How Long Does a Dire Wolf Live?

March 29, 2012 in Snips

Centives’ coverage of The Game of Thrones is spoiler-free for those who have watched the first season.

In the beginning of the popular HBO series The Game of Thrones we see the first Direwolves on the south side of the wall in over 200 years. The group of people who find them note that the Dire Wolf is the sigil of the Stark clan, and that there are six wolves, one for each of the Stark children.

In our own world the Dire Wolf was an actual species that has since gone extinct. It was similar in some respects to the Grey Wolf although it was heavier, weighing up to 79 kg. In the Game of Thrones world though, Dire Wolves grow to be significantly larger. In the books they are said to be as large as horses, and the makers of the television show intend to use CGI to bring the wolves to life in the second season as there aren’t any dog actors big enough to play the role.

How long do these wolves live? Dogs and wolves are closely related and in our world we know that the heavier a dog is, the shorter its lifespan. Any dog that is a “giant breed” (those that weigh more than 45 kg) don’t normally live for more than 6-7 years. Since the Dire Wolves are orders of magnitude bigger than that, if the relationship holds then we’d only expect them to live for about 5 years. The events within the first season last for around a year and so the wolves are still relatively young.

Female dogs normally live longer than male ones. Since Sansa’s Dire Wolf is killed early in the series, Arya’s wolf, Nymeria, as the only other female Dire Wolf, should be the last among the original six Wolves to die.

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