Many due South fans are attracted to a certain Mountie in red serge, but many others
are also attracted to that donut-snatching 'wolf' Diefenbaker, whose antics cause the Mountie no
end of grief.
Television often uses dogs as substitutes for wolves, due to easier accessibility and training. Diefenbaker
has been played by several Siberian Huskies (most notably Lincoln and
Draco as well as a host of 'stunt' dogs). The character of Diefenbaker is actually
only half-wolf, which was attested to in the episode "The Wild Bunch."
Fraser isn't sure of the other parent, but considering the vastly limited choices, one can easily theorize
the other parent was a sled dog. This would explain why Dief looks so much like a Husky, from the eye
coloration to the curling of his tail.
Dief is, in fact, a wolf-hybrid, popularized by pet dealers these days. Hybrids are still half-wolf,
and the primal tendencies of those animals almost invariably surface - such as the tendency to roam
and hunt -- and hunting can also include the squeaky springs in a couch, which one wolf-hybrid
destroyed in search of a mouse. Perhaps this part of the reason why Fraser lives in such Spartan
Here are some fascinating facts about wolves:
- Wolf puppies are deaf at birth.
- Wolf puppies are born with blue eyes, which then become a golden color as they reach maturity. Although a wolf's vision is excellent, for the first few weeks of birth they are unable to focus their eyes properly.
- Wolves can smell their prey up to a mile away.
- Wolves have litters according to their environment. If food is plentiful, a female can have up to nine pups; however, if food is scarce, there can be none to two pups. Wolves mate in the winter or early spring, and the pups are born approximately two months later.
- A wolf is a member of the canidae family, which is also comprised of the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), foxes, and the racoon dog (Nyctereutes proconoides). There are gray wolves (Canius lupus) (AKA the Timber wolf), the red wolf (Canius rufus), and even the Mexican wolf, which is near extinction.
- Wolves live in packs, anywhere from 8 to 20 at a time. This is beneficial for unlike cats, they need strength in numbers to bring down their prey (large animals such as elk, moose, caribou).
- Packs are dominated by the 'alpha' male or 'female', who determines who eats first, etc. There is a definite hierarchy of dominant and submissive within the pack, and wolves can even sense this tendency in humans.
- Wolves howl to communicate.
- Wolves once covered much of the 48 contiguous states. They are now extinct in virtually all those states, but are making comebacks in states such as Montana, Wisconsin, and even Maine. Canadian wolves (minus immigration papers!) are crossing the border and beginning to re-establish their presence in the more northern states. Wolves also survive in China, Russian, Greece, India, Mexico, and Spain.
- The wolves' most dangerous enemy is man.
- Wolves like watermelon!
- A wolf in the wild lives an average of seven years. A wolf in captivity lives the average lifespan of a dog, 10-12 years. However, a wolf is not a pet.
- A female gray wolf averages 80-100 pounds. A male averages 90-110 lbs. The heaviest wolf on record was an Alaskan wolf, weighing in at a whopping 175 pounds.
- All dogs can be traced back to wolves as their ancestors. Can you imagine a chihuahua is related to a wolf??
- It takes three years for a wolf to reach full maturity.
- A wolf can jump eight feet!
- Wolves have longer legs and narrow elbows: you can literally pinch their elbows together. With a dog, you cannot do this. They have bigger feet. They have five toes on their front feet, and four on their back feet.
- "Wolfing down" your food is not an exaggeration. Wolves can eat up to 18 pounds of food in one sitting; however, this meal must sometimes last them an entire week before they can find more sustenance.
- A wolf can cover as much as 50 miles a day at a gait of five miles per hour. That's very handy considering that much of their prey (deer and its ilk) also roam vast acres of territory.
- A wolf can run up to 35 miles per hour.
- Wolves have bigger brains than dogs, larger and sharper teeth, and are much stronger.
- When a wolf greets another wolf, they chew on each other's faces. Their faces are protected by a thick layer of fur. That's why it's a good idea for people not to play with wolves.
- Gray wolves come in all colors: white, gray, and black. When they shed for the summer season, they all become gray.
- Wolf-dog hybrid pups do not make good pets as these animals invariably inherit the wolf's tendencies to hunt and roam. Many end up having to be destroyed when their owners can no longer deal with them.
- The Arctic White Wolf is only found in the Far North. They are highly socialized creatures. It is unknown if Dief's one parent was of this particular breed since they remain in the Arctic. Diefenbaker was found as an abandoned/lost pup in the Yukon.
These are just some of the facts on wolves. If you're seeking in-depth information, we suggest you drop
by the Mission: Wolf site at
http://www.indra.com/fallline/mw/. These people have
dedicated themselves to saving wolves and teaching people around the United States about wolves. Their
site also links up to a large selection of wolf web sites. It's definitely worth a look-see!
Also feel free to check out The Ring of the Wolf, a
web ring devoted exclusively to these magnificent animals.
Back to William & Elyse's Due South Page
Copyright November 1997 by Elyse Dickenson.
Last updated: January 10, 1999
Please do not reproduce or repost, in whole or in part, without prior written permission.