13 dogs that look like wolves
Wolves are impressive wild animals, unfortunately ill-suited to the life of domestic animals.
And although there are a few wolf hybrids, these breeds are delicate and ownership is strictly regulated.
But people who dream of bringing a bear cub to their pack may have the next best thing – a dog that looks a lot like a wolf instead.
Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the American Kennel Club (AKC) notes that prehistoric dog breeders used wolves to create domestic dogs, which means the animals share many physical traits.
She said News week: “Wolves are the ancestors of dogs, so it’s no wonder that some of them still resemble their shape, fur type and manners.
“While you may think of huskies and similar breeds when you think of wolf look-alikes, there are many other AKC-recognized breeds large and small that look like these dogs of the past.
“Early dog breeders actually used wolves to breed domesticated dogs, another reason so many breeds, even today, still bear the resemblance.”
Read on to find out which wolf-like dog breeds might be right for you.
1. Alaskan Malamute
This large, fluffy dog breed looks like a mix of huskies and wolves. Recognized by the AKC in 1935, these sled dogs have curved tails, but otherwise their faces and bodies resemble that of a wolf.
Gina DiNardo said News week: “They have a thick, weather-resistant coat and a cheerful, gentle personality, known to be workhorses.”
2. Belgian Malinois
Although their coloring is generally browner than the gray of a wolf, this breed, recognized by the AKC in 1959, is known to be working dogs that enjoy exercise and be active.
DiNardo said: “If wolves had shorter coats, the Belgian Malinois would be their lookalikes.”
3. Czechoslovakian Vlcak
Known for their wolfish appearance, this dog was originally bred for the border patrol in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. Intelligent, active and loyal, these dogs also share many personality traits with wolves.
DiNardo said: “With pointy ears, long muzzles and tails, and a similar bone structure, this dog would have you doing a double take.”
4. Finnish Lapland
This medium-sized dog is as fluffy as he is fluffy, with stately wolf-like features such as the coloring of his coat and his pointy ears.
They were recognized by the AKC in 2011, so are a more recent addition to the list of recognized breeds. DiNardo said: “The Finnish Lapphund was once a reindeer herder, and is quick and agile.”
5. Norwegian Elkhound
This breed of dog from the Hound group does not appear to be far removed from its wolf ancestors. With pointy ears, a thick coat, and a face surprisingly similar to that of a wolf, these ancient dogs sailed with the Vikings and are known for their alert and strong nature.
DiNardo said: “They were recognized by the AKC in 1913, and the only feature that doesn’t look like their wolf brothers is their tails, which are tightly curled over their backs.”
They are graceful and powerful dogs, which thrive in the cold and are typical beasts of burden. With pointy ears and a long, dense double coat, they are friendly and perfect for people who want a dog with wolf qualities.
DiNardo said: “Although they have a fluffier coat than a wolf, these medium-sized dogs, recognized by the AKC in 1906, bear a striking resemblance.”
7. Shiba Inu
They are generally small to medium sized dogs, with short double coats, usually black, tan, cream, and red. These ancient Japanese dogs became recognized by the AKC in 1992, and they are hardy, muscular, and good-natured.
Gina DiNardo said, “Apart from the curly tail of this breed, Shiba Inu dogs have a wolfish body and face.”
8. Siberian Husky
Siberian huskies have thick coats and these natural pack dogs look quite like wolves. They were recognized by the AKC in 1930 and are notably smaller and lighter than the Alaskan Malamutes, which also resemble each other.
DiNardo said: “When you think of dogs that look like wolves, huskies are definitely one of the first breeds that come to mind.”
The American Kennel Club has also suggested scaled-down dogs which it describes as “mini-wolves”.
9. Laskan Klee Kai
These little dogs come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, none of which rival the size of their wolf look-alikes.
DiNardo said: “They also look like little huskies, with pointy ears and thick, stiff coats, and are alert and energetic, although reserved in unfamiliar situations.”
10. American Eskimo Dog
Another small breed of dog that resembles a wolf is the American Eskimo Dog, recognized by the AKC in 1994.
DiNardo said: “Often white, their coat color may not directly match that of a wolf, but their fur and the shape of their head make them an easy comparison regardless.”
11. Icelandic Sheepdog
Small but mighty, this multi-colored sheepdog, which became recognized by the AKC in 2010, has many wolf characteristics despite its curled tail.
DiNardo said: “A bulky double coat, pointy ears and a wolf face, this breed also often has similar markings above the eyes and all over the face as wolves do.”
With similar muzzle and ear shapes, the coat colors of these dogs may not resemble many wolf features, but they do otherwise resemble a scaled-down version of a wolf.
DiNardo said: “Don’t be fooled by the size of these 20-30 pound dogs, they are as fearless as their wolf ancestors.
With pointy ears, double-fur coats and wolf faces, these dogs became recognized by the AKC in 1904. Small but powerful, these dogs were nicknamed the “little captains” of Belgium.
DiNardo said, “These little dogs are another example of wolf-in-dog clothing from small breeds that look like their ancestors.”