GENERAL BREED INFO

Wolf Like Dog Breeds: Pursuing Your Canine’s Ancestral Heritage

Wolf like dogs
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Why do we love wolves? There are many reasons that could explain our mysterious love for these feral beasts, from their looks to their temperament, from the way in which they walk to the way in which they hunt, from how they stand tall above most other animals to what they stand for. Indeed this is not a short list by any stretch of the imagination, and it just keeps on writing itself, and with each passing day our love for these animals grows.

The vast majority of dog owners and dog lovers have fantasized about owning a wolf, as well as the way in which it would impact their lives, and some of these people actually stepped up and acquired an actual wolf.

Wolf a like dog breeds

Either as a young pup or a domesticated adult, there are wolves that are running around people’s yards playing, howling at the moon and terrorizing the neighbors, but we don’t all have the internal fortitude and the nerves to take this step, so we can easily settle for the next best thing: wolf like dog breeds.

These are the dog breeds that strongly resemble wolves, and can easily be mistaken for one while in the wilderness; however they have the temperament, skills, affection, and loyalty that only a dog can bring to the table.

They share some common characteristics with their wolf ancestors, like very sharp senses (even for dog standards), increased intellect, an aggressive temperament and above all else a strange love for mischief.

Picking the right dog

This one is slightly trickier than simply selecting a dog off of a list. Wolf looking dog breeds are a lot more special than regular dog breeds, and when it comes down to picking the dog you want to own, at the same time it also comes down to the dog himself picking the master that he or she wants.

It’s easy to select the breed and picture the ultimate individual of that breed and desire it, and even though this works perfectly well for normal dog breeds, the dogs that resemble their feral cousins are a lot more pretentious.

First thing’s first, you will have to pick your favorite wolf. This is actually the simplest step, simply log on to your computer, surf the net looking at wolves and reading a bit about them, and in a couple of hours you will have a general idea of and about the wolf that you are looking for.

Second thing you will have to do is look for the dog breeds that match the descriptions of that wolf, the ones that comes the closest at least. As an example, for the white arctic wolf you can choose the Samoyed dog, which is a little fluffier and sports a slightly rounder nose.

Or for a more traditional approach, and for the people that fancy the timber or black wolf, the Tamaskan dog is the perfect choice, in either timber or black.

Last thing you have to do is acquire the dog. This is where the fun part begins because chances are you will not find them in pet stores, you will have to go to breeders. Once there, forget the mental image that you have created for yourself, you have already accepted the dog, now it is the dog’s turn to accept you.

Simply walk half way towards the puppy and wait, or call the puppy towards you. If the puppy comes and sits down next to you, or makes himself or herself comfortable around you, then that is the dog for you.

The reason behind this is the fact that these breeds have a lot of loyalty and love to give, these dogs will literally take a bullet for you without hesitation, and they will watch over you constantly while at the same time giving you all the love and affection they can give.

However they are also very smart and stubborn. These are the kind of dogs that you will literally fight with in a battle of wits and will. If they accept you as the master, the leader of the pack, from a young age they will see you as the leader of the pack by default throughout their lives. Yes they will challenge you every now and again and you will put him or her in his or her place easily, but overall it will be a lot better, smoother and more pleasant if you chose a dog that chooses you as well over choosing a dog regardless of his or her say in this matter.

The official wolf looking dog breeds

There are quite a few breeds out there that resemble the dog’s ancestor, the wolf. Due to the popularity of the wolf and its dominant presence in a respectable number of cultures, it’s no wonder that people tried to cross breed dogs in order to make them look like wolves, however roughly 11 of these breeds are recognized as being official dog breeds.

Saarloos Wolfhound

This is the result of breeding German shepherd males with brown wolf females, and it does not fall short. Indeed this dog looks remarkably like the wolf that it is supposed to portray, however it carries a little too much of its feral heritage.

Saarloos Wolfhound

This wolf hound is recommended for experienced dog owners that love a challenge because it is strong willed, dominant, and will challenge the owner constantly.

The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is by far the most recognizable dog breed in to world, however it bears a lot of resemblance to wolves. The coat colors don’t help the dog in this regard, however the shape of the head, the body, the bone structure, the muscular layout, the extremely sharp senses and the strong will all point towards one thing, the wolf.

German Shepherd dog

This breed is known throughout Eastern Europe as being “The Wolf Dog” because of its wolf like attitude.

The Utonagan

This is a breed that is recognized as being a wolf look-alike, without any actual wolves being involved in the creation of the breed. These dogs were and are still being bred in England, and they are a mix between the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky and the German Shepherd.

The Utonagan dog like wolf

Unlike the rest of the wolf lookalikes, the Utonogan are a more laid back, relaxed, gentle, friendly, sociable and all around great dogs to have. The only thing that drives us to think of wolves when it comes to the Utonagan is the coloring of the coat and the nose of the dog.

The Northern Inuit dog

These dogs are a wolf lookalike breed however just like the Utonagan, no wolves were involved in the making of the breed. They have been developed in the UK and are still being bred to this day, and they have often been mistaken for real wolves when left to run about.

Despite its feral appearance, this dog is completely pacified. He is friendly, non-aggressive, and loves to play with people, however it has a massive drawback. These dogs must be trained from an early age and the training never stops with them. This is due to their incredibly stubborn nature and strong personalities. These are determined dogs and they will challenge you every step of the way.

The Northern Inuit dog

With proper and continuous training, these dogs will obey you, respect you and desire to work with you.

The Canadian Eskimo dog

Also known as the Canadian Huskies, or Canadian Inuit Dogs, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is a bigger, stronger and fluffier version of the wolf. Indeed it has been recognized as being a wolf lookalike breed, however at the same time it has been declared and endangered breed because of infection and canine diseases.

This breed is extremely rare, only 300 were counted in 2008 and the numbers have been struggling to maintain themselves over the last few years. Other than that, they are very energetic, full of life and stamina, very strong, friendly towards humans, and always willing to work with their masters.

The Canadian Eskimo dog

This breed is, however very problematic and aggressive when it comes to other dogs, especially the ones that are not in their pack. These dogs will not welcome another pet in the pack or household easily, they will become increasingly aggressive towards other dogs and will not miss a chance to get into a fight with other dogs.

They are also notorious for chewing things, digging, and mischievous behavior, but these things are balanced out by the fact that they are loyal, upbeat and loving dogs.

The Tamaskan

When it comes to wolf lookalike breeds, this breed is a clear cut above the rest.

First off, it looks incredibly like the wolves that it portrays. Yes, wolves, as in more than one. The Tamaskan comes in 2 pelt colors, all black like the wild and vicious black wolf, or white and charcoal gray like the timber wolf.

The Tamaskan

This breed was created in Finland, and sadly it is not recognized by kennel clubs around the world because of its very low numbers, just a few over 400. These dogs are large, they are taller than a German Shepherd, larger than a husky, and stronger than them as well.

They are friendly, obedient and loyal to the entire family and all its members. They are great with kids and other pets, however they must be trained from an early age.

The Samoyed

The Samoyed emulates a rarer and at the same time more prestigious wolf breed: the arctic white wolf. They were originally bred in Russia, in the Siberian Tundra to be more precise, and these fluffy dogs are indeed wolf lookalikes.

The Samoyed

They are calm, devoted, eager to please and have fun with their masters, very pleasant, friendly, and loving. These dogs were initially bred to hunt, which is where their fixation of pleasing the master comes from. One other thing that the Samoyed is notorious for, is sleeping on his master in order to keep him or her warm, and always wrapping himself around small kids in order to keep them warm as well.

Kugsha

The Kugsha is one of the wolf lookalike breeds that encompass all the traits that the wolf possesses and has everything down to a T. This is mostly due to the fact that the Kugsha is not exactly a dog but an actual wolf.

Indeed Kugshas have just recently been domesticated, earning the title of dog instead of wolf, however they managed to become loving, always willing to please their masters and intelligent dogs.

Kugsha dog breed

Unlike other wolf lookalikes and wolf hounds, the Kugsha tends to work with his master rather than against them. That being said, these are still highly intelligent and strong-willed dogs, and they will challenge their master if they find an opening for it.

These dogs currently exist only in the United States, and the only true drawbacks that they have is the fact that they shed heavily, and the fact that they cannot survive a warm climate.

Czechoslovakian Wolf dog

Ironically, this was not initially designed to be a dog breed, but things have a weird way of turning out great for our 4 legged canine friends. These dogs were initially an experiment involving a German Shepherd and Carpathian wolves, and its aim was to try and obtain a dog breed that had the best of both worlds, the trainability, intelligence, temperament and mentality of the German Shepherd, while at the same time sporting the speed, strength, agility, stamina and relentlessness of the Carpathian wolf.

Czechoslovakian Wolf dog

The experiment was declared successful, even though the results fell a little short of the target. Indeed this wolf hound has all the characteristics of a German Shepherd plus the positive characteristics of the Carpathian wolf, but at the same time it possesses some of the basic negative instincts that the Carpathian wolf brought to the table.

Even though this dog will never bite without being provoked and without warning, it still has a tendency to growl like a wolf most of the time.

Another drawback is that, just like a wolf, this dog is very shy, especially towards new people. This shyness can lead to problems especially if the person in question pursues the dog. The dog might feel cornered at one point, and it will start to growl and even bark at the person.

 The Siberian Husky

We simply cannot have a list of wolf lookalike breeds without including the Husky.

This dog resembles a wolf in many different ways. It’s built like a wolf, it’s molded like a wolf, it’s as strong as a wolf, it’s as enduring as a wolf, but most importantly, it has the pack mentality of the wolf.

Beautiful Siberian Husky

The Husky is a pack dog, born and bred to pull sleds along with other dogs across the Siberian tundra, and when the sled stops, the husky guards it from wolves. Huskies are beautiful and majestic dogs, and everything about them screams wolf, from their shape to their muscular build, to their strong backs and incredibly powerful legs.

There are a couple of drawbacks to owning a husky though. First off these dogs are smart but not in a funny pet way. No these dogs are intelligent dogs, and these dogs were bred for intense physical activity. Pulling sleds across the frozen wasteland is not exactly easy, which is why these dogs were bred and developed over the ages into the perfect pulling machines.

That being said, they are not the perfect dogs to keep around an apartment or a small house because they have a lot of energy and they tend to get bored really fast. When these dogs get bored they will do all that is in their power to have fun, at your expense.

Make no mistake about it, they will prank you and their mischievous nature will kick in strong, making them do the most hilarious things only to get their kicks from watching you get pranked time and time again.

 The Alaskan Malamute

Every family has that one cousin, the one that does not quite fit in with everyone else but is generally a nice guy and a laughs on occasions so he still gets invited to family dinners and events.

This is what the Alaskan Malamute is for this family of wolf lookalike breeds. The Alaskan Malamute is a distant cousin of the Husky. They both have the same temperament, they both are incredibly smart and very mischievous, they have the same pelt color and they were both bred to pull sleds across the frozen wastes, but this is where the similarities end because the malamute is a husky on steroids.

The Alaskan Malamute

Indeed this dog is a lot taller, a lot larger and a lot stronger than the husky, and wolves in general.

These dogs are loyal, loving, quiet and eager to please his master, but the malamute is also strong willed, stubborn, has a strong personality and requires a lot of training.

It is not recommended for people to have a malamute in an apartment because they require a lot of exercise and they are a lot more comfortable and a lot more at home in nature than in an apartment.

The malamute also sports a 2 inch thick coat that causes him or her to shed at an alarming rate when kept inside a warm apartment, so this dog is better suited in a colder environment, Alaska and Siberia being the 2 favorite locations of the Malamute.

Things to look out for when dealing with these breeds

There are some things that you should watch out for as the owner of wolf looking dog breeds. First off, there are a few health issues that might arise, especially in males, like sterility, dangerous stomach infections and hip problems. Another thing to keep an eye on is the food that your dog ingests. Normal dog food usually does not cut it for these specimens, and special meals can be cooked with minimal effort, for a minimal cost and in a very short time.

Exercise is a must for these dogs, their athletic bodies are there for a reason other than to be admired, and their muscular development is incredibly important. These dogs are extremely close to wolves and they must burn the fat and the energy as often as they can in order to prevent health problems later on and in order to keep them submissive and in a relatively calm state.

Human interaction is also crucial for these dogs because some of the breeds look incredibly similar to actual wolves, and as such people tend to be either frightened or aggressive towards them. With persistent social interaction, you will see not only the people begin to grow more relaxed around your dog, but more important you will see your dog starting to grow more relaxed around other people and even come to expect weird reactions without acting out in self-defense.

Socializing your dog with other dogs is also important. These are pack dogs at their cores, and even though it will take a while for them to grow acceptant of other dogs, especially if they were not socialized while they were puppies, they will start to socialize with other dogs and they will grow less aggressive and less dangerous around other dogs.

The wolf looking dog breeds are indeed a sight to behold. They are beautiful, athletic, devoted, loving and hardworking dogs. Some of them have graced the silver screens, some of them are still being mistaken for wolves, and some are a bit more feral than usual.

Puppies look like little wolfs

We all love these breeds because they remind us of how beautiful they are as well as how smart, how loyal and how devoted dogs can really be.

It does take a special kind of person to understand these breeds and help them reach their true potential, however if you think you have what it takes, and you are both willing and able to change a few things around in order to accommodate such a dog, then by all means go for it.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Natalie Barton

    I’ve always wanted a husky because they look a lot like wolves (and i wanted a wolf as a child, alright) and they seem like cuddly dogs. Only when I grew up did I face the reality that dogs aren’t easy to take care of and that they are a responsibility (cliche, I know). I wouldn’t want to own a husky who wouldn’t get the attention, care, food, etc that he needs. And while I almost had a husky when I was twelve (through a nice neighbor who wouldn’t fend for a litter of them), I’m ultimately glad that my parents prevented me from having a husky. Lord knows what a horror trying to care for a husky (without fully sufficient means) would bear!

    • John Walton

      I understand the frustration in your post, Natalie. With great power (or looks) often comes great responsibility. I am glad that you also realized that they have their needs too, and those needs might be too much to bear as a pet parent.

  • Angela Pickles

    My Samoyed puppy who turned 6 months last week is quite a handful. I can’t leave her for a minute without her peeing or pooing on the floor. Even when I go to the shower, someone has to watch her or else she’ll be barking non-stop. Help! Is this typical Samoyed temperament? Will she outgrow this stage?

    • Samoyeds are very affectionate dogs that has a tendency to become too attached to its owner. This phase that you are currently experiencing can be outgrown so you should not worry about it too much.

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