Most dog lover admire the characteristics of wolves, and there is something alluring if frightening about these wild and independent canines.
While they might look cute from a distance, though, wolves are lethal predators weighing close to 200 pounds, making them obviously unsuitable as household pets.
Dogs are believed to be the cousins of gray wolves, and they are closely related in many ways. While domestic dogs still have some wolf DNA, many of the more wolf-life characteristics are damped down.
When dogs and wolves interbreed, they can produce fertile wolf hybrids. Over the years, more and more of these fascinating wolf-like dogs have started cropping up in the United States.
Today, then, we’ve rounded up 15 breeds that most resemble wolves in the wild. We draw to your attention to whether or not each of these breeds make a good pet, and we’ll also underscore any undesirable traits, especially those rendering a dog unsuitable for a first-time owner.
So, if you’re looking for your own wolf-a-like at home, read on to better assess your options.
I. 15 Most Wolf-Like Dog Breeds
- Siberian Husky
- Northern Inuit
- Alaskan Malamute
- German Shepherd
- Swedish Vallhund
- Saarloos Wolfdog
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
- Canadian Eskimo Dog
- King Shepherd
- Caucasian Shepherd
- American Alsatian
1) Siberian Husky
The Siberian husky is the first breed most people imagine when they think of dogs that resemble wolves.
These dogs make superb family pets as they adore being the center of attention. Vocal, amusing, and lovable, huskies can’t get enough cuddling.
Hailing from the brutally cold climate of Siberia, huskies were bred to pull huge sleds across vast expanses of ice. These dogs have bundles of energy and a ton of strength and stamina, too. They are built to keep going all day long, so be prepared to give these dogs plenty of vigorous exercise.
Huskies are often found in shelters due to owners being unprepared for the amount of exercise they need.
Breeders have crossed Siberian huskies with wolves to create a wolf hybrid. With such a high wolf element, this dog doesn’t typically make the best domesticated dog, unlike huskies.
Read our related article, Do Electric Dog Fences Work On Huskies? Here’s what you can expect from your Husky and your invisible fence!
2) Northern Inuit
The Northern Inuit is also known as the Utonagan. This breed burst to prominence after featuring in the HBO hit, Game of Thrones as direwolves. They were chosen for this purpose as they are the dogs that most closely resemble wolves while still being safe to be around children.
This a new breed created in the 1980s by mixing the husky, the German shepherd, and the Alaskan malamute. They are similar in terms of personality to the husky and filled with energy. These dogs also make great protective companions for children.
3) Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan malamute doesn’t have quite the universal appeal of a husky, but this breed is a close relation to the wolf.
Just like the husky, this breed was developed to pull heavy sleds long distances. Also, these dogs were trained to fight polar bears, which should give you a clear indication of their strength.
Easily trainable and very lovable, these beautiful dogs make wonderful household pets and they would also make a serviceable guard dog. On the downside, they shed heavily, so be prepared for a flurry of fur in your home.
While the Kugsha’s background is unclear, we know this dog descends from the Alaskan malamute, possibly mixed with wolves. If this accounts for the kugsha’s origin, it occurred generations ago, meaning this dog doesn’t qualify as a wolf hybrid.
Once called an American husky, the name met with opposition from husky lovers the world over, leading to the breed being named Kugsha, or an Amerindian malamute.
Somewhere between the malamute and the husky in terms of overall size, these dogs are highly independent to the extent training them can be problematic. They don’t make the best fit for first-time dog owners. Kugshas are not keen on being left alone either, so make sure you can devote plenty of time to this wolf-like breed if you’re planning on adding one to the household.
5) German Shepherd
German shepherds have an obvious wolf-life air, but some of these dogs are a closer match than others for their primal cousins.
Dogs of this breed with longer hair look rather more wolf-like, while bulkier German shepherds more closely resemble wolves.
The coloring of these dogs also influences how much they look like howling wolves. When their coats feature lots of black, white, and gray, they look distinctly wolf-life.
If you can put up with the copious shedding these dogs are notorious for, they make loyal and loving pets, and they are super-smart, too.
Samoyeds have thick white coats that need regular and intense grooming. If you can put in the effort, though, you’ll be rewarded by one of the friendliest dogs on the planet.
This dog is so friendly around strangers that they make the world’s worst guard dogs, but their loving and affectionate nature makes them the perfect pets.
Smart and willful, you’ll need to interact regularly with these dogs or they might start getting up to mischief. They require firm training to correct this behavior – if, of course, you can resist that famous smile this breed will give you to tug on your heart strings.
7) Swedish Vallhund
The size of a small corgi with the looks of a wolf, the Swedish Vallhund is a charismatic dog your neighbors will love.
From a herding background, this breed is smart, alert, and engaged. While you won’t find them on most lists of the best guard dogs, they work surprisingly well in this capacity.
Their high energy and activity levels means this breed is best suited to families with active lifestyles looking for a wolf-like canine companion.
8) Saarloos Wolfdog
The Saarloos wolfdog was developed by a Dutch Breeder called Leendert Saarloos back in the 1930s by crossing wolves with German shepherds.
In Europe, they have been recognized as a distinct breed by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) since 1981.
Not only does this breed look very much like a wolf in terms of build and overall appearance, but their facial expressions also mimic those of their cousins.
Although these dogs are loving and great pets, they won’t show any particular interest in making you happy. They’ll just do their thing like a wolf in the wild.
Crossing malamutes and huskies led to the development of the tamaskan. This breed might not be recognized by the major global breed registries, but there are a handful of breed clubs that have sprung up around these wolf-life canines.
Quite similar to huskies when it comes to abilities and temperament, tamaskans can make wonderful family pets if you have the experience and the desire to put in the effort with training and exercise.
10) Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
The Czechoslovakian wolfdog is a wolf hybrid recognized in Europe by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale). Originally developed for the Czech army, these dogs have been used over the years for tracking, herding, and search and rescue work.
This breed sprung to life as part of a scientific study, so their history is more precisely documented than some mixed breed and wolf hybrids.
For experienced an dedicated owners, these dogs are trainable and possible to integrate into a family.
11) Canadian Eskimo Dog
One of the world’s rarest dog breeds, there are fewer than 300 Canadian Eskimo Dogs alive today.
Weighing over 100 pounds when not used as a working dog, this breed is larger than the Alaskan malamute and he has yellow eyes, lending him an even more wolf-life appearance.
The shikoku is also called a kochi ken or Japanese wolfdog. The name comes from a head strongly resembling a wolf.
Once native to the Japanese mountains, this dog would hunt game and wild boar.
A great working dog and guard dog, shikokus will also slot neatly into family homes and they make first-class, lovable pets.
13) King Shepherd
The king shepherd is a rare breed genetically linked to the German shepherd and Shiloh shepherd. The resulting king shepherd is much bigger than the German shepherd, and has become a popular breed in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
This breed was not only developed to increase the size of the shepherd, but also to iron out some of the genetic defects that have been cropping up due to unscrupulous backyard breeding.
With long hair, this stubborn breed looks even more wolf-like than its German parent.
14) Caucasian Shepherd
Sometimes called the Russian bear dog, Caucasian shepherds are remarkably furry and look very much like wolves thanks to that shaggy, fluffy coat.
Build to withstand the punishing and hostile climate of Russia, these dogs certainly won’t need fitting with a winter dog coat. They work well on farms and prefer cooler climates due to their genetic makeup.
You should avoid this breed if you’re an inexperienced dog owner, and you should also ensure you have plenty of room, indoors and out, for a Caucasian shepherd to roam.
15) American Alsatian
Another breed derived from the German shepherd, the American Alsatian is taller and leaner than a German shepherd, weighing around 90 to 100 pounds.
The breed is the result of crossing the German shepherd with the Alaskan malamute. Other breeds like the Anatolian shepherd and the great Pyrenees were also added.
The cool amber eyes of these dogs add further to their wolf-like appearance.
Well, we hope today’s guided tour of the most wolf-like breeds has shown you which of these dogs you might consider as a household pet, and which you know wouldn’t make the right fit.
You should always do plenty of research and take plenty of time considering the purchase or adoption of any dog. When you’re looking at dogs that resemble wolves, though, you need to be even more careful.
As a general guideline, first-time owners should avoid these dogs. There are plenty of much more forgiving breeds to ease you into pet ownership. Once you’re more confident asserting your authority over a dog and with the basics of training and upkeep, you could think about more of a challenge.
As long as you choose the right breed among those we’ve outlined today, you can get a lovable and loyal pet that will also serve as a great guard dog. What’s not to love?
We have a busy content calendar for the coming summer here at BarkVA, so bookmark our blog before you leave and be sure to come back soon!
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