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Canis lupus



Wolves are feared by many people due to the fairy tale storys they grew up with such as, The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. But not all wolves are like what horror movies and tv portray them to be.


How many times do any of us see a sign that says, do not feed the wolves while camping in national parks? As a rule its, don't feed the bears sign!

Their are three wolf personality types:

1. The wolf that is shy and afraid of its own

shadow as well of everything that surrounds it.

2. The wolf that is destructive and shows no fear or shyness.

3. The wolf that is loving, it loves everything and everyone.

What needs to be kept in mind are the varing degrees of each of the three personality types as well. In a litter of wolf pups the different personality types with the various degrees as well as gentics in coloration show up. This makes them so versatile in behaivor and in the variations of coloring. Along with the climatic area they live in and the type of food they can obtain. No matter what personality type a wolf is, they are a social animal, very pack oriented and live within the same pack all their life. Some for only part of its life.

Many people have wolf pups as pets, if the personality type isn't known or not realized when the pup is small, as the pups grows up then the personality type really begins to show and stand out.

Their are three species of wolf:


Gray wolf - Canis lupus which lives in northern latitudes around the world.

RedWolf - Canis rufus

Abyssinian wolf aka Ethiopian wolf - Canis simensis. It is a possibility that the Ethiopian wolf is not a wolf at all but a jackal.


These are the subspecies of the gray wolf:


The Artic wolf - Canis lupus arctos

Lobo aka Mexican Wolf - Canis lupus baileyi

The eastern timber wolf - Canis lupus lycaon. Some people believe that the gray wolf and the timeber wolf are one and the same.

The Buffalo wolf aka Great Plains wolf - Canis lupus nubilus.

The Mackenzie Valley wolf aka Rocky Mountain wolf - Canis lupis occidentalis.


Their are 12 subspecies of gray wolf in Eurasia and 5 gray wolf subspecies in North America. The range of these wolves over lap and they interbreed, this is what makes it dificult to tell one from the other.


Some of the ways that are used to tell the differences are: color of the fur, head or skull size, length of the tail and legs as well as over all body size. Some of their differences are not only due to the area they live in but their food as well.

This is an 8 week old female wolf pup, her parents are a cross of the gray wolf and a Mexican red and black wolf. This little wolf puppy has the number 3 type loving personality. The Mexican red and black wolf that her genetics contain, helps to keep her size to a smaller size and weight when grown. Please take note of how her coloring changes with growth.


Since this little wolf pup is a combination of gray wolf, canin lupus which is one of the 3 main wolf species and Mexican wolf, canis lupus baileyi which is one of the subspecies. What catagory does she fall into? Or does is it a matter of the draw of the gene pool that makes her look and act more like one wolf type then the other?

She was house trained by taking her out side a few minutes after drinking and eatting as what would be done with any other domestic for house training and was raised as a pet with other animals that were already in the household. If a wild animal is not raised with other domestics it can turn out to be hazzardous as well as heart breaking. This wolf pup has guarding instincts along with very keen hearing, sight and smell even at this young age, she heard a sound before it could be heard by the owner and promptly stood between the sound and her alpha owner instantly. Barking and growling even though she knocked her little wooly self down. Yet she stayed very close to her owner with her hackles raised.

Wolves and other animals have a muscle attached to the hairs that help to make the fur rise around the neck and down the back at will. Humans also have this little muscle that is attached to the hairs of the arms, it's called, arrector pili muscle and humans can not make it work at will as animals can. An example in humans is called, goosebumps.

Here at 10 weeks of age, these are the other pets she was raised with, an older domestic cat that was very tollerent.

And an older domestic which was half dobie crossed with something else unknown.

Wolves are very pack oriented and when a memeber of the pack dies, they can produce a very curdeling howl which is called, the death howl to let others know about the loss of a memeber they were attached to or was a part of their pack. Since this wolf was raised with other animals, accepting a new member was no problem for her even at the of age of 1 year. This kit was found in a field and was lost by its feral mother when she was moving her kits to another location for safety as wild cats will do for protection from preditors. The kitten was ill when found but it seems that the caring love that not only human and wolf gave to this kit, helped her to recouperate sooner. Again, note how her coloring has changed with growth and compair it to the photo at the top of this page at the age of 6 years with the weight of 55 pounds.

Now at 14 years and 4 months of age, she still takes treats gently and still accepts new members into her pack as can be seen in this photo. That is as long as she is alpha over the other animal or animals which is the way it works in all wild wolf packs. Wild wolves live a feast and famine life, they can eat 20 pounds of food in one day, then just pick for the rest of the week. And this is the same as what this pet wolf does, pig out and then pick at her food the rest of the week. Again, this is one of the ways of how it works in the wild with wolf pack . As a pet or in the wild, the same instinct is their.

As an example, when letting her lick out a pan that has been used for cooking, she will clean it to her satisfaction. But that does not mean she is done with the pan. The male collie that is pictured with her, will come along in hopes that the wolf is done and begin to lick the pan as well. This gets the attention of the wolf who really wasn't done and wants to finish licking the pan clean even more. The wolf and collie make eye contact, with no sound what so ever, the wolf gives a side ways nod of her head without breaking the eye contact. Simular to what we do in silently looking at someone and moving ones head off to one side without breaking eye contact. A silent GET AWAY from the pan motion has been made. The collie of course, moves two feet away and lies down. Eye contact now broken and wolf licks the pan again, this time making sure she is pleased with her pan cleaning job. NOW she allows the collie to clean up what ever might be left, if anything. It works in the same way as in a wild wolf pack.

Many wolves do not make it in a household this long, many are placed in rescue centers for various reasons. The owners can not handle them due to one of the personality temperments listed at the beginning of this article. Some do not know how to handle a wolf, even a good loving one such as this one. A lack of gathering as much information as one is able to get, fear of the wolf or wolf dog can set in on the owner and impatients. It's VERY DIFFICULT to stay at least one jump ahead of a wolf that is a pet. It's almost like walking a tightrope at various times throughout the life span and ownership of the pet wolf. In the wild, the lower members of the wolf pack will lower their heads, lay back their ears, lick the alpha wolf at the snout and even show their teeth, but not as a threat, its out of respect as the alpha walks through the pack. This pet wolf has mellowed out some with age, but is still VERY POWERFUL and as all wolves have 1,500 pounds of pressure per square inch spread out within the biting area in the jaws, to rip a human or any thing else it wants appart. That is around 2 times the amount of pressure or biting power in the jaws of adomestic dog.

Their has never been any reported cases of wild wolves attacking or mauling a human. Most people never realise that a wolf has ever come close to them. In fact it has been know for a wolf to help a human, for example: A man in Pennsylvania while driving on a second dary highway, was caught in a nasty snow storm. During the snow storm he accidentally got off of the highway, onto a back road and became stuck some where in the moutains. He left his car and started walking, with night setting in he layed down under a tree for protection to sleep. When he woke the next moring a wild wolf was laying next to him curled up closely to his back. As he rolled over the wolf also woke up due to the movement, they looked at each other for a moment, then the wild wolf went its way and the man continued walking on his way. The wild wolf was helping to keep him warm and with no threats to the mans life.

In the wild some times a wolf will just leave the pack on its own and wonder off, the wolf is then called a dispenser. Wolves will also excommunicate a pack memeber or memebers for many reasons, such as taking food out of turn, challenging the alpha male and or the alpha female. Trying to mate with the alpha female, only the alpha male and female are allowed to mate in the pack, the alphas decide when, how and where to hunt. Or for fighting another pack memeber within the lower ranking line of the pecking order. This is called, the lone wolf. Wolves have to fight for their position in the pack. Lone wolves can start another pack of their own or they can adopt a human home for life, if it so choses. Wolves want and need a pack with a leader and companionship, after all they are pack animals. A good example of this is a true story that was published many, many years ago by Reader's Digest. The story is called, Lets Pluck Bobo. This is just an over view of the story that took place some where in southwest of Washington State. The lady of the house was cooking a meal for her husband, the kitchen door was open, she turned to find a gray wolf standing in the doorway. She fed the wild wolf that appeared out of no where, the couple watched while the wolf ate. The wolf came up to them and allowed them to pet him. The wolf became a permenent fixture of the couples house hold and also guarded them in a way that a domestic dog would, but never in an attacking way. They named him Bobo who then became their pet wolf out of the wild. When Bobo began to blow his coat, they began to pluck the long strands of fur off of him, out of his blown coat she got enough to spin the fur into yarn and make one sweater. This makes the movie, Dances With Wolves more believable when Two Socks the wild gray wolf chose to adopt Kevin Costner as a friend and playmate. The pet wolf on this page, LOVES to play the trip up game as what is seen in Dances With Wolves, it truly is a type of friendship game and dance. But this also depends upon the personality type as talked about earlier. A some what mildly timid wolf, COULD be a little like Two Socks, some what trusting, but not as good as the loving personality type pet wolf shown here. But an extremely timid one would not be good at all along with the destructive type and could not be trusted. So who's to say that one or more wild lone wolf types could not have adopted man to be a part of some kind of pack at one point or in multiple points in history long ago? Man could of also found a wolf pup in the wild and adopted it. From then on perhaps man began to breed the wolf or just let them breed on their own. If man from long ago had a pair of either lone wolves or picked up a pup from the wild and with breedings, the wolf changed into what now is called, mans best friend, the dog! Perhaps during breedings of long ago the more untamable wolves left the pack to once again become the dispenser or lone wolf to start another new wild wolf pack. Perhaps from that point now that the wilder wolves took off on their own, their coats and colors started to change, some were smaller then others. How do we go from wolf to dog? To learn more about how an animal can change not only its bodily shape, personality and even loose its wild aggresiveness, please check out this url on Early Canid Domestication: http://www.floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/trut-fox-study.pdf

Wolves do not shed fur like the common domestic dog, wolves do what is called, blowing the coat. After the coat of soft thick underfur is blown, then some minor shedding of the upper longer hairs, called guard hairs which is the upper coat, can shed a little through out the summer. It is the upper longer coat, that helps to keep the under coat of fur dry. The blown off coat comes out in long thick strands that are more felted on the underside of the soft fur. These strands are called dreadlocks. The longest dreadlock that I have seen was two and a half feet long with a width of two inces. They can also be as small as a very large cotton ball. Dreadlocks can also be twisted and matted chuncks of fur in which case does not come off easily. As wolves run through the brush, twigs and thorns of various berry vines and the like can snag onto the undercoat and pull it off of the wolf. Some wolves will help to pull it off of each other with their teeth. And it also comes off as they play within the pack or in fighting weather in the pack itself of with another wolf that does not belong to the pack. Wolves can also chew the ones off that they can get to on their body, such as the tail and legs.




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