Face masking, Coloration, and general appearance

Three different wolves

WOLVES:  Wolves come in a range of colors and, depending on the color, may or may not display a facial mask. Animals that are white or black, may have little to no masking compared to grizzled and gray animals. Even wolves that have masks (seen above- center and left photo), they consist of several different banded colors and blend/fade instead of being defined and sharply contrasting (such as black/white). Wolves will have full masks and will not have facial markings such as open face masks, blazes or splashes. Wolves also have distinct cheek ruffs, tufts of longer hair coming off the sides of their face/cheeks.  The hair should not be wavy or curly, but should be thick and flow out from the face. This is partly due to the large shape and overall structure of the head.


Coats of a variety of dogs

DOGS: Dogs come in a wide variety of coat colors and patterns, ranging in color from solid black to red brindle, blue ticking to a splash coat (asymmetrical markings). The markings and coat patterns on dogs are often very contrasting and crisp, especially on their face.


Alaskan MalamuteWhite blaze running up the forehead on an Alaskan Malamute mix


Facial markings seen on many northern breed dogs and German Shepherds are fairly contrasting and sharp with little to no blending. Most dogs also lack significant cheek ruffs.