August 18, 2015 | Posted in Andy The Everydog

Andy-Everydog-Part-15-350PXThe common belief is that dogs are descended from wolves.

Why, then, don’t humans have wolves for pets and why aren’t we out in the woods foraging for food?

The truth is that even though wolves and dogs come from the same species, the physical appearance in many breeds of dog is similar to wolves, but the behaviors, instincts and temperaments vary greatly.

Dogs are the domesticated relatives of the gray wolf, commonly found in Eurasia and parts of North America, where the greatest world populations of wolves originally lived.

Here’s a simple comparison of them and us!

Physical traits:

In general, domesticated dogs are considered to have a wider range of traits, which appeal to humans. Overall, they have shorter snouts; have a wider range of coat colors, thinner coats and thinner legs.

Because of their size and stature, wolves are said to have physically larger brains, broader skulls, longer muzzles, larger feet and longer legs.

Behavioral traits:

It is almost impossible to house train a wolf! (No surprise there, huh?) Some researchers say that wolves are generally more intelligent and more aware of their surroundings than dogs. We, however, are much more sociable with others like us or with other animal pets. And we can be easily trained by humans.

Wolves live in packs (kinda’ like gangs in big cities, maybe?) and take their cues from the biggest, baddest guy in the pack, or the Alpha male.

In a recent TV show, tasks were set out for both wolves and dogs. In one particular test, a piece of meat was tied to a rope, which was attached to a board inside a cage. When the rope was slack, both wolves and dogs were able to slide it towards them, through the bars of the cage and successfully get the meat.

When the rope was permanently affixed to the board, with just a small part of it extending from the cage, both dog and wolf soon realized that sliding it toward them was not going to solve the problem or move the meat closer to them.

The wolf pulled and pawed the rope as far as he could, but didn’t give up immediately. He pawed and shook the cage around, then stood back and growled at it and finally walked away. Researchers say this kind of frustrating, no-solution exercise brought out anger and aggression in the wolf.

The dog who found that he could not get to the meat, simply tugged on the rope just a couple of times, then turned and quietly walked away.

In another test, two buckets were rubbed with meat juices. A trainer stood with a bucket on the floor on each side of her. The purpose of this exercise was to see how hand signals registered with wolves and dogs.

The trainer called the dog to her and gestured with one hand to just one of the buckets. The dog responded by going to that bucket. The wolf did not respond to the hand signal, directing it to the same bucket, but headed for the opposite bucket, instead.

These exercises wouldn’t appear to yield defining results, but were interesting regarding training capabilities in the animals.

Hunting traits:

Wolves, as we know, hunt in packs, making it a group activity which enables them to hunt and take down prey more successfully.

Domesticated dogs have a weaker hunting instinct. Also, their teeth are too small to rip into prey, resulting from a gentler, kinder diet than wolves.

Social existence:

Dogs, even homeless ones, tend to live near human dwellings. Pack dogs roam the streets and scavenge for food. Three-week-old puppies will begin to approach humans. Wolves live in packs away from civilization.


WE are perfectly suited for domestication! We make great companions as home pets. Wolves are WILD animals, folks! They are minimally trainable but that training is not passed on to their offspring.

Reacting with Sound:

We bark when necessary, at disturbances, mostly. And, sure we can howl, but not like wolves. We also bark for joy!!

Wolves howl as a bonding tool with members of their pack, and bark to members of the pack if their territory is invaded by unfamiliar sights or sounds.

Life Expectancy:

Seven to twenty years for us. Seven in the wild, 15 in captivity for them.


More frequent if our hair is long; less so if it is short.

Wolves? NADA! (No wonder they’re left out in the woods!)

‘Till next time,

~ Andy