In animal form, I am Canis lupus arctos, or an Artic Wolf. My pack originated in Iceland although you will not find any there today. In Iceland we belong to the category of legends and fables.
Recently I was posed the question: Can a shape-shifter pick their animal form? That is a very good and simple question to answer. Our form is something we are born into, and no different from having the genetic code for brown hair or blue eyes, we have the genetic code for our animal form.
Shifters come in three basic species: canine, feline and ursine. Within those groups there are variations such as me being an Arctic wolf or Mika being a coyote. When I was a child, Saint would tell me the story of shifters that did have a choice, but as we say, that was merely an old wolf's tale.
And let me set the record straight here and now, shifters are not were-wolves, although people refer to us as such. There are no such things as were-wolves and vampires. I cannot bite someone and turn them into a wolf which is a good thing considering... um... never mind.