Dogs and wolves are closely related species as they share common ancestors. It was first believed that Canis familiaris (domestic dogs) were the direct descendent of Canis lupus (wolves), but this is not the case.
Many dog breeds physically resemble wolves, with thick double coats, upright triangle-shaped ears, and distinct facial markings. Most of these are crossbreeds. Some species include Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, Kugshas, and Tamaskans.
Whether you are looking to see what wolf-looking dog breed you should take home to your family or are just interested in the close ties and common ancestors between dogs and wolves, this guide is for you.
Here are 5 dogs that look like wolves…
Why Do Dogs And Wolves Have Close Ties?
It was first believed that domestic dogs were direct descendants of wolves, as stated above. Recent studies have discovered that domestic dogs come from an extinct genus that diverged from the wolves we know today about 40000 years ago.
In simple terms, dogs and wolves share a common ancestor, not a direct lineage.
Even 45000 years ago, wolves were all over Eurasia, Japan, the Middle East, and North America (certainly making it more difficult to trace their origins). They could survive in all sorts of habitats, from deserts to forests to coastal regions.
Although domestic dogs have very similar DNA to wolves, many wolf-like characteristics have been “switched off.” This means that wolves and dogs can interbreed and produce fertile hybrids, but it also means that these wolf-like traits can be reactivated.
Five Dog Breeds That Physically Resemble Wolves
If you don’t already know this, wolves are illegal to own. So here is a list of dog breeds that closely resemble wolves but are legal to own.
An Alaskan Malamute is a large and powerful dog that can weigh up to 45 kilograms. They came from Alaska (as the name suggests) and were initially bred to carry heavy cargo. This dog breed generally has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
These dogs were also bred to pull sleds and for hunting polar bears!
Despite being large dogs, Alaskan Malamutes are friendly, extremely intelligent, and loyal. As this dog breed has had to endure such harsh conditions, they can be independent and resourceful (and sometimes quite stubborn).
One trait that these dogs are known for is their lack of barking – which many dog owners find appealing (unless, of course, you are looking for a guard dog).
You should be aware that these dogs are not ideal for families with other dogs or pets, especially smaller ones, as Alaskan Malamutes have a strong prey drive. So, fair warning!
These dogs resemble wolves due to their thick double coat and facial markings. You can find Alaskan Malamutes in a few different colors, ranging from gray and white to black and red.
This husky type originates from Siberia and has very similar features to a wolf. Husky’s’ thick double coat, upright triangle-shaped ears, and distinct facial markings make them and wolves eerily alike.
Huskies can be black and white, red and white, brown, grey and white, silver, sable and white, dark grey, and even red-orange with black tips. They are medium-sized dogs weighing approximately 27 kilograms and have a lifespan of between 12 and 15 years.
Siberian Huskies were bred by the Siberian ‘Chukchi Tribe’ to carry heavy loads. These dogs are athletic, intelligent, and love having a job to do.
Before taking one home with you, remember that they are full of energy and will need daily exercise. They can become destructive if they do not get sufficient physical activity. They are also known for being great escape artists, so make sure you have a fence around your property.
One characteristic that Siberian Huskies share with wolves is howling instead of barking. In addition, they thrive in a pack and will crave the companionship of people and other dogs.
This dog breed, originally from Czechoslovakia in Eastern Europe, is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Carpathian wolf. People crossbred these animals, intending to create a dog that has the resilience and strength of a wolf and the temperament and intelligence of a German Shepherd.
This dog can run more than 60 miles per day in extreme weather conditions. For this reason, these dogs need to be exercised regularly.
Czechoslovakian wolfdogs can be distinguished by their vertical triangle-shaped ears and amber eyes – very similar to that of a wolf! Their fur ranges from silver-grey to yellow, but it is always thick.
Although these dogs were initially used as attack dogs, they are known for being sociable, a reason why many families love this breed as they can create strong bonds with their dogs.
One key tip is that these wolfdogs must be socialized from a young age.
Originating from the United States, Kugsha dogs, otherwise known as Amerindian Malamutes, are a wolf-hybrid.
These dogs are referred to as “born travelers.” Their powerful body and long legs allow them to carry heavy loads over long distances. They also love to pull things – so be wary when walking them on a leash.
Kugsha’s are not great family dogs, especially if you have young children, due to the dog’s predatory nature. However, these dogs are very loyal and can develop strong relationships with their owners.
This dog breed needs plenty of physical exercises as they can be destructive, the same for if they are left alone for too long. Although they are independent animals, they can still get lonely.
Tamaskan dogs are from Finland and are a cross between Husky and Eskimo dogs. They are larger than the average sled dog, but they are still noticeably smaller than wolves.
Once fully grown, these dogs are incredibly similar to wolves in their physical features with their straight bushy tail and thick grey coat. Although not that common, these dogs sometimes have yellow eyes.
Tamaskan dogs are a relatively new breed and were only officially recognized as a breed in America in 2013. There are only about 600 certified dogs of this breed in the world! This breed of dog can live for up to 15 years.
These dogs are particularly good with children, making them great family dogs. They are easy to train as they are very intelligent and highly sociable (this does mean that they should not be left alone for long periods).
This dog breed needs a lot of physical activity as they have lots of energy.
Want To Own A Wolf-Like Dog?
While owning a wolf may be illegal, having a hybrid wolfdog is not. These dog breeds all have thick double coats, upright triangle-shaped ears, and distinct facial markings, making them astonishingly like wolves.
The dog breeds that physically resemble wolves the most are Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, Kugshas, and Tamaskans.
If you have the energy and patience to train one of these dogs and ensure that it gets sufficient physical exercise, then this could be your next dog!