Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs)

By Ahmad Qarmish

Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs) – (Pocock 1934)

Common Names: Desert Wolf

Overall population: unknown

Physical description:
The Arabian Wolf is small, adapted to the desert environment. Its ears are proportionally larger in relation to its frame to help disperse and release body heat. Typically stands around 26 inches (66 cm) shoulder height and weighs an average of 40 pounds (18.14 kg). The fur of the Arabian Wolf is short and thin in summer but with longer back hairs to help radiat and control the impact of solar heat on their backs. Their winter coats are longer but not as dense and long as the North American or Eurasion Grey wolf. Unlike other grey wolves, the middle two toes of an Arabian wolf’s paws are fused.

Original range – Originally distributed throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Current range – Small pockets in southern Israel, southern and western Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and possibly some parts of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

Habitat / Ecology / Prey:
Habitat – desert
-Global Warming
PreyArabian oryx “white oryx” (Oryx leucoryx), (domestic and wild) ibexes, Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana), Dorcas gazelles (Gazella dorcas), cape hares (Lepus capensus), rodents, fish (Cyprinion mhalensis),

Unique behaviors:
Arabian wolves usually hunt in pairs or in groups of about three or four animals and are unusually known not to howl.

Lega, Economic and Cultural Background:

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Nature Iraq (Baghdad and Erbil)
ESO Environmental Society of Oman
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

Taxonomic/Genetic Information:


Further Reading

The Arabian Wolf – UK Conservation Trust “Life and Behavior of Wolves – The Arabian or Desert Wolf “

Arabian Wolf Distribution Update from Saudi Arabia – Canid Specialist Group 2010

Journal Articles / Scientific Publications:

Geographic distribution patterns of melanistic Arabian Wolves, Canis lupus arabs (Pocock), in Saudi Arabia (Mammalia: Carnivora). Zafar-ul Islam M, Boug A, Shehri A, da Silva LG. Zoology in the Middle East. 2019 Apr

A standardized framework for examination of oral lesions in wolf skulls (Carnivora: Canidae: Canis lupus)
L Janssens, L Verhaert, D Berkowic… – Journal of …, 2016 –

Conflicting management policies for the Arabian wolf Canis lupus arabs in the Negev Desert: is this justified?
O Cohen, A Barocas, E Geffen – Oryx, 2013 –

Genetic variation and subspecific status of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) in Saudi Arabia
TC Bray, OB Mohammed, TM Butynski… – … Biology-Zeitschrift für …, 2014 – Elsevier

Mammals of the genus Canis Linnaeus, 1758 (Canidae, Carnivora) in Egypt
MA Saleh, MI Basuony – Egyptian Journal of Zoology, 2014 –

Conflicting management policies for the Arabian wolf Canis lupus arabs in the Negev Desert: is this justified?. Cohen O, Barocas A, Geffen E. Oryx. 2013 Apr

Re-introductions in today’s Arabian Peninsula: The first steps for a grander vision?
MRS Price – Zoology in the Middle East, 2011 – Taylor & Francis

Global hotspots in the Arabian Peninsula
DP Mallon – Zoology in the Middle East, 2011 – Taylor & Franci

[PDF] Canidae in the Sultanate of Oman
A Spalton – Canid News, 2002 –

Reintroduction of the Arabian oryx Oryx leucoryx in Jordan: war and redemption
LE Harding, OF Abu-Eid, N Hamidan, A al Sha’lan – Oryx, 2007 –

Critically Endangered Arabian leopards Panthera pardus nimr persist in the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve, Oman
JA Spalton, HM Al Hikmani, D Willis, ASB Said – Oryx, 2006 – cambridge.or

Evidence for the persistence of Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in the Ibex Reserve, Saudi Arabia and its preferred prey species
T Wronski, W Macasero – Zoology in the Middle East, 2008 – Taylor & Francis

Checklist and status of the terrestrial mammals from the United Arab Emirates
P Low Cunningham – Zoology in the Middle East, 2004 – Taylor & Francis

Vertebrate fauna of Sabkhat from the Arabian Peninsula: a review of Mammalia, Reptilia and Amphibia
RA Loughland, PL Cunningham – Sabkha ecosystems. Kluwer …, 2002 –

The carnivores of the northeastern Badia, Jordan
F BUNAIAN, A HATOUGH… – Turkish Journal of …, 2000 –

Group size and home range of the Arabian wolf (Canis lupus) in southern Israel; R Hefner, E Geffen – Journal of Mammalogy, 1999 –

Arabian oryx reintroduction in Oman: successes and setbacks
JA Spalton, MW Lawerence, SA Brend – Oryx, 1999 –

Mammals of the Harrat al-Harrah protected area, Saudi Arabia
PJ Seddon, Y Heezik, IA Nader – Zoology in the Middle East, 1997 – Taylor & Francis

Red list of mammals for the United Arab Emirates
R Hornby – Tribulus, 1996 –

Fishes as diet of a wolf (Canis lupus arabs) in Saudi Arabia
S Biquand, V Urios, A Boug, C Vila… – …, 1994 – Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle

The mammalian remains from the Jericho Tell
J Clutton-Brock – Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 1979 –