Back, Shoulders, and Rear Legs

The entire body of a wolf dog, much more massive than a domestic dog

WOLVES: Wolves have longer, mostly straight backs with a slight taper from the shoulders to the base of their tail. Wolves also tend to be more narrow when viewed from the front and top. Their shoulders are close together and well angled from their top line/withers and down towards the front of their chest, which allows for better mobility. Wolves have longer and more angled stifles (thighs) and slightly more angled rear pasterns (wrists) that turn out slightly, giving them a minor cow-hock.

Hocking of a wolf, their tail ends roughly at the back of their knees or hocksExample of cow-hocking and a tail ending at/slightly above the hocks with a distinct black tip

The smaller and more slender frame of domesticated dogs

DOGS: In comparison, most dogs will have shorter backs with a more defined slope, though some dogs, like Alaskan malamutes, can have a very straight back when viewed from the side.  Northern breeds, such as Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes, tend to have shorter and wider backs, wider and straighter-set shoulders, and straighter stifles (thighs). German shepherds often have longer backs with a very noticeable downward slope from the shoulders to the base of the tail.  German shepherds can have more angled stifles and shoulders, but their shoulders are typically wider than a wolf’s.