What kind of dog is Buck?

In Chapter One, the narrator explains that Buck is a mixed-breed dog, deriving his traits from both his St. Bernard father and Scotch shepherd dog mother. This ancestry gives Buck his large size, thick fur, and strong muscles, all of which become crucial as he begins working as a sled dog in the Klondike. Of course, his physicality undergoes significant changes as he adapts to the brutal conditions of the North, and this shift allows him to stand out from the other sled dogs as a leader. 

What is the significance of Buck’s visions?

As Buck lies by the fire, he often has visions of ancient men and dogs that inspire his journey toward reconnecting with his primordial instincts. He may not always be fully aware of the significance of his visions, but they represent the deep, internal connection that Buck has to his wild ancestors. The fact that he can see these images of primitive figures in the firelight suggests that this more rugged identity already exists within him and unleashing it is only a matter of time.

What prevents Buck from following the lone wolf he meets in the forest?

Buck first comes into contact with a wolf near the beginning of Chapter Seven, and he begins to follow it through the woods until he remembers John Thornton. As much as he desires to fully immerse himself in the wilderness, Buck’s deep love and commitment to his master prevents him from acting on his instincts. He instead returns to camp and dutifully resolves to keep Thornton company, although he continues to venture away for days at a time. The Yeehats’s attack and Thornton’s subsequent death, however, finally give Buck the freedom to join the wolves.