How Many Types of Wolves Are There?

There are at least two types or species of wolves, gray wolves and red wolves, although evidence exists there might be two more. The Abyssinian wolf and the eastern wolf, though both formerly considered to be a subspecies or not true wolves, might be distinct species.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, gray wolves were once prevalent throughout North America, Eurasia and North Africa. Although the population has been decimated, they thrive in Alaska and have been reintroduced to certain parts of the United States, including Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Michigan and Wisconsin. These wolves grow larger than their southern cousins, ranging from three to five feet long and weighing from 60 to 145 pounds.

Red wolves are native to the southern United States, ranging from Texas to Florida. They nearly became extinct until some of the last surviving ones in the wild were captured and put into breeding programs, with their numbers growing to 207 that live in captivity and 100 that live in the wild, as of 2014.

There are 4,000 subspecies of wolves, among which are the domestic dog, the dingo and the coyote. Domestic dogs are not only significantly smaller than wolves, they also have smaller brains.