order to properly understand
this question it is necessary first to consider the identity of
in the wolf and the dog. This identity of structure may best be studied
in a comparison of the osseous system, or skeletons, of the two
which so closely resemble each other that their transposition would not
easily be detected.
spine of the dog consists
of seven vertebrae in the neck, thirteen in the back, seven in the
three sacral vertebrae, and twenty to twenty-two in the tail. In both
dog and the wolf there are thirteen pairs of ribs, nine true and four
Each has forty-two teeth. They both have five front and four hind toes,
while outwardly the common wolf has so much the appearance of a large,
bare-boned dog, that a popular description of the one would serve for
are their habits different.
The wolf's natural voice is a loud howl, but when confined with dogs he
will learn to bark. Although he is carnivorous, he will also eat
and when sickly he will nibble grass. In the chase, a pack of wolves
divide into parties, one following the trail of the quarry, the other
to intercept its retreat, exercising a considerable amount of strategy,
a trait which is exhibited by many of our sporting dogs and terriers
hunting in teams.
further important point
of resemblance between the _Canis lupus_ and the _Canis familiaris_
in the fact that the period of gestation in both species is sixty-three
days. There are from three to nine cubs in a wolf's litter, and these
blind for twenty-one days. They are suckled for two months, but at the
end of that time they are able to eat half-digested flesh disgorged for
them by their dam--or even their sire.
have seen that there is
no authenticated instance of a hybrid between the dog and the fox. This
is not the case with the dog and the wolf, or the dog and the jackal,
of which can interbreed.
are fertile. Pliny is the authority for the statement that the Gauls
their female dogs in the wood that they might cross with wolves. The
dogs are not infrequently crossed with the grey Arctic wolf, which they
so much resemble, and the Indians of America were accustomed to cross
half-wild dogs with the coyote to impart greater boldness to the breed.
Tame dogs living in countries inhabited by the jackal often betray the
jackal strain in their litters, and there are instances of men dwelling
in lonely outposts of civilisation being molested by wolves or jackals
following upon the trail of a bitch in season.
facts lead one to refer
to the familiar circumstance that the native dogs of all regions
closely in size, coloration, form, and habit to the native wolf of
regions. Of this most important circumstance there are far too many
to allow of its being looked upon as a mere coincidence.
John Richardson, writing
in 1829, observed that "the resemblance between the North American
and the domestic dog of the Indians is so great that the size and
of the wolf seems to be the only difference. I have more than once
a band of wolves for the dogs of a party of Indians; and the howl of
animals of both species is prolonged so exactly in the same key that
the practised ear of the Indian fails at times to discriminate between
the Eskimo and Indian
dogs in the past resemble the North American wolf, so the dog of the
Indians, a very different breed, was resemble of the prairie wolf.
in the matter of barking, there were no difference whatever between the
black wolf-dog of the Indians of Florida and the wolves of the same
The same phenomenon was seen in many kinds of European dogs. The
Shepherd Dog of the plains of Hungary wass white or reddish-brown, had
a sharp nose, short erect ears, shaggy coat, and bushy tail, and was so
much resemble for a wolf that sometimes even owner of the dog was in
if there was wolf outside or one of his own dogs.
of the dogs of Russia,
Lapland, and Finland are comparable with the wolves of those countries.
Some of the domestic dogs of Egypt, both at the present day and in the
condition of mummies, are wolf-like in type, and the dogs of Nubia have
been the closest relation to a wild species of the same region, which
only a form of the common jackal.