not carry the blue eyed gene which is a recessive trait in domestic dogs)  Wolves eyes are characteristically marked with a heavy dark black eye lining.  Wolf pups eye's start off with various spectrums of blue from light to dark, they will go though a few different color changes till their final color by a few months of age, although they will tend to lighten up a bit over the first year. Wolf pups eyes transition from either blue to blue green/   blue to grey colored or grey green, or green to finally their determined genetic shade one of the above colors.             

18) A wolf’s nails/claws are thicker and larger than the typical domestic dogs used for helping to rip open prey’s tough hides during hunting and for then eating.


19) Wolf pups are not born with distinct markings & masks like Siberian huskys, German Shepherds or Alaskan malamutes. Please look at the domestic DOG pictures provided, CAREFULLY.  PURE wolf pups including arctic wolves are born darker colors,with well-blended fur. Not sharply defined white markings on their feet, on their noses, on their foreheads, or have *large* white chest markings.  Arctic wolves are NOT EVER born WHITE please look at the photo of the young pups said to be arctic wolfcross pups, being born WHITE is a DOG trait NOT a WOLF trait.  Many white DOGS and crosses are sold as arctic crosses when they simply are NOT.  Please go to legend and ecos page on this site to see how true arctic wolf pups look like when young.

wolfpups uniform in color
NO sharply defined white markings such as white booties, white stars on foreheads,open white faces

Purebred GSD puppy
courtesy Jill Porter

Purebred Alaskan Malamute Puppy
courtesy Jill Porter

PUREBRED registered Samoyed
Samoyeds are born white

Young Purebred Siberian Huskys
Few different color ranges. PLEASE look at the open white faces ,and masks these purebred DOGS have

Purebred white siberian husky (BORN white)
courtesy Jill Porter

Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky with blue eyes
NO ARCTIC wolf in this DOG puppy! being born white is a DOG Trait!

20) Wolves skulls differ from domestic dogs the width, height and length is larger, the orbital angle is different, (45 degrees for wolves compared to a dogs 53 degrees) The sagittal crest (raised area of bone at the back of the wolf's skull is more pronounced.) This bump can clearly be felt on the wolfs head when felt, some jokingly call this a brain bump. Please go here for a more indepth tour into a wolf's skull

Comparison dog skull (left) with 3 wolf skulls

Wolf Skull Left Side View

Front view wolf skull
courtesy & thanks to Jess at for the reprint permission of pics

21) Wolves do not not *generally* become sexually mature till approx their second winter (22 months of age to their third winter even) Where as dogs sexually mature approx 6-8 months of age, and can produce offspring. BUT please keep in mind I used the word general and being sexually mature does not mean because they have a first heat their first winter, they are mature.  I have personally seen verified pure wolves come into their first heat at 10 months of age (not any younger than that,) and I should note that at wolf park  a study was done to check the viability of sperm in male wolves their first winter, and it was found to be *possible* for them to mate their first winter. It is an old wives tale *myth* that wolves do NOT come into their first heat until their second winter, there many cases of female wolves coming into heat (estrus) /(bleeding) their first winter, although it is *possible*,  it is still rare to observe female wolves acually mating their first winter, even if they go through estrus.  But anyone stating wolves absolutely *cannot* mate their first winter, male or female this has proven itself to not be true
*In Dr. L.D Mech's book {Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation} he states a case of a captive female wolf it's first year,  having given birth even. 
22) Wolves single track; (as do coyotes and foxes) in the great outdoors one can tell the difference between a wild wolfs tracks, and a large domestic dogs tracks by their appearance. Single tracking is where the wolfs back paws, are placed in the front paws tracks when moving as to form a straight line, dogs tracks are more *staggered*. (*Unsteady and uneven gait thus domestic dog tracks will not be in a  line.*) A dogs chest is proportionally wider than a wolf's is, thus a dogs rear hind foot will be placed *beside* the front track.



23) Wolves are a territorial predator, and will attack other animals that encroach on their territory, including other wolves, wild canids, and dogs. If the coyote population is dense in an area, you know wolves are not really around, as wolves would not share their territory, and would kill off any coyotes they came upon.

24) Wolves have *webbed feet*  skin that is attached between the toes, this aids them not only like snowshoes in the winter but also to help them in swimming, and for better traction and grip on slippery surfaces.


25)  Wolves have thick double coats, the dense undercoat acts as insulation to keep a wolf warm and cozy during frigid cold weather, and the coarse outer coat /guard hairs act like an umbrella, when snow lands on a wolf's fur it will sit atop the fur and not penetrate through the thick undecoat, it also helps to keep the wolf warm when it rains.  A wolf's guard hairs act as insulators due to the hair shafts being hollow.  

Snow resting a top the fur

26) Wolves have smaller, rounder, thicker, well furred ears, NOT larger, thinner, or pointier ears like German Shepherds.

Wolf ears (click on pic to enlarge)
NOTE the rounded tips, THICK smaller ears, and all the fur within the ears

White German Shepherd Ears
Please note the large size with not much fur within the ears

German Shepherd cross (Not an arctic wolf cross!)
This dogs ears are fairly well furred , rounded tips, BUT are TOO large

Purebred Sibe ears
Ears are more thinly furred and thinner than a wolf's ears, have more triangular tips/shape

German shepherd, malamute and wolf cross ears
Ears are too big!fairly well furred ears, BUT not furred enough,Can still see some pink within

Purebred German Shepherd ears

Malamute, Shepherd, wolf cross ears
Ears are too large to be a wolf's, some pink can be seen within, fairly well furred but not enough

Wolfcross ears
Ears are to thin, and not furred enough, can see some pink within, shape is too triangular

27)  Wolf pups will NOT have pink or pink and black paw pads.  Every single one of the paw pads on wolf pups will only ever be black. They are born with solid black pads. (pic of just under two week old wolf pup and pic of 2 weeks old canine pup with some wolf heritage)  Even if the paw pads fade to all black within weeks, the fact the pup has this trait to begin with at birth and any time period onward SHOWS dog heritage. NOTE: The pics in my presentation shown of pink/black paw pads, did turn to solid black, and did not stay pink and black.

black paw pads

Pure Wolf Pups will NOT have Pink & Black Paw Pads
young canine pup with pink and black pads

28)  Wolf pups ears are erect/standing by 3 -3 1/2 weeks of age not flopped over till 4 or more.

21 day (3wk) old wolf pup
note the little round ears perked up, click on pic to enlarge

29) a) Wolf pups will NOT be born with larger white stars/markings on their heads and or noses, even if this fades out once the pup is quite a bit older, it does not matter.
b) Wolf pups will NOT have sharply defined white socks/booties.
c) Wolf pups will NOT have flopped over ears till 4 weeks of age or more.  PURE wolf pups ears WILL be standing BY 3 -3 1/2 weeks of age.
d) Wolf pups will not have large white chest markings
e) Wolf pups will NOT be born with pink, or pink and black noses (even if the nose turns black fairly quickly.) A pink and black nose shows dog genes.
There are some places who state they have wolves in captivity but have wolf crosses/wolfdogs/dogs with wolf heritage,  not pure wolves, and such places have NOT had DNA tests done to PROVE otherwise.
Wolves follow certain rules biologically and physically, captivity does not change these rules. The following are pics that are of DOG traits NOT PURE wolf traits, if you see photos with pups that are stated to be pure wolf, and they have these traits when young, they simply are NOT pure wolf but have dog genes. Not any lab can do proper DNA testing either, the USFWC forensics lab in Oregon is the leading lab *at the moment* set up for such testing. Please read further down for more info. on this subject. PLEASE NOTE: That any of the following traits can be independant of the other, or all combined. Each individual physical trait in the examples, shows dog genes.



Traits NOT seen in pure wolf pups




30) Wolves, unlike dogs, lack sweat glands in their paw pads.
31) Wolf pups are ALWAYS born in the early to late spring months once a year.
(Whelping months/dates being Mid March leaning more towards the third week of March to the end of May.  Not June through Feb.  In the wild, the month of birth depends on latitude, thus also the sub-species of gray wolf. So a subspecies of wolf like an Alaskan Tundra, would have a later whelping date than a subspecies of wolf that exists in a more southern area naturally, while still falling into the parameters of the whelping months/ dates listed. Wolf pups are not born in the summertime and fall/winter months! Captivity does not change wolves biologically.
Meaning, a pure arctic wolf in captivity in Texas for example, will follow the same whelping date it would if it were living in the high arctic.
For reference please *click on link below which takes you to to Dr. Mech's site and book listings, you will find verification of the above facts at the following book referral by A Wolf Adventure*

32) Wolves shed ONCE a year which starts in the later spring/early summer (June and July)  not twice a year like most dogs.  Their under coat and guard hairs come out in clumps. A Wolf's undercoat and guard hairs will shed out (Nature's haircut) and never matts up like dog's fur does. By Fall the coat has completely regrown again. Unlike a dog that systematically sheds a great number of hairs on a daily basis, (do you have a dog and peple KNOW you have one, due to wearing their fur to work ;0)) a wolf's fur does not shed on a daily basis to the degree dogs fur does. (I dont wear fur to work on my clothing!) There is a reason you will not see calendars of wolves in summer coats, for they get quite ratty/mangy looking when their glorious winter garbs initially disappear. By Mid summer however, they do return to being at least respectable looking in their shorter sleek coats. :0) 


4) How fast Do wolves run?
A).A wolf running at top speed can reach speeds in short bursts of 35mph, thanks to their long and powerful legs that were built for speed and endurance in chasing prey.
5) How big are wolves feet?
AWolves’ forefront (front paw) prints can be approx 4-5.5 inches in length and approx. 3.5 to 4 inches wide and are always bigger than the back feet. Their feet are well padded to help spread their weight over snow like canine snowshoes, it also helps them to grip surfaces such as rocks and logs well.


6) How good can wolves hear?  A) Wolves ears are well furred inside and out, and are fairly short/broad with rounded tips. Their hearing is extremely sharp and can hear sounds as far away as 6 –10 miles depending on terrain. Wolves can hear sounds undetectable to humans ears, (high pitches) and sounds such as rodents knawing underneath the snow, as their furry ears are sensitive to lower frequencies.  If you ever watch a dog when a sound occurs you will notice they will cock (tilt) their heads, or their ears may turn in directions independant of one another, this is kind of like antennaes trying to receive a better sound and tune in.

7) How well can wolves see, and can they see in the Dark?
A) A wolfs eye sight is quite keen; they detect even the slightest of movements so they can find and follow prey. They have excellent peripheral vision even though their eyes are situated on the front of their skulls. However, detecting details on the object of focus is not as good, wolves though they notice movement immediately, no matter how slight, they have a harder time viewing details of the objects they may spot. The farther away the object is the worse their vision gets, this would be called being near sighted in humans,or myopic.  I have often remarked during observation of my own wolves, how they almost seem to be blind in some instances, as they have mistaken me, and even spooked thinking I was some stranger if they see me from a great distance approaching, till I speak to let them know it is me.   Wolves although they have binocular vision   like humans (the fovea responsible for sharper focus is not as well developed as it is in humans) but despite this wolves see amazingly well at night due due to having more night vision cells  (rods) than we do, these rods react to lower light than cones.   Wolves have a larger pupil than in humans which allows them to gather more light when it is scarce.  A Wolf's eyes also glow within the tapetum ,  though this helps a wolf's vision in dim light, it will also scatter some of that light which will degrade the canine's vision significantly.  Wolves rely on their eyes, but their other senses their hearing and sense of smell are well honed, and very sharp to make up for what the eyes may lack.
8) How well do wolves smell?
AThe wolf’s sense of smell is said to be 100 times greater than a human beings. They can smell their prey from as far away as a mile and a half.  A wolf's sense of smell is vital to it's very existence within a wolf pack structure, for being able to not only detect smell sometimes from great distances, and to communicate with each other, but also interpret that smell which allows a wolf insight into the animal that may have left the scent, (prey/enemy) even if the animal may be ill/dying. Whenever I have visitors at the ranch, after the people leave the wolves will immediately go to every spot the visiting person (people) may have been sitting/ standing to sniff, and gain infomation.
9) How many teeth do wolves have?
A) The wolf has 42 teeth, consisting of two canines, six incisors , eight premolars, and four molars, in the upper jaw. Two canines, six incisors, eight premolars and six molars in the lower jaw.
10How strong are wolves teeth?
A) Wolves have extremely powerful jaw strength. They can generate pressure of 1500 pounds per square inch (psi), twice that of a a German shepherd. Their teeth were made to eat meat, growing to seen lengths of up to a couple inches. Their teeth are very thick and large for tearing and and ripping into thick hide and skin of their prey.
11How far do wolves travel?
A) Wolves in search of food have been known to travel 25 miles in a  day or more.
12) What is a wolf pack ?
A) A wolf packs consist of family members, mainly offspring of the main dominant breeding pair. The omega wolf in the pack is the lowest ranking animal, and  the one the other wolves may take out their social aggressions, and stress on *beating the omega up*the beta is the second in rank, with the alpha being considered the most dominant and the leader(s) The omega actually plays a vital role in keeping stress, and animosity levels down within the pack. You will often notice the omega within a pack as the one who most often shrinks down in size around some of the other wolves.  They accomplish making themselves smaller, and less threatening, by lowering their heads, tucking their tails, averting their eyes, curving their backs, and lowering themselves even closer to the ground when approaching, or being approached by a higher ranking wolf within the pack structure.
13) How much do wolves eat?
A) Contrary to popular belief wolves are not the most successful of hunters, and must work as a family unit together to bring down large game animals. Their success rate is approx 1 in ten animals that are pursued, this means traveling sometimes great distance and testing many prey animals before a success. Wolves work very hard *together* for what they do manage to killWolves survive in the wild under a feast or famine scenario, when they are successful with a  hunt they gorge themselves and eat as much as their bellies can hold, (feast) for they may not eat for a number of days there after, (famine) until a next kill. Wolves can eat up to 20 pounds of meat or more in one sitting.
14) How many pups do wolves have?
AWolves give birth to smaller litters on average.  Wolves give birth to approx 1-7 pups with 3-5 being most common. Pups are born after approx 63 days of gestation , and are born blind , helpless, and well furred.
15) How big are wolf packs?
AWolf packs can consist of as little as 2 members all the way up to 25 plus members, it depends on the area they may reside, (more isolated areas with less threat to their livlihood (food source, habitat and their physical lives, packs tend to be larger) packs in general however consist of approx 5-10 members.
16 Do wolves make good pets? 
A) Absolutely not! Neither being raised in captivity, raised in a house, being trained, or raised with a *dog* changes what a wolf is...a wild animal in a domestic situation. Some lines of wolves may have a higher tractability *easier to work with due to selective breeding over many years*  but even they are STILL wolves, and come intact with all things that make a wolf a wolf.  Captive wildlife do not lose their inherent nature, or natural intensity, simply because someone raises it like a pet.  If anyone/facility does share their life with wolves there are a few things to be aware of in meeting ALL the *needs* of such high maintenance canids they are as follows:
1) Companionship: Wolves are very social and complex animals, they require companionship in the form of another canine to meet their emotional needs. I recommend placing them with another canine of the opposite sex around it’s own size. This way they will not be lonely.
2) Not allowing wildlife to run free: Never allow a captive wolf to run free, like some farm dog. This is a sure, and fast recipe for disaster and even a possible lawsuit. The wolf can be shot, come up against some wild canid (such as another wolf or coyote), porcupines, chase, harass even kill other neighbors livestock (chickens, small animals etc.)  The wolf should be in an escape proof roomy enclosure to keep it and the public at large safe.
3) Socialization: Make sure the wolf (wolves) are socialized heavily to a variety of people, places, objects, experiences.  Wolf  pups need to be hand raised (bottle-fed) from the age of 2 weeks and socialized to both sexes (male and female humans,)  to ensure they will be adequately socialized to humans for life.  Even if the mother is social pups not pulled will be difficult to handle as adults (will be flighty). This poses problems when the wolves require even routine medical care, let alone emergency vet treatment. Please do not make wolves suffer for any short cuts taken in this process. Keeping wild animals unsocialized in a captive environment can create great distress.
4) Insurance: some licensing requires liability insurance, in case of any incidents involving the wolves in your care.   (Such as an escape or bite)        
5)  Healthcare: Seek out a vet that will not be scared of wild animals, good vets are hard enough to find. Don't attain the animals FIRST and then try to acquire a veterinarian. 
6) Enrichment: Provide environmental stimulation and enrichment in its every day life. Platforms, trees, old logs to hide treats, water troughs/swimming pools to lay in dig in, sand boxes to dig in, etc. Keep their minds stimulated. (see enrichment page)
7) Containment: If there is one step that is VITAL to keeping a wolf (if licensed)  it is escape proof containment.  8 foot tall 9- gage chain link with two foot tall lean-ins at a 45 degree angle inwards is highly recommended. Some people opt to use hot wire on top of that. Some places go straight up using ten-foot tall chain link.  Given incentive I have seen wolves scale the tallest of containment.  The goal is to prevent escape the first time as once it is attained the wolf never stops trying to get out then. Dig proofing should also be implemented one can weave 4-6 foot tall chain link onto the main fencing for dig proofing, some people trench around the enclosure first then lay down the chain link weave it on then backfill with dirt and then gravel. 11-gage for main containment should not be used, it is incredibly easy for wolves to chew through or to bend/destroy.
8)  Nutrition: Understand the nutritional requirement of wolves. Some  of the food many dog owners get away with feeding their domestic dogs, will and can make wolves very ill.
9) Legalities: Make sure you have checked all the local laws regarding owning wolves in your area and if you require any licensing or permits, if you need such attain those FIRST before getting a wolf illegally. In the case of pure wolves they should not be kept in the city in someone’s back yard as a pet period.
10) Volunteer: The most vital of all before launching into such a financial and emotional commitment is to get experience, and learn about wolves FIRST, so you get to see ALL what makes them what they are, and I dont mean reading about them from just books, or how great of pets they make from ignorant people on the internet.  Contact us here at A Wolf Adventure to learn about wolves, or get in touch with a facility like wolfpark   they have programs where people can volunteer, or take classes through them to learn more indepth about wolves.  It very well could turn your thinking right around.
17) When are wolf pups born?
A) Depending on  latitude  *Higher the latitude like Arctic wolves, and Alaskan wolves, the later it occurs (Mech)*  Gray Wolves breed anywhere from Late Jan, (with February being typical) into March, with pups being born in the spring,  late March (April being typical)  throughout May in the case of Canis lupus arctos Wolves (including the arctic wolf)  are not born in the month of June onwards.  Alaskan Tundra's, Alaskan Interiors, and Arctic wolves have typical may birthing dates in the wild, from early May to the end of May. Although depending once more on the latitude some northern wolves such as canis lupus hudsonicus can have later April birth dates.  Gestation is the same as dogs approx 60-63 days.
18) Why are wolf pups born in the spring?
A) Wolf pups are born in the spring months so that they have enough time to grow big enough (6/7 months of age) before the winter hits. In the spring there is also lots of food sources for the adults to feed on, (deer, moose etc also giving birth to young as well) and thus supply plenty of food for fast gowing puppies. Pups need to be strong enough and big enough by wintertime to keep up with the adult wolves in the pack as they hunt . (It's a rough life in the wild!)    Pups born in the summer would not be grown *enough* by the fall/winter months, and if pups are born in the fall or winter not only would food resources start to become more slim, but young pups could not be kept warm enough, and would perish from the cold.
19)  What do wolves eat?
A) Wolves eat a variety of food sources depending on the geographic range/region from where they reside.  Because wolves are predators however they also are meat eaters, so main prey consist of deer, moose, caribou, elk, fish, some game birds, squirrels, beavers, and rabbits. Wolves cannot digest plant matter that well (due to a smaller digestive tract) unless pre-digested first within the prey's *for example a deer's* multi chambered (4) stomachs first.
20) Do wolves like to swim?
A) I cannot say whether they *like* to swim, but can say they do like the water, and will play in it, and swim in it, the water not only quenches their thirst, but can help to cool them down in hot weather.  Wolves have webbed feet (skin between their heavily furred toes,) this aids in them being excellent paddlers. In the winter time their webbed feet make excellent snow shoes!
21) How much do wolves weigh?
A) Wolves appear much heavier and larger than they actually are, due to their thick heavy coats. Weights can range as light as 55 pounds for a small female, on up to 130 pounds or more for a male.  Height ranges are  approx 26 inches at the shoulder (withers) on up to 35 inches at the withers. The heaviest recorded wild wolf was weighed in at 175 pounds. (Mech) Arctic wolves (canis lupus arctos) tend to generally be heavier than other sub species of wolf.
22) How much do wolf puppies weigh?
A) Wolf pups weigh approx. a pound when born.
23) How long do wolves live?
A) A wild life is a very hard life, because of this, wolves do not live as long as their captive born counterparts. In the wild a wolf is lucky to reach 6-8 years of age.  In captivity however, if well cared for wolves can live to be into their late teens.
24) What types (species) of wolves are there?
A) There are three types of wolves in the world, with two of the three residing (Gray wolves,) & ( Red wolves,) residing in North America, and then (Ethiopian wolves.)
SUBSPECIES: There are several, (32) sub-species of Gray wolves, (24) of these occuring in North America they are as follows:
(Note: Sub-species of any wild animal are determined according to geographic location/region, weight, size, color, and and cranial (skull size/measurements)  Due to there being no borders/blocks in some geographic areas, it is believed that some subspecies have crossed with others, making me wonder how pure strain some subspecies are.

North American Subspecies:


Originally there were 32 subspecies worldwide 24 occurring in North America. In 1995 Dr. Ron Nowak suggested lumping the remaining subspecies into five subspecies groups which can be seen labeled 1-5 the rest are of the remaining old subspecies listings.


1) Canis lupus baileyi: (known as the Mexican wolf. This dark and grizzled colored wolf is the smallest member of the North American Grey Wolf. It lives in the Sierra Madre and surrounding regions of Western Mexico. It once roamed in areas of Arizona and New Mexico. Currently endangered


2) Canis lupus lycaon: (Known as the Eastern Timber wolf. This wolf had the most extensive region of habitation than any other subspecies. Its original range covered the eastern United States. This wolf comes in every color.) Now their range is in the southeastern parts of Canada. Endangered.


3)Canis lupus nubilus: (Once known as the Great Plains wolf or Buffalo wolf. This medium sized wolf once roamed across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, all the way down to Texas) is said to be extinct however studies show that wolves in Upper Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are Canis lupus nubilus.


4)Canis lupus arctos: (Arctic wolf or Melville Island wolf. This wolf only occurs on the arctic islands from Melville Island to Ellesmere Island.  These wolves are large with white-creamy colored coats; they have huge snowshoe feet.


5) Canis lupus occidentalis: (Mackenzie Valley Wolf.) Range is Alaska and Western Canada. These are some of the largest of the wolves in North America and have a varied color range.  This subspecies includes columbianus, griseoalbus, mackenzii, occidentalis, pambasileus and tundrarum. 


 Old Subspecies Listing


Canis lupus bernardi:  (Banks Island Tundra Wolf) this wolf is mostly white with black tips along it’s mid back. Found in the North West Territories.


Canis lupus columbianus: (British Columbian Wolf) this wolf is among the largest of the wolves, weighing in as much as 140 pounds. Color wise they are either grey or black and the blacks are usually the larger of the two.


Canis lupus hudsonicus: (Hudson Bay Wolf) Is a wolf of medium size and lighter in coloring (winter coat almost all white.) This wolf is often called a Tundra wolf; it resides in the area North and West of the Hudson Bay and migrates south with the caribou herds. (please read report below on status of arctic mammals)


Canis lupus labradorius (Labrador wolf) this is a medium sized wolf that varies in color from dark grey to white. It resides throughout Northern Quebec and Labrador.


Canis lupus crassodon: (Vancouver Island Wolf) this wolf is grayish black in color and is of a medium size.


Canis lupus irremotus: (Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf)  The original range of this large lightly colored animal was the northern Rocky Mountains including southern Alberta (Canada) Said to be extinct in the U.S there are recent  reports of this subspecies possibly being spotted in Glacier National Park in Montana.


Canis lupus fuscus: (Cascade Mountains Wolf) this wolf was of a medium size and a brownish cinnamon color. It is unknown whether any still survive.


Canis lupus mackenzii: (Mackenzie Tundra Wolf) colors of this wolf range from grey, and black to white and is of a medium size. It resides along the arctic coast in the Northwest Territories eastward from the Mackenzie River to Great Bear Lake.


Canis lupus griseoalbus: (Manitoba Wolf) Said to range in Northern Saskatchewan and Central Manitoba, there is a dispute this wolf even exists, and whether or not this wolf is even a subspecies.


Canis lupus ligoni: (Alexander Archipelago Wolf) One of the smaller wolves in North America and is dark in color with shorter fur. Black phase is common


Canis lupus Manningi: (Baffin Island Tundra Wolf) Is the smallest of the arctic wolves and occurs on Baffin Island.


Canis lupus orion: (Greenland Wolf) said to be possibly extinct. This wolf many scientists believe are of the subspecies Canis lupus arctos.


Canis lupus tundrarum: (Alaska Tundra Wolf) this wolf ranges along the Tundra region of Alaska’s arctic coast. It is a large wolf that varies in color from black to near white. *Please read report below on the status of sub-species of alaskan wolves.*


Canis lupus pambasileus: (Interior Alaskan Wolf) they are of the largest wolves in North America, and roam throughout the interior of Alaska minus the tundra region of the arctic coast.


Canis lupus monstrabilus: extinct (Texas Gray Wolf) this wolf was typically darkly colored and small although whites did occur. This wolf used to occur in Texas and Northeastern Mexico.


Canis lupus youngi: extinct (Southern Rocky Mountain Wolf) this lightly colored medium sized wolf once roamed in the rocky mountain region of Colorado, Utah and Nevada.


Canis lupus alces: extinct (Kenai Peninsula Wolf) was a very large Alaskan wolf.


Canis lupus beothucus: extinct (Newfoundland Wolf) a medium sized almost pure white wolf.


Canis lupus mogollonensis: extinct (Mogollon Mountain Wolf) typically a darker colored wolf with some white, this wolf occurred in New Mexico and central Arizona.


The two subspecies of the Red Wolf:

Canis Rufus Rufus and Canis Rufus Gregoryi


The Ethiopian Wolf: Canis Simensis


The Ethiopian wolf also was formerly known as the Simien Jackal, or Abyssinian wolf, is one of the most endangered wild members of the canid family in the world. It is believed there are only 500 remaining. The Ethiopian wolf is a small wolf weighing in the range of 28-42 pounds, females weighing the lesser. Their diet consists mainly of rodents. As it’s name states this little wolf is endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia. (Data from Dr. Ron Nowak on the Ethiopian wolf)


Subspecies of wolves in Eurasia:


Canis Lupus Lupus: (Linnaeus, 1758) The Common Wolf. This wolf once roamed throughout all of Europe and the forests of Russia. Being of medium size it has coarse darkly colored fur.


Canis Lupus Albus: (Kerr, 1792) known as the Tundra wolf. This wolf is lightly colored, long furred and large. Similar to the tundarum subspecies of North America. It ranges throughout the Eurasian Tundra and Forest Tundra from Finland eastward to the Kamchaika Peninsula.


Canis Lupus Arabs: (Pocock, 1934) this wolf occurs in Southern Arabia, is small in size and has a short thin coat.


Canis Lupus Hattai: (Kishida, 1931) Japanese wolf, this wolf appears to be extinct and once roamed the area of Hokkaido in Japan.


Canis Lupus Pallipes: (Sykes, 1831) This wolf inhabited the countries of India and Iran and the lands in-between. This wolf is threatened due to hunting, loss of habitat and interbreeding with domestic dogs.


Canis Lupus Hodophilax:(Temminck, 1839) Now extinct this wolf once roamed in Hondo Japan.


Canis Lupus Laniger (Hodgson, 1847) Known as the Tibetan Wolf, it is of a medium size with a longer lightly colored fur. It inhabits southwestern Russia, Tibet, main land China, Manchuria, and Mongolia.


Canis Lupus Campestris: (Dwigubski, 1804) known as the Steppe Wolf it inhabits the deserts and steppes of Central Asia. It has a coarse short coat that is grey in color with a burnt reddish tinge.


Canis lupus signatus: (Iberian wolf) occurring in highly populated areas of Northern Spain.   The Iberian wolf has triangular shaped, short rigid ears and a long face and pointed muzzle. The Iberian wolf has strong sturdy legs and the coat color varies seasonally usually being lighter colored in the warm months than the darker grey or ochre *reddish/brown*colors in winter months.


Canis lupus italicus: (Italian wolf) occurring in Italy


Canis lupus lupaster: (Egyptian wolf) occurring in Lybia and Egypt


Canis lupus minor: (Austro-Hungary wolf) occurring in Hungary and Austria


Canis lupus communis: (Central Russian wolf) Occurring in Central Russia.


Canis lupus deitanus: extinct (Spanish wolf) Once occurred in Spain


References /Sources


(The Wolf Dr. David Mech “The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species) 


Young, Stanley P.; Goldman, Edward A. 1944. The wolves of North America: parts I and II.


Mech, L. David. 1974. Canis lupus. Mammalian Species.


U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Final listing rules approved for 14 species. Endangered Species Technical Bulletin.


data on C.l cubanensis, C.l italicus, C.l lupaster, C.l communis, C.l minor, C.l deitanus, C.l signatus found at  and

The Status of Alaskan Sub-species of Wolves
taken from the Status of Some Arctic Mammmals for full report of The Status including charts and photos of Some Arctic mammals please go here (please note it is in pdf form)
Status of Some Arctic Mammals by Robert Rausch

Canis lupus tundrarum

Wolves collected in northeastern Alaska are assigned to this form on the basis of locality. This is hardly satisfactory, but the study of available material has thrown some doubt on the validity of Alaskan subspecies of wolves as at present defined. It was evident, in comparing specimens of a large collection of wolf skulls, that considerable individual variation occurs.


 One wolf was collected1 near Lake Schrader and 4 specimens were obtained from the Indians at IArctic Village. During May 1952 I was able to collect an adult male a few miles south of Point Barrow-approximately at the type locality of C. .lupus tundrarum In addition, a large series of skulls, with full collecting data, is at hand from the central Brooks Range. From this region about 150 wolves have been autopsied, but it has not been possible to preserve all of them for mammalogical studies. Skull measurements for 48 wolves are given in Table 111. Most of these are arctic specimens, but a few others have been included for comparative purposes. Age designations are given as accurately as possible.


The age of young animals was computed by assuming a birth date of May 15. The date ON THE STATUS OF SOME ARCTIC MAMMALS of killing was known for all specimens. Comparisons of the skulls of young animals were also made with the skull of a captive male wolf which was five months old at the time of death (assuming the May 15 birth date). Material from which C. lupus tundraumwas *characterized (Miller, 1912) comprised specimens from widely separated localities. Young and Goldman  (1944) summarized available data on North American wolves.  Goldman  prepared the taxonomic section, and had for study only 9 skulls of C. lupus tundrarum;of these, 5 were topotypes. Anderson (1943) studied 6 topotype specimens.


Canis lupus tundrarum is differentiated as follows from forms with adjacent ranges (after Young and Goldman, 1944): “Closely allied to pambasileus of Mount McKinley region, but color paler

and grayer, the white less mixed with brown or buff on head, and back more sparingly overlaid with black; skull with heavier dentition. Similar also to occidentalis and mackenzii of Mackenzie in size, but color darker, the general dorsal area more extensively mixed with black, and the tendency toward pure white less evident than in occidentalis; dentition heavier.” (p. 417).


The study of 40 skulls designated as C. lupus tundrarum(Table 111) has made possible some understanding of normal variation. The largest skull 1 examined was but 4 mm. shorter in condylo-basal length than the largest  specimen of C. lupus pambasileus recorded from Alaska by Young and Goldman. It exceeded in size the skulls of two adult C. lupus alces Goldman (1941)as well as that of an adult male of the same form in my possession. I do not recognize that C.lupus tundrarum can be differentiated from C.lupus  pambasileus on the basis of heavier dentition. Brooks Range and Arctic Coast wolves exhibit a wide range of variation in tooth size. A few animals show

very light, relatively small teeth, while a few have a dentition more massive than average.


I doubt that colour in Alaskan wolves has any taxonomic significance. There is a wide range in colour, from nearly white to almost black, but animals of either extreme and all intermediate colours may occur in any given region. Some wolves appear white from a distance, but all that I have seen close at hand have had some black-tipped hairs dorsally. The most nearly white specimen that I ‘have seen, an adult male trapped by Eskimo near Anak- tuvuk Pass, has been deposited in the collections of the US. National Museum (No. 294404).


About half of all wolves killed or observed in the Brooks Range approach black in colour. Miller (1912) stated that the colour of

C. lupus tundrarum is “said to be frequently white or whitish.” It is likely, however, that he had some white specimens from the Canadian Arctic among the material he studied. Young and Goldman (1944) differentiated C. lupus tundrarum from C.lupus occidentalis Richardson and C.lupus mackenzii Anderson essentially on the basis of colour. Restudy of the various subspecies of wolves seems necessary to determine whether the existence of so many named forms is justified. A series of each large enough to demonstrate normal individual variation is required. I doubt that C. lupus  tundrarum can be differentiated from C.lupus pambasileus.


The validity of C.lupus alces is also open to question. Wolves are very rare on the Kenai Peninsula, and it might be expected that animals from farther north move into this region from time to time. In any event, clear-cut ranges cannot be established for subspecies of a mammal as capable of movement over great distances as is the wolf. In order to obtain adequate material from Alaska and northern Canada it will be necessary to enlist the aid of local trappers. It is particularly regrettable that the great numbers of wolves killed by the predator-control activities of the US. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska are not being utilized for scientific purposes.


 US. Fish and Wildlife Service methods for wolf control appear to be effective under arctic conditions. During the winter of 1951-2 wolves in northern Alaska attained a very high population density-quite possibly the highest ever observed for this region. The Eskimo of the Anaktuvuk Pass region killed 160 wolves by combined trapping and shooting. US. Fish and Wildlife Service predator control men killed over 200 in the same region of the Brooks Range and farther north on the Arctic Slope between Umiat and the mountains. Since much of the predator control activities centred in the hunting grounds of the Eskimo, the latter felt keenly the competition offered, and although they had killed a large number of wolves prior to the predator

control activities, they killed none afterward.


Wolves are known to fluctuate greatly in numbers in arctic Alaska (see Rausch, 195l), and it seems questionable whether the high cost of wolf destruction would make a control program practicable even if it were considered biologically sound. It is of interest to the biologist that large numbers of ground squirrels, at least one grizzly, some caribou, and at least 9 sledge dogs succumbed to the effect of strychnine-poisoned baits used for wolf control in the Anaktuvuk Pass region. The question comes up whether this type of control might not result in a higher residual population of wolves, since the natural transmission of disease might be minimized in a population of already greatly lessened density.


With the great wolf density of 1951-2 epizootic disease broke out which no doubt would have had violent effect on their numbers, had man not intervened with other controls. Rabies appeared among them, as was the case during the last time of high population density in 1944-5 (see Rausch, 1951). This was confirmed by rabies virus recovery1 from the brain of a wolf killed while attacking tethered sledge .dogs in an Eskimo camp.


Rabies still occurred in foxes and dogs in eastern Alaska at the time of writing (December 1952).2 More serious was distemper, which broke out in epizootic proportions over all of arctic Alaska. Sledge dogs at Barrow, Wainwright, Point Lay, Anak-tuvuk Pass, and in a camp along the lower John River, suffered greatly from this disease. About 500 dogs died at Barrow alone, and losses in other villages were of similar proportion. Arctic foxes died along the coast, and there is

little doubt that the disease was disseminated through the wild canine populations from the coast to the dogs of the Inland Eskimo, and on southward. Since the wolves comprised a population highly susceptible to distemper, losses among them could be expected to be heavy.


25) What endangers wolves in the wild?
A) Wolves in the wild suffer from various maladies. They range from disease, parasites (internal * health damaging worms* and external *lice, mange,  fleas*, environmental elements (starvation, freezing,) hunters, displacement *loss of habitat and prey*
26) Why do wolves run fast?
A) Besides having narrow chest/butts and longer legs, which all help aid in a wolf's speed, wolves also have digitigrade movement (they run on their toes) which enables faster movement, compared to humans whom are  plantigrade, we walk on the balls of our feet.

27) What is Winter Wolf Syndrome?
A) One form of aggression that can be seen in mature unaltered wolves  not seen in domestic dogs, it is something called seasonal aggression dubbed by many wolf caretakers through the years as Winter Wolf Syndrome.  You’re probably saying what the heck is Winter Wolf Syndrome?  (WWS)
The drive to survive and procreate is strong in all animals but especially wild ones, (including captive ones) no matter the animal.  During breeding season in wild animals there is an influx of hormones, (Testosterone and other androgens) that can make the animal testier, grumpy, and even down right aggressive towards others. Now even though captive wolves may not have been born into a wild situation,  they still can be prone to the same things behavior wise any other wild born animal would be. Seasonal aggression is more likely to happen in an unaltered pure wolf, than it is to happen in an unaltered domestic dog.  It is seen in unaltered males more than females, however; females can go through this as well when estrogen levels rise.   Male dogs have testosterone consistency being released which can add to dominance aggression, as compared to wolves whom do not.
Each individual wolf has its place in the pack. And all of them will try and eventually climb the social ladder within that pack.  There is a big misconception about what alpha truly means. Alpha is an attitude, a way you carry yourself around the animal, the way you lead.”  If you ever watch wolves together you will notice the one that submits to a more dominant animal, willingly rolls on it’s back, the alpha wolf does not need to physically force the animal onto it’s back. The subordinate wolf shows respect by automatically just doing this when approached.
Alpha does not mean the biggest, baddest wolf or human in the pack, an alpha leader is just, and is not a bully that physically walks around threatening or beating up on the other wolves, as eventually the rest of the wolves will get tired of the bully and take them out for good.  The alpha pair are perhaps the wisest and most capable of wolves to lead the pack. They help to keep the pack strong through leading.  I believe how you treat captive wolves when young will heavily influence how it will treat you as an adult, meaning handle the wolf too physically aggressive when they are little, they will handle you that way too; it may also influence how they treat you during breeding season.    
A wolf is not a dog, no matter how one raises it, even though a dog is considered a domestic wolf.  There are many variances between a wolf and a typical dog as there can be between two breeds of domestic dogs, it comes down to the research and effort undertaken in order to provide adequately for that type of canine be it a wolf be it a golden retriever. 
Winter Wolf Syndrome (Seasonal Aggression) is a normal behavior found in every kind of wild animal from reptiles to birds to mammals it is a necessary and serving function for those animals when they reside in the wild, it is not so necessary (desired) when it comes to those same animals in captivity as it is something human beings are simply not adjusted to and most are not prepared to deal with.  The following pics are of a captive female wolf and what occurred to her during breeding season, from another female wolf, in the wild unaltered males and females live amicably together, in captivity however when there is tension the wolf cannot escape, and fights can occur.  I strongly advise not creating pack situations of the same sex, especially if they are unaltered in captive situations. Fortunately as bad as this looks she survived. Pair up with the opposite sex in captivity, unless you are an educational center like Wolf Park avoid creating pack situations.
A personal example of mine of hunger aggression based around food, and the season itself, was in a raptor, a hawk actually I used to take into the classrooms for presentations on behalf of the local zoo, this bird was imprinted on humans, and we actually all thought it did not know how to even be a bird it was so imprinted on people.  But even though she had imprinted. and was excellent to take into classrooms for presentations, every spring she became very aggressive, and every fall once again.  Even though she was raised in captivity the wild inherent tendencies were still there, and could not be taken out.  It was actually quite harrowing for me to enter her cage in the fall time, and I quickly would place her food down on the ground instead of having her fly to my glove, for she tended to fly at me all talons out to attack otherwise. 
To explain this behavior to children watching me feed her I simply would tell them she is acting out her natural pre-migratory behavior she is a Swainsons hawk, and every fall Swainsons hawks appetites increase as they are needing to eat as much as possible to prepare for their 10,000 mile long journey to Argentina.  The hunger drive increases the aggression within the hawk.  When they fly back in the springtime they are again very hungry from such a long journey once more making the hawk aggressive acting.
Now why would a hawk who does not make such a journey, or who does not breed in captivity become aggressive then?  The behavior is inherent she acts out what she was made to be a wild hawk in a captive situation, her body goes through the same things any wild hawk would.  Human beings can take the animal out of the wild but it is virtually impossible to take the entirety of the wild out of the animal biologically and physiologically.   The caretakers of this hawk have learned (been trained) how to adequately care for this animal when it goes through this kind of behavior, but how many average folk would not have a clue if they just decided they wanted a pet hawk?  A hawk is not a budgie, just as a wolf, is not a dog.
Another example: Some friends recently brought in an orphaned raccoon, though they can be extremely sweet when young, they do mature and grow up and are not so cute and cuddly anymore if they are not altered. This couple brought this cute sweet little ball of fur home and decided to raise it, they had never previously raised one so did not know what to expect. They were about to get one of the harshest lessons up close and in person. Note Raccoons need to be handled consistently and on a daily basis, if just left in a cage they will become more aggressive eventually towards their owners regardless of seasonal aggression, they will be more prone to bite and attack. Miss out on that vital step you will definitely have an unhandleable wild animal in your back yard.
All went well for the first while, the baby grew up and one day they decided to go on a trip as a family and left the raccoon behind like one might a cat in the house with plenty of food. They left , and when they came home and opened the door, the raccoon came out of nowhere and attacked the lady, it chased her into the bedroom and was threatening her aggressively, meanwhile the rest of the family ran around to the bedroom window broke it and pulled her to safety through the window.  So what went wrong?
Well first off the animal was becoming a mature raccoon, which means influx of hormones if not altered, that means seasonal aggression towards all others, they should have simply rehabbed the raccoon and let it go, or gotten the raccoon altered if they had planned to keep it and it was legal to do so. Secondly they left the raccoon home alone for a good while unattended to get into all kinds of trouble in their house, a raccoon is not a cat! Third they had expectations that this sweet raccoon would always be that way, that it would never change and that is because they did not upon finding the raccoon go onto the internet or go to the library to find sources of information to aid them in caring for an orphan, they could possibly have found a licensed rehabber of raccoons even, and at the very least found enough information on the habits, diet, behaviors etc. of raccoons so they were not winging the care of this animal. 
These are but a couple examples of wild animals that go through various forms of aggression related to seasonal changes, and even though captive wolves are altered somewhat due to their environmental upbringing (domestic captive wild) they can still be affected biologically the same as any wild animal is, regardless of any type of training or treatment. (That is the nature, despite the nurture of the beast)
Not every wolf will go through intense WWS, and it is better to understand, there’s a serious possibility for serious seasonal aggression to occur.  Perfectly social outgoing sweet male wolves can change drastically upon puberty.  They can become completely side tracked by hormone driven behaviors during breeding season such as in your face confrontation, dominant-mounting behaviors and more,  Some may tend to be just a bit more grumpy, which can in turn make the wolf more standoffish and or growly. Some males may even stop eating regularly for awhile.   But  ALL wolves have *some* sort of behavior change during that time of year if unaltered. Once the season passes wolves will go back to their regular selves again. Unless of course you wind up with a female wolf that even if she doesnt have puppies, will guard the enclosure as if she does and keep you out for weeks on end or attack you! the following taken from my copyright guide.

Winter Wolf Syndrome (Seasonal Aggression) The Unspoken Reality



So what does aggression mean? Aggression is a behavior intending to cause harm, damage, and injury through fighting / attacking, or via fear. Aggression describes an action.  Aggressiveness can be the result of a pre-disposition either genetically inherited or is the animals’ individual tendency/ disposition.  Fear and anxiety can cause aggressiveness in a wolf or wolf dog as can over reacting to a perceived/interpreted threat. It can be brought on due to competition for resources (food, mates, territories, shelters, and progeny) and non-resources such as competition for rank status.


The following define the nature of the interaction


a) Fight/Attack will then be followed by physical contact ie* bite* the intent is there to harm.  The aggression will be * overt, direct, active, explicit, physical contact.


b) Intimidation/Threats there will be little to no physical contact except possibly in the form of dominance mounting, usually there is visual eye contact, and the canine would vocalize in a low pitch.  The goal is to communicate intent to harm, via threatening sounds, gestures.  This is very common behavior in dominance hierarchies.

              The aggression is indirect, passive aggressive, covert, implicit, display/ritualized.


Most aggressive behaviors are determined by status or rank.

A wolf dog that is acting highly reactive, impulsive, angry, frustrated is actually being defensive due to a perceived threat, potential threat, or threatening stimulus.  Self defense or defense can take place over offspring, territory, resources, and property. 


c) Offensive aggression is unprovoked.

A wolf or wolf dog that displays aggression that is unprovoked usually does so to gain some goal (object, subject) they will get some kind of reward from displaying this form of aggression.


So wh

So why is aggression needed in a pack anyways?  Is there a use for it? And why is it necessary?  There are two main types of aggression they are functional and causal. Aggression is necessary in wolf packs for a variety of reasons; wolves will not live in groups where there is no aggression so it must mean that aggression is to some benefit to the group as a whole right?  It has been shown in wolf studies that aggression can be correlated to seasonal changes, towards the fall the aggressiveness seems to increase within the pack older wolves may make some repressive moves, young juvenile wolves may look to move up in rank and pups vie for rank position in the pack. Heading towards breeding season, increased aggression allows for the possibility of a new establishment in order. 


Aggressive behavior plays an important role in the hierarchy to provide a solid role and structure for the alpha pair; it helps keep the pack size fairly consistent as well due to healthy competition resulting in a stronger, unified group.  Individual wolves can be driven out of packs or even killed for the betterment of pack society. The alpha female can aggress threateningly upon other females in the pack into not coming into heat, or aborting if they become pregnant.  During bad years for food sources the aggression increases within pack society, which leads to more social break down and weakening of the pack bond.

Once spring hits and food sources are plenty the pack becomes more unified to care for the pups, hormones decrease drastically and there is less tension amongst family members.


One form of aggression that can be seen in mature unaltered wolves and wolf dogs with enough wolf as to follow the same biological behaviors as any pure wolf and not typically seen in the same degree in domestic dogs and in most not at all, is something called seasonal aggression dubbed by many wolf caretakers through the years as Winter Wolf Syndrome. This form of aggression is something many caretakers do not wish to speak about lest anti wolf dog animal rights groups use it as negative fodder. Unfortunately it does more harm than good if it is not talked about, people should be given the facts and thus also dispel the myths at the same time. 


This section is not to demonize these animals but to give the general public a look into some factual information to help better prepare them for ownership.  It would be very unethical of me in writing a book on wolf dog ownership to only include information people want to hear and read, that would be too easy to do and not based entirely on the truth. You’re probably saying what the heck is Winter Wolf Syndrome? Before we launch into reasons and explanations first a story, this was sent into a list in response to my own serious tangle and challenge with a wolf that left me devastated.  This gentleman’s name was Paul Ferrari (now deceased sadly from cancer.) He was quite well known and liked for his heart, and integrity, his openness and willingness to share his experiences with others with his wolf dogs.  He touched a lot of people and left behind howls from his animals in his wake.


 Permission was granted from Paul himself in a private e-mail to me to reprint as I saw fit at the time I had been considering writing the book and had wrote a few articles.


  In Paul’s own words

Winter Wolf Syndrome


WWS, it happens, but only to us lucky ones. (G) As they say “Winter Wolves Can Be Fun.” Although it can happen to any animal it is more prevalent in captives pures and Hi%F1’s and not all animals in that category will get it. WWS will be more noticeable in an animal that has imprinted on you and has been highly socialized to humans. This type animal will treat conspecifics and humans as social companions. They will very likely challenge humans for dominance, specially those humans that have imprinted. All this will (or may) start, the winter of maturity, the winters between 3&4 or 2&3 years old, some may even be earlier or later. Remember, not all pures and Hi%F1’s will get WWS!!! Also remember, the more social the animal, the more confidence it has and is more likely to challenge.


The shyer the animal, the less confidence it has and is less likely to dominate attack at maturity. Different animals do different things or nothing at all. Some will be just as mellow as they were in the summer, some will totally ignore you and then there are the others. Two Feathers, was one of the others. (G) This is still mostly related to HiF1’s and pures but can happen with others. Some of you out there have pures related to my Two Feathers (Twoee for short) Some are brothers and others, cousins that are coming into the winter of Maturity.  WW is a maturity thing along with sexual behavior. Twoee is 9 years old now and was neutered just before his fourth birthday in the spring of 1995 after a winter of maturity, WWS.


                        I knew I had the exception in Twoee. Bottlefed at 2 ˝ weeks and human companionship 24 hours a day for the first six months of his life, along with being socialized with the guys outside. He imprinted on me like I was God and you couldn’t have an animal more social to humans than he was. You could do anything with him. Monty took sperm, Nick Federoff took blood, and Twoee was like,ok I can do that.  We did qite a few camp-outs going as far as IN. and TN. At some of the camp-outs he was used for educational purposes, by Monty,Nick,Pam Butler and a few others. I out this in here to show you how social Twoee was. I had just raised the exception to all rules regarding a “98”. 

                          Twoee turned 3 years old on 5 May 1994 and was still just a puppy, puppy, He didn’t know a stranger you could take him anywhere and rolling over on his back submitting was as natural as eating. As they say all good things must end.  Jan. 3 1995,My now, ex girlfriend, comes in saying Twoee just growled at her with hackles up, but let her do what she went out to do. I went out he gave me a little growl but rolled over for a tummy rub. I told her he’ll be okay. Most of our time was spent with Twoee and the other guys, so we both read them very well. Jan. 4 1995, I went out to play with Two Feathers & Choctaw (spayed Female), I got 50 feet in to the compound when the attack came. First the growls then the hackles went up and I knew I was in trouble when all his teeth were showing. 


                        The most fearful part was the focus and stalk. I could not break his eye focus and I knew he was coming first at a walk and now at a run. Monty from Wolf Park and I had discussed this behavior when he was up for a visit that past April and I knew it may or may not happen. All this may sound dramatic but this is how it happened with Two Feathers. Don’t take my word for it, just ask Christine, Missy, Gudrun and some others that are here. They will tell you it can get scarey and happen in different ways but you will never forget the “Focus.”

                        I knew not to run and I had too far to go to the double doors. The leap came from about 6 to 8 feet away and I was able to brush him to the side and yelled No! Twoee as he went by,his eye focus never left me. He hit on the return, head high, but I had a chance to brace myself. It’s not funny when you can count all the teeth on a full grown mature male. I got turned around and now he was on my back (where I wanted him, better balance.) and we walked out to the door, all the while he ripping at my jacket and swiping with his claws, the welts from the claws stayed about two months. All this from an animal who didn’t really want to hurt me, just wanted to put on a little dominant pressure. This was Jan. and I would have to deal with it until April. I called Wolf Park and talked to Monty that night, we had a good laugh. “Winter Wolves are Fun” That night I realized the 4 foot poop shovel was the answer.


                         The next night I went in with a shovel, if I just held the shovel straight down he would come over growling, hackles up and teeth showing but would let me pet him. If I swung the shovel back and forth he would move away. After four or five experiments I got it through my thick head, without the shovel in my hand he would attack, and did every time. You got to verify these things.(G) Two Feathers was neutered that April, just before his fourth birthday. It was quite a show, Monty and Jill were there from Wolf Park to Video and do sperm tests, Nick Federoff was there to do rabies blood test and sperm tests. I always called Twoee a “98”. After all was done, my Vet told us all he just cut out that 2% dog.(G)


Twoee was never the same,I lost my puppy, puppy, to  full grown MATURE WOLF. With this type of animal you learn the meaning of living in mutual respect for each other. The animal will not be trying to hurt you, just dominance, but things can escalate very quickly into an all out attack and that depends on you. It has gotten better each winter since he was neutered and now summer and winter just blends although he will stalk me at times in the winter.  After he turned five everyone was a stranger to be tested. I had a Wolf Park intern come for a visit and she did an educational program with me and Twoee, Twoee would let her pet and feed him through the potable pen but once her foot was through the door he would grab and exert pressure. This was done at least five times with different wolf people, got to verifiy. Now, no one new goes in with him. Those of you that say OH! It’s just the way the animal was brought up, well all I can say is, go educate yourself. Wolves can change, captive or wild, A  WOLF IS A WOLF, A friend has Twoees cousin not far from me who enutered at 6 months (I did a lot of talking) and this should be his winter, we will see, God willing, what happens.


End of Story




credit source for defining the nature of aggression

(The socioendocrinology of aggression-mediated stress in Timber Wolves (Canis lupus) Simon Gadbois

Below is what one female wolf did to another during breeding season


Photo courtesy Wolf Creek Habitat originally placed in my guide

28) How can I tell the difference between a wolf's tracks and a dogs tracks?
A) It is not any one single thing to help determine the difference between a wolf's tracks and a dog's tracks. A few questions to ask are
1) Area: are you remote enough that there is not commonly dogs around that area
2)  Size of tracks: wolf tracks are typically just over 4 inches (4.25) to as large as near 6 inches (5 3/4") for the front prints, with the back feet always being a bit smaller. Width wise wolf tracks are in the 3 1/2-4 inch range. Place your hand down alongside the track is it fairly close to your hand size?
Dog tracks even a medium to larger (sized), typically have a 3-4 inch track, with the latter being a larger sized dog, for example I owned a 75 pound dog that had a 3 1/2 inch track, even though he was a fairly tall big dog. This does not mean a very large breed of dog cannot have a 4 1/2 inch track.   Dogs have rounder feet than wolves, wolves have two very large top protruding front toes (which helps elongate the track/larger)
3) Are the prints single track?
these things must all be grouped together as it is not one single thing to help ID any wild animal track.
Coyote tracks will also appear as single tracking, but size wise are approx 2 1/2 inches long, quite a bit smaller than any wolf's. Coyote, wolf, and dog tracks the claws can show or be seen through a dragging motion. Wolf tracks and coyote tracks are symmetrical  (click on linked words for detailed description of the word)
fox tracks the claws will be harder to see (look closely.) Fox tracks can vary in size depending on the region/type of fox. I recommend going to another page on this site for recommended track books.

wolf track 4 inches wide and 5 inches in lenth

wolf tracks

29) Is there a test to distinguish between a pure wolf and dog? How closely related are wolves to dogs?  A) There is new information coming to light all the time of the close relationship wolves and dogs share. At one point wolves and dogs were scientifically classified as two separate and distinct species of canine.  The wolf *Canis lupus*  The Dog *Canis familiaris*.  But in 1993 the Smithsonian Institute reclassified the domestic dog taxonomically to reflect that wolves and dogs are from the same genus *family*, dogs are now known as *canis lupus familiaris*.
they state there is no DNA test to distinguish wolves and dogs, dogs and wolfdogs, this was true as little as a few years ago, but it has been worked on for many years and it is said via officials to now be possible for tests to determine wolf in the dog. DNA tests on
Y chromosome (patriarchal dna)
are said to conclusively determine between a dog and wolf,  and a dog that has wolf in it. However it also begs the question as to just how many base lines were studied in-depth. Do they have verifiable untainted base lines on every single breed of dog in the world, and they are CONCLUSIVE? Do they have baselines of every single subspecies that has existed.  I would like to know if pure wolves carry *any* dog *markers*, and if this is found in say a wild roaming wolf how they know this is not a part of what a wolf is and the marker was just not seen before due to limited base lines for a particular sub-species, instead of automatically ruling the animal a wolfhybrid.  I believe in the science though and the science is REAL, however I don't always believe in the humans conducting that science, as the science can be made to (fit the story.) I would like to see ALL the info. FREELY distributed.
Combined use of maternal, paternal and bi-parental genetic markers for the identification of wolf-dog hybrids
The identification of hybrids is often a subject of primary concern for the development of conservation and management strategies, but can be difficult when the hybridizing species are closely related and do not possess diagnostic genetic markers. However, the combined use of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), autosomal and Y chromosome genetic markers may allow the identification of hybrids and of the direction of hybridization. We used these three types of markers to genetically characterize one possible wolf-dog hybrid in the endangered Scandinavian wolf population. We first characterized the variability of mtDNA and Y chromosome markers in Scandinavian wolves as well as in neighboring wolf populations and in dogs. While the mtDNA data suggested that the target sample could correspond to a wolf, its Y chromosome type had not been observed before in Scandinavian wolves. We compared the genotype of the target sample at 18 autosomal microsatellite markers with those expected in pure specimens and in hybrids using assignment tests. The combined results led to the conclusion that the animal was a hybrid between a Scandinavian female wolf and a male dog. This finding confirms that inter-specific hybridization between wolves and dogs can occur in natural wolf populations. A possible correlation between hybridization and wolf population density and disturbance deserves further research. Heredity (2003) 90, 17-24. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800175
~From MT Fish Wildlife & Parks
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Domestic Wolf Responsible For Eastern Montana Livestock Killings

Montana Fish,Wildlife & Parks learned today that the animal likely responsible for a rash of eastern Montana livestock depredations last year was a domestic wolf, and not a wild Rocky Mountain gray wolf.   

The domestic wolf was suspected of killing more than 120 sheep and injuring a number of others in eight different incidents in Dawson, Garfield and McCone counties from December 2005 and July 2006.

Although there was some question early on about   the animal’s genetic origin, FWP   authorized affected landowners, USDA Wildlife Services, and county predator-control specialists to kill the elusive animal. The animal was eventually killed by federal agents on a Garfield County ranch east of Jordan last November.

To determine the animal’s origin and genetic make up, samples were sent to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon and to Dr. Bob Wayne’s genetics laboratory at UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in California.     

Both labs determined independently that the animal did not come from, nor was the animal’s genetics consistent with, wild free-ranging wolf populations in the Northern Rockies, the Midwest, or Canada.  

The genetic experts concluded that the animal was a product of human-manipulated breeding in a domestic, captive situation.

"This individual displays classic characteristics of being a domestic wolf," said Dyan Straughan, a forensic scientist at the National Forensics Laboratory.   "The hodgepodge mixture of DNA found does not occur naturally in wild wolves in North America."

Lab results revealed DNA from three different sources, including maternal DNA from the Great Lakes region, paternal DNA from the lower 48 states, and DNA closely related to wolves in Alaska.
  It is the presence of all three DNA sources that preclude the possibility of the animal being a wild wolf.

The carcass’s orange color, small foot size and general appearance also did not match typical wild, free ranging wolves. Other physical evidence also suggest that the animal had been in captivity, including long claws, tartar stains on the teeth, and teeth that were in relatively good condition compared to most four-year-old wild wolves.

"The National Forensics Laboratory in particular has an extensive DNA library of wild North American wolves, captive domestic wolves, and wolf-dog hybrids for comparison," said Carolyn Sime, FWP’s wolf program coordinator.   "They have run over a thousand samples and maintain the most extensive reference collection anywhere so we have confidence in their results."  

Montana law requires that any captive, domestic, or hybrid wolf that is more than half wolf to be permanently tattooed and registered with FWP.   State law also requires that any escape, release, transfer, or other change in disposition of such animals be reported to FWP.   Financial liability for property damage caused by these animals is the responsibility of the owner.  

  Sime said no one knows where the animal came from, how it arrived in eastern Montana, or when it arrived.   "There were no permanent markings or tattoos on this animal, which are required by law."

Anyone with information on this domestic wolf   is urged to call Montana’s violation hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668).  



Contacts:  VICTORIA FOX, 505-248-6455 OR ELIZABETH       SLOWN, 505-248-6909

The offspring born to the female Mexican wolf of the Pipestem pair have been confirmed as hybrids. The genetic analysis revealed that (1) F628 is the mother of the pups, (2) M190 is not the father, and (3) the pups are not Mexican wolves. The genetic analysis could not determine for certain what the father is. However, the results indicate that the father is most likely a domestic or feral dog, or wolf x dog hybrid. The phenotypic traits of the pups supports the finding that these pups resulted from such a cross-breeding.

The whole Pipestem group, which included the adult male, adult female and offspring, were removed from the wild in May of this year at the request of a private landowner on whose property the wolves had been frequenting and killing livestock. They were all held in captivity at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge where the adults remain. In keeping with the Service’s Final Rule for managing the Mexican wolf reintroduction and recovery program, these offspring have been humanely euthanized.

Section (3) (x) of our current Final Rule for the reintroduction of Mexican wolves into the Blue Range of Arizona and New Mexico (50 CFR section 17.84(k)) states:

"As determined by the Service to be appropriate, the Service or any agent so authorized by the Service, may capture, kill, subject to genetic testing, place in captivity, euthanize, or return to the wild (if found to be a pure Mexican wolf) any feral wolf-like animal, feral wolf hybrid, or feral dog found within the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area that shows physical or behavioral evidence of hybridization with other canids, such as domestic dogs or coyotes; being an animal raised in captivity, other than as part of a Service-approved wolf recovery program; or being socialized or habituated to humans."

3) DNR: Animal killed by hunter near Oshkosh was gray wolf

The Northwestern

Laboratory tests by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources determined an animal shot by a hunter in Winnebago County was a wolf and not a dog-wolf hybrid, the DNR announced today.

The wolf was killed in the town of Nekimi on Dec. 29 by an archery hunter, after having been spotted in Oshkosh and the surrounding area in previous days. Although initial inspection of the animal indicated it was not a coyote, officials needed to wait for DNR to determine whether it was a wolf or a hybrid.

DNR officials have decided to levy the minimum fine of $306.30 against the hunter, who is from Brandon, but will not seek to revoke his license. In a statement, DNR officials said the hunter was cooperative and did not attempt to hide or conceal the incident, which would have resulted in more severe penalities.

“It is a difficult enforcement decision when a person takes responsibility for their actions and self reports a violation,” a press release states. “The shooter has been issued a Natural Resource Citation for taking a protected species. Proper identification of the target is one of the primary firearm safety tips and based on the investigation and circumstances the hunter should have known the animal was not a legal target (coyote).”

Winnebago County is not traditional or normal wolf range, but statewide DNR Offices often received calls of possible wolf sighting outside normal wolf range. It is not uncommon for young wolves to roam hundreds of miles outside their normal range. The known wolf packs closest to Winnebago County are the Menomonie Reservation to the north and Wisconsin Rapid area to the west. The Gray Wolf was removed from the Endangered and Threatened species list in March of 2007.

600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, Washington 98501-1091
Internet Address:

July 17, 2008
Contact: Madonna Luers, (509) 892-7853
or Kevin Robinette, (509) 892-7859

Road-killed canine verified as wolf

New genetic tests have verified that a canine found dead on a road northwest of Spokane last month was a pure gray wolf.

A second road-killed animal found slightly farther west about two weeks later was a wolf-dog hybrid, genetic tests determined.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) sent tissue samples from both road-killed animals to the University of California-Los Angeles Conservation Genetics Resource Center to determine whether they were wolves. The California lab recently developed DNA-sequencing techniques to genetically distinguish gray wolves (Canis lupus) from wolf-dog hybrids or domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). The genetic make-up of wolves and dogs is so similar that previous tests were unable to distinguish the two. Wolf and dog DNA differs by only two-tenths of one percent (0.2%).

These new genetic tests promise to greatly assist us in the future management of gray wolves, said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings, adding that WDFW's genetics laboratory is investigating adopting the same genetic-testing approach in the future to support the state's upcoming Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

The wolf carcass was discovered June 5 by a Washington Department of Transportation (DOT) crew along State Route 291 near Tum Tum in Stevens County, about 25 miles northwest of Spokane. DOT staff contacted WDFW to retrieve the carcass.

The wolf-dog hybrid was struck by a car June 21 on State Route 25 north of Davenport in Lincoln County, about 40 miles northwest of Spokane. The driver contacted the county sheriff, who contacted WDFW.

Other genetic tests on the animal killed on State Route 291 showed its DNA was similar to that from wolves in northwest Montana and southern British Columbia.

Gray wolves last spring were removed from federal endangered species list in the eastern third of Washington, as part of a recovered Rocky Mountain wolf population in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The wolf de-listing is being challenged in federal district court by conservation groups. Gray wolves remain listed by the state as an endangered species throughout Washington.

WDFW Endangered Species Program Manager Harriet Allen said verification of a road-killed wolf is not surprising because individual wolves are sighted periodically in northeast Washington.

"We expect wolves from Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon or Canada to disperse to Washington," Allen said.

Verification of the wolf-dog hybrid is also not surprising, Allen said.

"Unfortunately, some people attempt to raise wolves and wolf-dog hybrids in captivity," Allen said. "Wolf-dog hybrids can be dangerous because they lack the shyness of wild wolves, but they have the physical strength and predatory instincts of wild animals."

Wolf-dog hybrids complicate gray wolf management in a number of ways, including attacking livestock in incidents that are mistakenly blamed on wild wolves.

Pet wolves are prohibited by state law (RCW 16.30.030), although wolf-dog hybrids are excluded from that ban and remain regulated as domestic dogs. Most Washington counties have dog-control regulations and some counties and cities prohibit wolf-dog hybrid ownership because of potential safety problems.

WDFW is drafting a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, with the help of a 17-member citizen working group. The draft plan is available at After scientific peer review this year, a final draft plan will be circulated for public comment early next year.

No established wolf breeding pairs or packs have been documented in Washington since the 1930s, although WDFW and federal officials are currently working to locate and radio-collar wolves in Okanogan County, where recent howling surveys indicate a pack may exist.

Reports of possible wolf sightings or activity can be made to a toll-free wolf reporting hotline at 1-888-584-9038.


30) Why do wolves howl?  A) Wolves love to howl, they howl to reunite their pack members when separated, they howl when mourning the loss of a pack member, they howl when excited, they howl prior to a hunt and after eating in bonding sessions, they howl to alert other wolves (wolf packs) they are in the area, they howl when pups are born within the pack, and they howl just because they feel like it. I am sure there are reasons wolvs howl, that humans are not even aware of.
31) Does a full moon make wolves howl? A) A full moon in and of itself, do not make wolves howl.  BUT... a full moon helps to light up the hunting grounds, for wolves, and other creatures in the wild, and this does seem to aid in, and incite a bit more activity and excitement in general, as well as a bit more frequent howling in wolves.  Through observation of wild wolves howling a bit more than average on a full moon night, people that lived amongst wild wolves in olden days, would have made this connection , which eventually could have turned into more legendary old wives tales, and myths of today.   I know here without failure, on every full moon the wolves will howl consistently all night long, off and on.  
32) How big is a wolfs territory?  A) A wolf packs territory can be as small as 5 miles, all the way up to a range of any number of hundreds even thousands of miles,  it all depends if they have all the necessary resources (food/mates to choose from/safety from their only known predator humans/within that range chosen, how large the wolf pack is, and the impact the size of the pack will make on the land and food resources in the range/size they choose to settle into.  
33) how far do wolves travel a day?  A) Wolves in search of food can travel daily distances, of a few miles all the way to 30. They have been known to travel hundreds of miles in a day however when in search of mates/new pack members.

Reference /Source Material for this page:
The socioendocrinology of aggression-mediated stress in Timber Wolves (Canis lupus) Simon Gadbois
Rutter, R.J., and D.H. Pimlott. 1968. The world of the wolf
Harrington, F., and P. Paquet, editors. 1982. Wolves of the world: perspectives of behavior, ecology and conservation.
Mech, L.D. 1970. The wolf: the ecology and behavior of an endangered species.

Gacsi M, Gyori B, Miklosi A, Viranyi Z, Kubinyi E, Topal J, Csanyi V.: Species-specific differences and similarities in the behavior of hand-raised dog and wolf pups in social situations with humans:


 James O'Heare: Canine Aggression Workbook: 3rd Edition


Biology Of Aggression In Dogs: Appleby DL, Bradshaw JW, Case RA

Feddersen-Peterssen DU Institut fur Haustierkunde, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel: Biology Of Aggression In Dogs:

Appleby DL, Bradshaw JW, Case RA,  : Recognizing and assessing aggressive behaviors in dogs; Anthrozoology Institute, University of Southampton.


Gacsi M, Gyori B, Miklosi A, Viranyi Z, Kubinyi E, Topal J, Csanyi V.: Species-specific differences and similarities in the behavior of hand-raised dog and wolf pups in social situations with humans:


Jean Donaldson: Fight! A practical Guide To The Treatment Of Dog-Dog Aggression


Jean Donaldson: Mine! A Guide To Resource Guarding In Dogs


Brenda Aloff: Aggression In Dogs: Practical Management, Prevention, & Behavior Modification

Brenda Aloff: Canine Body Language, A Photographic Guide

Barbara Sykes: Understanding And Handling Dog Aggression


Stephen Joubert & Christian Delmar: Final Hope: Gaining Control Of Your Aggressive Dog




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