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“Fate whispers to the wolf; ‘You cannot withstand the storm’ and the wolf whispers back, ‘I am the storm’.”

The Beginning

Early man was probably followed by a wolf like creature that scavenged on the remains of his kills. In time, the creature sacrificed his freedom in exchange for those remnants. The dog, for so the creature turned out to be, was not the only one to gain from the exchange. In time the dog learned how to help the man in his hunting, guarding the herds of other animals that the man domesticated, was sometimes used as a beast of burden and, at times, even protected man from other animals. The Wolf has developed the capacity to survive in the most inhospitable of climates.

The wolves in the high arctic endure several winter months of perpetual darkness. Even in temperatures of -40°C and bitter winds are common. Other wolves are at home in the desert and the dampness of a humid swamp.


Wolves are highly territorial animals, and generally establish territories far larger than they require to survive in order to assure a steady supply of prey.

Wolf Taxonomy

The gray wolf is in:

Which includes:

And excludes:



All multicellular organisms that lack cell walls and cannot perform photosynthesis

Plants, Fungi, Protists,Bacteria



All animals that have a backbone or similar internal support

Invertebrates (insects, snails, starfish, etc.)



All chordates that have fur and produce milk

Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds



All mammals that mostly eat meat

Rodents, deer, primates, etc.



All carnivores that are dog-like, with 42 teeth, walk on their toes, and have long, bushy tails

Lions & tigers, bears, raccoons, weasels, etc.



Wolves and coyotes

Foxes, bush dogs



Gray wolf

Canis latrans, the coyote
Canis rufus, the red wolf



Mexican gray wolf
Eastern timber wolf

Gray wolves of other subspecies

Wolf Informational Videos
Wof & WolfDog Information

 Wolf Family

 Wolf Pack Documentary

 Wolves Hunting


Thinking of getting a Wolf or WolfDog as a Pet.. PLEASE!!! think again after thoroughly researching their needs and expected behaviors from puppy to senior. A wolf’s needs from food and activities are nothing like a domestic dog and don’t expect them to be trainable. Some are, but they are the exception.  Below is a good link to review. There are many others out there as well. WolfDogs are in conflict from the wild instincts to hunt, travel and avoid civilization from their wolf genes and the domestic dogs where their instincts are as a companion to humans.

Although most wolves have basically gray coats, hence the common name, the coats usually have a lot of base yellow interspersed between the salt-and-pepper gray and black hair. Wolves anywhere can have coats that grade from almost pure white to jet black, although all of the arctic wolves are usually all white.

Wolves are very intelligent creatures whose upright ears, sharp, pointed muzzles, inquiring eyes, and other facial features instantly convey this quality. Their heads closely resemble that of a German shepherd dog, although the skull is broader and their ears are smaller and more rounded. Wolves also have ruffs of long hair framing the sides of their faces like sideburns.


Most of the adult grey wolves weigh in the vicinity of 75 to 125 pounds (34 to 56 kilograms). Males are usually larger than females by as much as twenty-five percent. The largest gray wolf on record was a male weighing 175 pounds (79 kilograms).

As large as wolves are, they usually appear much larger because of their thick hair. In a wolf’s winter coat, the hair on their back and sides averages 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6.3 centimeters) in length. Starting at the base of the neck, the wolf has a teardrop-shaped mane of hair that elongates into just a crest down the spine toward the tail. Over the shoulder, the mane is about 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) wide. The hairs in the mane are 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12.7 centimeters) long and are attached to erectorpilli muscles, which allow the hairs to stand on end, making the wolf appear even larger when agitated.

Extensive studies of the North American wolf species show between 50 to 70 inches (1.3 to 1.8 meters) in total nose-tip-to-tail-tip length. Of that length, one quarter is tail length. Wolves stand between 27 to 31 inches (68 to 78 centimeters) high at the shoulder. Compared to dogs of the same size, wolves’ chests are much narrower. Their legs are also longer in proportion to their body weight than are most dogs. Because of its narrower chest, the wolf’s left and right foot track closer together than those of dogs.



The wolf has very strong jaws. According to Barry Lopez in Of Wolves and Men, the jaws of a wolf have a “crushing pressure of perhaps 1,500 (lbs/square inch) compared to 740 (lbs/square inch) for a German Shepherd.” The dentition of the wolf consists of twenty-two teeth: twelve incisors, four canines, sixteen pre molars, and ten carnassials and molars. The canines of the wolf are 1-inch (2.54 centimeters) long, strong, sharp, and slightly curved. These are the teeth used for grasping prey. The wolf does not chew its food, using its carnassials to scissor off a piece of meat that can then be swallowed in a manageable chunk. Having strong jaws allows the wolf to crush bones to get to the soft marrow, it also helps the wolf eat most of its prey leaving very little waste.


Wolves do not run at full speed until they get close to their prey as possible. At that point, they make a high-speed chase to test the animal.

Wolves can keep up this pace for hours on end and have been known to cover 60 miles (96 kilometers) in a single night. They have been clocked at speeds of over 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour for a distance of several miles.

Paws and Speed

Humans are plantigrade, walking upon our entire flat foot, sole to heel. All members of the canine family, and the feline family too, are digitigrade, walking upon just their toe tips. Unless a wolf is lying down, the heel of each foot does not come in contact with the ground. The front feet of a wolf are exceptionally large. This is of great advantage to the wolf when it runs upon snow, as it allows greater weight distribution and more support to prevent the animal from sinking in as deeply when the snow is soft.

The wolf has five toes on each forefoot, but only four are actually needed. The fifth toe, corresponding to our thumb, has regressed. It is found up on the middle of the foot and is known as the dew claw. There are just four toes on each of the hind feet. Each toe pad is surrounded by stiff, bristly hairs, which act as insulation and also provides a better grip on slippery ice surfaces. The claws are strong and blunt because the tips are worn off by constant contact with the ground. These are used for digging and in gripping the earth while running, not for seizing prey.

Wolves walk, trot, lope, or gallop. Their legs are long, and they walk at about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) per hour, but can reach speeds of 35 mph during a chase. Their usual mode of travel is to trot, which they do at various speeds, generally between 8 to 10 miles (12.8 to 16 kilometers) per hour.


Wolf Reproduction

Mating season can be anywhere from January to April with the alpha female having only five to seven days of oestrus. During this time, the alpha pair may move out of the pack temporarily to prevent interruption from other pack members. Also the alpha pair is almost always the only pair to mate, to avoid over population.

Usually the alpha male has dominance over the entire pack including the alpha female. But this not always true. During the mating season the alpha female takes total dominance even while the pups are still in the den. This is for the rest of the pack to know that she is the one to serve. She also decides were the den will be. With this in the packs mind, they go in search of food and bring it back to the den either for the hungry, laborious female or for the pups.

Although in rare cases a non-alpha pair will mate, according to one study, “Twenty to forty percent of the packs contain at least two adult females produce two litters”.


Wolves breeding other than the alpha pair

Breeding between other wolves besides the Alpha pair depend on certain conditions within the pack and with the wolves such as:

  • How dominate the alpha pair are
    • Sometimes the alpha female will become aggressive to the other females in the pack
    • Other males that mate may be chased from the pack by a very dominate alpha male
  •  Disruption of pack hierarchy
    • When the social order of the pack changes some researchers have noted that sometimes subordinate females may mate

Mild winter’s, adequate food supplies, Habitat conditions (In the arctic multiple litters is the norm, due to the harsh conditions, more litters means more chances for survival.)

Courting Wolves

When the a pair of wolves are about to mate, they bond, sleeping close and touching each other more frequently then usual. They will approach each other making quiet whining sounds, mouth each others muzzles, touch noses, and bump there bodies together. There may be mutual grooming and nibbling of each other’s coats and the two may walk pressed close together. The Male may bow to the female, toss and tilt his head, and lay his legs over her neck in what could only be described as a flirting manner. The two may even sleep side by side.

As the courtship progresses, the male will smell the female to determine her readiness to mate, his tongue flicking in and out, testing the air for traces of her sex hormones, If she is not sexually receptive, she will repel the male with growls and snaps of her jaws.



Right before copulation, the alpha pair might act jubilant by nuzzling, whipping tails in each others faces, and even urinating. When this occurs the alpha female will release her sex hormones. Every Male in the pack reacts to this, even the male pups. As you might already know, wolves copulate like dogs, the male mounting the female from behind. During mating, an actual physical tie occurs caused by swelling in the alpha male’s genitals. After about five minutes the male will stop and twists around so the two are end to end. The two will still be in a tie up to a half an hour.

After Mating, pairs will continue to be affectionate. Although wolves often have long-lasting attachments to their mates, if one wolf dies, the widowed mate may breed with another wolf. In addition, some males may bond to different females in different years, destroying the long-held “mate for life” myth.


Gestation Period

The gestation period for wolves is fifty-nine to sixty three days. The female wolf will start to find a location to den several weeks before the pups are born.

Wolf Development

From Pup To 2 Years

Wolves live in diverse and changing environments. Preparation and care of pups is fairly consistent around the world as is pup development. The following timeline provides information on the development of various physical and behavioral tools that wolves have for survival.

Information From

Wolf Growth Chart

Development Photo Development


Neonatal Period: Birth to Eyes Open (12 to 14 days) and Period of Maximal Growth- Have dark fur, rounded heads and are unable to regulate their own body temperature
– Blind with closed eyes, deaf with small ears, and a “pugged” nose with little if any sense of smell but a good sense of taste and touch
– Limited to a slow crawl, mainly with front legs but have a good sense of balance
– Are limited to sucking and licking; can whine and yelp
– Will feed four or five times a day for periods of three to five minutes
– Average females gain 2.6 lbs and males 3.3 lbs per week for the next 14 weeks

2 Weeks

Transitional Period: Eye Opening to 20-24 Days- Eyes open and are blue at 11-15 days but their eyesight is not fully developed and pups cannot perceive forms until weeks later
– Milk incisors present at 15 days; can eat small pieces of regurgitated meat
– Begin to stand and walk; vocalizations include growls, whimpering and squeaks, first high-pitched attempts at howling
– Weight: 3.5 lbs

3 Weeks

Socialization Period: 20-24 Days to 77 Days- Begin appearing outside of the den and playing near the entrance
– Ears begin to raise around 27 days and hearing improves significantly
– Around 31 days the ears are erect but with tips still flopping
– Canines and premolar teeth present

4 Weeks

– Growth of adult hair around nose and eyes
– Disproportionately large feet and head
– Short, high-pitched howls are gaining strength
– Mother may go off for hours on end to hunt
– Dominance and play fighting begin

5 Weeks

– Gradual process of weaning begins
– Can follow adults up to a mile away from the den

8 – 16 Weeks

Juvenile Period: 12 Weeks to Sexual Maturity (1 – 3 years)
At 8 to 10 weeks:
– Adults abandon den and move pups to a rendezvous site
– Weaning complete, pups feed on food provided by adults
-Adult guard hair becomes apparent on body
At 8 to 16 Weeks:
– Eyes gradually change from blue to yellow-gold

12 Weeks

-Pups begin to follow adults on hunting trips for a short while and return to the den by themselves
– Weight: 22-30 lbs

14 – 27 Weeks

Period of Rapid Growth: 14 – 27 Weeks
– Pups will gain approximately 1.3 lbs. per week over the next three months
– Weight: 28-70 lbs

4 – 6 Months

– Milk teeth replaced
– Winter fur becomes apparent and pup appearance is nearly indistinguishable from adults
– Pups begin to accompany adults on hunts

7 – 8 Months

Period of Slow Growth: 27 – 51 Weeks
– Female pups will gain approximately .07 lbs. per week and male pups will gain approximately .4 lbs. per week
– Pups begin to travel with pack
– Begin actively hunting

1 Year

– Epiphyseal cartilage closes off signaling the end of skeletal growth
– Pups status in the pack may start to take shape with pups displaying either more dominant or submissive behaviors
– Weight: 60-100 lbs

1 – 3 Year

Sexual Maturity: 1 to 3 Years
– Hormonal changes signal sexual maturity
– May choose to disperse from pack
– Weight: 60-100+ lbs