I didn’t know this, but apparently the leader of wolf packs should not gererally be termed alpha males, or alphas at all.
However, most of the early research on wolves was done on artificially built groups, e.g., wolves caught in various places all put together in a single wolf pen at a zoo. In such rare and unnatural situations, these stranger-wolves do indeed form social hierarchies (or “pecking order” – a term that arose from studies of chickens).
But such situations rarely if ever happen out in nature. A pack of wolves is usually composed of Mother, Father and their (sometimes quite grown-up) offspring: closely related individuals who know each other well. [A Blog Around The Clock]
Wolf researcher L. David Mech explains further in this video: