Several decades ago, I read a book written by a man who rescued and raised two wolf cubs whose mother had been killed. He was sure his wife would welcome the cubs, but he was apprehensive about the reaction of his large, male German Shepherd.

The dog took one sniff of the cubs, and adopted them, starting by licking them clean (they were filthy). I don't remember how the man and his wife fed them; I think they had not been weaned.

The book focused on the pack that developed. The man was the alpha male, his wife the alpha female. The German Shepherd was initially the beta male. As a juvenile or young adult, the male wolf challenged the man, who instantly and forcefully responded, and thus maintained his position as alpha male. The male wolf and the German Shepherd worked out an arrangement where the GS was beta in the home territory, but when the pack (led by the man) went far afield, the male wolf was the beta.

The man trained the wolves to live on their own -- Born Free with wolves instead of lions -- and eventually the wolves, who had started to roam on their own, left and did not come back.

I don't know the title, I don't know the author (it wasn't Farley Mowatt or Barry Lopez or Jack London)), and I don't know where this happened, but my impression is the northwest US or Canada. The book was presented as the true experiences of the author. Does this go click with anyone? Does the premise of the book - the artificial pack -- jibe with what has been observed about wolf and dog behavior and their relationship to humans?

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    Well, seeing as the alpha wolf pack leader seems to be largely an outdated myth (knowledgenuts.com/2014/01/11/… and davemech.org/news.html) I have some doubts... There might be a fair amount of storywriting involved.
    – fgysin
    Aug 29, 2017 at 5:17
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    If it's fiction it's probably Jack London, his best known books are Call of the Wild and White Fang which are along the same lines around domestication of dogs during the northern gold rush.
    – Separatrix
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:25
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    Seems theres two questions here, does anyone remember the book/what is it and is this correct behaviour. The animal behaviour bit I'd say is better suited to pets.stackexchange.com
    – user2766
    Aug 29, 2017 at 8:54
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    @Liam I'll read your reference tonight. This is not suitable for PetsSE: the wolves were born wild, the man made no attempt to turn them into pets, and as best he could taught them to survive on their own in the wild.
    – ab2
    Aug 29, 2017 at 17:00
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    The pack model with a bunch of beta wolves is faulty for wild animals, because like many animal behaviour theories it was based on observations in zoos. That means that while in the wild the "betas" are usually just the cubs of a pair still traveling with them, wolves in captivity can adopt a submissive role. It will just take a lot more to get them to accept it than it does with dogs, who have been bred to in some ways stay puppies for their entire lives.
    – Monster
    Sep 4, 2017 at 20:47


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