Welcome to the world of dogs who look like wolves. For a long time, the origin of the domestic dog and their link to the wolf has been steeped in mystery and is often a great source of debate. In fact, while we’ve made great strides in unearthing the mystery, there are still many questions left unanswered.
What we do know is that dogs and wolves do share a genetic history — with the grey wolf being their closest living relative. However, it appears that none of our modern wolves directly descended from the wolf species first domesticated by humans. They do share a direct common ancestor, however. One thought is it could be the Taimyr wolf, which was about equally related to the domesticated dog and the modern wolf.
The mysterious relationship between the domestic dog and the wolf, along with the wolf's stunning appearance and commanding strength, has fascinated us; perhaps, since the very beginning. As a result, we now have more than a handful of wolf-like dog breeds. Some who simply look like them but have no modern wolf in them, while others truly embodied their wild spirit with wolf breed into their line.
For this list, I’m focusing on the former to bring you the best six wolf-like dog breeds great for families. This isn’t to say there are no wolf/dog hybrids out there that can never be around children. But the more wolf they have in them, the more wild they can be, and as such, supervision is always greatly required.
As well, dog breeds that look like wolves, but have none in them, tend to fall on the more demanding side of the domestic dog spectrum. Nearly every dog on our list has a higher work, training, exercise, grooming, and time demand compared to your average dog. They tend to be more strong willed, more work-driven, and exhibit traits that may resemble the modern wolf more so than your common Golden Retriever will.
But make no mistake, these next dogs can all be great family dogs; they just aren’t the best for those unfamiliar with dog ownership. But when you can commit, all of these next dog breeds are truly amazing companions that really stand out in personality and looks. Another bonus is they tend to have longer lifespans and relatively healthier lives than breeds similar in size. There is nothing quite like owning a dog that looks like a wolf!
Personality: Calm, Obedient, & Sociable
Size: Medium to Large
The Tamaskan is one dog that no one could fault you for mistaking them for a wolf. In fact, even though I have written about these dogs before, every time I see them, I always think they are a true wolf/dog hybrid. But despite the common mistake, the Tamaskan has no records of wolves in their line.
The Tamaskan dog, like its close relatives the Northern Inuit Dog, the British Timber dog, and the next dog on our list, the Utonagan, are mostly a cross of the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherds. When creating these breeds, breeders were focused on creating dogs that greatly resembled modern wolves. However, each breed looks different and has different personalities from one another. For more click here.
Personality: Friendly, Gentle, and Dependable
Size: Medium to Large
Despite their strong resemblance to the wolf — with them perhaps resembling modern wolves the strongest — The Rare and Mysterious Utonagan is often said to be easier to handle than many of the domestic dogs that look like wolves by happenstance, such as the Siberian Husky. This is because, unlike their ancestors — the Siberian Husky and German Shepherd — the Utonagan is bred solely for companionship with little focus on their ability to work.
Now, after you move past their tendency to have a more even-temper, making them great with kids, expect the same heavy shedding coat, higher exercise demands, and longer lifespan. For more click here.
Personality: Friendly, Driven, and Protective
Like nearly every dog on the list, the Swedish Vallhund has a thick and demanding coat, high energy requirements, and they love getting trouble when left untrained. However, thanks to their petite size, they are easier to handle than many of the others. A cousin to the adorable Corgi, you can actually think of the Swedish Vallhund as a cross between them and the other wolf-looking breeds on our list. For more check.
Personality: Free-Spirited, Quirky, and Loyal.
The Siberian Husky is an incredibly popular dog, thanks to their gorgeous grey wolf-like appearance. However, while enticing, their personality is more than a handful for many. So how do you know if you’re ready for a dog like Siberian Husky?
It’s pretty easy, actually. Are you cool with the common house cat? Are you OK with a pet where one second they want to be the center of attention, then the next they want to bug off and will let you know? Are you OK with a pet that while they can learn tricks, have an independent mind, and prefer to do what they want to do? Are you comfortable with having a 40-60lb cat in your house? If so, then the Siberian Husky may be the right cat *cough* dog for you.
Like the other breeds on our list, the Siberian Husky has a lot of energy, a strong personality, but they are quite independent, getting themselves in trouble when left unattended for long or unexercised. If this is too much, perhaps the last two breeds on the list will better suit you. Click here for more.
Personality: Friendly, Goofy, and Relax Yet Driven
Size: Large to Giant
If the Siberian Husky is your dad, who likes to lay down the law, but doesn’t like following his advice when your mother asks them to do something, then the Alaskan Malamute is his goofy big brother. Better known as the fun uncle! Besides their larger size, the Alaskan Malamute is truly best described as the laid-back version of the husky. And despite their much bigger coat, they only shed heavily twice a year where the husky sheds heavily the entire year. Click here for more.
Personality: Loyal, Highly-Trainable, and Protective
Size: Medium to Large
The second most popular dog breed in the United States for more than a decade and running, The German Shepherd is perhaps the most iconic dog breed on our list, yet they are also a fairly new breed compared to the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.
First appearing in 1899, the German Shepherd quickly achieved what their creator sought out to accomplish. A hardworking, fearless, and loyal breed that effortlessly moves between being a working dog and a family dog. While many would argue that the German Shepherd is the least wolf-looking breed on the list, they are probably the breed most commonly used to create hybrid dog breeds that mirror wolves like the Blue Bay Shepherd. For more check here.
About The Author:
This article is contributed by guest writer, Nick McKenzie. He is a professional blogger with more than eight years of experience He is a regular author of Tindog.co.