What is the difference between canine and wolf teeth in horses?

Last Updated on April 15, 2022 by Allison Price

Horse owners often confuse canine and wolf tooth — some even using the terms interchangeably. There are many key differences between canine teeth and wolf teeth.

Let’s have a closer look at the mouth of your horse…

The Canine Tooth

Canine canine teeth are found in the mouths only of male horses. This includes stallions and geldings. The lower canine teeth, also known as ‘tusks, ‘tushes, or ‘bridle-tooth’, usually erupt around age four. The upper canine canine teeth erupt at about age five.

Canine And Wolf Teeth in Horses

Canine teeth are present in the mouth to fight — as stallions vie for mares during the breeding season. They also have a role to play in chewing, which is something that wolf teeth don’t. Although canine teeth are found in as many as 20% of mares (and they are often very small), it is not uncommon for them to be present.

The Wolf Tooth

Wolf teeth can be found in both the male and female mouths. However, they have no purpose. Wolf teeth are remnants of evolution. They’re sometimes called’vestigial’ or’remnant’ teeth.

A second difference between canine wolf and canine teeth is the location of their teeth. This is why many canine teeth stay after wolf teeth have been removed. Once the bit is in position, it will sit well behind the canines but may be very close to the wolf’s teeth.

The bit is often located close to the wolf teeth, which can cause discomfort and pain. The wolf teeth can also be erupt earlier, around six to eight month. They may also be located in many places within the mouth including in surprising places.

Horses only have two canine teeth. However, horses have had up to eight wolf tooth extracted. Sometimes they can be blind, meaning that they haven’t erupted through their gums. Or floating without root attachment. Wolf teeth are often extracted because of this.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!