BEHAVIOURAL TRAITS

Wolves move in a more loose, fluid manner than dogs; I like to joke that wolves are classified as a liquid (along with cats).They run with head lowered and tail straight out; when they walk, they *slink*, keeping the head level with the body.
The back feet basically step into the pawprints of the front feet, and the front feet cross over each other ("single-tracking").
Wolves are generally more alert, more aware of their surroundings, much more reactive and intense than the majority of dogs. They're "live wires" compared to your average domestic, and will observe and react to almost everything in their environment--even things that YOU, the human, don't notice. If they are submissive, they are REALLY really submissive; when they react, they OVER-react, etc. They'll start at the slightest noise.
Pure wolves tend to be very timid animals...and this is genetic in origin. Dogs can *learn* to be shy, if not raised properly...but a wolf may well be born that way...and stay shy regardless of how well the owner socializes it.
Wolves are extremely "honest"--you can take their body language at face value.

~~The rest of this (more subjective) stuff is from my personal experience, or the experiences of my friends, only. Note also that the AGE of the animal can play a large part!

If they see a stranger, most will lower their head even with their body or below, and sort of crouch, and eye the person suspiciously. Wolves rarely bark, but will "huff" at a stranger's approach. Yes, they howl, also...but they certainly don't have a corner on THAT market!
The majority of wolves/high contents I have seen are quite shy around people they don't know. It is rare for a wolf to be indiscriminately friendly (as is the norm for many "wolfy" looking northern breeds). However, some wolves who are genetically less fearful, and who have been well socialized, will greet new folks almost as cheerfully as a dog. Most will greet their "owner" joyously, though!
Intelligence is rather subjective and hard to quantify, but "wolf intelligence" has more to do with problem solving ability and getting what they want, than with common-sense (for dogs!) type stuff or learning tricks to please the humans. Most owners feel their intelligence is off the scale, for a dog...comparable to that of a small child.
They also seem to be unusually perceptive, almost as if they know what you're thinking. (Odds are, this is from them paying close attention to every bit of body language & emotion you are exhibiting.)
They are as expressive as they are observant: every bit of body language means something, and they'll display a whole range of feelings and thoughts in an attempt to communicate with you.
Almost all of them have an extreme urge to put anything & everything in their mouths (this includes the body parts of their "owner"--they will take your arm & lead you around...or otherwise "mouth" and lick you whenever they can). Often leads to them destroying whatever objects they got their teeth on! Wolves are excessively curious animals and will tear open a box or de-stuff the couch just to see what's inside.
They like to bury any food that they don't plan on eating right away. If indoors, they may bury raw meat in the corner & try to push the carpet over it with their nose! ;) Or better yet, shred paper or cardboard, and use *that* to cover it.
They also love to dig holes and dens, and dig out of their yard.
Many of them seem to have permanent diarrhea if fed only regular kibble. Soy & corn allergies are the norm for wolfdogs.
Wolfers seem to have a real affinity for high places--on top the counter, washing machine, fridge...or their doghouse if outside.
They tend to take their cues from the other canines around them, and are very canine-oriented in general.
If singled out, they get very stressed (unless they know you well and are comfortable with you); it is reassuring to them to have a calm dog or wolfdog nearby for "emotional support".
If "trapped" in a smaller enclosure, or in the house with the door to outside closed, they may become panicky.
The wolves/highs I've met or heard about are far more likely to get carsick, even when exposed to it from infancy.
More likely to be fearful of strange new situations, and urinate or defecate when frightened.
In a rescue/shelter situation, many won't take food--even a hotdog--when you go to evaluate them, and some of them won't even look at you...they just cower in the corner & hide their faces. Shelter life is extremely hard on the average wolf's temperament. Practice Calming Signals when you approach, since a *good* approach can make all the difference in their reaction to you!
Even the less frightened ones won't usually come to you; they lurk at the back of their kennel runs & watch you. (Remember, this is upper content animals, now. The low content sibeX's, for example, often can't *wait* to get some lovin' from their visitors!)

Also keep in mind that this is
only what I have observed, plus anecdotal evidence...as with all things there are exceptions. This essay was meant ONLY to offer some basic guidelines on distinguishing "wolf" from "dog".
BACK to Part One--Physical traits
Wolf Traits ID--Part Two
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