For much of Western human history, wolves were portrayed as bloodthirsty monsters or as big bad villains. Gradually, over time, this view point became challenged as wolves became less common and people less cautious of them, with more positive depictions of wolves as noble, but untamed creatures eventually arising. But how do you make characters who have been portrayed for so long as evil look good? Simple, make them white.
White is often associated with light and goodness and by making a wolf white, audiences are given the indication that this wolf represents the qualities of their fur coat. Some white wolf heroes are normal wolves who are the main heroes of their work, other times they are are deities of wolves or of nature.
Real life white wolves are no different from wolves of any other color, but they are a dazzle to behold. They can usually be found in Canada, Alaska, and sometimes Minnesota. Unless you're Too Dumb to Live, do not go up to a white wolf and treat it like a dog.
Subtrope of Noble Wolf.
- Wolf's Rain has Kiba, a white wolf when in wolf form. Interestingly, he's the only one who doesn't follow the show's convention of wolves' human illusions having the same hair color as their fur and the same eye color in each form. When in human form he has dark brown hair, and blue eyes instead of his wolf form's yellow eyes.
- Subverted in One Piece where the white wolves in Impel Down are very vicious beasts who roam the 5th level ("Freezing Hell"), looking for prisoners who tried to escape. They used to be in the 2nd level ("Beast Hell"), but they are so ferocious that they preyed on the other beasts there.
- Koji's evolutionary line from Digimon Frontier is lupine and has a lot of indigo and white going on. He's one of the first good guys therein to get his spirit.
- The wolves in Princess Mononoke are white, and their adopted daughter wears a white pelt. They are in fact kami gods, but not so much "good" as "not evil", since they still attack humans who destroy their forests.
- In the scene where Balto learns to accept his wolf heritage, he meets a mysterious white wolf who howls with him. The first sequel makes the white wolf out to be the spirit of Ainu, a legendary wolf, and Balto's mother, although the people behind the first film didn't see it that way, but meant for the white wolf to be a completely ambiguous character.
- In The Secret of Kells, the fairy Aisling sometimes appears as a white wolf.
- In The Jungle Book (2016), Raksha, Mowgli's adoptive mother has very light, almost white fur. This makes her both easier to tell apart from the rest of the pack, and signify her as the kindest, gentlest one.
- The Sight: Larka is a white wolf who possesses the power of The Sight and must use it to prevent Wolfbane from returning. Fittingly, one of the dragons of the book, Fell, is a black wolf and is Larka's brother. He is redeemed though.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Ghost, Jon Snow's white direwolf — a deadly but Noble Wolf — who is part of his family while being a bit different from the rest, reflecting Jon. Ghost grows to become the biggest of his siblings and is a fierce and loyal ally to Jon, his friends and family.
- In The Yukon Wolf, Lusa, a white wolf, is a kind and motherly figure to the two main characters, Tulok and Arnaaluk.
- In Moonflowers, the Asian-American Ned Song has been cursed by The Wild Hunt into the form of a white wolf as they plot to murder him, his family, and four unknown future victims in a ritual hunt called the Fairy Raid. Thanks to said curse, everyone thinks Ned is just a huge wolfdog except for gods, the mage Ogma O'Luain, and his own recently-cursed wife Lucy, and he's been unknowingly adopted by his own daughter Alima. Ned, being a Good Parent, is both a literal and figurative Papa Wolf who swears a Blood Oath to kill the Wild Hunt's leader before ANY of the victims die.
- This Is Not A Werewolf Story: Raul is mentored by a white wolf during his weekly transformations. He is convinced that she is his Missing Mom, who somehow got Shapeshifter Mode Locked and managed to track him down to the woods near his boarding school.
- Game of Thrones portrays Jon's direwolf Ghost much the same as he is in the books — a deadly but a Noble Wolf who is a fierce and loyal ally to Jon, his friends and family. After Jon leads House Stark to victory in liberating Winterfell, Jon is proclaimed King in the North and nicknamed "The White Wolf", because of Ghost.
- Deifenbecker, Constable Fraser's deaf husky/wolf hybrid in Due South is mostly white and a heroic Handicapped Badass.
- Ōkami, the titular character is the sun goddess Amaterasu who takes the form of a 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.
- Bayonetta 2. Father Balder has the power to take the form of animals, including wolves. Being a Lumen Sage, all of the forms are white.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Averted with the Wolfos enemies, pure white, red-eyed wolves that can dive into snow to ambush you. The Hero's Shade, who tutors you in Difficult But Awesome sword moves, takes the form of a gold-and-white wolf while in Hyrule.
- In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate, Alucard's Wolf Man form as part of him being a vampire formed under a full moon is white-furred. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, he is also heavily associated with white wolves.
- In Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, the eponymous white wolf is Isis, who is abnormally friendly to humans because she was raised by one. Aside from adding to the sense of uniqueness and mystery around her, Isis' fur color is important to the plot: she is identifiable from other wolves, so people notice that she's the only wolf acting strangely, and spread rumors about her.
Mc Quade: Isis is by far the smartest animal I have ever seen.
- In Samurai Jack, a lone white wolf survives a brutal fight against several giant alien creatures. The wolf later befriends Jack, who had also survived an intense battle of his own.
- Star Wars Rebels has a pack of Force-connected wolves, with a white wolf as their leader. While the rest of the wolves act like wild animals except when prodded otherwise by their leader, the white wolf is abnormally intelligent, has a spiritual connection with the Jedi and its planet, and can speak with a deep, alien voice.