The idea behind alpha males is that the biggest and baddest males live the best lives gathering the most resources compared to lowly betas. The idea is somewhat true in the animal kingdom (although many alpha males are very stressed out), it is not the case for dogs or wolves or humans.

The term ‘alpha wolf’ was originally coined by the biologist, L. David Mech, studying wolves in an American national park in 1977. Mech observed that in wolf packs, an individual male seems to assert itself as the dominant ‘leader’ of the pack. Mech later wrote up his research in a very popular book, introducing the concept to the masses. However, almost 20 years later, when Mech tried to replicate his study on wild wolf populations, he realisied that his original conclusions were mistaken. Wolves did not live in packs led by a single alpha but in family groups with parents looking after their offspring.

Mech later tried to renounce his work and the ideas of the top dog but he failed. The concept is stronger than ever, still perpetuating outdated gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity.  

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