Despite the many different sizes and physical features of dogs today, there are still numerous breeds that have maintained their ancestral, wolf-like image. Whether they were purposely bred to resemble these wild creatures or it’s simply their genetics at work, these 11 dogs that look like wolves show a fascinating side of dog evolution.
Keep in mind: Some states have their own regulations regarding wolfdogs and wolf hybrids. If you’re interested in expanding your furry family, check your local guidelines regarding breeds considered wolfdogs and specific restrictions!
1. Siberian Husky
Commonly linked to wolves because of their resemblance, this working breed is no stranger to the outdoors. Siberian Huskies, who originated in Siberia, were trained to be sled dogs for work and competition purposes. This contributes to their active temperament, requiring one to two hours of daily exercise to fulfill their innate need to release energy.
More of a high-maintenance breed, their shedding level calls for regular brushing to help minimize fur collecting on furniture. These dogs may also not do well when left alone for more than a couple hours. This relates to their heritage as pack animals, commonly training and working with several other dogs or people.
Nonetheless, the Siberian Husky is adaptable, friendly, and playful. They are great hiking dogs, making them best suited for active and experienced pet parents.
2. Alaskan Malamute
These strong and dignified gentle giants originally belonged to the native Mahlemut people on Alaska's northwest coast, according to VCA Animal Hospital. In addition to sharing similar tasks as the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamutes served as search & rescue dogs and hunted seals and polar bears.
Reaching 85 pounds, the Alaskan Malamute is a powerful and high-energy dog. During warmer months, however, it is important to be mindful of their sensitivity to heat. Avoid spending time outside for an extended period, especially when on a long walk or participating in an intense game of fetch. To maintain an active lifestyle, space to roam indoors is ideal.
While they’re protective and affectionate, Alaskan Malamutes may partake in destructive behavior when left alone for a long time or if they don’t receive enough physical and mental stimulation. Offering long-lasting chews such as rawhide will help keep these dogs happy and occupied.
3. Alaskan Klee Kai
Often referred to as the “Mini Husky,” these small dogs can reach approximately 25 pounds when fully grown, which is about half as much as an Alaskan Husky.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a combination of four breeds: the Alaskan Husky, Siberian Husky, Schipperke, and American Eskimo, according to Embark Vet. The Alaskan Klee Kai is bred with a variety of smaller dog breeds, making it a more companion-sized version of the Husky. In fact, “Klee Kai” is an Eskimo word meaning “little dog,” which indicates how closely connected these dogs are to each other!
Although this alert, energetic, and curious breed gets along well with other dogs, some may show signs of trepidation around strangers. Once they get comfortable, however, they are loving and highly trainable dogs.
4. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs were initially bred with a German Shepherd and a Carpathian wolf for military purposes, requiring high levels of physical and mental stimulation. As of 2018, there were approximately 200 dogs of this breed living in the United States, according to The Czechoslovakian Vlcak Club of America! While not a common breed, these dogs are known to be loyal, obedient, and versatile.
These intelligent, dominant, and independent dogs require consistent training and would be best suited for active and experienced pet parents.
5. Saarloos Wolfdog
Another breed derived from a German Shepherd and a European wolf, these pups were meant to be loyal housedogs. Saarloos Wolfdogs are eager to learn, curious, and seek purpose. Mostly, though, they love being the center of attention!
It’s especially important for pet parents to have a fenced backyard and walk their dog on a leash, as these dogs have a tendency to flee when in an unfamiliar space. More demanding and sensitive than most dogs, this breed needs lots of socialization, love, and care.
Meaning “spirit of the wolf,” the Utonagan stems from the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd plus several other unidentified breeds—essentially creating a domesticated wolf! They're incredibly strong and intelligent, and they need stimulating activities to feel their best, such as games to find a dog treat.
Though they are affectionate with family and good with other dogs, this breed tends to bark or howl. They also possess a strong hunting desire, so it’s not uncommon to see them darting after rabbits or squirrels, especially while on walks. Therefore, early training sessions are key for keeping these pups on their best behavior! Luckily, this free-spirited breed is eager to learn.
7. Northern Inuit
With an almost identical background and a similar personality as the Utonagan breed, the Northern Inuit is commonly thought to hail from the United Kingdom. However, there are also theories that suggest they came from Canada or Greenland because of the breed’s ties to the Canadian Eskimo and Labrador Husky.
Loving and loyal companions, these dogs can be calm and gentle, which makes them a good breed for kids. Supervision is still recommended because of their high energy level. Despite being independent and strong willed, they often experience separation anxiety (as do many dog breeds that look like wolves). If they show signs of destructive behavior when left alone, that means they are in a state of stress. Rather than punishing the dog, go for a walk or enjoy some playtime to release their energy and help prevent unwanted behaviors.
One of the newer dogs that look like wolves, this rare dog breed is considered a work-in-progress as breeding trials continue to add desirable traits like bravery, according to the International Tamaskan Register. As a part of the Utonagan and Northern Inuit bloodline, these good-natured dogs are considered friendly and outgoing (although they may be initially reserved).
Unlike most dog breeds that look like wolves, these social furry friends enjoy lounging around as much as they love a long hike, making them a good choice for a variety of different households, especially families with other dogs.
9. Finnish Lapphund
Initially a hunting and guard dog of semi-nomadic people in Lapland, the Finnish Lapphund eventually transitioned into a herding role for reindeer once the tribe adopted a more sedentary lifestyle, according to the Finnish Lapphund Club of America. Now, these pups can be found herding livestock in the United States.
Highly affectionate toward friends and strangers alike, this breed is great for families with young children. They do bark and shed regularly, however, so pet parents should prepare for consistent training and grooming sessions. Their submissiveness and high trainability are desirable traits, especially early on.
As one of the most genetically similar breeds to wolves, the Samoyed originated in Northern Siberia and worked similar jobs as Finnish Lapphunds. They commonly herded reindeer and hauled sleds for the Samoyed people and were often treated as part of the family. As a result, the Samoyed breed often establishes a deep bond with their pet parent and offers a sense of love and understanding.
Their elegant white coat makes them easily recognizable and helps them endure warmer weather despite their upbringing. In Siberia, they would sleep near young children to keep them warm, allowing for a very compatible dog for children today.
Pet parents can expect trust, loyalty, and friendliness—and Samoyeds need affection and exercise in return.
11. Blue Bay Shepherd
Last but certainly not least, this rare breed is considered a new type of German Shepherd mix. Like many dogs that look like wolves, the Blue Bay Shepherd was bred to look like a wolf—without the wild temperament—and is a combination of eight different breeds including the Old German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, and Siberian Husky, according to Trending Breeds.
This wolf-dog shepherd mix originated in Palm Bay, Florida, which is where their name stems from. They're most known for their beautiful blue coat, but they can also vary in colors like beige or white.
Affectionate and gentle, this up-and-coming breed can make a great addition to any household!
A Wild-Looking Bunch!
Despite their wolf-like appearances, these dogs require a lot of love and care! Many are not suited to stay alone or idle for very long, needing high doses of stimulation and companionship. Nonetheless, these 11 dogs that look like wolves are visual representations of the past and make great furry friends for families today!