The similarities between a wolf and a spotted hyena are that they're both carnivores, and they're both mammals. They both live and hunt in packs which enable them to take down prey much larger than themselves. Both live in hierarchical societies. Hyena society is dominated by females and wolf society is dominated by an alpha pair.
Both hyenas and wolves have distinct vocalizations. Wolves howl to gather the pack together and warn other packs from their territory. The hyena laughs when the animal is frightened or being pursued.
The differences between wolves and spotted hyenas include the fact that the wolf is a canine and the hyena is a member of the hyaenidae family. The wolf was once abundant in North America, Asia, Europe and even Africa until it was rooted out from these places. The hyena is native to western, eastern and southern Africa.
The hyena has a downward sloping back; coarse, spotted fur; short, rounded ears and a short tail. The fur of the wolf is thick to insulate it against cold winters. The coat can be pure white, black, gray, brown or red. The wolf has a relatively straight back and a strong build. Its legs and tail are long and the tail is bushy.