Moonlight Shadow - Mike Oldfield



All dogs that we know nowadays, as pets descent from the wolf.  Scientists have proved that the wolf is the ancestor of our dogs by blood samples, skelet- and behaviourcomparisons.

There are many different species among the wolf, look further down for more info.

In fairytales the wolf has been always shown as a mean, hungry, man-eating monster that everybody was afraid off.

The crazy thing is that is reflection is not stroking with reality at all. A wolf will never attack a human being, never the less kill it, even not if he is extremely hungry. 

However many people are afraid of the wolf.  This fear finds his cause in the early days when the wolf killed the sheep on farmer land and howled very intrigent.  The wolf is however the most social among mammals that are living on this planet.  It is by the social nature of this creature that the descendants of the wolf (dogs) have the most closes connection with human beings.

The social nature of the wolf expresses itself in the fact that wolf are living in families, we call this a herd. A herd exists out of 6 upto 15 animals depending on the season of the year and the presence of pray.  Within the herd the animals live with a couple of standard rules.

In that way there is a wolf-couple boss over the rest of the herd.  Most of the times it is the male that is boss, this we call a 'alpha-male' and he lives with his chosen female, the 'alpha-female'.  Those animals are most likely the strongest, smartest and most experienced animals among the herd.  Because this couple is the strongest and healthiest, only they can produce pups.  That way the herd produces strong descendants, this is only to keep them alive.


The hierarchies of a wolf herd :  you can compare it with a ladder : on top the alpha male, then aside him the alpha female.
Then the other adult wolf follow, then the young wolf, then the pups and all on the bottom it is the underdog.   The underdog is a wolf that doesn't suite the herd and it is the 'nerd' of the herd.  The underdog is the weakest of the family and in fact a poor thing, that has nothing to say in the herd.  Never the less he has an important role in the herd, because he is the weakest every other dog of the herd can work out its frustration on him, he has to let it happen and can not do anything back to the herd, otherwise he will be killed or chased away from the herd which means the same because a wolf has a difficulty surviving alone. (note : pups until 4 months old get advantage on pray after 4 months they take their place in the herd and have to wait their turns to eat)

The alpha male is boss over the other wolf and they have to obey him all time.  Beneed him it is the alpha female, she herself has to obey him, but all other female dogs in the herd have to obey her. 

Then the adult wolf.  These animals obey the alpha male and they are on their turn boss over the animals below them on the ladder, the young wolf , pups and the underdog.

Like you can expect the leader of the pack has certain privileges.  He alone can reproduce, he can eat as first from the pray, he gives the lead. Also if other adult dogs from the herd come up with an idea, like going on hunt, the alpha male will take the lead during the hunt.  Another important task of the alpha male is testing the young born pups. 21 days after birth the pups leave for the first time the nest.  The alpha male is already waiting the pups and handles them roughly.  Not to hurt them intendently but to see if the pups will obey the boss.  Because wolf live in packs, and like you read before in this text the pups are almost below on the ladder they have to obey and submit themselves to the leader of the pack and others.   If a young pup does not submit himself then he is in fact asocial and not meant to live in a herd.  The alpha male will kill these pups instantly.  If they do submit themselves to the alpha male, the pups can stay alive and immediately return to mom.   Sick animals are also killed or banned from the herd because they can mean a danger for the pack.

The pups that are so roughly tested by the alpha male will grow up and leave the pack when they are old enough to start their own herd and family.  To survive in an independent herd they have to obey the force of nature : the surviving of the fittest.

Wolves are only fertile in the colder months of the year so that the pups are always born with the spring.  This helps to survive, but anyway only 2 out of 10 pups will survive.  The others die by lack of pray (food), killing by natural enemies like bears, or as a cause of internal parasites like worms.

The advantage of this natural selection is that only the strongest wolf stay alive and reproduce strong and special kind of it own.  Disorders like hipdysplasia or cataract doesn't occur in wolf, but are common in dogs. 

The wolves live in an by them chosen area, named a territory.  in this area there are no other animals aloud.  The territory has a social area, this is where all wolves from the pack and it has also a private area, this is the place of a wolf alone.  You can compare this with the personal area of a dog basket.  And the social area is the house where it is living in.   Outside the territory lays the living and hunting area.  This area is quite large and lays around the territory.  Compare to the neighborhood where your house is in.

Wolves can pass information to one another and understand this by a very complex communication system.  This happens with hearing of noises (audit information) and also by seeing other wolves (visual information).

Wolves have different ways to produce noise :  howling, squeaking, mooring,... Each noise has it own meaning.  By howling a herd wants to make clear where they are at and it makes the herd connection stronger.

With his body a wolf can make clear how he is feeling.  The position of the body, tail and ears he gives information to other wolf.  Like 'I'm submitting' or  'I feel the strongest here' or 'I am afraid' 

The future :

The latest years biologists and other scientists are more and more sure that the wolf plays an important role in nature.  The task a wolf can fulfill is the balance of animal life in nature.  Luckily there are wolf noticed in East-Europe and more and more people are coming to their senses and see that the wolf is a noble animal.  Throughout the whole world there are approximately 100 upto 150.000 wolves alive in nature.  Specially in Canada and Russia there are still many populations.  These numbers seem much but if you compare that with the fact that in The Netherlands alone, already 1.100.000 dogs are living, then it seems incredibly a low number of wolves.  In West-Europe there are approximately 4000 wolves, mainly in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Finland and Greece.  In East-European countries the numbers are rated upto 10 to 20.000 animals (excluding Russia).

some wolfbreeds

The Grey wolf


The Grey Wolf  

(Canis lupus), is the largest among 41 wild species in the family Canidae, of the carnivores.  They become 66 to 96 cm sholderhight and 1 to 2 meters in length (nose to tail) and their weight varies in between 28 and 65 kilos.   Their coat colors can go from grey to brown to white to black.  In normal conditions they hunt at night and mainly feed on large hoofed animals like dear, caribous, moes but they also eat berry, birds, beavers, fish and even insects.   The animals they kill are in normal circumstances very young, old or in one way or the other weaker then the others so they are easier to catch.  They have middellarge hunting area's.  Healthy wolves will rarely attack humans.   They used to have a territory of almost whole north America, nowadays there are only certain northern states of Canada large enough to keep the hurt alive.  The grey wolf mates for live and live in hurts that can go from 2 upto 15 animals, but mostly it is in between 4 to 7 wolves.   The leader is normally the strongest male, that almost decides everything in the hurt, like when or where there will be hunted.

Wolf hurts are primarily formed by members of a family.  They can travel long distances and travel more often then any other animal.  The size of their territory depends of the presence of water and food.  Territory can overlap each other, however hurts will rarely come into one an other territory.  Some wolves leave the hurt to start their own hurt if they find a mate and a territory or go on on their own.

The mating season is from January to April.  The hurt will remain at one place from spring to summer and travel in autumn and winter, so they can raise their pups during spring and summer.  In summer most of the movements of the hurt are away and to the pups to feed, adult wolves hunt and travel alone most of the times.  In autumn the pups are already strong enough to travel along with the adults and will travel along with the hurt until next puppy season.  However only the highest male and female in the hurt will mate are all the members of the hurt involved in raising the pups.  Numbers of dead in a hurt are mainly : hunted by humans, killed by other wolves, diseases, parasites, starvation and wounding by a pray.  Most wolves live in the wild less then 10 years !

The Red Wolf


The Red Wolf :    

The historical territory of the red wolf exists out of the northern side of the US, in the west till Texas and in the northern side till Illinois.  They prefer a warm, moisty and dence habitat, however they are also present in needle tree woods and on prairies.

The breed often with coyotes and therefore it is assumed that the red wolf is mainly threatened with extinction by this kind of crossbreeding (instead of by humans). This and also the destruction of woods and coastly swamps, worldwide hunting and activity to control predators, brought the red wolf close to extinction.

In 1980 they were declared as biological extinguished in the wild.  In the wild red wolves will mate for live and their hurt will exist out of an adult couple and their pups.  The red wolf reaches "breedadolences" in their second or third year of live.  Mating seasons can be different for this wolf and run from March to May.  Litters of the wolves are to be found at a riverside where the water speeds up, enlarged caves of other animals, hollow trees and sandy wholes in coast area.

However always was assumed that the red wolf (canis rufus) was originally a crossbreed in between a grey wolf and a coyote, it is most likely that the red wolf already existed in North America even before the grey wolf or coyote existed.  Fossils of 750.000 year old, prove that the red wolf is a close family member of the primitive form of the northern American wolf.

The red wolf is similar to the grey wolf but smaller and is advantage with a lot of characteristics of coyotes and grey wolves.  The red wolf can be 38 to 40.5 cm in height and 1.4 to 1.65 m in length and can weigh in between 20 and 45 kilos.  The color of the coat can be cinnamon red to almost black with tinted area's above the eyes.   They feed mainly on birds, rabbits and other small animals like that but also hunts dear and if present in their territory large pray also.

The Artic Wolf


The Artic Wolf,

or so called polar wolf, is capable to live for years in temperatures far below zero, more then 5 months a year in the dark and weeks without any food.  The bottom is permantely frozen.  They live in the most unlivable territory of the world.  In April the temperature hardly rises above -5C.  This wolf lives on one of the few places on earth where it is (almost) save to the greatest threat of all : humans !

This wolf is one of the few animals that have these conditions, how they live throughout the year is almost unknown.

They live in small packs, existing of a couple, their young and their offspring from earlier seasons.  This dominant couple may mate and are called the alpha male and female.  They are respected by the rest of the pack.  all adults in the pack work together to feed and raise the pups.

After mating in March, the pregnant female leaves the pack to find a whole or cave to whelp her litter.  She can make a new whole, but with the soil frozen she will be often forced to use an old one or a cave.  The pups are born def, blind and completely helpless.  They are completely depending on their mother, which on her turn depends on her male to bring her food and for her pups.  After a month the pups are capable of eating meat, from that moment of the whole pack will provide food for mother and pups.  Most likely the pups will leave the pack within the first year.  During autumn and winter the polar wolves stay in movement and live on different places.  They hunt for lemming and other polar animals, but most important source of food are the musk oxes and caribous.  Polar wolves will kill anything they can catch and eat every part of it (including bone and skin).  If the pray are moving from that place the polar wolves move along to new hunting area's direction south.

Because of lack of grasfields the animals have to travel long distances to find enough food to survive.  And to survive the wolves have to hunt together to catch a large pray.  The caribous and oxes are too strong to be caught by one single wolf.  By the time that the hurt have closed in on the oxes, the chances on a surprise attack are long gone; the hurt has then already formed a defensive circle with calves in the middle.

The wolves will surround the oxes to force the oxes to turn to be able to follow the wolves and see where they are headed.  If the wolves are successful, the circle of oxes will fall apart and the wolf will go in to attack to isolate the younger and weaker ones.  A musk ox give plenty of food for a wolf to live on for a few days.

The sholderhight of a polar wolf is in between 63.5 and 79 cm.  In average they are 92 cm long (head to foot).  Their body length van go from 0.9m to 1.5m  (nose to tail) Colors go from red grey and white to black.  The approximate weight of an adult male is 87 kilo.  In captivity a polar wolf can become 17 years of age, however in the wild only 7 !

In general wolves are threatened by extinguision. The polar wolf is one of the few in his kind that can keep up its number, thanks to the few meetings with humans !  Lets keep it that way !!!


The European Wolf


European wolves

live and hunt just like all other wolves in pack of family members existing of an alpha male, his mate and their descendants.

Normally they stay in the neighborhood of their litter/place, but can also go wondering far outside the territory to hunt.  They hunt and kill large pray animals that are sometimes 10 times heavier then themselves.  Their favorite pray are wild dear and moes.  But this wolf will also eat small animals like mice and frogs.  Because the number of pray is slimming down for the wolf they have started to hunt tame horses, caddle and even housedogs.  Wolf that are starved will also eat potatoes, fruit and vegetables.

The alpha male and female mate in between January and March.  Pups are born 7 weeks later in a litter in between woods or rocks.  The male brings food to the litter.  He can do this by bringing the whole pray to the litter or to swallow first and than in the litter to spit it out again.   If the pups are already a little bigger the other members of the pack help feeding the pups.


The Mexican Grey wolf


Till 1900, the Mexican grey wolf was spread over Central Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas.  The first pioneers there had been started to hunt on pray of the wolf and forced thereby the wolf to serve himself with the supplies of the pioneers.  This behavior lead to the hunt on the wolf itself....

By 1950, the Mexican wolf had disappeared to the eye in the US.  In 1970 the last Mexican wolf was shot for as far as known.  In 1976 they were declared 'an endangered species'.  Their number has since then increased by mating in captivity and releasing in the wild afterwards.  But despite all the efforts it remains a rare animal in the wild.   In the wild the wolf feeds on dear, antelopes, rabbits and other small creatures.  As the smallest kind of the grey wolf, the Mexican grey wolf is in length in between 1.27 upto 1.63 (nose to tail) and 61-81 cm in height on the shoulder, his weight is in between 25-45 kilo's.  His coat is normally a mix of black white and grey.  They form packs, existing out of a couple and their descendants.  All pack members help in raising pups.


The Maned wolf


However a member of the Canedae family, which contains dogs, wolves and foxes, is this wolf the only that falls under the Chrysocyon.  He is not considered to be a "real wolf". He looks more like a fox with extreme long legs and a lot of fur on his shoulders.

Separately from the other wolf kinds in North America this wolf developed itself like it is nowadays.  She is approximately 1m high, 1.2m long and weighs rarely more then 25 kilo's.  By the long legs it seems heavier then it is in reality.  In nature they live in dry woods, grasfields and swampy regions with a lot of high growing on it.   Because of its long legs it is able to look over the long grass, which makes it easier to spy on pray, also to hide away in it.   The toes of the wolf can be easily spread which is easy to walk over swampy territory.  This wolf is a meat-eater like all dogs but also fruit makes part of half it diet.  His favorite food is wild guinea pig.  They eat rabbits, frogs, birds, fish... He has sharp teeth to cut meat and flat molders to squeeze fruits.  They hunt primarily by dawn and at night.  The catch pray with a high speed and high kick.  They sometimes even dig pray out of their wholes.

The mating season is in between late spring and early summer.  Their mating behavior is only observed in captivity.  The female takes the lead in mating by bending in front of the male and rub against him while she is dancing her front legs on the ground.   The female gets mostly 4-5 pups?  In a year they are fully grown and mate when they are 2 years old.  These wolves become in captivity 12-15 years old.  How they live in the wild is till now not really known.   This wolf lives in Brazil, Northern Argentina, Paraguay.  East Bolivia and Southern Peru.  The destruction of their habitat by development for human purposes is endangering these wolves.  The effects of agriculture - overgrazing by caddle for example - provides less food and territory for the wolves to live.  They are also killed by ranchers if they are forced by hunger to attack caddle.  They are on the list of endangered species of the Brazilian government and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The hybrid



A hybrid is a mix breed in between a real wolf and an other animal.  In the wild the red wolf do mate with coyotes and the result of that is a hybrid wolf.  What I will further discuss is the mix between a wolf and a dog or an other kind of hybrid wolf dog like the malamutes, the huskies and German Sheppard.  The are a little bigger and heavier then wolves.  In fact the name hybrid is not correct, if you go from the fact that the Canis lupus (wolf) and Canis lupus familiaris (dog) are from the same species. It is therefore better to call them wolf-dog mixes, or wolves dogs.

A problem with these dogs is that you never know how much character of the wolf is present.  A dog is bred to be familiar with humans, a wolf is out of nature afraid from humans.  A combination of those two can make in  the worst case a wolf dog with a strong hunting instinct with no fear of humans !  In the US there have in the past 30 years frequently been accidents with wolves dogs and more with children in the main part. 

This dog can be a sweet and tender company, but are in general not the ideal pet.  They demand a lot of time, patience and training.  More then dogs and are not suitable for beginners !  They also need special food, which can result in high bills.

People have to understand that a wolf dog remains partly a wild animal and will never be a civilized pet.  The demand special care, mentally and physically.

A wolf is no pet !! They are not housebroken, keeps fighting for the ranking, destroy things around and in the house, are afraid of strangers and will be unhappy because of their always existing desire to be free.  Do you really want a dog looking like wolf ? You better think of a sledge dog (malamute or husky) or a Sheppard. These are dogs that are ideal pets and used to humans.  The Saarloos wolf dog and the Tsjech wolf dog are officially recognized wolves dogs with a little wolf blood in them.

The appearance of the wolf dog :
The wolf dog is full of life and has an needless amount of energy, he also has developed his or her intuition strongly.  They rarely have inherited diseases, diseases, weaknesses and unpredictable characteristics.  These wolves dogs have proved to adapt to house life despite of their general fear against strangers.

*this "breed" is a large, powerful animal  with a small chest and a strong body.  This body is in proportion with his height a little long.

* The fur is dence, layered and has a woolly undercoat with clearly presence of the neck and cheek manes.  It is approximately 2.5 to 5 cm long, depending on the season.  The tail is fluffy and will be carried strait (never bend over the back).  They are adapted to extreme climates.

* the head is wide and flat between  the ears and pointy to the noise.  The color of the eyes is mostly amber colored or yellow.  The mouth is not abrupt to an end but runs towards the nose.  The ears are straight and of middle large size (in proportion smaller then those of the German Sheppard) and in the ears is a lot of fur.

* height : 63.5 to 91 cm   weight : 30 to 75 kilo's

* colors : from white to a black tan with wolf grey and sand color.

* the wolf dog has a strong will of his own, is alert and active.  His instincts are strong and can not be ignored.  However he is not trusting strangers and careful to trust them, the wolf dog knows a strong devotion to her human family.  They are very sensitive to the emotions of his/ her boss.

* they quickly learn who is the leader, which results in a strong bond between the wolf dog and his family.   When good socialized at young age, they are extremely social and adapted to human outside the family.

* their look is impressive, alert and keeps your attention.  The general impression of this animal is : speed, power and endurance mixed with elegance and symmetry.  There must be made one remark to the way they can walk without making a sound, the movement and the good condition.  This animal has to be a good muscled athletic dog and may in no case be overweight.

* the wolves dogs are smart and undoggy intelligent dogs which are constantly a source of distraction and amazement for their owners.  These also give away that these dogs are difficult to control because of their possibilities to dig and their height possibility to jump.  A responsible owner with intelligence of this species is important and essential to take and control this dog.

* they live in between 10 and 18 years

* this wolf dog can not be aggressive to humans.  Any kind of aggression against the same sex (of other animals) can be tolerated, but can not be in any other way.

* These dogs are big, solid build  with long legs that seem to not be in proportion. This animal gives a strong and powerful impression with  elegance and speed.


Wolf dog) versus dog :

What makes the difference between the wolf dog and other dogs ?  The head that is carried with dignity, the cheek manes, the straight ears, the body size, the long legs, the general appearance and general size are signs that makes it clearly that this not a regular dog.

Genetic and physical remarks:

* real  wolves have once a year a litter, the pups are born end of march to begin of may.  Dogs are born all year long.

* real wolf are born black (or very dark grey).  Even the artic wolf, that is in the end completely white are dark with birth.  Dogs are born in all kinds of colors.

* adult wolves dogs resemble a lot to wolves.  Some physical characteristics of the wolf are : long bony body, a dence dubblecoated coat, extra long legs, manes or fur around the neck and shoulders, alonged nose, long bended teeth, the eyes are a little to the side and with colors from amber to yellow (never blew !!), small round furry ears, straight tail (in contradiction with the malamute or husky that has their tail bend over he back) and a black nose. Remark : none of these characteristics can lead to being a wolf on their own like that because some of these physical remarks are normal for some kind of dogs. 


Behavior characteristics:

* early and a consequent education of the wolf dog is necessarily at a young age, against adults children and other animals, sounds and situations.  If this is being ignored this animal can change into an animal that is uncontrollable out of fear biting and with a great fear of adults.

* destruction.  The wolf is from nature a digger and the destruction in your house can be of a great deal.   Most wolves dogs can open almost anything (despite child prove locks !). So they open your refrigerator, cabins and doors.

* the fact that wolves do not do their needs on one place like normal housedogs, combined with the fact of natural behavior of marking their territory (spray) make it difficult to keep wolves dogs even high generations of wolves dogs.

* high generations of wolves dogs are totally not good guard dogs, because of their fear of humans in general. So do not expect from a high generation wolf dog that it will protect your property.  Wolf and wolves dogs rarely bark (mostly it is just a warning bark) so that don't make good alarm dogs.

* howling.  Wolves and wolves dogs howl, if it is out of loneliness or warning or because of their own wolf reasons.  Take that in your neighborhood very well to your mind and be aware of how your neighbors will respond to that.  Not everybody will appreciate the early (and I mean early specially like 4 am)  morning cries, however nice they can be

* they match great with kids, absolutely. But be aware of the pray-instinct that can be tickled by young children running, falling, crying,... The most wolves dogs get quite large and play very roughly. But like for any other large animal too they can NEVER be left alone with children !!!

* obedience.  Wolves are extremely smart.  They have their own reasons to do things and don't have "the will to please" like most dogs have.  Training for obedience, and specially with high generation wolves dogs, will take a lot of time and patience.  Except that it will also result in less trustable results then with a dog, however it is possible.  To train a high generation wolf dog to come on demand will be a big challenge.  Therefore most wolves dogs can not be released from the leach in a environment with a lot of people.  Despite that it has to be also in your mind that at any time little children can awake the pray-instinct of the animal.  A lot of lower generation wolves have proved to control obedience in a good way.  Very important is also that you have to be the alpha leader, for wolf it is normal to challenge the leader to get higher in ranking in the herd so you have to be prepared and react on the wright way.   Never hit a wolf dog but go for professional help to someone who has experience with these dogs.

 * Biting and grabbling are normal things to do for a wolf, so you have to make sure you forbid him that already at young age.  An adult wolf dog (of 60 kilo or more) learn not to bite isn't funny, neverless even dangerous.

Daily considerations :

* wolves dogs are experts in escaping and real artist on this matter.  They have to have an escape prove fence and a lot of space to run.  wolves dogs and even dogs may never be chained as a normal fact in daily life.  What they need is a minimum height of 1.8 meter with points to the end (depending on the height of the wolf dog) and also they need a dig proof soil.

* wolves dogs need company, as to humans as to other animals.  An other wolf dog or a large breed dog of the opposite sex is advisable.

* Wolves are carnivores.  High generation wolves dogs will not survive on dry food alone.  Be alert on using fresh meat in the feedings, it is advisable o find a source for meat in advance and to find out what it will cost you.

* wolves and high generation wolves transporting in a car is very difficult.  To get them in is already a challenge and most of them will pee and poo out of fear while driving.   Some owners will find it necessarily to drug their dog before transporting, but be aware that some vets will refuse to treat your wolf dog in general and will refuse to vaccinate against rabies because the effect on those animals has never ever been proven before.

Number and rates ...
It is assumed that more then 90 % of the wolves dogs sold in the USA is described as a high generation wolf dog is in fact not really a high generation wolf dog.  The danger inhere is that the new owner approaches the low generation  wolf dog as a high generation wolf dog and trains like a dog without having any difficulties, leaves it in the house without having problems of destruction,....etc  The owner will tell everybody  how well this high generation wolf dog  is to train and that they rarely give more problems then other dogs.  Somebody else hears this or the same person takes another wolf dog and get in fact then a high generation wolf dog ... it will result in big surprises, I can assure you that !!!

Also keep always in mind with the given generations in between the wolf dog and real wolf is important and will influence his behavior.

A wolf dog of 8 generations downwards from the real wolf, will be less wolfy then a wolf dog from the 3rd generations ! 

The most high generation wolves dogs (and certainly real wolves) are not good pets; most people that have a wolf dog in high generation keep in house as a pup but will ban it outside as soon as destruction and behavior will become a problem

This will however not mean that no one has ever succeeded to keep a high generation wolf dog in house (and many think they did but in fact have a lower generation wolf dog then they think) but it will take an enormous amount of  time and patient. And will this be in proportion to taking a wolf dog or a regular dog breed??

Remark :
Wolves are tradionally bred with malamutes and huskies and are often also crossed with German Sheppard.  Because of the great popularity of the wolf dog there are breeder that are unethical and started breeding with wolves and aggressive dogs like pit bulls.   These particular crossbreeding wherever in the world are a danger to the future of the wolf dog, with this kind of crossbreeding it is waiting for an accident to happen !



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