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Submitted on
March 30, 2013
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Wolf Anatomy - Snarl by r-ior Wolf Anatomy - Snarl by r-ior
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Anatomy tutorials > Canine Anatomy > Wolf Anatomy > Expressions > Snarl

The Wolf's Snarl
Drawing a snarling wolf can be very tricky, if you've never done it before. Although, don't be afraid to use reference photos (but remember not to trace!) for help, along with any Anatomy guides you can find. There's tonnes of them, all over the internet (particularly dA!).
Personally, I find canine muzzles, especially snarling ones, very interesting to draw. I prefer to use a lot of angular lines, but it's all style.
Here's some key information you may want to know about 'Wolf snarls':
What does it mean?
When a wolf snarls, it draws back it's lips and exposes its teeth. In many species (such as bears, cats and even sharks), this is used for aggressive, offensive means. Wolves will use it when confronted with a threat, for aggressive and defensive uses too. An Alpha wolf might snarl at a wolf of lower status in a display of dominance, but a submissive wolf may also snarl as a show of defiance.
How does it look?
When snarling for either aggressive or defensive reasons, a wolf's snarl will look the same. Its lips are drawn back and tightened, and their teeth are exposed.
What about further body posture?
If a wolf is snarling because of aggression or dominance, their body will be elevated and they will make direct eye contact with the submissive wolf at which they are snarling towards. Whereas, a submissive wolf will have a lowered body posture and avert their gaze.
Who will a wolf snarl at?
Snarling shouldn't really be associated with prey, as wolves never snarl at their prey. Wolves will also rarely snarl at humans (and the posture is actively avoided by wolf scientists and keepers as best as possible). Wolves will snarl at other wolves, or other predators, especially when food is nearby. Wolves are very protective of their food and will snarl and growl at any intruding force. Although, when snarling, Wolves will rarely become engaged in an actual fight, as the expression serves as more of a communicative tool than anything else.
Do dogs snarl too?
Yes, dogs also snarl. Although, when a domestic dog snarls, it is often meant as a deterrent to a fight, or a final warning before an attack.

I hope this helps some of you! It's great to practice anatomy :3
The grungy paper texture that I used belongs to ~arghus [link]
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happy2572 Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! This really helps!
One-eyeHitomi Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks! I always have a lot of trouble when I draw snarls. :-)
r-ior Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem, glad you could find it useful <3 
TheMeekWarrior Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great angles on this expression and thanks for the information! :D This will really help me out!
r-ior Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I'm glad I could help! 
TheMeekWarrior Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:aww: You're welcome!
Rookie141 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this doesn't just help as hell, it also looks fucking good although it seems to be thrown at the paper in three minutes :D really cool!
r-ior Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahaha, thank you so much! I'm glad you like it! 
KirikoSoul Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is really helpful, thanks ^^
demonwolf1999 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
this is very useful!!! I always have trouble making snarling wolves.
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