Wolf-Like Dog Breeds – 10 Dogs That Look Like Wolves
Scientifically known as Canis familiaris, dogs are direct descendants of wolves classified as Canis lupus – a subspecies or a breed of the grey wolf. According to recent genetic research, the origin of dogs is traceable to extinct species that deviated from modern grey wolves as far back as 40,000 years ago. Wolves and dogs share several physical attributes thanks to their genetic similarity. However, when it comes to strength, wolves take the lead since they possess a higher level of stamina and energy. The difference between the two is also evident in temperament; wolves are erratic, obstinate, hard to train, and thus pose a serious threat to people and other animals.
Yes, it is not possible to domesticate a wolf, but there are dogs that are closer in resemblance to wolves. While some of them are created from wolf-dog hybridization, others are mere dogs that have been bred selectively to look like wolves. Thus, people who fantasize about keeping wolves as family pets can go for any of the breeds listed below.
The name implies that the German Shepherd originated from Germany. The dog has a distinct wolf-like trait; however, we have seen some that look more like wolves than others. For instance, the long-haired ones and the bulkier larger hounds project a better wolf-like figure compared to the lean, smaller pups. Life expectancy for the German Shepherd is 9 to 13 years and the dog sports wolf-like colors, which include white, gray, and black, further strengthening the likeness. Both the feral wolves and German shepherds occasionally display jet-black coats and are known to shed a lot. What’s more, the dog’s popularity stems from its loyal, loving, and protective nature.
The Saarloos Wolfdog has a life expectancy that ranges from 10 to 12 years. Originated from the Netherlands and first developed during the 1930s by Leendert Saarloos – a Dutch breeder. The original breeding project was accomplished with German Shepherds and European wolves, but the dog has earned recognition as a distinct breed of dogs since 1981.
It is among the breeds known to be most distantly connected to other domestic hounds. Besides, it is likely to be the most wolf-like breed worldwide with their wolf-like body build and facial expressions very close in resemblance to that of a wolf. And although they are smart and loving, the Saarloos Wolfdog is true to type and behaves like other wolf-hybrids – they hardly develop an interest in pleasing their human families.
The history of the Siberian Husky is not really known, but they are ancient breeds, believed to have originated from Siberia. During their early days in Alaska in the 1900s, the hounds were working dogs, used in sledding for moving shipment over frozen tundra. They are medium to large-sized pups known for their striking markings. The males are naturally larger than the females weighing 45 to 60 pounds with a commensurate 21 to 24inches in height, while we have seen females up to 20 to 22 inches in height and 35 to 50 pounds for body mass.
For temperament, the dog is social, friendly, affectionate, gentle, but with high energy and also stubborn. Though they make great pets for families, the breed is still considered as a working hound and must be exercised daily lest they resort to negative behavior. Early training and assertive leadership must be used to control their strong-headedness.
Training a Siberian Husky is rather difficult as they are constantly digging, barking, or chewing.
Northern Inuit Dog
The Northern Inuit is a large-sized hound that takes loyalty to the extreme, an intelligent but stubborn dog, though quite friendly. You can find some males with body weight ranging from 79 to 110 pounds and 25 to 30 inches in height. Conversely, the females come lower with 23 to 28 inches for height and 55 to 84 pounds in body mass.
The pup was created out of the need to produce a wolf-like breed with a dog’s temperament. According to speculations, the Northern Inuit breed originated in the United Kingdom in the 1980s by cross-breeding the Siberian husky, Malamute, and the German Shepherds.
They can suffice as household pets but only for unmarried people and families with grown-up kids as they lack the patience to deal with younger kids. Novice dog adopters shouldn’t opt for the breed since they require assertive leadership and lots of training. Besides, you can’t even train a Northern Inuit hound as a kennel dog, thanks to their separation anxiety that results in unpalatable behavior.
Alaskan Malamutes are originally arctic sled hounds used for the haulage of shipment through Alaska or Siberia. Even to date, the dogs are still considered to be work pups, which make it very difficult for them to blend into normal family life.
They are very large in size – 75 to 90 pounds for the female and 85 to 100 pounds for the males. Height for the females ranges from 21 to 25 inches, while the males are almost the same with 22 to 25 inches.
Realized from cross-breeding the Siberian husky, the Malamute, and the German Shepherds, the Alaskan Malamute is realized as a strong and stubborn dog, but quite intelligent and friendly. What’s more, there are traces of wolf-like markings on their long coats, which come with several distinct differences.
And thanks to their stubbornness, the dog is difficult to train; however, they can still be great as family pets, though the experience is very challenging. Failure to project yourself as a strong, assertive pack-leader, the dog will assume the alpha position and start controlling your household. It suffers from separation anxiety and will only suit adopters who can afford to follow a routine of hiking, running, or sledding daily.
Kugsha / Amerindian Malamute
The Kugsha is another large-sized dog with a heavyweight of 65 to 106 pounds for the males and 60 to 102 pounds for their female counterparts. For height, the males can grow up to 20 to 27 inches, while the female may stop at 20 inches, but few still go up to 25inches. This wolf hybrid is quite rare and ancient and history has traced their origin to thousands of years ago. What’s more, early Americans employed them as working dogs for hauling consignment through thick snow.
And although the Kugsha is highly intelligent, it is also very stubborn, playful, curious, as well as free-roaming. They can never make great family pets as they still have those wolf-like mannerisms in them. Consequently, their behavior is very far from that of a domesticated dog. Their inherent stubbornness makes them ungovernable, and their free-roaming nature calls for open space.
With strangers, Amerindian Malamute can be rather shy, but may not display aggressive behavior. However, with a firm hand, strong leadership, and the right environment, this four-legged buddy can still be trained to be a superb companion.
The clan of wolf looking dogs still extends to include the Czechoslovakian wolfdog – the result of a 1955 experiment involving a German shepherd and a quartet of Carpathian wolves. The cross-breeding project was not a one-off; it was carried out through several generations before they could realize a well-balanced wolfdog. What’s more, the project resulted in layers of cross-breeds, which were still used for breeding. Furthermore, it was later in 1982, the breed earned recognition as a national icon of the defunct Czech Republic.
Despite their origins, these dogs are expected to socialize properly with humans and other family pets from their early stages. Without proper socialization, the wolfhound tends to be distrustful and shy, often resorting to sudden aggressive reactions. The breed is hierarchical in nature and can pose a serious problem with smaller pets if not well socialized.
Because of its affiliation with the German Shepherd, the dog is susceptible to hip dysplasia, though they are expected to live long, between 14 to 16 years. This furbabby is a large-sized pup; the males can weigh as much as 28 kg, while the female comes with a lesser 20 kg. For height, the males are equally taller sporting 65 cm to the female’s 60 cm.
Also among dogs that look like wolves is the Samoyed. It originated from Russia and was originally used for herding reindeer, sleds pulling, and keeping their owners warm during cold nights as they usually slept beside them.
Sporting a dense and long coat, a fully grown male can weigh as much as 32 kg with 60 cm in height and the breed is considered to be quite old since they are believed to have been around since 3,000 years ago. Their life span is 12 years, though many live up to 13 and above.
And although they are always alert, the pup can be very playful, sociable, lively, and friendly; thus, they cannot make good guard dogs. However, their natural alertness makes it easy for them to perceive the presence of a stranger in their territory – this sets off a barrage of barking, so the dog is excellent as a watchdog. What’s more, the Samoyed can be used as a family pet given proper socialization. Also, early socialization will make them tolerate other household pets like cats.
The Shikoku Dog is a medium-sized canine with a bodyweight that ranges from 30 to 35 pounds and 18 to 21 inches in height. A cousin to the Akita Inu and the Shiba Inu, the Shikoku breed is Japanese in origin, sharing comparable qualities with them. However, when placed under closer scrutiny, you will notice that the coat/markings of the Shikoku have a darker color than the Shibu Inu, and thus, more wolf-like.
Its temperament is best described as energetic, alert, as well as curious and the pup is among the wolfdog breeds that are endowed with high intelligence. Thanks to its sociable and enthusiastic nature, the dog can make a perfect family pet. However, adopters should consider their foundation as working dogs majorly employed in boars hunting. While the present-day Shikoku pup is good-natured, that working trait is still latent in them, thus in order to keep your furbuddy from becoming frustrated or bored, daily mental stimulation, socialization, and exercise are compulsory.
What’s more, their hunting instinct is also very much alive, giving rise to a high prey drive that pushes them to chase after anything interesting.
This list of dog breeds that look like wolves cannot be concluded without giving a mention of the Utonagan – a newer designer dog that was introduced into the United Kingdom during the 1980s. This large-sized canine is a result of cross-breeding projects with Siberian Husky, Malamute, and German Shepherd. According to a tale, the name of the dog is interpreted as “spirit of the wolf.”
The females of the breed can weigh from 55 to 80 pounds while growing up to 23 to 25 inches in height. The males come a bit bigger, measuring from 23 to 28 inches in height with body weight that ranges from 65 to 90 pounds. The dog is quite intelligent and temperament wise, it is known to be friendly, social, loyal, and with a very high energy level.
What’s more, they can be trained as family pets, but then, you need to work on them. One obvious aspect of their temperament is their curiosity as they love to know what goes on in the vicinity. Furthermore, they are playful, which calls for daily exercise and training to burn up pent up energy. During such times, the dog’s personality is easily felt, and they are overtly receptive to their human family, which makes them trainable.
Also, because of their energetic nature, Utonegans need to run a lot and also require some mental stimulation. The dog’s free-roaming character is palpable; thus, the best place to raise an Utonagan is in acreages or large living spaces.
It’s also worth noting that pet parents who keep an Utonagan should be aware of their high prey drive – this means that their attention can be quickly captured by birds, squirrels, and rabbits. With that said, it is important to mention that the dog displays high separation anxiety, and if left alone for long, can become very destructive. On health issues, this wolf-like dog is known to have quite a few ailments; thus prospective dog adopters should check the pedigree of any dog they wish to acquire and also run relevant health tests.