Anonymous asked:
Hey! I was wondering if you knew whether dogs like Huskies and Malamutes are more closely related to wolves than other breeds? My Husky rarely barks; he just howls. I didn't know if this was a thing or not.

Yes, both Huskies and Malamutes are more closely related to wolves than other domestic dog breeds.

Domestic dogs have about 99% of their genes in common with one another. But a few very distinct genetic differences separate them into about 400 dog breeds known worldwide. All domestic dog breeds are almost identical in relatedness to wolves. The DNA structure of domestic dogs is only about 0,2% different from wolves.

A recent study claims that several dogs whose origins date back to antiquity are also the most genetically similar to wolves — the very oldest ones being from Asia, such as the Shar-pei and the Chow, and from Africa, such as the Basenji. Others, like the Afghan, come from the Middle East, while the Siberian husky and others come from the Arctic [source].

Note that looks can be deceiving; Huskies and Malamutes have a wolf-like appearance, but the extent to which a certain dog breed looks like a wolf stands apart from the extend to how closely related to wolves they are. For example, a Shih Tzu (which the authors of the recent study I talked about assigned to the ancient group of Asian dogs) is more closely related to the wolf than a German shepherd is.

List of the fourteen ancient breeds that show the fewest genetic differences from wolves [source]:

(Note that this study was done on 85 different dog breeds, and as there are some 400 known dog breeds (of which the AKC recognizes 167), it is possible that an extended study would reveal additional “ancient” breeds)

Siberian Huskies are one of the dog breeds that actually howl more often than other dogs. Huskies are known to communicate less by barking and more in “talking”, “singing” and howling noises, but this has nothing to do with them being more related to wolves than other dog breeds.

Anonymous asked:
I used to work as a park ranger during the summers in a provincial park in Ontario, Canada. We kept track of the major packs in the area. We named them out of habit. One pack in specific, had a breeding pair, Clair and Derek. In one of the last summers I worked there, Clair was pregnant, but unfortunately, Derek had gotten very sick and passed away. Another female, Aria, had taken Derek's place. Is it common for homosexuality in wolves? Are "gay" couples or "lesbian" couples more common?

Displaying homosexual behavior is very common among wolves, Just like most animals, wolves have been observed engaging sexual behavior such as resembling mating behavior with a wolf of the same sex, sometimes even in preference for opposite sex when options were available. Male wolves often mount each other, but this is in a dominance displaying way. I don’t know whether gay wolves or lesbian wolves are more common. 

We can’t tell whether a wolf is actually aware or not that there is a distinction between sexual attraction to it’s own sex and that to the other, but we do call wolves engaging in such behavior homosexual.

If you want, you can read some more about it in Joan Roughgarden’s book ‘Evolution’s rainbow: diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people’, and in addition to that, just by giving it a search online you’ll find lots of interesting stuff!

Also, in your case it depends on what you mean by “she had taken her place”. This is most likely an occurence that stands apart from Aria and Clair being homosexual or not. All wolves love pups and are “programmed” to protect and nurture them, and when one of the parents in a wolf pack dies, another adult member of the pack usually replaces the parent’s leading role. Whether this is a female or male wolf taking over Derek’s place, has nothing to do with their sexuality - unless Aria and Clair are exhibiting sexual behavior. 

Anonymous asked:
what age do wolf pups usually howl for the first time?

About two weeks of age, wolf pups begin to stand and walk, and their vocalizations starts to include growls, whimpering and squeaks, and high-pitched attempts at howling.

Anonymous asked:
Out of interest, what are the colour variations of canis lupus and other wolf subspecies? Thank you for your time :)

Colour variations per wolf specie:

- Gray wolves (Canis lupus) can have coat colours or colour combination ranging from black, grey, white (though never a pure white as seen in dogs), brown, blonde, “silver”, reddish/orange. The Gray wolf has a lot of subspecies, and each subspecie has it’s own variation in colour. Some can come in all colours named above, whereas other Gray wolf subspecies for example only come in white. Some colour possibilities in Gray wolves:

imageEntirely black [X]

imageBlack and grey [X]

imageDifferent shades of grey [X]

imageVery light grey [X]

imageBig contrast [X]

imageLittle contrast [X]

imageGrey white black brown [X]

imageBrown/reddish with whites and blacks [X]

imageBrown and black with some greys [X]

imageBrown and black [X]

imageLight brownish/sandish [X]

imageBlonde [X]

imageSilverish [X]

imageWhite [X]

imageWhite with some grey and/or black variations [X]

All of the pictured above of course can have lots of variations - especially the darkness/brightness and contrast. No wolf looks the same.

If you want to know the colour possibilities of a certain Gray wolf subspecie, you can easily find that online.

- Red wolves (Canis rufus) always have a combination of the colours orange/reddish, brown and grey, with black markings and along with some white parts and some black parts like the tip of their tail:image[X]

- Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) are orange with white, with some grey and black markings:image[X]

Also, here's a nice chart with pictures of some wolf subspecies that shows the typical coat colour for each subspecies.


Wolves have a basic aversion to fighting and will do much to avoid any aggressive encounters.

It has been observed that a socialized wolf had become frantically upset upon witnessing its first dog fight. The distressed wolf intervened and eventually broke up the fight by pulling the aggressor off by the tail.


David Mech and Luigi Boitani, “Wolves: Behavior, ecology, and conservation”, 2003

(Source: electricrain)

Anonymous asked:
I know this might sound a little naive of me, but how rare are Ethiopian wolves? I thought wolves favoured colder climates, and Ethiopia seems like a very hot place for a wolf to live.

Nooo, that’s not naive, love! <3

Wolves reside around all kinds of places the world, and (sub)species have adapted to different climates. Ethiopian wolves for example are much smaller, have bigger ears for cooling, and have a thinner coat than the typical Gray wolf.

Ethiopian wolves indeed are very rare and listed as endangered, but that has nothing to do with the fact that they can not handle circumstances in their environment such as the heat. Threats for Ethiopian wolves include increasing pressure from expanding human populations, disease such as rabies transference from dogs, and the fact that they are specialised feeders which means that they require particular rodents for their dinner which can only be found in particular habitats.

Anonymous asked:
To the person asking about lone wolves joining other packs - Sometimes wolves will 'adopt' orphan wolf pups from other packs, but also wolves will also kill pups from rival packs as they are seen as a future threat.

Yes, all wolves love cubs and are programmed to protect and nurture them. This can extend to pups that are not related to themselves, especially if the adopting pack has pups of its own already.

This is quite rare though, because “orphan pups” would mean all the adults in a pack would have to be killed or removed from the area before the pubs would have no-one to care for them and become orphans, but it has happened on occasion.

Wolves killing wolf pups from another pack might happen occasionally, for example in case of invading territory of another pack, but such violent situations do not occur often.

Lone wolves however are not pups, but are typically about 2 years of age.

Anonymous asked:
If for any reason a human being is like, lost in a forest and later he/she meets a pack of wolves, what would happen?

It is very unlikely in the first place that a human would ran into a wolf or wolf pack. Wolves are naturally extremely shy and learned over the years to avoid humans. They see us as hunters, not as prey. They will flee before you even notice they were there.

There are some examples of humans walking into wolves in an area where the wolves are not yet familiar with humans. This video is a great example of such an event. German biologist Gudrun Pflueger sits waiting in a forest in Canada, hoping to catch a glimpse from the wolves who live there, when a pack of curious wolves not yet familiar with humans approaches her:

In the video you can see that the wolves are naturally very curious, and at the same time extremely wary, but won’t hesitate to attack in case they feel threatened.

Wolves will only attack humans as a last resort in cases when they for example are stuck and can’t escape and feel threatened. They will try to flee at first, but when they can’t, they will bite/attack as a warning or defence.

Anonymous asked:
do some wolvse have two different eye colors like huskys?

No, pure wolves can not have bi coloured eyes. Pure wolves could have appearing bi coloured eyes due to genetic defects. For example, if a wolf would happen to have cataracts on one of it’s eyes, that eye may appear to be blue while his other eye which is in good condition still holds it’s natural eye colour - brown for example.

An extremely rare condition called heterochromia iridis (difference in coloration of the iris) also applies to canids. Mainly domestic dogs though - I do not know of a case in which a wild wolf has this condition but theoretically it must be possible.

Also, huskies often have blue eye(s). Wolves can only have appearing blue eyes due to a genetic defect (such as cataracts, which is really rare). In a natural way, wolf eyes never come in blue. Wolf cubs are born with blue eyes, but that changes at about 6 weeks of age. Mature wolves do not retain blue as an eye color. Sometimes green or grey eyes can appear blue from certain angles or in certain lights.

Anonymous asked:
Have there ever been any cases of a lone wolf joining another pack temporarily before eventually breaking away from it and forming their own family unit? For reasons like companionship, better ability to hunt, etc?

Sure did. It’s most common that wolf packs don’t let in other wolves and are very territorial which often results in killing “intruders”, but that doesn’t mean exceptions are often made.

Anonymous asked:
I've noticed this topic coming up a lot, so I want to chime in. I have a wolf hybrid, and for me, she is absolutely perfect. *However* that does not mean that raising her was easy. She does not act like a domestic dog, and though she isn't totally wolfish, there are parts of her behaviour that drive others crazy. I can handle them because I know her. I know you don't support owning hybrids, and I am torn on the issue. I love my baby, but she is a handful, and they're not for everyone.

I understand, but I do not agree.

I see it this way: there indeed is a change that things will go absolutely right (to the extend of that bein possible with wolf dog hybrids), like in your case. However, I believe we should never take that risk. Even if there wasn’t such a big risk, wolf dog hybrids are also in no way doing any good for pure wolves - that alone should be reason enough to advocate for the ending of wolf dog hybridization. By seeking a bond with wolves through having wolf dog hybrids as pets, we are literally loving the real wolf to death. Breeding wolves with dogs does not preserve wild wolf populations, but actually places them at risk by threatening genetic purity and negatively impacting public attitudes toward wolves. As for the wolf dog hybrids themselves, they are the victims of a highly lucrative pet trade that heavily relies upon a potential owner’s ignorance or disregard of the truth about wolf dog hybrids.

If you know that for a fact, I don’t understand why you would still concider taking one as a pet and I really suggest overthinkin whý exactly you want a wolf dog hybrid as a pet. Do you want a wolfish looking or wolfish behaving dog? Is it because the idea of befriending or dominating a “wild” creature is fulfilling a fantasy? Or because establishing a spiritual connection with nature? You could instead get a pure dog breed like a malamute, saarloos wolfdog, sibirian laika, tamaskan dog, utonagan, etc., or show your love for wolves in other ways like advocating for them, raising money, or volunteering at a wolf sanctuary, go on wolf spotting/tracking tours, etc.

(I’m sorry if I came across harsh or angry towards you, that wasn’t my intention)

lupasenzaluna asked:
Do you know if there's a species of wolf who can show black fur more often than others?

I believe the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) are the wolves that are black most often, but I wouldn’t dare to say black is the most common coat colour of this subspecies.

thehowlinglight asked:
A question of why wolves attack the rear of an animal. Many fail to understand that unlike the big cats, wolves done have the jaw strength and hook like claws a cat does to suffocate their prey by grabbing it at the throat. They attack area's of the body that will render the animal less likely to resist and will cause them to bleed and weaken. Also because most of a wolf's large prey has powerful kicks, they attack the haunches to rip their muscles making it hard for them to fight back.


Anonymous asked:
Are there any black wolves in Europe?

There are currently no wild black wolves reported in Europe, except for a few black wolves that were found in Italy a few years ago. This article states that in the northern Apennines in Italy, black wolves occur at a non-negligible frequency. Evidence now suggest the black allele in those Italian black wolves comes from wolf-dog hybridization happens (read more).

Also, melanism can happen in every part of the world.

Anndddd, about 10 years ago, 20 black coated Timber wolves escaped from a zoo in Europe into the wild - doesn’t really count, I know, lol

leonerdnimoy asked:
Wolves aren't completely colourblind though, are they? I thought canids could see blues and greens but not reds?

True, wolves aren’t completely colour blind :) We don’t know much about it yet, but it is believed that wolves may be only partially color blind - meaning they have only red and blue photo receptors in their eyes, and can’t see the colour green. 

I left that meme like that because it’s an old joke ^^