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Courage Wolf is an image macro series derived from the original Advice Dog series. In contrast to Advice Dog, who might unknowingly lead you to do something you’ll regret, Courage Wolf will help you achieve greatness with often extreme, overwhelming advice.
Entitled “Snarling Gray Wolf,” the original photograph was taken by nature photographer Jeff Vanuga in Montana and uploaded to Corbis Images. The exact date of upload remains unknown, but Google Insights data shows that the meme began to gain traction beginning sometime in December 2008.
According to various accounts including MemeBase and Encyclopedia Dramatica, the Courage Wolf macro series was reportedly picked up by 4chan’s /b/ (random) board, the birthplace of Advice Dog macro series.
The Urban Dictionary entry for “Courage Wolf” was submitted on January 8th, 2009, defined as:
Your only life coach. He knows all, never doubt him. He spawned from the festering cesspool of 4chan, with a hint of Advice Dog DNA and the desire to turn those soft sissy inside things you call emotions into raw manliness. He was spawned from a vortex of awesomeness that spewed chocolate-covered hundred dollar bills and caused it to rain naked woman for 1000 years.
Throughout late 2008 and 2009, the series quickly grew into a large collection of image macros across other 4chan boards. On MemeGenerator, the number of Courge Wolf submissions surpassed that of Advice Dog series on April 11th, 2009 and spawned a number of spin-off versions like Sir Courage Wolf Esquire, Monsieur Le Courage Wolf, Baby Courage Wolf and Intellectual Courage Wolf.
The standard Courage Wolf template has a courageous and brave looking wolf that is against a colored background wheel or radiant beams coming out from behind him against the color wheel. The first line is something that may be problematic/a challenge (e.g. The doctor told you that you had cancer), but the second line is designed to inspire you to overcome the challenge (e.g. You, however, will call it a challenge).
Derivative: Insane Wolf
In 2009 a macro named Insanity Wolf began appearing. Instead of offering courage for solving your problems, he offers insane and often murderous options. He is often referred to as the insane cousin of Courage Wolf.
Google Insights search shows that search queries related to the meme began around November/December 2008.