What was the biggest wolf ever?

Wolves can be dangerous, frightening animals, and have strong hunting instincts. At the risk of intensifying the fear, it's time to take a look at the biggest wolf in the world. How gargantuan was this woofer?

Wolves are scary animals, especially the biggest among them.
Wolves are scary animals, especially the biggest among them.  © Collage: IMAGO/Alimdi & Unsplash/Marc-Olivier Jodoin/ML

Wolves are fascinating beasts, famous for being brutal and efficient hunters, and for being far larger than your average domestic doggo.

With a penchant for blood, these carnivorous dogs are feared across Eurasia and North America, and as a result, have been the victim of regular culling.

With this in mind, what was the animal record holder for the biggest wolf ever discovered? TAG24 dug in to find out.

Kitten adorably named "Soot" rescued by firefighters in burning house
Cats Kitten adorably named "Soot" rescued by firefighters in burning house

Read on for some of the largest wolf breeds and most sizeable doggos in the history of canine kind.

What is the biggest wolf?

The biggest wolf ever witnessed and recorded was discovered in Alaska way back in 1939.

As a giant northwestern wolf, also known as a Mackenzie Valley wolf, it's not a surprise that this doggo was so huge - it was a member of one of the biggest wolf breeds in the world.

This legendary wolf was trapped by hunter Frank Glaser along the Seventymile River and had a full stomach at the time, drawing controversy over whether this particular canine was actually the biggest wolf ever discovered. Very little is known about Glaser's catch, though, with not even a name identifying the wolf itself.

What we do know, though, is there has never been a bigger recorded wolf.

Fun fact: The 1939 catch has more recently been challenged by another impressive wolf, caught in the Yukon Charley Rivers National Reserve in 2001. At only 148 pounds, though, this wolf was a little bit smaller than the current record holder for biggest wolf ever.

How big was the biggest wolf in the world?

At the time of trapping near Eagle, Alaska, the biggest wolf ever caught weighed a whopping 175 pounds.

It's important to note that the wolf had a full stomach, possibly adding around twenty pounds to its total weight, which may bring it closer to the wolf found in 2001. It's very unusual for a wolf to get over 130–140 pounds, though, so any doggo between 150–160 pounds is truly impressive!

The average northwestern wolf generally stands around 30 inches high and weighs 80–120 pounds. With that in mind, 175 pounds is even more impressive!

What is the biggest wolf breed and species?

When compared to your average domestic dog, any wolf is going to seem like an impressively large woofer. That's not to say, of course, that there aren't some massive dogs out there in people's homes, but there's nothing quite like coming across a large wolf in the wild. It's truly something to write home about!

For the most part, wolves are relatively safe animals that will neither approach nor attack humans. There is much more fear to be had when encountering a bear, but you should still be weary and avoid wolves as much as you can when out in the wild.

Here are a few of the biggest wolf breeds and species in the world:

  • Mongolian wolf: 60-90 pound average, 35–45 inches tall.
  • Tundra Wolf: 90-110 pound average, 25–35 inches tall.
  • Arctic Wolf: 70-90 pound average, 25–35 inches tall.
  • Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf: 90-110 pound average, 25–35 inches tall.
  • Eurasian Wolf: 80-110 pound average, 35–40 inches tall.
  • Northwestern Wolf: 80-120 pound average, 30 inches tall.

Fun fact: The most common wolf breeds found in North America are the gray wolf, the eastern wolf, and the red wolf. They have been the victim of culling in many regions, making it quite unlikely that you will encounter them in the wild. They largely live in the United States and Canada).

Wolves often hunt in packs, and can grow to be huge, depending on their breed.
Wolves often hunt in packs, and can grow to be huge, depending on their breed.  © imago/Panthermedia

The biggest world on record was a truly terrifying beastie

There are some pretty hefty-sized doggos out there, and plenty of big wolves, but the Alaskan woofer in the 1930s truly took the ticket. More than a third heavier than the average Northwestern Wolf, when this fluffy fellow got discovered in 1939, it caused quite a stir.

While wolves are frightening and dangerous animals, you shouldn't be too fearful. They mostly pose a threat to wildlife and livestock, and are even being reintroduced in certain states, namely Colorado.

Whether that's a good idea or not, though, is up for debate.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/Alimdi & Unsplash/Marc-Olivier Jodoin/ML

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