We feel like, maybe, wolves get a bad wrap when it comes to mainstream movies...which is weird, because wolf tattoos are some of the most popular pieces to collect. They're basically an everlasting trend. It may be that wolves have a long history involved in magical legends and symbols, but they also have cultural affiliations like that of the Native American spirit animals. Beyond that, it may be their connection and representation of nature that makes them such a favorable design concept for tattoos...even their natural beauty, those sparkling eyes and thick fur, make for incredible depictions. In this collection of wolf tattoos, we brought together a bunch of different stylistic portrayals of this powerful animal.
So the last film we saw that had anything to do with wolves was The Grey with Liam Neeson...who, honestly, we totally adore because he just seems like a pretty cool dude. But in this film *spoiler alert* Liam's character is involved in a plane crash that lands him in the frigid winter landscape of the Alaskan wilderness. Basically, not only is Liam trying to survive the crash and the natural weather, but apparently there's also a crazy group of wolves out to eat him, and the others who survived the plane wreckage. However, wolves aren't actually that violent. In fact, some of these wolf tattoos wonderfully capture the sort of poetic pensive, quiet quality that this animal possesses. Although wolves are known for their bravery, strength, and endurance, they tend to fear and avoid humans, especially in North America. This is partly due to the invention of firearms, which wolves cannot match no matter how fast or how strong they may be. Rapid wolves, on the other hand, have been known to attack
There are also some movies, however, that do show wolves in a more positive and revered light. White Fang, the 1991 film, tells the story of a cruelly treated wolf/dog pup who manages to find a healthy relationship with a human friend. No one could ever forget the Disney flick, Balto, which had tons of little kids in the 90's howling during playtime. Never Cry Wolf is another Disney movie, live-action instead of animation, that considers a serious side of humanities connection with nature, including the pressures on wolves due to hunting for pelts. Each of these is a great example of mankind's emotional and physical attachment to this special animal.
And these artworks are also great representations of that attachment. Blackwork wolf tattoos, traditional wolf tattoos, and realistic wolf tattoos are some of people’s favorite styles to get these animals produced in, and we're sure that popular culture has a great hand in these aesthetically pleasing designs.
Wolf Tattoo Meaning
The wolf tattoo can represent a variety of beliefs, attitudes and personal traits. Many who resonate with these attributes select the wolf tattoo as a permanent symbol of empowerment, spirituality and self-reliance.
Common traits ascribed to the wolf are: Devotion, loyalty, family, valor, triumph, intelligence, strength, power, fearlessness, love, honor, independence, ferocity, survival and mystery.
Throughout history many ancient cultures have held the wolf in high regard, often associating it with spiritual powers. Among these cultures were the Native Americans who viewed the wolf as a spirit animal, believing that it symbolized loyalty and perseverance, amongst other things. It was common belief amongst almost all Native American tribes that the creator of the world was a wolf spirit. They believed that the wolf had the ability to transform into a human form and that the wolf was closely related to humans. This fascination with wolves has continued into current times, leading people to look to the past in hopes of better understanding the wolf’s connection to humanity and symbolic significance.
Thanks to the wolf’s association with loyalty and their tendency to hunt and live in packs, the wolf tattoo is an excellent selection for anyone wishing to memorialize family bonds or strong friendships. The wolf tattoo can also work to symbolize one’s spirit animal, or serve as a reminder of shared traits. Many who have succeeded against great odds find favor with the wolf, as the wolf serves to represent tenacity and survival. This is also an excellent symbol for those who wish to commemorate their personal or professional success, as the wolf is a common symbol for intelligence, shrewdness and power. The wolf tattoo can also serve as a marker of a free spirit, otherwise referred to as a “lone wolf”.
Most Popular Wolf Tattoo Styles
Tribal Wolf Tattoo
The tribal wolf tattoo is a popular choice for those who feel drawn to the wolf’s ancient symbolism and mystery. The aspects of the tribal design serve to remind us of the wolf’s spiritual importance and reverence within cultures of the distant past. Tribal tattooing dates back to over 5,000 years ago, with older examples of the practice being discovered still. For those looking to imbed their wolf tattoo with historical meaning, the tribal wolf design is a perfect choice.
See More: Tribal Style Wolf Tattoos
Geometric Wolf Tattoo
The geometric wolf tattoo is an excellent selection for those wishing to convey a deeper spiritual message. The geometric aspects of the design serve to remind us of “sacred geometry”, or the idea that certain proportions and geometric shapes hold spiritual meaning. Complimenting sacred geometry is the “golden ratio”, a mathematical relationship commonly found in nature, suggesting an intelligent designer. For many these geometrical findings work as reminders that everything is as it should be within nature and the world. Due to the spiritual nature of geometric designs, wolf tattoos in this style work wonderfully to depict the wolf as a spirit or totem animal. Those possessing a deep and guiding connection to this fascinating creature often choose to showcase their wolf tattoo in this way.
Read More: 50 Geometric and Blackwork Wolf Tattoos
Traditional Wolf Tattoo
With the bold lines and bright colors of traditional tattooing, wolfs depicted in this manner can easily symbolize power, relentlessness, loyalty and valor. Wolves depicted in this style of tattooing often have a fierce appearance, reminding us of the strength and fearlessness associated with the wolf. Old school wolf tattoos are also perfect for those desiring to symbolize triumph and survival, or for those who prefer color in their design.
Read More: 25 Traditional Wolf Tattoos
Watercolor Wolf Tattoo
Watercolor wolf tattoos work to soften this fierce and powerful animal, lending a more etheric and feminine appeal to the design. For those that prefer to use color within their tattoos, a watercolor piece is a great choice. Wolf tattoos done in this style can easily work to represent a spiritual belief, or commemorate a cosmic connection to this special animal. The use of non-traditional and more vibrant colors allows the wolf the ability to appear otherworldly and dream like.
Read More: 11 Stunning Watercolor Wolf Tattoos
Small Wolf Tattoo
For those preferring a more minimalist approach to their wolf tattoo, small and understated wolf designs are a perfect choice. Whether you’d like to pack intricate detail into your tiny tattoo, or leave it as more of an outline, it works beautifully either way. Many who don’t enjoy bold colors or loud designs tend to stick with simple wolf tattoos, allowing the imagery to speak for itself.
Wolf Sleeve Tattoo
If wolf symbolism holds a special place in your heart a wolf tattoo sleeve may be right up your alley! Due to the larger space available on the arm, wolf tattoo sleeves allow a great deal of symbolism and detail to be added within the design. Some popular symbolism choices include dreamcatchers, full moons and nature elements.
See More: Wolf Sleeve Tattoos
Wolf Tattoos for Men
If you are searching for a bold and masculine wolf tattoo, there are plenty of design motifs to choose from. Some popular choices for masculine wolf tattoos include elements displaying fierceness and primal energy. Some choose to depict this by creating tattoos showing a wolf bearing its teeth, or howling at the full moon. Certain tattooing styles can also work to accentuate the masculine attributes of the wolf, such as traditional style tattooing, black work and tribal.
Wolf Tattoos for Women
Wolf tattoos showcasing a more feminine energy often do so by using natural elements and geometric designs. Particular styles of tattooing can also work to add a feminine flair to your wolf design, such as watercolor, geometric and minimalist styles. Although these tend to have a more stereotypical feminine energy, feel free to choose any style you’d like. If you want to infuse more feminine energy into your wolf tattoo you can always add elements like feathers, nature scenes and lunar symbolism.