Wolves that are raised as domestic animals are friendly to humans and other animals and exhibit dog-like behaviors, while wild wolves are afraid of humans and can be hostile when they encounter humans.
Many people want to own wolves as pets, although that is not possible for every pet owner. They need a lot of space and a decent amount of attention. Plus, it’s illegal in most cases.
Furthermore, they might only get attached to human beings up to a certain point. They are not likely to develop the same bonds to humans as dogs do.
Are Domestic Wolves Friendly With Humans?
Yes, domestic wolves that are raised by humans adapt to new relationships and will be friendly with humans.
A recent study has analyzed domesticated wolves and their behavior. The main purpose of this study was to compare the behavior of domesticated wolves to the behavior of domesticated dogs to see what the differences between the two species are.
The study has found the following findings:
- Domesticated wolves are able to form a closer bond with their foster parents, especially if they have been together over a longer period of time. However, it also found that it took longer for wolf pups to accommodate to human parents and form a bond with them as compared to dogs.
- While they still remained shy towards strangers, domesticated wolves were rarely or never aggressive towards strangers. This means that while they were not particularly fond of any potential visitors to the home of their foster parents, they were able to get accustomed to them after some time and eventually, accept them as friends.
- The feelings of a relationship with humans last into adulthood. While wolf pups are much more attached to humans than adults, the study found that adult wolves still showed signs of attachment to humans, such as being happy when they returned home after a long trip.
- They still prefer to be alone more often than dogs do. This is part of their natural behavior that comes with their DNA. Their craving for freedom is far stronger than it is with dogs.
As you may see, the study found that domesticated wolves started showing some features that domesticated dogs show, although they’re not as profound and well developed.
Are Wild Wolves Friendly with Humans?
Wild wolves will actively avoid contact with humans and will not approach humans unless they have no other choice. They might get aggressive with humans if they feel endangered, which is why wild wolves might never develop a bond with humans.
However, there have been reports of people forming a bond with wild wolves.
This is likely to be a much longer process to get the wolf accustomed to the human being, and it’s preferable to isolate the wolf and try to form a bond with just one wolf.
Because wolves avoid humans, this contact might never be established, or it might end badly in case the wolf decides to attack the human. They will only attack if they have no chance to escape or if they’re surprised by the human approach, though.
But forming a bond with wild wolves is often bad for the wolf. There are several reasons for that:
- The wolf might get too comfortable in nature when it receives food from humans regularly, which might mean that the wolf will lose some of its sharpness, making it less capable to find food for itself.
- It will also get detached from the main wolf pack more and more. This alienation might be further increased by the other members of the pack which might feel abandoned by the wolf that starts forming a bond with humans. As a consequence, the wolf might be more exposed to dangers and might not be able to survive for long.
- These wolves then become an easy target for animal hunters or for other animals that might take advantage of the wolf.
For these reasons alone, it’s not recommended that anyone tries to form a bond with a wild wolf, let alone the likelihood of getting attacked by the wolf if you give it no chance to flee before you reach it.
Are Wolves Friendly with Other Animals?
Domesticated wolves do display some ability to interact with other animals socially, especially with dogs, as one study found.
However, wild wolves will not socialize with other animals except for with other wolves.
In this study, the researchers tried to study the behavior of domesticated wolves through play. They paired them up with dogs and surprisingly, the study showed that wolves were willing to participate in the games.
Dogs in the study were able to find the hidden chick by following the cues from other dogs, which allowed them to find the hidden object faster. Wolves, on the other hand, had a different strategy for finding the object.
Some wolves still accepted the dog cues to find the chick, but the majority of the wolves in the study followed their own instincts to find it. This shows that while some wolves might have the capacity to cooperate with other animals, most wolves tend to lean more on their own senses and other wolves in nature.
But despite that, it’s widely believed that domesticated wolves might be able to form bonds with other animals.
Wild wolves, however, will not interact too much with other animals. That’s because they’re apex hunters, which means other animals in their habitats will actively avoid them. The only interaction they have with other animals is when they hunt them down.
The notion of domesticated wolves interacting with humans and other animals is interesting and is still being researched.
Some studies have shown that wolves do display similar behaviors to dogs when they’re domesticated. This means that while they can get attached to humans when they’re kept at home, they will still be wary of strangers and will avoid them.
It will certainly be interesting to see if there are more studies linked to the behavior of wolves and their relationship with other animals in nature. Most current indicators tell us that they’re not especially social in their habitat, but that might still change with more evidence.