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Cue Computerphile ambient background sound here.

The thing about werewolves in movies is that the costume designers, artists, and other special and practical effects folk have to compensate for a thing when designing the wolfman:

Wolves are cute, see pic related.

Thus, designers have to either horrifically deform the creature, just like with pugs; or tack a few "wolf" features onto a human, usually resulting in either Chewbacca or nightmare fuel.

The former is actually interesting for me, as most of those werewolves have a shaggy, partial coat instead of a wolf's floof. The snout and claws are often deformed too, but I threw those out the window.

Now, werewolf transformation is irreversible in my setting, so their bodies should be usable in day-to-day life. In layperson's terms, Freddy-Kruger talons would make fine-manipulation and going to the toilet a nightmare (not just on Elmo Street). Well then, splish-splash, they go into the trash! But there's also the question of floof.

Werewolves are larger and heavier than regular wolves and also bipedal. Humans have evolved this nice thing, called "sweating profusely", which allows us not to fry while in a car in Florida during summer, whereas our dog would become Chinese food (please don't ban me) under those circumstances.

I want werewolves to retain some of the floof, but I think even a wolf's summer coat is too thick for them. Sure, I now have a get-out-of-jail-free card for why werewolves walk around shirtless, but a thick coat also tends to hide away gains.

So, I was sitting here, contemplating the ideal length for a werewolf's summer coat. It has to be enough to provide the same warmth as a thicker shirt, but without compromising thermoregulation. I also want to have thicker parts, usually around the neck.

How thick should a werewolf's floof be and how should thicker parts be distributed across the body then?

Werewolves are upright creatures with proportions and body plan, similar to humans', the obvious exception is their head. Adults stand at around 180-200 cm in height and weigh 145 kg on average, thanks to their developed muscles.

I guess the most "appropriate" climate for them is in Germany and maybe Hungary. Though those places don't exist in the setting, you can still copy their climates.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ +1 just for showing me a picture of a wolf with a death grip on half a watermelon - the world is a better place tonight just for that. However, VTC:OB because I can't actually see a way to answer this question without opinions. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Answer: as many as wanting. How much floof should there be? Answer: as much as you want. The Florida Black Wolf is now extinct - not because it had too much floof for the heat, but because what's cute in a picture isn't cute when its looking at you over the sheep it just killed. So, all the floof that you want. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 10 at 1:55
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    $\begingroup$ Dog: "Welcome to the club." $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jun 10 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH I don't really see this as opinion based. As it seems, the question is essentially about how much hair can a werewolf have to be able to deal with the cold without compromising too much its ability to loose heat as well as humans do (werewolf being potentially exchangeable by "my creature"). I will say however that it would be better to add in more detail as to how big they are and what temperatures do they have to Deal with, so that better answers can be provided. $\endgroup$ – ProjectApex Jun 10 at 2:34
  • $\begingroup$ @ProjectApex As written this question is unanswerable in any way other than opinion. What's a werewolf? How does it differ from real wolves? What's its metabolism like? What are the thermal properties of its fur? (if "like a wolf," which wolf?) Is it living in a desert? the tropics? Antarctica? ? Is it summer or winter? 99% of Meph's question is useless meandering justifying his question and nowhere near enough detail to rationalize an answer. Our judgement isn't about what a question could be, but what the question is. Meph's been doing this a long time. He knows better. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 10 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH "So, I was sitting here, contemplating the ideal length for a werewolf's summer coat. " $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Jun 10 at 10:28
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It doesn't matter

It doesn't matter, because wolves are not humans; they use a different method for shedding heat.

Wolves (and dogs) don't sweat like humans do: in wolves (and dogs of course) the primary method of thermoregulation is evaporative cooling from the tongue and respiratory tract through panting (Wikipedia). Their fur helps with staying warm in winter and has little relevance for staying cool in summer.

Look how fluffy and curly a poodle can be and not overheat:

Very fluffy curly wolf

A very fluffy curly wolf. (Actually, a standard poodle.) Photograph by B. Schoener, available on Wikimedia. Public domain.

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To me it sounds very simple: put the hair, just not everywhere. Werewolves aren't meant to be just giant wolves, they're (at least in media up to the 1900s) essentially an amalgamation between a human and a wolf, and from their various interpretations in media (from hairy humans with wolf-like teeth to essentially giant sentient wolves), we can see that there's relative freedom as to where the line between man and wolf is drawn.

So you want your werewolf to have fur but also to be able to rely on sweat glands, so one way to solve this is following a similar example to the one seen in some bats:

enter image description here

In this vampire bat, we can see how the fur pattern changes, from a thick, fuzzy fur coat in its body, less fur on the forearms and nearly naked arms. Your werewolf could use a similar concept, with a normally fuzzy face, neck and chest while having more hairless limbs (our limbs help a lot when it comes to thermoregulation). By following such a pattern, your werewolf would still likely need to rely on its tongue to let off heat from the abdomen, but the sweat glands from it's less hairier arms and legs would make it easier to cool down (won't be as effective as a human, but also won't be as naked as one). You could also give it a more fuzzy neck and back and less fuzzy chest (more places for sweat glands, also we gotta show them gains), depending on how cold it's environment is.

Sure a werewolf that kinda looks like it got its arms, legs and maybe chest shaved might not look as appealing as we see in some movies, but it'll give you a chance to better allow them to loose heat (plus, as they're werewolves, you can always make them sentient so that they make use of the hides from their kills to complement their lack of fuzz during the colder months).

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Wolves and dogs are related, and you could borrow from them. Many dogs have more than 1 layer of fur, with each coat having a more specialized purpose besides protection of the skin. During summer and winter this coat changes. Longer and more fuzzy hair in the winter, shorter less fuzzy hair in summer. This means there are two periods inbetween where the dog sheds enormous amounts of fur to change its coat to suit the needs of the season (and its a hell to clean up).

However you want the full thermoregulation of humans without the naked human skin and copious sweatglands that go with it. This is simply impossible, but you can approximate it by using other means.

For starters, less fur on the legs is common for wolves and dogs (your own fluff picture as an example). You could have patches of practically naked fur-colored skin located there and sweat like humans do, along with more bloodflow to lose heat. Additionally you could lengthen the tongue by an aweful lot. Not sure how it would fit into the mouth, but if its surface area is larger (maybe it can fold sideways) your werewolves could lose a ton more heat.

Perhaps there's another option: small airsacs with lung tissue in it. Except these air sacs arent designed for processing air (could be a secondary function though) but to create as much surface area to evaporate water and lose heat from, which is then expelled from the body. These could be located all over the body.

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