The wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the gray/grey wolf, is a canine native to the wilderness and remote areas of Eurasia and North America. It is the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 40 kg (88 lb) and females 35.5–37.7 kg (78–83 lb). It is also distinguished from other Canis species by its less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy and predominantly a mottled gray colour, although nearly pure white, red and brown to black also occur. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed., 2005), a standard reference work in zoology, recognizes 38 subspecies of C. lupus.
The wolf is the most specialized member of the genus Canis for cooperative big game hunting, as demonstrated by its physical adaptations to tackling large prey, its more social nature, and its highly advanced expressive behaviour. It is nonetheless closely related enough to smaller Canis species, such as the coyote and golden jackal, to produce fertile hybrids with them. It is the only species of Canis to have a range encompassing both Eurasia and North America. It travels in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair accompanied by their adult offspring. The wolf is mainly a carnivore and feeds primarily on large wild hooved animals, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage.
The global wolf population is estimated to be 300,000. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most pastoral communities because of its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected in some agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies. Although the fear of wolves is pervasive in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is rare because wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have developed a fear of humans due to their experiences with hunters and shepherds.