Walking my Jackapoo puppy and old Collie Cross, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to venture into the Pokemon world. Would my puppy be a flame-spitting Fire-type Pokemon or a shadowy Dark-type due to its mischievous behavior?
While my Jackapoo puppy may not be the most intimidating little fellow but he is incredibly energetic and fun, and this is how I imagine Wolf Pokemon to be in the Pokemon world. Make no mistake though Wolf Pokemon are no puppies and they can be formidable fighters in battle if trained correctly.
What Are Wolf Pokemon?
A lot of thought, time, and contemplation goes into designing Pokemon, and Ken Sugimori would be the first to tell you as the primary character design and art director of the Pokemon franchise. He and his team designed the original 151 Pokemon, and as the director of the art team, all designs go through him. As a result, we have Sugimori to thank for the awesome Wolf Pokemon in the series.
As a fan of the series that spans over twenty years, I’ve seen the series evolve to extend to hundreds upon hundreds of Pokemon. With so many Pokemon, surely Sugimori and his team would begin to have a spell of writer’s block, so to speak. And while not every design released is praised by the community. It’s always been the designs that take inspiration from the animal kingdom that are my favorites.
|Arcanine||I||Fire||59||Dire Wolf/Tasmanian Wolf|
|Electrike||III||Electric||309||Alexander Archipelago Wolf|
|Manectric||III||Electric||310||Alexander Archipelago Wolf|
|Zacian||VIII||Fairy, Fairy/Steel||888||Dire Wolf/Eurasian Wolf|
|Zamazenta||VIII||Fighting, Fighting Steel||889||Dire Wolf/Eurasian Wolf|
Wolf Pokemon Are Not
In creating this list, I had to be careful to ensure I did not confuse dog Pokemon with Wolf Pokemon. I debated long and hard whether Pokemon such as Arcanine and Mightyena were, in fact, wolves. I knew that while Pokemon may singular animals as inspiration, a lot of Pokemon are a combination of features from different groups of animals. For example, Eevee blends rabbits, foxes, and cats into its design.
I quickly determined that Lilipup, Herdier, and, Stoutland are dog Pokemon and would serve as a helpful reference in concluding whether a Pokemon was a wolf or not.
On the other hand, Suicune was much harder to determine, thanks to its blend of wolves, deer, cats, and aquatic features. I researched the differences between dogs and wolves. While there are many similarities due to them sharing the same DNA and genetics, they are incredibly different in behavior and size. Suicune is more akin to beasts in mythology, such as the qilin.
For example, Houndour and Houndoom did not make a list as these two Pokemon resemble Doberman Pinchers more than wolves, thanks to their short black fur and long narrow snouts. Moreover, I addressed information contained in the Pokedex to evaluate if the Pokemon’s behavior matched that of wolves.
- Number – #059
- Type – Fire, Fire/Rock
- Wolf – Dire Wolf / Tasmanian Wolf
- Abilities – Intimidate, Flash Fire, Justified
Starting off with a more controversial Pokemon for this list. While it can be argued that Arcanine is not a wolf Pokemon due to its temperament and behavior to humans. I fought with myself to find a way to include it, Arcanine does feature characteristics of Wolves, but its blend of tigers and Tasmanian tiger features makes it hard for me to accept that it’s more wolf than a tiger.
However, conducting more research I discovered that the Tasmanian Wolf is actually an extinct animal therefore I came to the conclusion that Arcanine is a combination of the Tasmanian Wolf and Dire Wolf due to its huge size.
Believe me, Arcanine is a fantastic Pokemon it has access to cool moves such as its signature move Extreme Speed and is a very capable fighter. I own a shiny Arcanine on Pokemon GO but are yet to find one in the mainline games. Shiny Arcanine’s coat turns yellow and looks even more majestic!
Arcanine: A Fierce Firey Fighter
Arcanine boasts excellent stats and powerful moves that would make any trainer feel safe when exploring dense forests and long treks across the Pokemon World.
In the Pokedex, Arcanine is often revered for its incredible speed. However, while it is fast, it’s nowhere near the quickest Pokemon. However, it makes up for this with Extreme Speed, a priority move that will leave your opponent dazed and in danger.
Arcanine has also equipped with Flare Blitz, a reckless move that deals incredible physical damage at the cost of recoil damage. Arcanine can deal severe damage, and although recoil shortens its time on the battlefield, it will cause havoc for your opponent. Moreover, Arcanine has access to Wild Charge a move that I always include in its move set as it allows me to catch out Water-type Pokemon.
- Number – #261
- Type – Dark
- Wolf – Timber Wolf (Pup)
- Abilities – Run Away, Quick Feet, Rattled
I first encountered Poochyena in Pokemon Sapphire and it along with Tailow joined me on my Hoen adventures. I remember fighting against these little wolf Pokemon countless times thanks to them being a commonly used Pokemon by Team Aqua and Magma. Poochyena is an iconic Pokemon from generation three, as it’s a widely used Pokemon by new trainers it’s basically a Hoen’s Rattata but cooler!
While Poochyena does take inspiration from the African Hyena, as seen in its name. I believe Poochyena’s design is more akin to a Timber Wolf puppy.
Their scruffy fur and intimidating set of teeth resemble a wild wolf pup. Furthermore, the sheer number of these puppies and Mightyena in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire and their dark grey coloring led me to believe that Poochyena is, in fact, a Timber Wolf. The population of Timber Wolves is the highest out of any other species of Wolf. Commonly found in North America, these wolves thrive in their habitat.
Poochyena is named the Bite Pokemon, and for a good reason, as it will bite anything and eat almost anything and it’s one of its staple moves in battle. It’s highly aggressive and bares its fangs at prey and anything threatening it.
Its further explained in the Pokedex that Poochyena chases its foes until they are exhausted and worn down; however, if they were to turn and attack, Poochyena would cower and run away. This aggressive nature and hunting technique is akin to both wolves and hyenas.
Much like wolf pups, Poochyena grows very fast, and I found myself easily evolving Poochyena at level 18. I honestly have had a great time with Poochyena on my team when I’ve only merely secured one or two badges. I always find that it’s great for finishing off Pokemon that my Starter has weakened, however, don’t expect any miracles it’s not the strongest of Wolf Pokemon.
The Scrappy Snarling Poochyena
Poochyena has the lowest stats of all Dark-type Pokemon, and due to them being puppies, they struggle in combat.
That being said, I have started many adventures in Hoen with this pooch. As an early encountered Pokemon in Ruby and Sapphire, it offers some support to your team evolving early at level 18. It’s a Pokemon that can finish off injured opponents after your starter is knocked out.
Poochyena offers little power in competitive battles and is rarely used in PVP. As a result of its poor stats and limited move pool. However, Poochyena can learn Poison Fang, Thunder Fang, Ice Fang, and Fire Fang as egg moves giving it some uncontemporary move coverage. However, despite this, its low attack stat means that you won’t be able to deal consistent damage.
- Number – #262
- Type – Dark
- Wolf – Timber Wolf
- Abilities – Run Away, Quick Feet, Moxie
Mightyena truly is an iconic third-generation Pokemon. When I think of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, I can’t help but think of this big Wolf. Mightyena is commonly used by Team Aqua and Magma as well as the team leaders Archie and Maxie.
Mightyena is fairly weak in comparison to the other Wolf Pokemon but it does have some value in generation three. It’s a Pokemon that is showcased in the Elite Four so I must give credit when credit is due. I may be a little biased in my early Pokemon trainer years I remember looking at my brother’s Pokemon Ruby team and seeing a level 100 Mightyena thinking that it was an incredibly strong Pokemon but that was before I took into account stats!
Mightyena features long shaggy black fur and short grey fur. Its tail is resemblant to a wolf or German Shepard’s tail. It’s one of the most Wolf resemblant Pokemon on this list due to its head and face features. Like its lesser evolution, Mightyena possesses a robust set of fangs that are used to attack its prey along with its sharp claws.
Described in the Pokedex to live and hunt in packs akin to hyenas and wolves, Mightyena will only listen to commands of highly skilled trainers. Its desire is brought on by years of teamwork living in packs. This is another reason I concluded that Mightyena is a Timber Wolf, as the first domesticated dogs originated from Gray Wolves.
Mightyena: All Bark No Bite
While Mightyena is a fierce fighter in packs, as a singular combatant, it is feeble. Mightyena’s low to mediocre stats makes it an extremely rare pick in PVP. Its Crunch will only get you so far in battle due to Mightyena’s middling attack stat, and that’s a stab move! It’s really a shame because I love its design and I want to bring it on my Pokemon journey but sooner or later I always switch it out when its power begins to waver.
- Number – #309
- Type – Electric
- Wolf – Alexander Archipelago
- Abilities – Static, Lightning Rod, Minus
Electrike is an Electric-type Pokemon first encountered in the Hoen region and is another iconic Pokemon from the third generation of the main line games. Its design is fantastic, resembling a small wolf or wolf pup, with its intimidating glare, sharp teeth, and streamlined body.
These predatory features are equally matched with its ability to store and discharge electricity for powerful attacks and spurts of speed.
Electrike’s fur is green and yellow and varies in length on its body, with the longest fur found at the top of its head. I concluded that Electrike is a wolf from its wolf-like appearance and features. Although this Pokemon is partly inspired by the Raiju, a mythical thunder beast found in Japanese mythology. It has many wolf-like traits.
Electrike rocks a black and yellow coat in its shiny form. In my research, I discovered that Alexander Archipelago Wolves commonly feature black and dark-colored fur. Furthermore, the Hoen region is an archipelago, a coastal region including many little islands.
Electrike’s Electric Combat Performance
It is explained in the Pokedex that Electrike can use electricity stored in its body to accelerate its legs in a battle to move so fast it becomes invisible to the naked eye. This is not true in-game. Its speed stat is its best stat, but it can be easily outrun. It has an Sp. Atk to match, however, can inflict decent damage to similar tiered Pokemon.
Equipped with Volt Switch, Electrike can quickly finish off opponents and safely switch in battle, giving it more longevity. The combination of Thunderbolt, Choice Scarf, and the Lightning Rod ability can inflict devastating damage to your opponent. Note that Electric-type moves get boosted even more from being stab moves!
Honestly, this Pokemon is fierce for its size. Although it can be knocked out fairly quickly, it can be a nightmare and highly frustrating to battle in earlier parts of Ruby and Sapphire, thanks to its Static ability inflicting paralysis to your Pokemon. The Pokedex wasn’t kidding when stating that static can be heard discharging from Electrike when they run!
In the mainline series, Electrike is a valuable Pokemon that, once evolved into Manectric, can significantly damage Pokemon Gym Leaders, notably Winona. Electrike may not pack the heaviest punch, but its evolved form Manectric does.
- Number – #310
- Type – Electric
- Wolf – Alexander Archipelago
- Abilities – Static, Lightning Rod, Minus
Manectric bears many similarities, with Electrike being its evolved form. Its fur has changed to blue and yellow, and the fur on top of its head has grown longer into a point to store even more electrical energy. Furthermore, its fur has grown longer on its back and hind legs to resemble a bolt of lightning. Its tail is blue and is sharp to the eye. Its whole body looks streamlined and rigid at the same time. Thats not all, as its claws and body have grown considerably.
Manectric is one of those Pokemon that is sometimes forgotten, and I think this is due to it not having a third stage in evolution. However, the release of Pokemon X and Y would fix this by giving Manectric a Mega Evolution.
Manectric makes it on the list of Wolf Pokemon thanks to its taking on characteristics of the Alexander Archipelago Wolf, like its previous evolution from Electrike. It’s stated in the Pokedex that Manectric rarely appears to humans and trainers, making it a very wild Pokemon. Interestingly when Manectric Mega Evolves, the yellow fur on top of its head spreads all along its back, resembling a colossal lightning bolt.
Electrike evolves into Manectric at level 26, and Manectric can be Mega Evolved using a Manectite Stone.
Manectric The Super Charged Canine
Manectric boasts an incredible damage output, let alone is one of the most potent Electric-types in the game while in its Mega Evolution form. It’s exceptional Sp. Atk and speed stats allow it to control the battlefield with devastating Electric-type moves such as Thunderbolt, Charge Beam, Discharge, Thunder, and Electro Ball. Moreover, Manectric has even more damage capabilities when equipped with a Choice Scarf and the Charge move.
The sheer force of Manectric’s electrical attacks will fry your enemies to a crisp! But that’s not all you can equip Manectric with a Manectite to Mega Evolve it into an incredible beast that harbors even more attack power and speed.
However, Manectric trades its monstrous power for weak physical and special defense and health. As a result, Manectric is a glass cannon that cannot afford to be hit.
I absolutely love Manectric. It’s one of my all-time favorite Electric-type Pokemon. Its power served me well in both run-throughs of Pokemon Sapphire and Pokemon Y. Its Mega evolution was a fantastic addition to the game. It solidified its spot on my team, making it outlast many team switches throughout the game.
- Number – #744
- Type – Rock
- Wolf – Japanese Wolf (pup)
- Abilities – Keen Eye, Vital Spirit, Own Tempo
Rockruff is a Japanese Wolf pup with all the fierce behavior and temperament of wild wolves. However, the right trainer can train this little pup to become a loyal companion. Rockruff is a Rock-type Pokemon introduced in Sun and Moon and is available in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Rockruff is my favorite out of the baby Wolf Pokemon I think its got a cool typing and looks very cute.
As a Rock-type Pokemon, I settled on the Japanese Wolf as its real-life counterpart due to their nature to inhabit rocky mountains. It’s one of the cutest designs on this list, resembling a mischievous puppy. Trainers should not forget that much like wolves, this Pokemon is very wild.
The Pokedex explains that as they grow, their nature becomes more aggressive and violent, and it has a tendency to bite! Despite this, Rockruff can evolve into a highly loyal companion depending on the form that it takes on.
Rockruff Plays Rough
Rockruff is a tremendous little Pokemon despite not having the most significant health or Sp. Atk stat can land powerful physical blows, and its speed is fantastic for a first-stage Pokemon. It has access to Rock Throw at level 12 and Rock Tomb at level 24. These are powerful stab moves for early in the game.
- Number – #745
- Type – Rock
- Wolf – Japanese Wolf
- Abilities – Keen Eye, Sand Rush, Steadfast, Vital Spirit, No Guard, Tough Claws
Introduced in the seventh generation of Pokemon Sun and Moon, Lycanroc is an exciting Pokemon with three different forms depending on the time of day that Rockruff evolves. The Midday and Dusk form of Lycanroc holds a special place in my heart for looking the most like my old Collie cross.
I believe Lycanroc to be the extinct Japanese Wolf as this Wolf primarily lived in mountain terrain. As a Rock-type Pokemon, this would make sense.
Furthermore, Lycanroc reaches just under a meter tall with slight variation between its forms, and despite being a Rock-type Pokemon, it is relatively light, weighing only 25KG. The Japanese Wolf was a smaller subspecies of the Grey Wolf, just another reason this Wolf Pokemon is a Japanese Wolf.
Lycanroc is a fantastic concept for a Pokemon. While there have been numerous canine and wolf-like Pokemon in the mainline series, there had yet to be a Rock-type Pokemon that possessed canine features except for Growlithe and Arcanine’s Hisui region forms. Lycanroc shows that the typing of Pokemon doesn’t restrict the Pokemon’s design.
How To Obtain Lycanroc
- To obtain Lycanroc, you must level a Rockruff to level 25. However, the time of day impacts what form of Lycanroc you will get. Alternatively, you can encounter and catch Lycanroc at Vast Poni Canyon.
- Midday Form – Obtained by evolving Rockruff in the daytime.
- Dusk Form – Obtained by evolving a Rockruff with the Own Tempo ability between 5-6 pm.
- Midnight Form – Obtained by evolving Rockruff at night.
In Pokemon Sun and Ultra Sun, you’ll be limited to obtaining Lycanroc’s Midday or Dusk forms. While only being able to get the Dusk and Midnight form for Pokemon Moon and Ultra Moon.
Lycanroc’s Polarising Forms
As a Pokemon with three distinct forms, it also has a temperament to match. Lycanroc’s Midday form is described as being incredibly fast and features sharp stones in its tail to dish out devastating blows. However, despite its intimidating attacks and look, its described to be a loyal companion to its trainer.
On the other hand, Lycanroc’s Midnight form is described as aggressive and consumed by competition. While it may be a tough fighter, it has no problem with ignoring its trainer. Moreover, unlike its counterparts, it does not like to live in packs and prefers solidarity.
Lycanroc’s Dusk Form is the rarest of all Lycanroc forms and is my favorite form. It takes on characteristics from the two alternative forms. The Pokedex highlights that it has a fighting spirit deep in its core underlying in its calm nature.
All this information screams Wolf to me, as even as a young pup, Rockruff is explained to have great potential as a loyal companion but can be reckless and aggressive if not appropriately trained. As mentioned before, the first dogs came from the Gray Wolves’ domesticating, which makes perfect sense as a descendent of the Japanese Wolf. Lycanroc has the wild nature and behavior of Japanese Wolves but has the care and loyal heart of domesticated dogs.
Lycanroc Crashes of Rocky Attacks
Lycanroc’s three forms not only have different appearances but also have slightly differing stats. Therefore I suggest that before you evolve your Rockruff, study each structure of Lycanroc to see which one best suits your needs.
The Midday Lycan is the fastest form, with two points of speed over its Dusk form. The Midnight form has significantly higher defense and health stats; however, I prefer the Dusk form as it has the highest attack and slightly slower speed. It’s by far the coolest too!
Lycanroc can inflict severe damage with powerful physical stab moves such as Stone Edge and Rock Slide. Alongside these powerful moves, I generally select utility moves to support my team and mess with my opponent’s strategy. Roar allows me to switch out an opponent’s Pokemon quickly, removing a temporary threat to Lycanroc. In contrast, Stealth Rock will enable me to further inflict damage to my opponent when they switch on purpose or from Roar.
On a closing note, I wish Lycanroc was given a signature move. The Pokedex highlights that it has a powerful tail filled with sharp rocks that deal lethal blows. I think a move along these lines would be a neat addition!
- Number – #888
- Type – Fairy, Fairy/Steel
- Wolf – Eurasian Wolf, Dire Wolf
- Abilities – Intrepid Sword
Zacain is the legendary mascot for Pokemon Sword and is Zamazenta’s counterpart. It can change from the Hero of Many Battles form to the Crowned Sword form in battle. This Pokemon is inspired heavily by King Arthur and Excalibur myth.
The gigantic size of this Pokemon leads me to believe that it takes inspiration from the ginormous extinct Dire Wolf and the Eurasian Grey Wolf due to the Galar Region being based in the United Kingdom. I absolutely love it when Game Freak takes the time to design Pokemon by taking into account real-world ancient mythology and legends as this is one of my favorite aspects of the game.
Zacain has an interesting typing of Fairy and Steel once it changes form in battle. Its design is spectacular, and it looks highly offensive, wielding a sword with its mouth Zacain is decorated with an intricate crown. Its fur is resemblant to horse armor typically used in medieval times. This Pokemon has insane speed and attack stats in its Crowned Sword form.
- Number – #889
- Type – Fighting, Fighting/Steel
- Wolf – Eurasian Wolf, Dire Wolf
- Abilities – Dauntless Shield
Zamazenta is the mascot for Pokemon Shield. Despite sharing similar features and appearance as Zacain, it’s very different. Equipped with a shield instead of a sword and rocking the Fighting-type and Fighting/Steel-type in its Crowned Shield form.
Zamazenta features thick armor resembling horse armor and knight armor from medieval times. It has a long ponytail atop its head, resembling a helmet.
I prefer Zamazenta’s design as the armor looks ornate and very cool. Its armor is not just for show, though, as Zamazenta boats massive defense and Sp. Def. Unlike some wolf Pokemon on this list, Zamazenta and Zacain are very cooperative with the people of the Galar Region and have aided them in times of need.
Comparing Zacain and Zamazenta Which is Better?
Both Zacain and Zamazenta are extremely powerful legendary Pokemon, and despite their similarities are quite different. As a more offensive Pokemon Zacain is easily capable of one-shotting the toughest of foes. Whereas Zamazenta falls behind in offensive strikes in battle. However, Zamazenta’s high defense and somewhat better health make up for its offensive shortcomings.
In my opinion, Zacain is a better Legendary Pokemon due to its high attack power and although Zamazenta has a great defense, Zacain’s attack is so high that your opponent is unlikely to land a hit. Sometimes the best defense is an offense.
Question: Is Zacain Inspired by Sif the Wolf in Dark Souls?
Answer: While Zacain and Sif share many similarities in design, Zacain is inspired by the legend of King Arthur and the mythical sword Excalibur. However, Game Freak likely gave From Software a little nod while designing Zacain. However, this is no more than a reference to the fan-favorite Dark Souls boss Sif the Wolf. Furthermore, the imagery of Wolves with swords is shown in multiple mythologies, such as the Iron Wolf in Lithuanian culture and Geri and Freki in Norse mythology.
Question: Is Lucario inspired by a Wolf?
Answer: While Lucario shares characteristics and features of wolves, it is more akin to the Jackal of Egypt. Its design is heavily inspired by Anubis, the ancient Egyptian God of Death and the Afterlife. As a result of its facial structure, bipedal stance, and coloring.
Question: What Inspired the Creation of Pokemon?
Answer: Satoshi Tajiri, director, and creator of the Pokemon series, was inspired to create the Pokemon games after his childhood hobby of collecting insects. Satoshi was also inspired and excited by Gameboy’s technology of being able to communicate between devices. Inspired the idea of trading and battling Pokemon.
Every Wolf Pokemon: Conclusion
In conclusion, wolf Pokemon features some of the most fantastic designs in Pokemon. Zacian and Zamazenta are amazing legendary Pokemon that are awe-inspiring. I believe there should be more wolf Pokemon in the mainline series as there is so much potential to create some fantastic Pokemon from this group of animals.
The fan’s all-time favorite Pokemon combines mammal-based animals, foxes, rabbits, wolves, elephants, and rhinos. The list is endless. These combinations of creatures are relatable and are grounded by reality and our natural kingdom making the Pokemon believable.
Arcanine will always have a special place in my heart as one of my favorite all-time Pokemon. However, I’m happy that I can appreciate Rockruff and Lycanroc as Pokemon of the newer generations that I can accept as Pokemon. As I’m sure you’d agree, Game Freak has made some interesting creative decisions regarding Pokemon designs, to so say the least.