Do you love the stunning appearance of a wolf but want a domesticated version of the popular canine? Then a wolf-like dog breed may be just the thing you are looking for. Since all dogs originally descended from Gray wolves, many dog breeds already portray a wolf-like appearance. Obviously some dog breeds look the part a lot more than others. This article will look at the top 8 wolf-like dog breeds that will give you the best of both worlds.
History of the Wolf:
Some believe that the first wolf ever to roam the earth was the “dawn-wolf.” It has the appearance of a fox with long legs and could climb trees and live in them.
Since then over thirty different subspecies of wolves have scoured the planet.
The first and most well documented wolf is is the Gray Wolf, scientifically known as “Canis lupus.” It is a large canine that is native to Eurasia and North America.
It is from this wolf that modern day domesticated dogs descended from. Coyotes and Golden Jackals are close relatives and often produce hybrids.
In total, there are thirty four species from the Canidae family. They all have some common traits. These include using their extreme sense of smell to hunt for food and to single out potential competitors or predators moving in on their territory.
What Makes The Wolf So Appealing?
The beautiful and majestic physical features of the wolf along with mythical tales of folklore are what make it such a desirable animal. Its distinct characteristics are what separate it from other Canis species. These include ear and muzzle that are more rounded, a shorter body and longer tail.
Their stunning coat of banded fur is another entrancing feature of the wolf. It is normally black, brown, gray or mottled white. Some subspecies such as the Arctic Wolf can be almost completely white. The facial structure and colors of the wolf are definitely enticing and the main reasons people are out to create the most wolf like dog possible.
Dog vs Wolf Size Comparison:
Wolves are the largest canine species on the planet and thus much bigger than a lot of dogs. To give you an idea of their size, here is a chart comparing one of the most popular wolf-like dogs, the Siberian Husky, to a Gray Wolf.
|Dog (Siberian Husky)
Top 12 Wolf-Like Dog Breeds
One of the first and most popular dog breeds that come to mind when we think of wolf-like dog is the beautiful Siberian Husky.
This is one dog breed that you can’t miss with their captivating looks and affectionate temperament. Originally a companion/sledding dog used by the Chukchi people of northeastern Asia, this amazing compact breed has a beautiful coat of fur, striking blue or bi-color eyes and a nice bushy tail.
They have excellent stamina originating from their days of pulling light work loads across the frozen plains of Siberia. Their friendly demeanor and medium size makes them perfect for families with children. A couple of bonuses include their natural clean coats and minimal dog odor.
These magnificent animals greatly resemble their wolf ancestors with several color patterns and piebald or saddle-back markings. Overall this is one of the top choices for a wolf-like dog.
The Alaskan Malamute is another beautiful dog with wolf-like features similar to the Siberian Husky. It is a big strong working dog that is friendly and loyal. You can’t miss it’s big furry tail and trademark mask.
Like the Husky, it was originally an Arctic sled dog that many believe is a direct descendant of domesticated wolf-dogs from the Paleolithic era. They were used to help hunters cross the Bering Straight into North America around four thousand years ago.
The dog’s name comes from “Mahlemiut,” who were Inuit people living in Northwestern Alaska. Mainly used as a “sledge dog,” the Malamute’s strength and stamina was utilized to carry heavy loads at a slow pace over great distances. This is in contrast to the Husky which carried light loads at high speeds. Malamute’s were basically the freight trains of the sledding world.
They are good family pets and aren’t shy about letting you know when they are bored or lonely. They can sing, love to howl and will dig up your backyard so be prepared!
British Lupine Dog
The British Lupine Dog is one of the most wolf-like dogs on the list. In fact, this amazing dog was bred specifically to look like a wolf but with the friendliness and temperament of a domestic dog.
The BLD was founded and developed by Natalie Lagstrom. It is a combination of several wolf-like dogs including the Alaskan Malamute, Northern Inuit, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Utonagan and Saarloos.
This dog is strong and powerful with aesthetic features similar to the gray wolf but minus the aggressive nature and high prey drive of wolves. They are good pets and excellent companions for the active home. Like some of the other breeds used in their development, the British Lupine Dog is super intelligent and easy to train.
It is a larger dog breed ranging from twenty two to thirty two inches high and weighing between fifty seven pounds and one hundred and twenty three pounds at its heaviest. This means that this playful canine will need a good amount of room to run around.
The Northern Inuit is another dog that was developed from a combination of breeds with wolf-like attributes. Their DNA make-up consist of Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies.
They have a striking resemblance to real wolves but do not contain any true wolf DNA. The Northern Inuit is extremely friendly and great around family or other dogs. They aren’t recommended for first time dog owners because they can be difficult to train.
Don’t plan on making this your guard dog either! Their friendly nature makes them a softy around strangers. Don’t leave them alone for too long either. They are more prone to separation anxiety than other dog breeds.
This medium to large size dog’s wolf-like presence has landed them on the big screen. The breed has been featured in the Starz series “Outlander” as well as season one of the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.”
The Tamaskan is a fairly modern breed of dog with a beautiful wolf-like appearance. An offshoot of the previous Northern Inuit breed, the Tamaskan is believed to be the cross of the Utonagan and Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.
Similar to some of the other breeds listed, this dog was developed with the purpose of creating a dog that has the look of a wolf with the temperament of a hard working domesticated dog. It is a super smart breed with a lot of versatility that can excel in sports or shine as a family dog.
This furry canine is not for the faint of heart and does better with an experienced dog owner that knows how to handle this type of breed. It requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to stay sharp.
Since their inception, the Tamaskan has made its way into the entertainment industry among other things. The North Carolina State Football Team adopted the breed as their live mascot. The dog’s name is “Wave.” They have also been featured in music videos and even Broadway plays.
Canadian Eskimo Dog
The Canadian Eskimo Dog, or Canadian Inuit Dog, is an arctic breed and one of only five that are indigenous to Canada. Almost extinct in 1960’s, this purebred working dog is a strong, durable cold weather canine.
This breed is identical to the “Greenland Dog” and goes by other names such as “qimmiq” which means “dog” in Inuit. Dating back one thousand years, this multi-purpose dog was used for several jobs by the Thule people. They would hunt seals and were able to track their holes from long ways away. They would also hunt polar bears on occasion.
Although they are wolf-like in appearance, they were no fan of wolves, howling if they saw one. The Inuits used this breed for more than just work. They would even freeze the Canadian Eskimo Dog’s urine to use as medicine.
Their fur coat was tough and even more esteemed than that of a wolf’s. Unfortunately, the dog was sometimes used as a food source during an emergency or famine.
This breed has several similarities to wolves including their typical “spitz” type perky triangle ears which was noted by explorers in the 1800’s. They are extremely loyal but do have a more intense prey drive than some other breeds. Canadian Eskimo Dog’s love the cold outdoors and are very verbal.
German Shepherd (White)
Color aside, the White German Shepherd is no different than the traditional black and tan German Shepherd that we are so used to seeing.
This breed comes in many coat types and colors but the white most closely resembles that of a wolf. This paired with their erect ears and long muzzle makes them very wolf-like. They are highly intelligent animals with a knack for training and one of the most popular dogs out there.
Their history dates back to the 1800’s when creator Max Von Stephanitz developed this amazing herding breed. They have since been used for many different important occupations including police, military and rescue missions.
These large athletic dogs make great family pets and are extremely loyal to owner and family. They will go down fighting to save you and can be very gentle and kind. However they can be aloof at times and sometimes get a bad rap for being aggressive under certain circumstances.
Early socialization and training are a must for raising a confident and well mannered German Shepherd Dog. This sophisticated dog requires a lot of exercise and plenty of brain games to keep their mind sharp. They make outstanding guard dogs and can be found on the top of the podium in sports such as German Shepherd Schutzhund Training.
Blue Bay Shepherd
The Blue Bay Shepherd is a more modern breed of wolf-like dog created by founder Vicki Spencer. This amazing looking animals are the perfect combination of a European German Shepherd and a Wolf Dog.
This canine was bred to be a companion dog with the distinctive features of a wolf. The good news for potential owners is they will not carry the label of wolf-dog since they are five generations removed from pure wolf DNA.
Their dark black coats sport a beautiful blue hue that gives them a luxurious and rich look. They have a loving and loyal temperament matching that of a German Shepherd and are similar in size growing up to 30 inches tall. They can get big with the heaviest Blue Bay Shepherd weighing in at 130 pounds.
There has been some controversy surrounding this high demand dog. The owner claims that other breeders are trying to sell quote on quote “Blue Bay Shepherds.” She warns that these are fakes and says the only way to buy the real deal is to make sure it comes from her ranch in Florida.
She will hand sign a certificate of proof when you buy one and give you a verifiable registration numbers for your records.
Wolf-Like or Wolf-Dog?
The dogs included in this list are all wolf-like dogs. This means they have the aesthetic features similar to a wolf but the temperament of a domesticated dog that knows how to behave correctly around people and animals. However they are bigger and stronger than your average pup and will require an owner with the necessary experience to handle one of these large breeds.
A wolf-dog on the other hand is a hybrid developed by combining a domesticated dog with a modern wolf. This means that they have wolf DNA in the last five generations of their lineage. Training one of these will require much more experience. They will have more standard wolf behaviors. This isn’t a great choice for your average family looking for a house pet.
Some popular examples of Wolf-Dogs include the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and the Saarloos Wolfdog.
Wolf-Like Dogs are amazing creatures that give normal everyday people the ability to own something close to a wolf but friendly like a dog. They are gaining in popularity with more and more breeders attempting to perfect the combination of affectionate dog with the piercing looks of a Gray Wolf.
If you plan on buying one of these breeds, make sure to do your homework and know what you are getting into. Some are easier to care for than others. Some of the larger breeds will require some experience and knowledge to make a fitting owner.
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What is your favorite wolf-like dog breed on the list? Let us know! We would love to hear about it! Make sure to come back every so often for new breeds!