This weekend, I was hiking in the Spanish Sierra de Guadarrama. On a small trail north of Navacerrada (used by only a handful of people each day at the moment), at 1905m height, I encountered the pawprint you can see below. It was set in a patch of old snow directly on edge of the path. I actually recorded the precise location on my GPS, you can see it here.
After measuring my hand at home, I calculated the the pawprint to be about 16cm in length.
Now, according to my research so far, this can either be a wolf or a very large dog.
What makes me believe it's a wolf is that
- Dogs of that size are pretty rare.
- There is actually a wolf pack in these mountains (source).
- Perhaps most importantly: There were a few more prints on the same patch of snow but nowhere else. The trail was mostly snow-free, but there were a few more snow patches in both directions. Some of them covered the whole path and I could not see any more pawprints on them. They may have been covered by the human footsteps, but I looked pretty closely and could not see any trace of paws, so it appears whoever caused these prints went off the trail.
Still, I'm not sure, so if you see any further indicators pro or versus wolf, please help me out.