As wolves became less common in inhabited areas, people became less wary and more curious of them and started to look at their positive traits. No longer seen as simply destructive beasts, they were soon written as proud and dignified symbols of nature that were intelligent, dignified and reasonable. Though still dangerous, if a Noble Wolf is antagonistic, it's probably not just because it hates you or wants to eat you. Rather, an antagonist Noble Wolf will probably have been offended at your trespasses or your competition for resources.
Though leaning more towards neutrality, a Noble Wolf can easily be a heroic figure. With their intelligence, doglike figure and social nature, it is easy to pick out good traits to emphasize. Having a lupine ally or pet instantly makes any character much more threatening or impressive. Any heroic wolf of this sort will be a force to be reckoned with as wolves are still taken very seriously today.
Compare and contrast Savage Wolves. Compare animals with similar reputations like Heroic Dolphins, and especially its close relative Heroic Dog.
One of them is a gentle forest guardian that had no interest in the Shikon Jewel. Naraku had to force one on him to brainwash him. Judging from Kaede's shock at his ferocity, this is unusual behavior.
Kouga was initially a villain but he mellowed out into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who's sweet on Kagome. Even before such Character Development, there was a strong sense of pack solidarity; Kouga would go into a rage whenever his packmates are killed and Those Two Guys are loyal to Kagome because they believe she is part of their pack via her relationship with Kouga. The anime made Kouga even more noble with the anime-only character, Ayame. Years pre-series he rescued her and then played along with her Precocious Crush.
Wolfs Rain is an anime revolving around this trope, following four wolves in disguise as humans wanting to seek out Paradise while the Earth is dying.
In Ginga Nagareboshi Gin, a manga-only short after the Big Bad's defeat features both good and evil wolves, in which the dogs join forces with the former to defeat the latter.
Spice and Wolf is about a merchant who finds a wolf deity trapped in a bundle of wheat. She is haughty and self sufficient and can be cruel, but she's wise, well meaning and was once a village patron deity that helped bring good harvets.
The Fifth Elephant is a complicated case. A wolf's natural instincts include killing any werewolves they come across, (even Angua) but for a good chunk of the story they are kept in line by another wolf. Even then the wolves are not portrayed as evil. Angua accepts that they have some pretty good reasons to hate werewolves.
The leading lady, Holo, is a wolf deity. Her true form is so big and scary that Lawrence (her Love Interest) shat himself the first time he saw it; so does everyone else. On the other hand, she only takes this form in Lawrence's defence and proudly calls herself a 'wise wolf'.
Another (nameless) wolf diety was much less friendly but still granted the duo safe passage through his forest after Holo got on her knees and begged him to.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, most wolves are considered Savage Wolves, but the direwolves adopted by the Stark children vary according to the personality of their owner and how well they're trained. Among the more heroic are:
Grey Wind and Ghost, Robb's and Jon's respectively. They are trained Attack Animals who will attack only at their masters' command and to hunt.
Summer, who is Bran's. Like the former two but taken Up to Eleven; since Bran is The Beastmaster, he can enter Summer's mind and control him at will.
Lady, who is Sansa's, is a fully tamed, gentle, and sweet-natured housepet.
Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls is a sort of cross between this and a Savage Wolf. In the past, he served beneath the God of sunlight, alongside the late knight Artorias, and even now guards his master's grave. True to the original trope, Sif is both large and formitable. The player character only comes up to his chest, and in the area where you fight him, there are many swords stuck into the ground, and corpses littered around. His opening cutscene shows him leaping off a great stone tower towards the player, removing a Big Fancy Sword from the ground with his jaws, and flipping it to the other side dramatically. Prepare to Die.
Wolf generally tries to depict wolves realistically, but was made with the intent that seeing how they live would make people care about them. The information snippets are definitely written with a Noble Wolf in mind.
In Ōkami, the sun goddess Amaterasu takes the form of a fluffy white wolf with red markings and Reality Warper powers, and goes around Nippon helping people, beating up evil demons and generally making the world bright and beautiful. While technically she is a goddess and not a real wolf, she behaves very much like a friendly, playful (and occasionally naughty) dog.
His true form is that of a fox, but after being trapped in Annie's stuffed wolf and his Character Development starts, Reynard fits this trope. Also invoked literally: Rey has two forms — a small stuffed toy, and a larger wolf that is much more elegant. Typically, he stays in toy form when acting as comic relief, but switches to the other shape when feeling especially "noble" or attacking someone.
Ysengrin appears to be a Noble Wolf by default (if a bit guarded, proud, and standoffish), but his temperamental nature and very possibly Coyote's influence cause him to swing between this trope and Savage Wolf depending on his mood and the situation.