What Alpha Wolves are REALLY Like

Alpha Wolves are the most dangerous predators on Earth and survival is not a walk in the park. There’s no time to relax, but at least you can enjoy your favorite video game with some added spice!

The “alpha wolves debunked” article is a blog post that talks about how the alpha wolf myth is not true. It also goes into detail about how wolves are actually very social and they don’t fight to be top of the pack.

 Wolves fighting baring teeth illustration painting.

A photo of a menacing-looking wolf with blood around its chops or a lone wolf howling at the moon is likely to appear on some young guy’s Tumblr or Instagram profile. Invariably, a statement in large strong letters is superimposed on this picture, usually some sort of edgy, macho platitude about disregarding your detractors, striking out on your own, and conquering everyone in sight.

Being an outright alpha wolf, as it were.

Alpha wolf howling lonely wolf meme.

Rudolph Schenkel of the University of Basel in Switzerland, who examined a pack of wolves at a zoo in the 1940s, came up with the concept of alpha (and beta) wolves. Schenkel noted that wolves contended for dominance within their own sex, and that these contests resulted in the formation of a “alpha pair” – a “lead wolf” who was the top male dog, and a “bitch” who was the top female dog.

The Wolf, written by American scientist L. David Mech in 1970, built on Schenkel’s work and popularized the concept of alpha and beta wolves, as well as the leader/subordinate social dynamic of wolf packs.

This dynamic was defined by both studies as a rivalry for rank, with alphas being individuals who were dominating, aggressive, and violent, and who exploited these traits to beat off competitors to become the pack’s supreme leader.

This image of the alpha wolf, as well as the whole alpha versus beta divide, was quickly extended to people — particularly males — by popular culture. As a result, the concept that to be an alpha guy, you must take no prisoners, f*** s*** up every day, seize what is yours, and never say sorry has gained traction.

There is just one flaw with this concept.

The study on which it is based was shown to be seriously faulty.

We’ll look at the myth and actuality of the alpha wolf in the sections below. As we’ll see, turning to wolves for guidance on human behavior may be beneficial and motivating, but only if you have a clear understanding of what that behavior entails. Here’s what it actually means to be the wolf’s leader.

The Alpha Wolf’s Myth and Reality

Gray wolf packs were thought to develop each winter among independent and unrelated wolves that lived near each other during the majority of the twentieth century. They came to this conclusion after seeing packs of wolves kidnapped from different zoos and placed together in captivity.

Researchers discovered that wolves will construct the pack hierarchy based on physical aggressiveness and dominance under these conditions. The alpha male wolf was the wolf that kicked ass and called people names.

However, some researchers thought that they should attempt to study pack formation in the wild.

They expected to observe the following based on their research with captive wolves:

Wolves fighting baring teeth in wild.

However, we were taken aback when we saw this:

Wolf family wolves caring for pups.

Researchers revealed that instead of creating packs of unrelated individuals in which alphas strive for dominance, wild wolf groups are made up of small nuclear wolf families. Wolves are a monogamous species, with males and females pairing up and committing to each other for life. The mate pair and their children, who stay with the pack until they’re about a year old, then go off to find their own mates and form their own packs, form a pack that typically consists of 5-11 members — the mate pair plus their children, who stay with the pack until they’re about a year old and then go off to find their own mates and form their own packs.


The job of guiding their brood and caring for their pups is shared by the mating pair. They “co-parent,” as we say in the twenty-first century. The mates symbolize a couple of “alphas” by virtue of being parents and guiding their “subordinate” offspring. The alpha male, also known as the papa wolf, is at the top of the male hierarchy in the family, while the alpha female, also known as the mama wolf, is at the top of the female hierarchy.

In other words, male alpha wolves do not get their rank by hostility or power over other males, but rather because the other wolves in the pack are his partner and offspring. He’s the leader of the group. The Pater Familias (Father of the Family). Greetings, Grandfather.

A male alpha wolf, like any good family man, guards his pack and treats them with compassion, generosity, and love.

Richard McIntyre, a wolf researcher who has spent more than two decades studying gray wolves in Yellowstone, has seldom witnessed an alpha male wolf behave violently against his own group. An alpha father, on the other hand, stays with his pups until they are completely fledged. He hunts alone or with his spouse and youngsters to provide food for the family (and sometimes waits until they’ve had their fill before digging in himself), roughhouses with his pups (and enjoys letting them win), and even goes out of his way to look after his pack’s runts.

This isn’t to argue that male alpha wolves are just interested in cuddling and kissing. They are, of course, vicious predators capable of taking down enormous animals such as moose and bison. When the alpha male’s family is endangered by outside rivals or competitors, he will ferociously protect it, even if it means risking his own life to preserve his mate and pups.

This isn’t to imply that male wolves don’t demonstrate social dominance on occasion. Mature male wolves do have dominance interactions with other male wolves — dads may stand up to a stranger alpha or show their own children who’s boss, and an elder wolf sibling will display his supremacy to his younger wolf brother.

When the occasion demands it, an alpha wolf may be fierce and demanding. Yet, for the most part, he leads with steady power, grit, and heart, rather than loud brashness and teeth-bared hostility; as McIntyre told another wolf researcher:

“A calm confidence and self-assurance are the fundamental characteristics of an alpha male wolf. You know what you need to accomplish and what will benefit your pack the most. You set an example for others to follow. That’s something you’re used to. You have a soothing presence.”

After discovering how wolves really form packs, experts like L. David Mech rejected their initial hypothesis of alpha wolves and now use the words “breeding males” and “breeding females” instead of “alpha male” and “alpha female” when characterizing wolf hierarchy.

Unfortunately, the old mindset has persisted, and many men today have a misunderstanding of what it means to tap into your inner alpha wolf. Being an alpha has a lot more facets than you may think, and it’s much more inspirational.


Making the Wolf Your Manhood Totem Animal

Wolf howling to sky steam coming from mouth.

I like the concept of animal totems, or at the very least using animals as inspiration for how a man should spend his life. For us humans, animals may be strong symbols. When we have a precise knowledge of how the animal really acts, the symbols become even more powerful and meaningful.

The gray wolf’s tendency to wander and predatory skill have made it a potent emblem of the warrior, as well as the independence, wildness, and ferocity of masculinity, for thousands of years. However, it is just one side of the wolf, and only one side of what it is to be a man.

Alpha male wolves are, without a doubt, wild, aggressive, and vicious. They’re also caring, protective, and compassionate.

So, if you actually want to be alpha like a wolf, you’ll need to do more than just become a beast in the gym and seek to defeat your opponents. You’ll also need to develop into a caring and protective parent who is loyal to his family.

While I’ve always admired wolves and their wildness, I’ve grown to appreciate them even more now that I’ve learned more about their social dynamics. The wolf is a near-perfect representation of the masculine ideal that I’m attempting to convey here at Art of Manliness. I want to see men who, like alpha wolves, take on life’s challenges with their partners at their sides and lead their families with heart and strength. I’d want to see men who can summon the harsh tactical characteristics of masculinity when confronted with external challenges, but balance that fury with softer virtues like compassion and kindness, especially toward people they care about.

In brief, the Gentleman Barbarian’s totem animal is the male alpha wolf.

So keep posting your ferocious wolf memes on Instagram and Tumblr, please. Wolves are incredible creatures. Gray wolves, on the other hand, howl to gather their partner and pups before and after a hunt, to warn them of danger, and to find each other during a storm, while traveling unknown terrain, or when separated over a long distance. It’s the sound of a father leading, directing, and tenderly collecting his flock, not of an angry, antisocial lone wolf.



Alpha wolves are a thing of legends. They’re supposed to be the strongest, most powerful animals in the wild. But what do they really look like? Are they as ferocious as we think they are? Reference: are alpha wolves real.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there actually an alpha wolf?

What makes a wolf the alpha?

A: Wolf packs are often led by an alpha wolf, who is usually the largest and strongest of them all. Wolves will also only accept one leader at a time, so if theres more than one that want to lead the pack, theyll fight until either its clear which wolf gets to be in charge or both die trying!

What is higher than a alpha wolf?

A: A beta wolf.

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