[[quoteright:300:[[ComicBook/{{Cable}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/8_cable_18.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300: '''[[ComicBook/SupermanRebirth Get away from my son!]]''']]

->''"If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it: I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't... I will look for you... I will find you... and '''I will kill you.'''"''
-->-- '''[[Creator/LiamNeeson Bryan Mills]]''', ''Film/{{Taken}}''

Paternal instinct can transform a BumblingDad into an ActionDad. If someone [[BerserkButton threatens his kids]] they will soon wish they'd never come within a mile of them. This is because fathers are expected to take care of their family and this naturally extends to keeping them safe. Such occasions serve as a way for a father to prove his worthiness. (See ARealManIsAKiller). Expect his children to have a newfound respect for their father and for them to brag that MyDadCanBeatUpYourDad. If their relationship was previously strained expect it to improve.

Often Papa Wolf incidents serve as a way to reveal that a NonActionGuy is really a RetiredBadass or a CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass. In contrast to an OverprotectiveDad (who sometimes ''thinks'' he's this; there is no overlap between them), a Papa Wolf is always portrayed heroically because the latter is defending their kids from genuine threats instead of imagined ones.

A TeamDad may display a streak of this, but the Papa is more likely to be related to his children by blood or through formal adoption, and the children tend to be younger, which may be part of why the Papa Wolf is more oriented toward [[{{Protectorate}} protecting them]] rather than [[{{Mentors}} training them to defend themselves]]. However even completely grown children can summon this response in the face of crisis because they are ''still'' his children no matter how old or strong they get.

This is the SpearCounterpart to MamaBear. When MamaBear and Papa Wolf ''[[BattleCouple team up]]'', no force on earth can stop them.

Subtrope of BewareTheNiceOnes. See also AFatherToHisMen and FamilyMan. Combining this with DisproportionateRetribution can lead to a KnightTemplarParent. If the guy is a teacher instead, he's a BadassTeacher. If the guy doing this is a sibling/cousin, you get BigBrotherInstinct. Inversely, see ParentsInDistress for the kids rescuing the dad. Evil characters can use this too; after all, EvenEvilHasLovedOnes. A subtrope of the Papa Wolf is the BadassAndChildDuo, where an adult male badass takes it upon himself to protect an orphaned, unrelated young child. See also CubCuesProtectiveParent for examples from the animal kingdom, which might include a ''literal'' wolf.

Remember when adding examples that this is a male only trope. The female equivalent is "MamaBear" so all {{Distaff Counterpart}}s should be placed there. When MamaBear and Papa Wolf team up, it's a BattleCouple and all pairs should be placed there. ParentsInDistress is the inversion, when Papa needs to be bailed out by the kids.

Also, note that this is ''not'' the trope for being protective of one's friends, unless of course it is something like an IntergenerationalFriendship. In that case, it is okay. Otherwise, don't do it. Tropes about helping friends should go to AFriendInNeed, ThePowerOfFriendship etc.

!!Examples subpages:
* PapaWolf/AnimeAndManga
* PapaWolf/ComicBooks
* PapaWolf/FanWorks
* [[PapaWolf/AnimatedFilms Films Animation]]
* [[PapaWolf/LiveActionFilms Films Live-Action]]
* PapaWolf/{{Literature}}
* PapaWolf/LiveActionTV
* PapaWolf/{{Music}}
* PapaWolf/MythsAndReligion
* PapaWolf/ProWrestling
* PapaWolf/TabletopGames
* PapaWolf/{{Theatre}}
* PapaWolf/VideoGames
* PapaWolf/WebComics
* PapaWolf/WebOriginal
* PapaWolf/WesternAnimation
* PapaWolf/RealLife



* In the Advertising/GotMilk commercial [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UQ7I9g5pYM seen here]], [[Wrestling/TheRock Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson]] lets nothing - not a cat up a tree, a bank robbery, or even an AlienInvasion - keep him from getting milk for his kids.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* You don't want to mess with ComicStrip/DickTracy's kids. You really don't.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}'' is fiercely protective of his adopted son, Swee'pea, but having been raised, by Popeye, Swee'pea can easily hold his own in a fight despite only being an infant.

* Occurs in ''[[Pinball/WHODunnit WHO dunnit]]'' with [[spoiler:Butler, who is secretly Victoria's father Walter.]] When he overhears her husband threaten her (because he caught her [[BlackWidow plotting to kill him]]), he sabotages the brakes of the car and causes him to die in an auto accident.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Pop from ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' is usually [[BumblingDad really]] [[ParentalNeglect bad]] at being a father despite his good intentions, and actually gets his son killed more often than not. However, the few times he actually notices Cub is in danger, he will [[{{Determinator}} stop at nothing]] to save him. Feats achieved in this state include going over a waterfall in ''And The Kitchen Sink'' and successfully fending off a rabid dog in ''Doggone It''.
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', the Emperor is very happy with the news that he has biological children. When he finds out what happened to them, though, Warp storms abound over perpetrators' heads.
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': Strong Mad gets like this when his best friend, The Cheat, is physically abused.
* Qrow in ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' may be only Yang's maternal uncle but he loves Ruby just as much as Yang and nothing would stand between him and his nieces. He rescued the child Yang and Ruby from a hoard of Grimm in the past and in Volume 4, he performed a BigDamnHeroes, protecting Ruby from being seriously injured by Tyrian, having secretly watching and protecting Team JNRR from afar for months.
* Wash in ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' becomes fiercely protective of the Reds and Blues. He pulls a gun on Carolina when the latter threatened to shoot Tucker. He went out of his way to rescue Donut from an attacking Tex robot, perhaps as a way to make up for [[spoiler: shooting Donut earlier]]. He performed a HeroicSacrifice, ordering Freckles to collapse a cave to give Tucker, Caboose, Simmons and Grif enough time to escape despite knowing he will be trapped on the other side with the attacking Feds. He stepped in front of Sarge, Donut and Lopez when Locus appeared, readying his gun.
->''[[TooDumbToLive Good]]'' ''[[TemptingFate luck.]]''
-->-- '''[[WhatAnIdiot Sex Trafficker]]''', ''Film/{{Taken}}''