Wolf stuffed animals are not to be confused with dog stuffed animals, because simply put, wolves and dogs are not the same thing. While it’s true dogs are decedents of the wolf, as we know, one is domestic and one is wild which is not the same at all.
Wolves are the largest wild member of the dog family and both their physical and behavioral characteristics are what distinguishes them from domestic dogs; wolves hunt together, cooperating with each other so they can successfully pursue, attack, and eat animals which are generally much larger than they are.
In North America, there are 24 recognized species of wolf. In terms of their physical appearance compared to other species in the same family – coyotes and dogs – there are differences. Wolves for example, range in weight from 75-115 pounds. Coyotes weigh as little as 25 pounds and as much as 35 pounds, while in dogs, weights can vary. Wolves are black and different shades of grey and tan -found mainly in north-western Montana. White wolves are found mostly in the Arctic, and grizzled in color and they are never spotted. Coyotes can be all shades of grey and tan, white or black, which is rare, and they are also never spotted. Dogs, on the other hand, vary in color and can be spotted (such as the Dalmatian breed). Both wolves and coyotes tails either hang straight down and never curl while a dogs tail carriage can vary and may even curl. Overall, a wolfs general appearance is massive with long legs and if only seen quickly, they are often mistaken for a calf or deer. In contrast, coyotes are of medium size similar to dogs, have dog-like proportions but a fox-like face. A dogs general appearance can vary – from the tiny chihuahua to the very large mastiff.
If the light is bad, or if from a distance, it can be very difficult to tell a wolf, coyote, and dog apart. Through microscopic analysis, the hair of a wolf can be distinguished from both the coyote and the dog, although there are no other current techniques to tell the difference in hair between wolves and coyotes. In addition, genetically, wolves, coyotes, and dogs are nearly identical and there are no testing methods to tell them apart based purely on their genes. The skulls of the three species, however, can be used to tell them apart by examining the differences in size of teeth, and overall angle and size of the skull itself.
A terrific way to teach a child about the differences between wolves and dogs is to have both wolf stuffed animals and dog stuffed animals on hand. At the very least, with these two types of plush toys, both similarities and differences can easily be pointed out. Despite their physical differences, wolf stuffed animals are equally as soft and cuddly as any dog plush toy and like their domestic relative, wolf stuffed animals make terrific life-long friends.