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I found that most wolf species (especially European ones) have average weight of 40 to 60 kg and average height (at shoulder) of 50 to 80 cm.

Questions are:

  1. if there was a wolf that was about 100 kg, what height would it be? Consider normal proportions, not like a heavily obese wolf, though maybe a wolf from a pack that is really successful in hunting.

  2. How difficult/easy for a commoner would be to distinguish that wolf from a regular wolf? Consider he only sees this one, not like a pack of regular wolves with the big guy among them. More precisely – how easy/difficult it would be to identify the big wolf as something irregular? Not like "That's a wolf. It looks big, or maybe I'm just scared...", but rather like "Whoa, this wolf is huge, something must have happened, but it's not a regular wolf"

I'm mostly interested in species/subspecies common to Europe (not only to its most northern or southern parts)

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closed as primarily opinion-based by James Aug 16 '18 at 5:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ "How difficult/easy for a commoner would be to distinguish that wolf from a regular wolf?" The same way that normal-sized humans to tell the difference between themselves and tall (190cm), large (110 kg) humans without immediate comparison: experience knowing what "normal" looks like. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 3 '18 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn I've updated second question a bit. Also, we see people every day, and we know what size people are usually. So, if we see a person that weights, say 200kg and has a proportional height (should be more than 2 meters I guess), we will be immediately aware that it's not a regular person. But would it work with wolves? I don't know. $\endgroup$ – Alissa Aug 3 '18 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ A commoner that lives in a rural area and thus regularly sees wolves, or a commoner that lives in a large town or even city, and thus never sees wolves? (Because that city commoner wouldn't know normal from big from small.) $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 3 '18 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ "But would it work with wolves?" If you see a pine tree standing alone in someone's yard, do you know whether it's small, "normal" or large? You do, if you've seen pine trees. Why? Because humans are very good at comparative size judgement. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 3 '18 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ "I guess he would have only seen a wolf in a zoo"? Your talk of commoners is very anachronistic compared to zoos and TVs, especially since Europeans purposefully drove wolves to extinction by the 130 years ago. Thus, even though the population in Western and Central Europe has increased, they're still really rare. A modern urbanite going camping wouldn't know a big wolf from a small one. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 3 '18 at 15:33
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Very difficult, especially if you see a single wolf and not a pack. If you change only the weight, then the dimensions are only slightly larger by 1.26 times scaled up. Therefore, there is nothing special at all; it is just a statistical outlier.

Consider that the tallest man was Robert Wadlow, 2.72m high. The average human height for different ethnicities can be found here, even choosing the worst case (highest one, which is 1.856m) the aforementioned Mr. Robert was at least a 1.465 time scaled up human.

Not only: the Eurasian wolf, for instance, has an average weight of 39 kg but some exceptionally large individuals have weighed between 69–80 kg. There's no real motivation to think about something strange if you see a wolf twice as heavy as the average one.

Moreover, the average person doesn't even know how much "a wolf" is supposed to be high or how much is supposed to weight.

TL;DR: A wolf keeper would consider it as an exceptionally large individual, but nothing "magic". A common person won't have a clue about that, it would be just a big bad wolf as it should be in his imagination.

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  • $\begingroup$ a laymen might even mistake it for a small bear. $\endgroup$ – John Aug 3 '18 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @John a laymen? I don't get the joke, if any. $\endgroup$ – theGarz Aug 3 '18 at 22:31
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An increase of weight from 50 kg to 100 kg comes with a scaling factor of about 1.25 (1.25³ = 1.95). So the wolf would be 60 to 100 cm tall if his proportions and density stay the same. If the wolf is also more muscular, the size difference will be even less noticeable.

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    $\begingroup$ So, almost twice the size of a regular wolf... I thought it would be less. Second question remains though. $\endgroup$ – Alissa Aug 3 '18 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Alissa I think you're reading the answer wrong. If you multiply each body dimension (height, length, width) by 1.25, you have almost doubled the body volume. If density is the same, a doubling of weight implies a doubling of volume. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 3 '18 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ 25% larger or less, is the gist of Krateng's answer. Because volume increases faster than height, width, length. $\endgroup$ – Tyler S. Loeper Aug 3 '18 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ It would probably scale up more in the horizontal directions than vertical. Consider the width of a mouse's leg compared to its height, versus the ratio for an elephant. $\endgroup$ – Acccumulation Aug 3 '18 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ So, you'd have a wolf that's roughly the size of a Great Dane, but a bit more heavily built...no? $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Aug 4 '18 at 2:22
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When I grew up we owned a half-wolf/half-malamute husky. The dog had huge paws, was large and beefy, graciously didn't drag us around like a mop when we played tug-o-war with him, and easily pulled two of us in a red wagon. The dog protected my father from two dobermans by standing on them with one paw (each in turn) and barked at only one thing that we ever witnessed: a woolly catepillar crawling across the porch. He howled like a wolf, though. He was 200# +/-.

Twice the weight of a normal wolf, but with the wolf's larger-than-normal paws. Huge around the shoulders. And he was broad in the shanks were a wolf is lean.

So, would the average human be capable of distinguishing a 2X wolf? No, not unless accompanied by a 1X wolf. They might notice if they looked hard enough, but so much of the mass is taken up in shoulder muscle and length that at a glance they'd look the same. It's the paw prints that would distinguish them. You'd easily see the difference in the paw prints.

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The largest recorded wolf was allegedly shot in 2009 in Alberta, Canada. Its claimed weight is 104 kg. However, it doesn't look like that specimen was properly documented, so there are some doubts about it. At least in the pictures, in indeed looks huge. For a properly documented large wolves, it doesn't look like any had exceeded 80 kg weight.

Those wolves look big, but proportional. A person who is somewhat familiar with wolves would immediately notice that it's big, even outside a pack. But for a non-familiar person, any wolf in the wild would probably look big and scary. On a different note, when I see wolves in a zoo, I can't help wondering - "Is this not so big dog really the fabled human nemesis?"

But 100 kg wolves can be very real. Now extinct Direwolves were 60-68 kg on average, and could grow as big as 110 kg. Direwolf compared to a human

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  • $\begingroup$ dire wolves have different proportions however, they are far more robust (heavily built) this picture may be useful qph.fs.quoracdn.net/… $\endgroup$ – John Aug 3 '18 at 21:14
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For scale you ought to look at dog breeds.

Would a commoner know it was really huge? I guess you're talking Medieval times? If they've seen wolves then, yes, they'd know it was huge, depending on how close they got or how tall an animal seemed next to a tree--so if they come to a tree the animal was next to, they might see that it was taller than a knot and realize how big it really was.

For a relative scale, I've placed dog breed sizes, and beneath that, a huge 200 pound dog for scale next to a human. Obviously, the head would be different, but this is close enough.

enter image description here enter image description here

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