Breeding, Birthing, & Puppies

The different birthing and breeding techniques of wolvesPay attention to the numbered wolf pups 

WOLVES: North American wolf subspecies breed in the late winter months, with both males and females becoming fertile starting at the beginning of February. Wolves don’t become sexually mature (able to reproduce) until their second or third winter. Both male and female wolves are only fertile ONCE a year during this specific time. After this period, male wolves’ testicles will shrink to about the size of a small marble, becoming infertile until the next season. Breeding usually takes place in the middle to end of February. Some subspecies in the extreme north, such as Arctics, may breed slightly later in the month of March. Gestation is similar to that of dogs, between 57–65 days, with 63 being the average. Puppies are born from late March to early May, with April being the most common month.  Arctics are usually born in May, and in rare cases, the very beginning of June.

Puppies 1, 3, and 4 as adults. Number 2 is only ten months oldPuppies 1, 3 and 4 as adults. Puppy 2 is a yearling at around 10 months old in the photo.

Puppies are born uniform in looks, with dark solid-colored coats. Wolf puppies will be born with black paw pads and noses and very few, if any, white markings. Any white markings will be subtle and restricted to a small spot on their chest or a light dusting on their toes. Wolf puppies will not be born multi-colored or with contrasting or otherwise doggy-looking markings such as white socks or booties, white-tipped tails, or facial markings/masking. Arctic wolves are not born white! They are born dark and lighten as they age.  The very FEW cases of high content arctic crosses being born white or piebald was the result of severe, multi-generational inbreeding or line breeding where BOTH parents carried the white gene from the dog in their lineage.

NOTE: Reproduction in wolves is not affected by climate, weather change or being around an intact animal. For example, an Arctic wolf that is born and raised in Texas will cycle, breed and reproduce the same as an Arctic wolf living in Canada. Under extreme circumstances, reproduction cycles may be thrown off by cases of continuous stress or severe malnutrition.

Dog puppies

DOGS: Most dogs can reproduce any time of the year with males being fertile year-round and females generally having a heat cycle approximately every 6-9 months. There are some primitive breeds, such as the Basenji, that have only one heat cycle per year. A single heat cycle has been observed in some northern breeds as well. Most dogs become sexually mature (able to reproduce) by the time they are a year old, and sometimes earlier. Gestation is approximately 57–65 days long, with 63 days being average. Puppies can be a variety of colors, from solid white to solid black and everything in between. Most Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes will have puppies born black/white or red/white with premature markings. However, if the coloration is agouti or sable, dark “wolfy” looking puppies can also be born. German Shepherds are also known to produce dark-colored puppies. Dog puppies are usually born with pink noses and paw pads, although dark-colored dogs (such as black or sable) can have black noses and paw pads as well.