There are so many dog breeds now that look like wolves. Some of these are simply natural similarities that resemble their wild ancestor, while other types have been bred in order to create a wolf-like dog. While owning a pet wolf isn’t exactly wise (or legal), we can understand the appeal of owning a dog with a wolf’s appearance. These animals often have a great looking fur coat with colors and features which all resemble their distant relative.
Although wolves are popularly believed to be the direct ancestor of the common domesticated dog, this isn’t quite true. Scientists agree there is a link between the two species but state they are not as well connected as we might imagine. Scientists recently discovered a bone belonging to a canine animal which dates back roughly 30,000 years. This bone contains DNA which is common amongst dogs and wolves and suggests that it came from an ancestor to both animals. This means that, while dogs and wolves are definitely linked, the connection actually comes from a much older ancestor which may have evolved into wolves and domesticated dogs as we know them today.
Some dogs look unbelievably similar to wolves they’re even used to play them in TV and film! A popular and recent example is the Direwolf from Game of Thrones, known as the Utonagan or Northern Inuit dog. if you’re interested in wolf-like dogs and/or are looking to adopt, here are 5 breeds of dog that are remarkably similar to wolves!
Utonagan/Northern Inuit Dog
This breed is fairly recent as it was created and developed in the United Kingdom during the 1980s. It was created by crossing several breeds of dogs, some of which are unknown while the others include German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies – all of which resemble wolves. The breed remains unrecognized by most organizations (such as the UKC and AMC) due to its recent creation and has resulted in different names regarding the same breed. Although they might not be recognized by some, these wolf-like woofers are very real and very lovable. Despite their wild looks, Utonagan dogs are extremely lovable and intelligent – they can even be trained to a very high level!
In the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’, Utonagan dogs were cast to play Direwolves, a mythical creature which resembles a large grey wolf. This breed was chosen as they look almost identical to wolves due to their natural build. Typically, they weigh between 55 to 110 pounds and can grow up to 30 inches tall. They also come in white, grey and black (usually a combination of the three colors) with spots or patches covering parts of their head and body. But they’re not just known for their wolfish appearance and acting ability! Utonagan dogs can be trained and are obedient fun-loving animals. These perfect pups would make an ideal pet for active owners who love to stay busy and explore the outdoors. However, they might not be a great choice for new pet parents as Utonagan dogs can be quite a handful at times as they can be difficult to train and their size may put-off those who don’t have experience raising a large dog. But, if you’ve raised a large dog in the past and are up to the challenge, these affectionate doggos would make the perfect companion to any active pet parent.
German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherds are another breed which look strikingly similar to their canine cousins. The German Shepherd originates from, well, Germany and was first documented in 1899 as being a working breed which was often used to herd sheep. These large dogs are very intelligent, obedient and caring – qualities which make them ideal for several type of work. Over the years German Shepherds have worked for the police, military, search and rescue and also for film. Their strong physical build combined with their inquisitive mind make them ideal animals for these roles. Typically, German Shepherds grow between 22 to 26 inches and weigh anywhere between 49 to 88 pounds. While slightly smaller than the Utonagan dog, this breed is still medium-to-large sized compared to other dogs which helps contribute to the wolf-like resemblance.
German Shepherd’s also have black or brown fur or a combination of the two, often with alternating patches over the head and body. They usually have a black mask (the front of their face) and have noticeably large, triangular and pointed ears.
The German Shepherd was bred for its intelligence and ability to work, making this breed particularly active and inquisitive. As anyone who owns one will agree, these dogs love to stay busy and are great at learning new things with determination. So, if you’re looking to adopt a big doggo to teach some cool tricks, keep the German Shepherd in mind.
This might be the most similar animal you’ll find to wild wolves as this breed came directly from the Carpathian wolf crossed with the German Shephard – and it shows. The coat is particularly reminiscent of its wild relative as they share a similar yellowish-grey coat which can vary from dark grey/black to a light, silver grey. However, a distinguishable difference can be seen in the length of their coat. The Carpathian wolf has a long thick coat, while the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog has a medium-short coat as it doesn’t require as much insulation being a domesticated dog.
This breed, like the German Shepherd, was bred for its intelligence, ability to work and its remarkably similar appearance to wild wolves. Unfortunately, this breed didn’t have a great beginning as they were originally used as attack dogs by the Czechoslovakian military in 1955. Although this was the first use for the dogs, they have gone on to carry out many other jobs for the police, search and rescue operations and have even been used for herding. Despite its recent creation in 1955, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog has become a popular breed not just in Czechoslovakia but also across Europe and the United States and were internationally recognized as an official breed in the 1980s.
This breed is undoubtedly one of the most similar animals to the wolf you can find. While they are active and intelligent animals, they are notoriously difficult to train and shouldn’t be chosen as a pet lightly. They instinctively hunt and can grow tired of aimless repetitive exercise so its important to always have an objective and to keep these dogs occupied with useful tasks. If you have experience with these types of animals, then it may be a great option for you as, when fully trained, these dogs are affectionate and caring animals which bond very well with their owners and other animals in the family.
The Tamaskan breed was created by crossing the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and a variety of other sled dogs which weren’t accurately recorded. This breed was also created in the 1980s but has not been recognized internationally as an independent breed. They grow up to 33 inches tall and weigh anywhere between 25 to 45 pounds. While they are slightly taller than German Shepherds, they usually have a smaller physique so they weigh less and are substantially smaller than their parental breed, the Alaskan Malamute. Their coats are typical wolf-like grey colors which vary in shades but contribute to their uncanny resemblance.
Unlike many of the other breeds on this list, the Tamaskan dog was bred purely for aesthetic purposes of resembling a wolf and were not intended as working dogs. This means they behave more like traditionally domesticated pets although they may show signs or traits found in their parental cross. The Tamaskan dog breed is ideal for pet parents who want a big wolf-like dog who might not have experience raising and training difficult doggos. So, don’t be fooled by their wild appearance, these dogs are lovable and affectionate animals who love to socialize.
As we’ve just learned, the Alaskan Malamute was used to help create the Tamaskan dog because of its wolf-like appearance. It believed to be one of the oldest existing breeds of dog and are hugely popular across the world because of this. They were originally used to carry heavy freight across Alaska and then later used as sled dogs. While they’re now highly domesticated, they remain determined and hard-working if given a task. They are highly intelligent animals which are sociable and love to play and exercise with their owners.
They grow up to 25 inces tall and can weigh a whopping 130 pounds! Their coat can either be white or gray or a combination of either but always has white throughout. Their build and coat color combine to create a remarkable resemblance to their wild relative. Despite the physical similarities, Alaskan Malamutes are friendly, social creatures who can be trained well if nurtured and raised healthily. However, because of their size and some natural predatory instincts, these dogs don’t get on very well with smaller house pets. Despite that, these animals make the perfect pet if you want a new addition to the family, especially one with the wolf aesthetic, but don’t necessarily want to train a wild aminal.
Unfortunately, wolves don’t make ideal pets for many reasons, but these 5 dog breeds provide great alternatives for the dog owning novice to the professional canine carer. If you’re willing to put in the work, these dogs will make the perfect companion while providing the wolf aesthetic you’ve been dreaming about.