Wolves are one of the more alarming non-supernatural enemy types in Valheim. No-one likes coming face-to-face with a fuzzy ball of snarling death unprepared.
But Valheim is a great game, so of course: you can pet the dog. Taming a wolf will turn them into a faithful companion that will even fight on your side during combat encounters.
Wolves are exclusively encountered in the Mountains biome. This can be a dangerous area to explore without proper preparation, so check out our guide (linked above) to surviving in the region before you embark on your search for a new pet.
On this page:
- How to tame wolves in Valheim
- Should you build a wolf enclosure in your base?
- How to breed wolves in Valheim
- Selective breeding: day wolves and night wolves explained
- How combat works with tamed wolves
How to tame wolves in Valheim
When taming animals in Valheim, the way to a critter's heart is through its stomach. Wolves are no exception, and will grow to trust you every time you feed them a piece of raw meat or fish.
Taming wolves is more time-consuming than taming boars. It takes about four times as long to build the necessary trust; there's a day/night cycle to take into account (see below); and higher-level wolves are more elusive and difficult to tame.
To avoid disappointment, it's worth constructing a "cage" near where wolves spawn before you begin taming one. Build a defensive wall with a door in it and settle in to wait.
Once you spot the wolf you want to tame, kite the wolf into the cage and shut it in. Hang back for a bit to ensure that it's no longer aggravated (either by players or other enemies in the area). Then throw some meat to it to begin taming.
When the wolf begins to eat, you'll see yellow hearts appear over its head. In Valheim, this means an animal is beginning to acclimatize to your presence. If you get close — but not so close as to aggravate the creature — you should see a percentage number which indicates its trust in you. Once this reaches 100%, the animal is tame.
You'll need to repeat this feeding cycle many times over several in-game days. During this time you might want to stay close to the cage to build trust quicker and prevent the wolf from despawning.
Should you build a wolf enclosure in your base?
You can keep tamed wolves in a pen, but unlike with boars, this isn't necessary to keep them where you want them. A tame wolf will stick close by your side (or, in co-op, with the last person who petted them, the fickle darlings). Even if they lose track of you or otherwise forget to follow, they'll generally stay put near where you left them.
However, you can still construct a wolf enclosure in your base if you like. This can be useful if, for example, you want to pet your wolves while wandering around the house without then having every single one of them follow you when you go out.
Tame wolves can reproduce at a frankly alarming rate if they're not constrained by space, and are able to forage their own food from enemies. While it might be tempting to have an entire pack at your back in a fight, you can keep the population under some sort of control by leaving at least a few of them at home while you head out to explore.
How to breed wolves in Valheim
Just like boars, tame wolves can be bred to make more tame wolves. In fact, unless you keep them in an enclosure that limits their breeding capacity, getting them to stop breeding often becomes an issue.
Two tame adult wolves who have been fed recently and so are both in the 'happy' mood (neither hungry or aggravated by nearby enemies) will eventually autonomously mate with each other. Sexual characteristics don't exist for animals in Valheim, and any two adults will be able to produce offspring together.
They'll soon be producing pups at a steady rate — even on the go if you've brought your pets with you on an expedition. Sadly, wolf pups don't always survive into adulthood, especially if there are a lot of them in the area. However, those that do make it will be added to your tame wolf pack — becoming a companion or an easy source of pelts and meat, at your discretion.
Selective breeding: day wolves and night wolves explained
Wolves come in three levels, indicated by a star rating underneath their health bar:
- No stars: The wolf has 80 HP and 70 Damage
- 1 star: The wolf has 160 HP and 105 Damage
- 2 stars: The wolf has 240 HP and 140 Damage
Uniquely, their star rating affects the time of day during which they spawn. Higher-level wolves are more likely during the night — to the point where 2 star wolves only spawn at night.
Night-spawned wolves of any level will only eat, breed, and follow at night time, even after you've tamed them. They may even despawn completely during the day, at which point you'll lose them as tamed companions.
Breeding is therefore more important with wolves than with other animals in Valheim. You can carefully breed out the traits that cause night wolves to despawn while keeping the strengths granted by their 2 star status.
A bred wolf will inherit the star level of one of its parents, with a 50/50 chance for either. Therefore, the best way to get a 2 star wolf companion is to breed 1 star day wolves with 2 star night wolves at night-time, as soon as the latter is tamed.
It might take a few tries — since the "mother" wolf could be the night wolf and despawn during the day. Even if the pregnant wolf does stick around, the pup could inherit the 1 star parent's level — though fortunately, the offspring of a day wolf and a night wolf will always behave as a day wolf.
However, eventually you should have a growing pack of high-level wolves that will eat, breed, and follow at any time and, crucially, won't go despawning on you during the day.
How combat works with tamed wolves
Just like boars or lox, you can actually farm wolves for their resources in Valheim. In fact, even though it might not feel great, you will need to off a few wolves at some point if you want to craft the wolf armour, one of the most powerful armour sets in the game.
However, tame wolves do serve a purpose beyond farming. Your canine companions are happy to follow you on your travels, and if they spot an enemy they'll attack on your behalf.
A two-star wolf has 240 Health and deals 140 slash damage with every hit, and even their zero-star cousins are quite capable of taking care of themselves in a scrap. So wolves are sturdy and valuable companions to have with you in a fight.
However, a few words of caution before you and your wolf pals head off into battle. You can't direct your wolves to attack — they make judgement calls about who and when to go for of their own accord.
This may not sound like a big problem. However, even when you're safe at home in your fully-enclosed base, tame wolves will become aggravated if they have line-of-sight with an enemy.
In a surprising turn of realism, your good doggo will happily start to batter down your defences if it means they can start a fight with whatever wandering Grayling has attracted their ire. Use high fences or natural terrain barricades to ensure that passing enemies can't distract your tame wolves when they're inside a base.