Standing at 2-3 feet at the shoulder, wolves range from a little over 4 feet to about 7 feet tip to tail. Head-plus-body length ranges from 3-5 feet and tail length ranges from just under a foot to almost 3 feet. Wolves can weigh between 40-180 lbs. An average North American wolf would be 80 lbs. As you head north into the Canada, the average weight increases with an average wolf in Alaska coming in at around 100 lbs.

Northern European wolves usually average 85 lbs. The head is large with a broad forehead, muscular neck, and distinctive facial ruff. The chest is deep and broad. Long legs with broad pads allow the animal to obtain a maximum running speed of 55-70 kph. A wolf has a crushing pressure with its mouth of 1,500 pounds per square inch. Compare this to the 750 pounds per square inch of a German Shepherd. In captivity wolves live up to 16 years. In the wild, exceptional animals can live up to 13 years, though 8-9 years is the average.

Male wolves usually outweigh females by 5-10 pounds. Females also have a narrower muzzle and forehead, thinner neck, slightly shorter legs, and less massive shoulders. This makes males look slimmer at the waist. 2-3 year old female wolves are faster than their counterparts of the same age.

Compared to the Alaskan Malamute, the dog many people consider to be most like a wolf, the wolf's head is wider, longer and generally larger. The neck is about 20 inches around, the same as the malamute, but a malamute is larger in the chest. The wolf stands taller, with longer legs and has a longer body. The wolf also has a longer tail and its stride is almost twice the length of the malamute's.

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