30+ Wolf Tattoo Design Ideas (And The Meaning Behind Them)

Wolves are probably one of the most common animal design choices for tattoos, so much so that wolf tattoos have become mainstream. Wolf tattoos are versatile and can have numerous different designs.

Each tattoo can be done uniquely with unusual detailing and color scheme. This makes them suitable for those who are more artistic and want their tattoos to be little paintings and masterpieces rather than plain outlines.

Wolf tattoos, like any other animal tattoo, often carry the meaning and the attributes of a wolf. However, the details you decide to add to the tattoo can complement the wolf symbolism, or add more to it.

So, if you were thinking about getting a wold tattoo, you’re in the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at the meaning and symbolism of wolf tattoos, as well as the tattoo designs and best placement ideas. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Wolf Tattoos – Symbolism and Meaning Explained

Wolf Symbolism

Before we start with the explanation of wolf tattoo meaning, let’s cover the meaning of wolf symbolism first. For thousands of years, the wolf has been one of the most respected wild animals and a center point of numerous stories, books, tales, etc. Its symbolism, however, varies from one culture to the other.

For example, in North America, the wolf is seen as one of the most intelligent animals and symbolizes the spirit, divinity, life, death, and rebirth. All of this symbolism usually stems from the tribal interpretation of the native Americans.

But, in Europe for example, wolves aren’t seen as friendly and as divine; they are generally considered dangerous and often symbolize destruction and death.

But, we must emphasize that wolves are generally respected almost everywhere, apart from Europe, where these animals simply carry a different historical symbol.

Even so, the wolf has played some major roles in European cultural history; in the story of Romulus and Remus, for example, the two twins were raised by a wolf and even suckled by her.

In the Nordic culture, however, wolves were both feared, but respected for their bravery, protection, loyalty, and wisdom.

Werewolf Symbolism

Since ancient times, werewolves have been the subject of human fear and lore. Werewolves have been considered evil for thousands of years, as the traditional legends and myths have featured werewolves and human-devouring monsters.

However, the recent cultural interpretations and adaptations have shown werewolves in a different light, as creatures who are misunderstood rather than evil. Therefore, werewolves have been a tattoo choice for a lot of fantasy enthusiasts or horror stories fans.

Meaning Of Wolf Tattoos For Men And Women

When it comes to wolf tattoos, they can have a different meaning for men and women. Here are the meaning and symbolism of wolf tattoos for men and women;

Wolf Tattoos For Men

  • Power
  • Leadership
  • Protection
  • Fatherhood
  • Rebellion
  • Determination
  • Loyalty
  • Brotherhood

Wolf Tattoos For Women

  • Creation and procreation
  • Femininity
  • Spiritual protection
  • Family
  • Unity
  • Motherhood
  • Loyalty
  • Resilience

Wolf Tattoos – Best Designs And Body Placement

Warewolf Tattoos

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  • Tattoo highlights – these tattoos are often large and require detailing, shading, and sometimes even coloring to emphasize the nature and symbolism of a werewolf. Because of how time- and labor-consuming such tattoos can be, you can expect to pay between $1000 to $2500, depending on the size of the tattoo as well as the tattoo artist and their expertise levels. However, you can try and go for a smaller tattoo, like a werewolf outline to save some cash, but in that case, the tattoo artist might only do the head of the werewolf rather than the whole body, to avoid extra detailing and shading.
  • Best body placement – forearm, bicep area, upper or full back, calf, hand, rib or side of the abdomen area, etc.

If you want to get a badass tattoo, then you should go for a werewolf. These tattoos look exceptional, whether they’re done in a traditional or a more graphic, minimalistic style.

The tattoos often vary in design, depending on the individual taste, but the majority of them tend to express the raw, rebellious nature of a werewolf we all fear and are curious about at the same time.

Depending on the size of the tattoo, as well as the detailing and coloring, you can expect it to be done in one or two sessions, depending on the artist and your pain tolerance.

If you decide to get a tattoo in the forearm area, the rib or side of the abdomen and upper back, you can expect medium to high pain levels due to the nerve endings and thin skin in these areas.

Howling Woolf Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – the howling wolf tattoos are probably the best one in terms of looking great at any size or design idea. The howling wolf tattoos can be large and detailed, or small, outlined and with little or no detail. This makes them suitable for those who want to save some cash, or go crazy and get a badass howling wolf tattoo over their whole back. Either way, the price of the tattoo will depend on the size, color, and details, as well as the artist expertise and body placement.
  • Best body placement – forearm, bicep, shoulder area, hand, calf, upper thigh, etc.

The howling wolf tattoo design is often versatile and can feature the imagery of a forest, a cliff where the wolf is standing, or a full moon.

Depending on your choice of the featured imagery, the tattoo can have the wolf in the center of the design, or as a part of a bigger image.

This can play an important role in the size of the tattoo, where the tattoos with a wolf as a center point are larger and often more detailed. These tattoos tend to cost a lot more than the smaller ones, but both tend to look awesome and rather badass either way.

Tribal Wolf Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – these tattoos are excellent for those who want badass ink without spending the last penny on a tattoo. These tattoos often feature outlining and few detailing which lowers the end price significantly. However, the price can still go up depending on the size of the tattoo, so bear that in mind. Because the tattoos are often simplistic, they can be done in one session, which is great for those with low pain tolerance.
  • Best body placement – shoulder area, forearm, bicep area, calf, upper back, chest area, etc.

Tribal wolf tattoos are probably some of the most meaningful ones. They represent the spiritual protection, strength, loyalty, and the true nature of a wolf. They can also symbolize family, devotion, love, and luck.

All of this symbolism fits into a simplistic, yet intricate and effective tribal wolf tattoo. The design of the tattoo often features an outline of a wolf and can have little or no detailing.

Some people choose to add some color as well, but that is not a common practice with the tribal wolf design. Because of the simplicity of the tattoo, you can expect to pay less than what you would pay for the aforementioned designs.

Japanese Wolf Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – these tattoos are excellent for those who want a wolf tattoo with an oriental design. The Japanese wolf tattoos are often intricate and require a lot of detailing and a complex color scheme. Getting this type of wolf tattoo might cost you the most, so bear that in mind. The tattoo is also often large and occupies almost full-body areas, like the full-back, sleeve, chest, or thigh area. Moreover, this tattoo needs to be done by an expert tattoo artist, which might increase the final tattoo cost even more.
  • Best body placement – chest, upper thigh, calf, sleeve, shoulder area, upper back, rib or side of the abdomen, etc.

The wolf holds a very special place in Japanese culture and tradition. Wolves in Japanese culture represent Shinto gods known as Ookami. If you’ve ever watched anime, for example, you probably witnessed some wolf characters representing gods (like the wolf in Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke).

When it comes to the tattoo design itself, it is also very traditional and in line with the style of Japanese tattoos. The wolf is often depicted very dramatically, with striking facial expressions as well as the color scheme.

The design of the tattoo is often intricate and may require more than one session to complete, especially if the tattoo is big.

Read More: Japanese Tattoos: History, Meanings, Symbolism, And Designs

Angry Wolf Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – these tattoos, because they depict a detailed facial expression, require a highly experienced tattoo artist. The tattoos are often very detailed, big, and require a suitable color scheme. Because they’re so time- and labor-consuming, bear in mind that such a tattoo might cost you more than an average wolf ink.
  • Best body placement – forearm, chest, bicep, upper back, upper thigh, etc.

Angry wolf tattoos aren’t very common since they do depict wolves as angry and ferocious. Such tattoos often indicate one has a bad temper, is fiery and passionate as a person, etc.

Therefore, the design of the tattoo is often large, face-focused, and highly detailed. These tattoos can be intricate and may require one long session, or several shorter sessions to complete.

Because of how time- and labor-intensive these tattoos can be, you may need to dig deeper into your pocket and be ready to pay up to $3000 for a detailed, colored tattoo.

Wolf Headdress Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – these tattoos as well as very complex and feature intricate designs. They are often large and feature several different images. They require a lot of detailing, and the majority are also colored, requiring 2 or more colors. Because of the complexity of the design, you may want to look for an experienced tattoo artist who will do a good job. Also, bear in mind that the size, color, and complexity of the design increase the final tattoo cost significantly.
  • Best body placement – forearm, bicep, shoulder area, chest, upper thigh, calf, etc.

A wolf headdress tattoo is a rather unique and meaningful concept. The design of the tattoo showcases the connection between the Native Americans and the wolf, which is reminiscent of Native American mythology and tradition. The tattoo often depicts a woman wearing a wolf headdress, covered in wonderful colors and a lot of detail. Because of the tattoo complexity, you can expect it to be done in one long or several short sessions, depending on the tattoo artist or your pain tolerance. Either way, this tattoo will surely make a statement on your body and show your connection to nature, and the spirit of the natives and the wolves.

Wolf Dreamcatcher Tattoo

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  • Tattoo highlights – these are some of the most unique wolf tattoos. Because the design comprises a wolf and dreamcatcher imagery, the tattoo artists can create magic with these tattoos. They are often intricate and highly detailed, and in some cases colored too. The size of the tattoos can vary, which can increase or decrease the final tattoo cost. We surely recommend you go for a medium or large-sized tattoo, mostly because the wolf will stand out more compared to the smaller tattoos.
  • Best body placement – forearm, shoulder area, bicep, chest, upper or central back, upper thigh, calf, etc.

If you want your wolf tattoo to truly and directly symbolize protection, then the wolf dreamcatcher tattoo design is for you. This design is heavily influenced by the tradition of the Native Americans since they used the dreamcatchers for protection against nightmares and negative energy.

Wolves also symbolize protection and spiritual guardians. When it comes to the design, however, you can expect the tattoo to be large and have a lot of detail. Of course, you can go for a simple outline, but that won’t translate the true nature and symbolism of the tattoo.

The wolf dreamcatcher tattoos feature beautiful color schemes and unique combinations of the wolf and the dreamcatcher. Because of the size, detailing and color, these tattoos can have a pricepoint, which is something to bear in mind.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get a tattoo that will be a true statement on your body, then a wolf tattoo might be one of the best choices. These tattoos carry such wonderful meanings, and can represent your love for the wilderness, or how strong and free-spirited you are.

They can also show your loyalty to your family, friends, and loved ones, as well as how passionate and wise you are. Regardless of the design you choose, always make sure to add to it something unique to you and your personality.

We hope that our design recommendations were helpful in your decision making, and we hope whatever you choose will turn out great!

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