It is a common belief that wolves are the ancestors of the domestic dog. While there are certainly many similarities between man’s best friend and their much wilder counterparts, the truth is, they are not as closely linked as many would believe. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t a link.
Recent research points towards a common wolf/dog ancestor, who lived around 30,000 years ago. One side of evolution led to the plethora of dog breeds that we have today, and the other led to the dangerous, but similar in-appearance, wolf. Today, there are some very wolf-like dog breeds out there – a mix of old dog breeds, and those that have been bred to look like wolves.
Considering adopting a new dog, or want to know a little more about the most wolf-like dog breeds out there? Take a look at our list of the top 6 dog breeds that are eerily similar to wolves!
For many people, the first dog breed that comes to mind when they think ‘wolf’, is the Siberian Husky. From their distinctive markings, to their thick coats, and triangular ears, there is a lot about the classic Siberian Husky that screams wolf. The dog breed is incredibly well-suited to colder climates, thanks to their thick coat and mental attitude, and are well-known for their destructive side when they’re bored. The energetic dog breed can also be very loud, with a howl that may make it feel like you really have a wolf around!
However, while this breed of dog certainly has many wolfish tendencies, they make a very popular pet for a reason. The strong-willed breed is friendly, intelligent, and incredibly affectionate. They’re wonderful with children, and readily welcome any time spent with guests or other dogs.
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Northern Inuit Dog
While not quite identical to a wolf, the Northern Inuit Dog could very easily be mistaken for one at a distance. In fact, their appearance is so similar to that of a wolf, that they are often chosen to play wolves on TV shows and in movies. The appearance similarities stem from their slender bodies, coat, and similar markings to that of a grey wolf.
To see a Northern Inuit and grey wolf side by side, you’d be mistaken for thinking they were VERY closely related, but the Northern Inuit is actually a mix breed; bred from a combination of Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, and a selection of different breeds of Inuit dog.
The breed is known for its intelligence, but also, it’s very stubborn nature. They are a very social dog breed but quite difficult to train. While this breed does make a good family pet, they prefer to have constant company and be around other dogs.
This breed of dog is near indistinguishable from the common Timber Wolf – but then, it was bred to share as many similarities appearance-wise with the wolf as possible. A mix of Utonagan and Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, the Tamaskan is eerily similar to a wolf in nearly every way. However, you’d be forgiven for not knowing much about this wolf-like breed though, as they have only very recently been recognized as a breed, and there are only a few of the dogs around.
Despite sharing a similar height, coloring, body shape, and fur, the Tamaskan’s mentality is very far removed from how you would expect a wolf to act. They are incredibly friendly and tolerant with children and other dogs. The breed is easy to train, fantastic at agility, and incredibly intelligent. They do however have a highly energetic nature, so plenty of exercise is needed to stop this breed becoming destructive.
Very similar to the Siberian Husky; the large, strong, and powerful Alaskan Malamute shares a lot in common with wolves, which is not surprising considering that the Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest known breeds of dog. On top of their similar colorings and distinctive pointy ears, they’re highly resourceful and very loyal to their ‘pack’.
High-energy and high-intellect, makes these dogs a bit of a challenge to keep entertained, but certainly a rewarding one. Alaskan Malamutes are known for their affectionate nature, intelligence, and ease of training. Despite the tendency to howl like a wolf, the Alaskan Malamute can make a great family pet.
Originally a mix of wolf and German Shepard, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog has a very interesting history. The breed is relatively new in dog breed terms and was actually a product of research into combining the traits of a wolf with a dog. Over time, this has produced as incredibly smart and enhanced dog breed, that whilst not wolf-like in attitude, shares many talents with its wolf ancestors.
Despite being near identical in appearance to a wolf, with very pointy ears, a similar shade of coat, and a face that would immediately make you think of a wolf, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog makes a surprisingly good pet. They are loyal, affectionate, easy to train, and have great stamina.
The final dog breed on our list, the Utonagan, is another product of breeding aimed to create a dog that looks like a wolf. Like the other breeds on our list, the wolf-like appearance is certainly prominent. Originally bred from a mix of Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies, this breed shares many characteristics with wolves.
As the combination of dog breeds indicates, the Utonagan does well in colder temperatures. They are a social breed, intelligent, and easily pick up new commands. While the pointy ears, wolf-like facial structure, and eerily wolf-like coat, may fool you into thinking this breed was truly a wolf, the domestic dog temperament is a world away from a wolf.
While there are some wonderful breeds of dogs that closely resemble wolves, like with any dog breed, a dog should only ever be chosen after careful consideration of its needs. Many wolf-dogs enjoy colder temperatures, are highly energetic, and can be quite stubborn, making them not well-suited to every household environment. However, if you think that you’re up to the challenge of taking on a wolf-like dog, you certainly have plenty of stunning breeds to choose from!
- Amy Sinatra Ayres, Your Dog’s Guilty Look May Come From Wolves, Vetstreet