Wolves have long been both feared and held in awe. These beautiful animals have been the subject of many movies, TV shows, and books. While they are often seen as villainous (such as in the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”), wolves are just animals—no more evil than your own dog.
But how big are they compared to dogs? This depends on the dog, of course; wolves are among the largest in the canine family and are bigger than most breeds. But there are a few breeds of dogs that can give wolves a run for their money!
Here, we discuss these canines and give you more information about them, which is particularly important because wolves are ancestors of our beloved pet dogs.
Are Wolves Bigger Than Dogs?
The largest wolf species is the Gray Wolf,1 also known as the Timber Wolf. The average male Gray Wolf can be 6.6 feet long, including the tail, and 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 100 pounds.
Keep in mind that this is just an average wolf; the largest Gray Wolf on record weighed about 175 pounds!
But how do they compare to dogs? Wolves are larger than most dogs, but a few extra-large breeds are bigger than wolves. For example, many Great Danes are taller and heavier than the average wolf.
To put the size of the wolf in perspective, the following chart compares the height and weight of the Gray Wolf to a few other animals and humans.
|Coyote||23–26 inches||20–50 pounds|
|Gray Wolf||26–32 inches||60–145 pounds|
|Great Dane||28–32 inches||110–175 pounds|
|Average Human||69 inches||198 pounds|
|Spotted Hyena||30–32 inches||88–190 pounds|
|Lion||42–48 inches||330–550 pounds|
As you can see, the wolf is technically smaller than the average Great Dane and human, but of course, everything depends on the size of the individual. There are many small and large dogs, as well as small and large wolves.
A Little About Wolves
Despite their name, the Gray Wolf ranges in color from white to black, with the majority having gray or light brown fur. They are considered a keystone species, which essentially means they are critical to the ecosystem.
Gray Wolves are the largest species of wolf in general, and the largest of these wolves are found in west-central Canada, Alaska, and northern Asia. The smallest Gray Wolves are located in the southern parts of their distribution, such as India and the Middle East.
The Gray Wolf is the biggest and the most common wolf species. There are also the Red Wolf and the Eastern Wolf, as well as 40 subspecies.
The Red Wolf is critically endangered and is only found around eastern North Carolina. As of July 2022, there were 10 known Red Wolves in the wild and an estimated 19 to 21 in the wild. In a bid to save them from extinction, there are 243 Red Wolves in captivity as part of the Species Survival Plan.
The Eastern Wolf is only found around the Great Lakes and southeastern parts of Canada. They are small to medium in size and are reddish or light brown in color. They are also known as the Algonquin Wolf and the Timber Wolf (like the Gray).
What Are the Largest Dog Breeds?
The Great Dane is considered the largest dog breed, but several other breeds are nearly as big. The Dane is the largest by height (though sometimes challenged by the Irish Wolfhound), but the English Mastiff can be considered the biggest by weight. The following are 10 of the world’s largest breeds of dogs.
What Are the Main Differences Between Wolves and Dogs?
There are clear differences between wolves and dogs, though when you look at a breed like the German Shepherd, you can see the resemblance.
Wolves are large animals, bigger than most dog breeds, but a few dog breeds are even larger! That said, while a few dog breeds resemble wolves and have a few other similarities, the differences between the two species are quite striking.
Wolves are beautiful animals that are essential to many of the world’s ecosystems. If you’d like to bring home a breed that reminds you of a wolf, consider adopting a Husky, Akita, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, or German Shepherd.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels