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What Is the Labrador Wolf?

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  • Written By: A.M. Boyle
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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The Labrador wolf is a subspecies of the gray wolf. Its primary habitat is located in Canada, and it resides primarily in the regions of northern Quebec and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This subspecies of wolf is otherwise known as Canis lupus labradorius. It was first discovered in the late 1930s by noted biologist and zoologist Edward Alphonso Goldman. The medium-sized wolf is considered to be an endangered species.

Due to the fact that Labrador wolves live in very harsh and rugged terrain, and also because of their reticent natures, they have been one of the more difficult subspecies of wolf to observe and study. They are mid-sized wolves, and the weight of an average adult ranges anywhere from 60 to 70 pounds (about 27 to 32 kg). Labrador wolves carry many of the characteristic traits of the gray wolf. For instance, they have long, bushy tails, upright pointed ears, and a gray coloring to their fur, although the Labrador wolf’s coat is often white or a very light gray rather than a dark, mottled gray.

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Like all wolves, the Labrador wolf is a pack animal, meaning that it lives and hunts with a group of other wolves. Wolves are carnivores, and the Labrador wolf preys on other animals commonly found in the region where it lives. For instance, it is known to hunt moose, white-tailed deer, caribou, and beavers. During certain times of year when prey is scarce, the Labrador wolf has even been known to eat fish and rodents.

Well adapted to its severe environment, the Labrador wolf's thick inner layer of fur keeps it warm even on the coldest days. The tough outer layer repels water, ice, and snow. The large, powerful paws have bristly hairs underneath, allowing the wolves to skillfully maneuver through rocky, uneven terrain while keeping their traction even with heavy ice and snow.

Wolves are of the genus Canis and are close cousins to the dogs that many people keep as pets. Although they might look like dogs, wolves are not domesticated animals and certainly do not make good pets. Like all wolves, the Labrador wolf is believed to have evolved from a type of prehistoric dog called a miacid. The miacids are thought by many to have originated in Asia or possibly South America, and their descendents migrated and found their way to areas north.

There are close to 50 subspecies of wolves known throughout the world. Several species of wolves are considered extinct or in danger of extinction. The extinction or endangerment of wolves is due to several reasons, including environmental factors, hunting, and habitat destruction. The Labrador wolf is on the endangered species list and is considered to be at risk for extinction.

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