Wolves are highly intelligent and social animals that live in family groups called packs. A wolf pack consists of a dominant male and female breeding pair who typically mate for life and are referred to as alphas or leaders. The pack also includes their offspring and can include additional related and non-related wolves, all of whom are devoted and loyal to one another. It is the female leader who selects den sites and establishes the pack’s territory, and leaders keep pack members in line within the established pecking order in the pack. Wolf pups are born once per year in the spring after a 63-day gestation period, and all members of the pack help to raise the pups and tend to injured or sick wolves.
Like humans, wild wolves have individual personalities and express a range of emotions. Posture, movement, tail position, facial expressions and vocalization can all give clues to the happiness, sadness, joy or fear a wolf is experiencing. Wolves display loyalty, friendship, and camaraderie among pack members as they happily greet one another with their tails wagging. During times of grieving, family members hold their heads and tails low in an expression of sadness. As Yellowstone wolf 21M grieved for his mate, his mournful howls could be heard across the valley. His great-granddaughter 926F obviously felt deep love; we know she said good-bye to at least two of her dying mates — even risking her life to do so. Wolves do feel pain and suffering; when a hunter injures a wolf, the wounded animal can suffer a long, painful death.
We can thank wolves for giving us "man's best friend" because all modern dogs, in fact, descended from wolves! Scientists believe dogs descended from wolves 15-40,000 years ago. Because early dogs sought companionship and were able to cooperate and be friendly with humans, they developed the characteristics over time that enabled them to live alongside us.
Wild wolves and domesticated dogs share some physical and behavioral characteristics. They both have a superior sense of smell, tracking ability, and herding mentality, as well as similar devotion to family, sociability, and the ability to learn and communicate. For example, dogs lick their human owners to greet them, while wolf pups lick their parents' faces to beg for food.
A prehistoric boy names his new friend, a wolf cub, Dog. 1992 (ages 3-8)
Explains how dogs evolved over time with stories of children befriending wild wolves. 2021 (ages 3-8)
Oxford Geneticist explores how dogs evolved from wolves and the role humans played in the process. 2019
Wolves are much like humans. They live in family units led by couples, raise their young and care for the elderly. Wolf expert and naturalist Radinger tells stories of 06, Cassanova and other famous wolves that illustrate the wisdom of wolves. 2019
Discusses the historical and spiritual connection of humans and wolves and how that connection can transform our inner selves. Alfero provides a way forward that helps both us and wolves. 2019