What Is a Baby Wolf Called?

Generally, the young ones of all the domesticated animals have a different kind of name irrespective of species. For instance, the young one of a horse is referred to as a filly, colt, or foal, but what is a baby wolf called?

Well, like their domesticated counterparts, the young ones of wild animals have names, and baby wolves are no exception. 

Let’s find out the name of these adorable creatures.

What Are Baby Wolves Called?

Just like baby dogs, a baby wolf is called a “pup” or a “wolf pup.” Wolf pups are the young offspring of adult wolves and are born in a den. They are typically born in a litter of several pups and are cared for by their parents in the early stages of their lives.

As they grow, they develop their senses and gradually learn to hunt and fend for themselves.

Pups stick with their mothers for about 2 years before leaving the family unit and going to fend for themselves or join a new pack. Some endangered species, like the red wolf, are protected by the Wildlife Service.

So, let’s look at the personal information you need to know about these pups from the gestation period to when they leave their mothers.

Why They Are Called Pups Instead of Cubs

Baby wolves are called “pups” rather than “cubs” because the terminology used for the young of an animal is often specific to its species. In the case of wolves, they are part of the Canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, coyotes, and other canids. 

These animals can be found in North America and South America. 

For this family of animals, the term “pup” is traditionally used to refer to the offspring, regardless of whether they are domestic dogs or wild wolves.

On the other hand, “cub” is a term commonly used to describe the young animals in the Felidae family, which includes big cats like lions, tigers, and leopards. Cubs are not the same as pups, as they have different behaviors, development, and needs.

So, the choice of terminology is based on the specific characteristics and classification of the animal, and that’s why baby wolves are called “pups” and not “cubs.”

The Gestation Period of Wolves

The gestation period for a wolf, like the maned wolf, which is the time a female wolf is pregnant, typically lasts around 63 days. However, the exact duration can vary somewhat depending on factors like the health of the mother and environmental conditions. 

Generally, the exact duration of gestation can vary slightly among individual wolves, but it’s generally around 63 days. But for the gray wolf, it can last between 62 and 75 days.

Early Life of Baby Wolves

During their early life, the baby wolf, also known as a pup, goes through several stages of development:

  • Birth: Baby wolves are typically born in a den, often in the spring. A litter can consist of anywhere from one to several pups, with the average being around 4-6 pups. At birth, wolf pups are blind and deaf, and they rely entirely on the adult wolf, particularly their mother.
  • Nursing: The mother, or alpha female, nurses the wolf cub for the first few weeks. She regurgitates partially digested food for them, providing the necessary nourishment. During this time, the mother and sometimes other pack members bring food to the den for the mother to consume and feed to the pups.
  • Eyes and Ears Open: After about two weeks, the wolf pups’ eyes and ears begin to open, and they gradually gain their senses. They become more aware of their surroundings and start to move around the den.
  • Emerging from the Den: Around three to four weeks of age, the baby wolves may start to venture out of the den, but they still stay close to their mother. They begin to explore and play with their siblings, helping to build strength and coordination.
  • Learning from the Pack: As the baby wolves grow, they observe and learn from the rest of the wolf pack. They may witness hunting and foraging behaviors and gradually learn to eat solid food.
  • Play and Socialization: Play is an essential part of a wolf pup’s development. They engage in playful behaviors with their siblings, which helps them develop important social and physical skills. This play also strengthens the bonds within the pack.
  • Hunting and Independence: As the baby wolves get older, they transition from a primarily milk-based diet to solid food. They learn to hunt and forage with the pack, gradually becoming more independent.
  • Adolescence: Baby wolves reach adolescence at several months of age. They continue to learn from their pack, refine their hunting skills, and contribute to the pack’s activities.

The early life of baby wolves is a period of rapid growth and development, and they rely on the care and guidance of their parents and the pack to prepare them for life as adult wolves in the wild.


Finally, you understand why young wolves are not known as cubs; instead, they’re referred to as pups. After all, they don’t belong to the Felidae family, which includes leopards and lions.

Therefore, they have different behaviors and needs. Instead, they are Canidaes, which includes coyotes, domesticated dogs, and wolves. Therefore, wolf pups can never be mistaken for a cub.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the gestation period of wolves?

Their gestation period ranges between 62 and 75 days.

What is a female wolf called?

Female wolves lack a distinct name, but they are occasionally called she-wolves. Alongside the alpha male, the female plays a leading role in guiding the wolf pack.

What’s the name of the baby Arctic wolf?

Just like all the other wolves, the name of a young Arctic Wolf is a pup. 

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