Not all wolf and dog interactions are adversarial.
Take the story of Romeo.
Romeo was a black wolf who liked to hang out at the Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska.
Lots of people walked their dogs there, and Romeo joined up with them.
According to most stories, Romeo lost his mate, and then he tried to bond with a female Labrador retriever that was brought to the lake on a regular basis.
He eventually extended his friendship toward virtually all dogs that were walked there.
In 2010, Romeo went missing.
Although his exact fate has never been confirmed, it has been claimed that a hunter killed Romeo.
But while he was alive, Romeo’s interaction with many different domestic dogs became something of an internet sensation.
A simple Google Image search for “Romeo the wolf” will reveal dozens of photos of a striking black wolf standing next to an assortment of common domestic dog breeds.
The juxtaposition of a Northern-type wolf with mostly Western dog breeds is quite striking.
One can see how much more robust this sort of wolf is.
One can tell that his kid of Canis lupus evolved to hunt the big game. Their massive teeth and jaws help them drop moose and bison. Their massive heads anchor enormous jaw muscles that allow them to deliver punishing bites and break thick bones.
If the latest genomic data is correct, the modern strains of domestic dog are derived from an entirely different sort of wolf, the more primitive and slightly-built “Southern” wolves of South Asia and the Middle East.
Romeo is the sort of wolf who would have contributed his genes to domestic dogs.
In the thousands of years that existed before humans regularly spayed and neutered and confined dogs, wild genes had a way of working their way into the population.
Unattached wolves like Romeo would sometimes mate with the domestic bitches they encountered.
Dog and wolf initially started out as a cultural distinction.
Humans regarded the wolf as wild and the dog as tame.
They are still the same species, but now each has adapted to its niche.
Just as the Romeo’s subspecies has adapted to hunting large game in frigid environments, the wolves who became dogs adapted to living in the human world.
Here are two types of wolf that have specialized and adapted to very different environments.
One of them has hitched its evolutionary wagon to the Homo sapiens star.
And it has thrived beyond any reasonable expectations for a relatively large carnivoran.
The other subspecies is doing okay.
But it will never have the success or the range of the human-adapted one.