The Japanese wolf was not the world's smallest wolf. The cranial length of the adult Arab wolf (Canis lupus arabs) measures on average 200. 8 mm, which is smaller than most wolves. Specimens of the Japanese wolf were measured between 193. 1 mm and 235. 9 mm and it was uncertain if these were all from adults. In the mandible, M1 (molar tooth) is relatively larger than in any other canid species. An examination in 1991 found one specimen's condylobasal length (a measure of skull length) to be 205. 2mm, and the Alveolar length of P4 (the fourth maxillary premolar or carnassial tooth) to be 20. 0mm (left) and 21. 0mm (right). In 2009, an osteological study declared that the skull of the Japanese wolf was between 206. 4 mm to 226. 0 mm in total length, and that morphological characters alone were not sufficient to distinguish the Japanese wolf from large domesticated dogs, such as the Akita breed. Remains of the wild native canine dating from the late Edo period (1603 and 1868), the Yama-Inu, has occasionally been confused with the Japanese wolf because of the osteological similarities between the two.
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