Different Types Of Wolves

Introduction to wolves

Wolves (Canis Lupus) are a species of carnivorous mammals, in addition the wolf is the largest member of the canid family (dog). An adult male weighs about 30-50 kg and can measure up to one meter in height, with a body length of 1.8m and 2m.

On the other hand, the females are a little smaller, with a weight between 25-40 kg. Most wolves have grayish brown fur, but they can vary from white to black.

Anatomy of wolves

wolf anatomy

Although there are differences between the species of wolves around the world, in general terms the height varies between 60 and 90 centimeters to the shoulder, and weigh between 32 and 70 kilos. Although rarely found, specimens of more than 77 kg have been found in Alaska and Canada.

The heaviest wild wolf, hunted in Alaska in 1939, weighed 80 kg. There are some unconfirmed cases of wolves hunted in the northeast of Russia that reached 100 kg. The smaller wolves are the sub-species of Arab wolves, the females of these can weigh about 10 kg at maturity. Females in a given population weigh around 20% less than males. Wolves can measure between 1.3 to 2 meters from the snout to the tip of the tail, this being about a quarter of the total length of the body.

They are designed to travel long distances in search of prey. They can run up to 35 miles per hour for approximately 20 minutes. Most of the time these animals are found at a slow pace, around 5 miles per hour. Read more on Anatomy of the wolf.

Distribution of Wolves

Previously, wolves were present throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom, where they became extinct more than three hundred years ago. Currently, the largest number of wolves outside of Russia is found in the Carpathian region of Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania.

Smaller populations can be found in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, Belarus, in the mountains of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria; Slovenia and Greece; the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and Italy. In recent years, the wolves have returned to eastern Germany, Switzerland and France. The recovery has been natural, there have been no reintroduction of wolves in Europe.


Wolves are extremely adaptable and live in diverse habitats, from tundra to thick forests, mountainous regions and Mediterranean scrub and plains. They can also tolerate human proximity and, in some areas, are known to enter towns and cities, generally in search of food.

Such wide distribution has allowed the appearance of different subspecies, which differ in size, color and length of the coat or proportions of the nose or ears. More than 50 subspecies of wolves have been described, but a true consensus has not been found, and the list has also been condensed, reducing the subspecies between 13 and 15.

Unfortunately, as a result of the persecution, wolves are found mainly in remote mountainous and forested areas.

Feeding Habits

Wolves are carnivores and feed mainly on large ungulates (ungulate mammals) such as elk, deer, roe deer and wild boar, but also hares, beavers and domestic livestock. A wolf eats around 2-6 kg of meat per day.

As they can not always find food every day (in Bialowieza Primeval Forest, in Poland, it is estimated that a herd of average size of four to five wolves that feed mainly on deer and wild boar, kill once every two days) can eat up 10 kg at a time. They also eat birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects, plants and berries. In some areas of Europe, such as northern Portugal, where wild prey is scarce, wolves depend almost entirely on domestic livestock. For further reading see our post on: What do wolves eat?

Different types of Breeds or subspecies of Wolves

Some of the most emblematic and striking wolf races that we can find in different parts of the world.

Iberian Wolf

This breed lives in the Iberian Peninsula, mostly north of the Douro River, and it should be noted that the Iberian wolf is currently in danger of extinction.

Arctic Wolf

Its fur is completely white to camouflage itself in the snow. It feeds on caribou and musk oxen, and lives mainly in the frigid areas of Alaska, Greenland and Canada

Red Wolf

It owes its name to the color of its reddish brown fur. If we refer to its habitat, this species develops in North Carolina and the South (United States).

Gray Wolf

It weighs around 55 kilos and, although the adjective ‘gray’ is due to its fur, there are also blacks, whites and reds. They have a narrow snout and head in relation to other species.

Ethiopian Wolf

The Ethiopian wolf is limited to the high mountains, on both sides of the Great Rift Valley, at altitudes between 3000 and 4500 meters.

Himalayan Wolf

Wolves of the Himalayas mainly inhabit specific areas of India such as Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal, China, Mongolia.

Indian Wolf

Many people believe that the wolf of India is a fox, since they are small in stature and when they become adults they weigh between 40 and 60 pounds.

Tibetan Wolf

The Tibetan wolf, also known as Mongolian wolf or Chinese wolf, was identified as a subspecies of the gray wolf in 1863.

Wolves and people

The history between man and wolves has always been contradictory. Although these almost never attack humans, wolves have historically been considered one of the most fearsome natural enemies in the animal world.

Because of their hunting nature, wolves have always come into conflict with human interests, causing losses to livestock herds throughout the world. That is why on innumerable occasions the wolves have been shot, trapped and poisoned. Formerly the wolf or canis lupus inhabited most of the regions of the northern hemisphere, although at present the members of this species have been greatly reduced due to the destruction of their habitat and hunting by man.

In areas where virtually no human beings live, such as in Alaska and in parts of Canada, wolves develop, and apparently they are doing very well. In these places they do not bother almost anyone, since they are usually alone. In most of these places the wolves are under protection, but they still hunt them illegally.

For decades, humans have used poison to kill wolves, as well as traps to hunt them. While many people try to investigate them to protect them, other people try to kill them and hunt them illegally. Most people do not see the value of protecting these animals, as they continue to see them as dangerous animals.