Pack (canine)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
A pack of canines—most notably wolves, the domestic dog, and some other wild canines—is a group of animals that is organised according to a strict social hierarchy. In the wild, the pack is led by an alpha male and an alpha female. This social structure was originally thought to allow the wolf, a social predator, to take prey many times its size; new theories are emerging, however, that suggest the pack strategy instead maximizes reproductive success and has less to do with hunting.

The size of the pack may change over time and is controlled by factors including habitat type, individual personalities, and food supply. Generally packs contain between two and six animals, although packs with more than 20 have been recorded. The hierarchy or rank order of the pack is relatively strict, with the alphas (one male, one female) on top and the omega at the bottom. The hierarchy affects all activity in the pack, from which wolf eats first to which is allowed to breed (generally only the alpha pair).

In the case of the domestic dog, thousands of years of breeding for docility has made certain that most dogs easily accept humans as the natural pack alpha; households having more than one resident dog quickly establish their own hierarchy within the social context of the household.

Metaphorically, it also means the plebs, socially low-classed people, mob, or highly unwanted individuals.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pack (canine)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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