Physical Characteristics

Varieties of Wolves
Wolf Habitats
Physical Characteristics
Threats to Wolves
Wolf Conservation

The grey wolf is the largest wild member of the canidae family, a group made up of dogs and their relatives. In fact, the wolf is most likely the ancestor of the domestic dog. This connection can be clearly seen in the appearance of the wolf; most subspecies look like German Shepherds.
Like most canids the wolf has long legs, built for both strength and stamina. The upper body of the wolf is designed the same way, being powerfully muscled and covered in a fur coat that traps body heat. A wolf's front paws have 5 digits, while the back paws only have four. All the paws end in short, non-retractable claws.
A wolf has a long muzzle with a powerful nose, to help it track its prey by scent. Its sense of hearing is also quite powerful, and as such the wolf has large, pointed ears. Sharing a wolf's muzzle are its powerful jaws, its most effective means of stopping prey. A wolf's most powerful teeth are the carnassials, slashing teeth located towards the back.


The standard grey wolf is 1 - 1.5m long, with a 30 - 51cm long tail. It weighs between 16 and 60 kg.
The red wolf is slightly smaller, being only 1 - 1.2m long with a 25 - 35cm tail. They weigh 18 - 41kg.
The Ethiopian wolf measures an average of 1m, with a 33cm tail and a weight of 13 - 18kg.