How Do Wolves Mark Their Mates?

Wolves usually designate their breeding partner by “marking” it, which means it will sniff her genitals to determine whether she’s ready, and then proceed with mating when they’re both ready.

A wolf doesn’t really put a mark on its lover, though. It’s normally the alpha male that has dominance over the entire pack, as well as the alpha female. This means that he’s free to choose which mate he’ll have. He does that by designating his lover, although he needs to sniff out her genitals to determine if the pheromone levels are high enough for mating.

Marking doesn’t happen like it does in various werewolf stories where the alpha werewolf marks their mate to know she’s taken. However, there is an aspect of dominance, especially when it comes to the alpha male, which means that other wolves can’t touch the mate that the alpha male has chosen.

How Do Wolves Mark Their Mates

With wolves, marking is a bit more subtle. It’s said that the pair establish a deep, metaphysical connection between them, and some sources even say that there’s a mark on the female that happens during the mating and it’s seen as a flash of lightning; however, this has not yet been established to be true.

What Does It Mean When a Wolf Marks His Mate?

It generally means that both animals share a telepathic, almost metaphysical connection that bonds them together.

In the case of the alpha male, it lets other wolves know that his mate should not be touched. However, the aspect of breeding with wolves is a bit more complex than the alpha male just choosing his mate at his own mercy.

Some females in the pack aren’t ready for mating, as they don’t have enough pheromones for mating. The male will establish whether the female is ready or not by sniffing her, which gives him a good idea of whether he can proceed to courting.

However, the aspect of mating is much more subtle than it’s portrayed in many fables and stories. In those stories, marking is something that’s physically visible and can be sensed by other animals, and it’s supposed to act as a warning to other wolves. But this doesn’t happen in real life.

Read Also: How do Wolves Mark their Territory?

How Do Wolves Choose Their Mates?

Wolves choose their mates by sniffing out and examining their mate whether she’s ready for mating and then proceeding with courtship and breeding.

During the breeding season, it’s usually established that the alpha male and alpha female belong to each other. There are a few rare exceptions where males breed with other females of the pack, although this is normally a rarity. Although a wolf can have several mates, it’s typical that he’ll stick to his designated mate.

The process of picking the mate begins with establishing whether the mate is ready for breeding or not. Males are ready for breeding almost throughout the entire year, while females have a set window during the year when they can breed. It’s also typical that only alpha males and females will breed.

When a wolf sexually matures, it’s not atypical to see it leave its pack and travel on its own to find other sexual partners. This might happen after 2 or 3 years after the wolf is born, although alpha males tend to stick to their packs for most of the time.

How Do Wolves Show Affection?

When two wolves are attracted to each other and are ready to breed, they’ll show affection to each other by sniffing each other and snuggling close to each other and making quiet whining sounds.

This is the initial phase of courtship that only happens when the two wolves have determined they’re right for each other and ready for breeding. After that, they’ll start increasing this physical contact by bumping into each other and grooming, after which they might start breeding.

This courtship process can be quite long, and the male is usually more active as he “dances” around the female to show his affection. The female will normally return affection by responding to his cues and showing that she’s ready to mate. At first sight, this will all look like playful behavior.

After the period of courtship, the male will move to the female’s genital area and determine whether she has enough sex hormones, which helps him decide whether he’ll continue with breeding or not. If she’s not ready, the female will repel the male, which sometimes might happen by urinating.

Do Wolves Cheat on Their Mates?

This is an interesting question to observe; it has been shown that there’s some potential for alpha males to cheat on their mates. Even though they mate for life with their designated partner, it’s also typical to see them seek other partners.

The degree of cheating is not yet completely clear for wolves, but there is evidence that wolves do cheat on the mates they’ve bred with. This is especially typical for alpha males, who will usually have a bit more choice when it comes to their breeding partners as compared to the regular males in the pack.

Also, the aspect of jealousy is not yet determined when it comes to wolves and cheating. But it is believed that alpha males might get jealous if another wolf tries to court his alpha female. He will try to repel the other animal from breeding with his mate, although it’s not quite clear if these attacks are vicious or not.

Read Also: Why do Wolves Attack the Omega Wolf?


Wolves have interesting breeding patterns. Alpha males are more prominent breeders as they have a bit more freedom of choice when it comes to choosing their partners, although he will most likely breed with the alpha female.

He will not mark his mate like we’ve seen in some stories and fables, but it’s often clear for the rest of the pack that the alpha female is reserved for the alpha male. He’ll determine whether the female is ready for breeding by sniffing her genitals and determining whether she has enough sex hormones to breed, which is sometimes seen as “marking his mates”.

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