Physical features

By his constitution the wolf is well-adapted to running, especially to a long-lasting trot. His rib cage is narrow, elbows retracted inwards and paws turned outwards. This enables the front and rear leg on one side to move in the same plane. He has four toes on the rear and five on the front legs, but steps never on the first toe of the front leg (big toe, inner side of the leg). His legs are comparatively longer than with other members of the dog family (Young, 1944) which contributes to the speed of moving over relatively long distances.

Since the wolf feeds almost exclusively on flesh, bones and other parts of bodies of animals he preys on, the build of his head facilitates catching and eating of the prey. The wolf\'s head is elongated forwards, it is 25 cm long and 14 cm wide on average. The brain volume is 150-170 cub. cm, exceeding the volume with the majority of dogs by at least 30 cub. cm. His massive jaws form a basis for strong masticatory muscles and 42 specialized teeth. The dental formula is I:3/3, C:1/1, P:4/4, M:2/3.The largest teeth are canines that serve for catching and killing the prey. With a full-grown wolf the spacing between the tops of upper canines is 45 mm and of lower canines 40 mm on average (Kusak, unpublished). For chewing and \"cutting\" of flesh and sinews the wolf mostly uses the fourth upper premolar and the first lower molar, acting as scissors, and for breaking the bones his strong molars. All wolf\'s senses, especially that of smell and hearing, are perfectly developed.