How Many Colors Can Wolves Come In? Wolf Colors Explained with Pictures

Wolves are massive carnivores and the biggest Canid family member, often known as the dog family. Wolves may be found in every single region of the world.

However, in contrast to dogs, they have never been tamed; hence their interactions with people are typically reserved and distrustful. But what about wolves’ body coat colors? How many colors can wolves come in?

Wolves may be found in various colors, the most common of which is a mix of black and gray. Other colors include white, brown, yellow, red, or variations of these.

In point of fact, the color of the wolf coat is governed by at least three distinct genes, each of which is inherited in a pair, and each gene has the potential to produce either a gray or black coat color.

The gene for the black coat color is dominant, which means that even if it is combined with a gene for the gray coat color, the resulting wolf will still have a black outer layer rather than a gray one.

There are three main species of wolves, each of which has close to 40 subspecies. They are available in a wide range of dimensions and colors.

Let’s discuss in detail all about the different colors in which wolves come in.

1. Arctic Wolf/White wolves

Arctic Wolf
Arctic Wolf – Entirely whitel in color

The breathtaking Arctic wolf is among the most distinctive wolves on the list because it is entirely white in color. As you might have guessed, the animal’s white coat allows it to blend in more seamlessly with its environment.

In keeping with its appearance, this subspecies of the gray wolf is often referred to as the “white wolf” or the “Arctic wolf.” The Arctic wolf typically lives in hilly regions; therefore, if you want to see one, it may be challenging to find one in the wild because of where they dwell.

However, if you are lucky enough to see one, it will be well worth your time because these white wolves are not too scared of humans and may even come up to you while you are out in the woods.

Fun Fact : Arctic wolf is actually a subspecies of Gray wolf

2. Gray wolf

Gray Wolf

The gray wolf is the wolf species found in the greatest numbers in North America and around the world. They are present majorly in Russia, America, Europe, and Northern Mexico.

Gray wolves typically have a fur coat that is primarily gray in color, but may also include patches of white, black, or tan throughout. The color of their back is often darker than the color of their abdomen.

According to estimates, there are probably between 300000 gray wolves in the world now.  This is because the habitat of gray wolves includes a wide variety of environments, including woods, mountains, plains, and climates of various kinds.

3. Black Wolves

Black Wolves

Many people are surprised to learn that black wolves are actually a subspecies of gray wolves, and these wolves are also often seen with the pack of Gray wolves.

There is a strong possibility that these wolves inherited their black coloring from domestic dogs due to their hybridization with wild dogs.

They are identical to gray wolves in every way except for the color of their fur. Only roughly one to three percent of all wolves are black.

It is possible to find black wolves in the same habitats as gray wolves around the globe, from Africa to North America.

 4. Yellow Wolf

The Canis lupaster, more often known as the African wolf, is also called the yellow wolf. The wolves that belong to this species have a coloring that is almost precisely yellow, but the strength of the color can range anywhere from light yellow to pale yellow to brown.

Yellow wolves have a more distinctive look than other wolves, which are often shades of gray, brown, and white. Yellow wolves also have yellowish eyes and yellowish pupils in addition to their yellow coat color.

These wolves are indigenous to the regions of North Africa, Central Africa, and Northeastern Africa.

When they go hunting in environments such as deserts, meadows, shrublands, and forests, their yellow coats come in handy and serve as camouflage. They have an expected lifespan of around eight years while they are living in the wild.

5. Red Wolf

Red Wolf
Red wolf – Generally has a brown coat with a reddish tint and has black-tipped bushy tails

The red wolf, scientifically known as Canis Rufus, is the rarest of all the many colored wolves.

This coloration is found in less than 0.0001% of all wild wolves. They frequently have a coloration that is a combination of red and brown.

In order to save the species from extinction, the majority of red wolves are maintained as pets in zoos.

6. Brown Wolf

Wolves may also have brown coats; however, these browns tend to be more of a greyish brown, and this color combination is extremely frequent.

Wolves with brown coats dwell in forests, and the color of their fur helps them blend in with the environment, which is helpful for both staying hidden from potential predators and tracking down prey.

The degree of the brown coat on these wolves varies depending on their exposure to light and the environment in which they live. Throughout general, you can find these wolves in North America and Europe.

7. Mixed Color Wolfs

Apart from the above-mentioned colors, generally, wolves have a mixture of white, gray, and brown colors.

Here are a few wolf species that have mixed color coats.

Eurasian Wolf

Eurasian Wolf
Eurasian wolf vary in colors. Can found in red, creamy white, gray and black and mix colors

The base color of this gorgeous wolf species is typically warmer and more golden than that of other subspecies, yet it still typically exhibits the iconic black-brown patterning that is characteristic of wolves.

Because of their history of mating with dogs, Eurasian wolves can have melanistic (completely black), albino (completely white), or erythristic (completely red) coats.

The Eurasian wolf is also referred to as the “common wolf” over much of its range.

Steppe Wolf

Another subspecies of the gray wolf, the steppe wolf, has a coloration that can be described as having an overall warmish tone. It is often a light gray color with various hairs that are reddish, brownish, or black.

Even though it is often found in the wild, the steppe wolf can occasionally be seen in captivity. Villagers in Kazakhstan would occasionally keep steppe wolves to act as security animals.

Mexican Wolf

The magnificent Mexican wolf is often deeper in color than the majority of subspecies of gray wolves. The overcoat is more of a golden tone, whilst the back of its head and neck are black or nearly black.

The coat’s black portion often looks less integrated into the rest of the coat; therefore, the wolf’s coat gives a beautiful appearance.

The Mexican wolf is currently considered an endangered species due to its declining population. However, breeding programs in captivity and recolonization initiatives have resulted in significant changes in the wild population.

Arabian Wolf

The base color of this lovely wolf is most often a rose or a beige with a grey tint. The use of black within the coat, most notably on the back, gives it a smoky appearance that is easily recognizable.

This subspecies of the gray wolf is able to flourish in desert portions of the Arabian Peninsula, even though you may not think of wolves as being creatures that live in deserts.

The Arabian wolf is indeed the smallest of the several subspecies of gray wolves, which may be because it lives in a particularly harsh habitat.

Northwestern Wolf

The fur of common wild-type wolves is a mixture of gray and brown, while the fur of the Northwest wolf is almost entirely white and gray. Some individuals have a patterning that resembles huskies, with the bottom body predominantly white and the top regions marked in gray or black.

It is a fairly huge subspecies whose coloring frequently corresponds to what the majority of people see in their heads when they think of wolves. These creatures nearly always have white hairs interwoven throughout their black or gray upper parts, which gives them the impression of being softer and more roan-like.

They are able to blend in better with the woodland areas where they often hunt because of the darker upper parts and the considerable quantity of white that they have.

 Maned Wolf

The maned wolf’s coat is nearly entirely a stunning reddish-orange color. It has a small mane of black fur around the back of its neck and black stockings that contrast with the white of its legs.

In spite of what its name would suggest, the maned wolf is not a subspecies of either the red wolf or the gray wolf. Because of its elongated and lean body, it is undoubtedly one of the most elegant species on the list. It is a stunning sight to see this animal hunting alone at dusk.

Italian Wolf

These lovely, fluffy wolves are often lighter and redder in color than the majority of other wolf subspecies.

Some of these wolves have patches of grey pattern that have come to be associated with the grey wolf species. Some of them have a considerably redder hue overall, particularly on the cheeks and the ears.

Fact: These wolves are also known as the Apennine wolf. 

How Does a Wolf Get Its Color?

Wolves get their coat color from both of their parents. The combination of coat-colored genes and their expression from both parents results in offspring coat color.

There are at least three separate genes that act together to determine coat color, and each pair contains a gene that either causes gray fur or black fur. For example, if a wolf has one copy of the black coat color gene and another copy of the gray coat color gene, the wolf will still have a black coat.

What Does the Color of a Wolf Mean?

A wolf’s colouring reflects and affects how it has adapted to its environment. Depending on the location of the wolf’s den inside its territory, the animal may exhibit what is known as stealth behavior, which is a physical adaption.

Their varied coat colors help them blend in with their environments, protecting them from predators and allowing them to go unnoticed when stalking their prey.

For example, wild wolves who live in woods have darker fur so that they may blend in better with the trees, whereas wolves that live in icy environments, such as arctic wolves, have lighter fur.

What is the most rare color of a wolf?

Red is the most rare color present in wolves. Red wolves are also considered endangered. It is estimated that only around 20-30 red wolves are living in the wild, although there are approximately 200+ living in captivity.

Do wolves have excellent senses?

Absolutely. The wolf’s sense of smell is approximately one hundred times more acute than the human sense of smell, making it the wolf’s primary sense.

A wolf is able to determine from the aroma of another wolf the age, type, stress level, leadership, reproductive status, and even the unique identity of the other wolf!

Wolves have excellent vision, allowing them to see in the dark better than humans, even though they cannot differentiate between colors as well as we can. (In particular, like dogs, they are unable to differentiate between different tones of red, blue, and green.)

They are also not particularly excellent at distinguishing little details (their visual “resolution” is fairly poor), but they have an exceptional capacity to notice and process fast movement.

Wolves also have an excellent sense of hearing, but one that is only slightly more acute than that of people. However, they are able to pick up on considerably higher-pitched noises than we can.

Which colors do wolves not perceive/see?

The red and green are totally undetectable to wolves. For instance, the color red seems to be a shade that is somewhere between brown and gray to wolves. When viewed through the eyes of a wolf, both green and orange seem to be yellow.

Therefore, if you were to look at the world through the eyes of a wolf, it would be similar to gazing at old photographs whose colors have been slightly washed out.