Wolves usually breed in February or the early spring. The litters usually have five pups, but most of the time there are 4 to 8 pups. Most of the time the female wolf is only 22 months old when they first breed. The pups are born in a den that is about ten feet deep and sometimes deeper.
The den is almost always made by the mother and other pack members. Sometimes the wolves find an abandoned den that was used in the past. Before the pups are born one of the wolves tells the other pack members and they all gather around the den to see the pups. When the pups are born and are coming out there is a howl from the pack for each one. They all lick each other and wag their tails because they are so excited. When wolf pups are born they cannot see or hear so they don't know what's going on. Because the pups are defenseless the mother stays with them while the other pack members bring her food. After about four weeks the pups are out of the den for the first time but they still stay close to the den. If anything scares them they jump right back into the den.
The pups gradually come out in the summer. When they get older the bigger wolves start to teach them what they learned when they were pups. The older wolves are really strict and if the pups don't do the right thing the older ones will growl at them and get even stricter.
About three quarters through the summer the pups are moved a great distance from the den. They learn to hunt from the older wolves. When winter starts they can hunt and bring the food back to the old den they used to live in.
The mother and father of the pups will usually stay together for their whole lives. They will keep the family safe. When the pups get older they will do the same thing. They will leave their pack and find a new mate and start a new pack and a family of their own. Sometimes they will stay with their old pack but this hardly ever happens.