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14 Dogs That Look Like Wolves

These are not wolves ​(well, not completely), but dogs that have prominent wolf features passed on from their ascendants.

Some of them are specifically designed that way, and some just happen to have those traits naturally.

However, adopting these breeds comes unique challenges you need to be aware of.

Dogs That Look Like Wolves

1. Northern Inuit Dog

Northern Inuit Dog comparison with a wolf

CC Image courtesy of Malfuros

Temperament: Loyal to a fault, Friendly, Stubborn, Intelligent

Size: Large

  • Females 55 to 84 pounds, 23 to 28 inches
  • Males 79 to 110 pounds, 25 to 30 inches


Northern Inuit Dogs were an attempt to create a wolf-like breed with the temperament of a dog. It’s speculated this ​dog originates in the UK during the 1980’s, by mixing Malamute, Siberian husky, and German Shepherds.

They gained main stream popularity from the series Game of Thrones, where the characters from the Stark family comes across a litter of “wolf puppies”.

Do they make a good family pet?

Yes, but best suited for singles, or families with older children.

They tend to not have patience for young children. While loyal and loving, Northern Inuit Dogs need training and assertive leadership, and is not recommended for the novice dog owner.

They have extreme separation anxiety which leads to destructive behavior when left alone – therefore cannot be trained as kennel dogs.

More information on Northern Inuit Dogs

2. Saarloos Wolfdog

Saarloos comparison

Temperament: Cautious, Shy, Gentle towards owners, Curious, Loyal, Stubborn

Size: Medium to Large

  • Females 45 to 74 pounds, 23 to 28 inches
  • Males 69 to 90 pounds, 25 to 30 inches


Created in 1935 when Dutch Breeder Leender Saarloos crossbred German Sheppherds with ​European Wolves to create a working dog. But what he got instead was too much wolf personality, which didn’t translate well into working dogs.

Do they make a good family pet?

Not exactly.

While not always recommended for children, they do make excellent dogs if their specific needs are met. Saarloos are generally non-aggressive, however they require strong leadership to overcome their free roaming wolf instincts. While shy, they do need socialization with other dogs.

Because of the Saarloos wolfdog’s roaming nature, they are best suited for large open living spaces, acreages, and require daily activity.

They have very high separation anxiety, and cannot be trained as a kennel dog.

More information on Saarloos

3. Tamaskan

Tamaskan comparison

Temperament: Playful, Curious, Intelligent, Affectionate, High energy

Size: Large

  • Females 55 to 85 pounds, 24 to 28 inches
  • Males 65 to 95 pounds, 25 to 33 inches


Tamaskans are dogs that were specifically bred to look like wolves, mixed with Husky, German shepherd, and Czechoslovakian wolfdogs. Being officially recognized as a breed in 2013, this once rare breed is quickly becoming popular in North America due to its close resemblance to the wolf and its playful personality.

Do they make good family pet?

Yes, if you’re willing to put some work in. Tamaskans require a regiment of training and a very high amount of daily exercise and stimulation. Without this regiment Tamaskans will resort to destructive behavior.

Early socialization is an absolute must, or they have been known to show aggressive behavior as an adult.

A common trait is separation anxiety, and when left alone they will resort to destructive behavior.

​They have a very high prey drive, meaning rabbits, birds, and squirrels will peak their interest.

​Tamaskans ​are loving, loyal, and intelligent dogs. With the right training, exercise, and socialization, make absolutely wonderful companions.

Many Puppy Mills and unhealthy litters have been showing up due to their rise in popularity. Get your Tamaskan from a certified breeder.

More information on Tamaskans

4. Alaskan Noble Companion Dog

Image courtesy of Brynne on Flickr

Temperament: Loyal, Curious, Anxious, Alert, Active

Size: Large

  • 60 to 110 pounds, 26 to 33 inches


Alaskan nobles ​are a considerably new type of hybrid canine, recognized for their stunning appearance and close resemblance to wolves. They’re a crossbreed of Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute​.

There are conflicting reports about whether or not these dogs carry wolf content.

Do they make a good family pet?

Not enough is known about the Alaskan noble at this point.

They have been reported as being very affectionate, laid back, and playful with their owners. However, these same owners have also reported apprehension, and even aggressiveness towards strangers and children.

Beyond these reports, Alaskan Nobles are known as being extremely loyal to their owners. They are very active dogs that love to explore and roam in free open space. Daily stimulation is required to occupy their intelligent minds.

Just like any dog, they require early socialization to avoid becoming aggressive as they mature. They are also known to have very high separation anxiety.

More information on Alaskan Noble Companion Dogs

5. Swedish Vallhund

CC Image courtesy of TS Eriksson

Temperament: Friendly, high energy, playful, intelligent, loving,

Size: Small to Medium

  • Females 22 to 32 pounds, 8 to 12 inches
  • Males 25 to 35 pounds, 9 to 13 inches


Vallhund translates to Herding Dog, and that’s exactly what they do. Originally developed to herd cows, and referred to The Swedish Cow Dog, this is a rare breed that is believed to have originated thousands of years ago.

Do they make a good family pet?

Absolutely. They’re playful, loving, loyal, and fun. They still having some herding instinct, and are considered work dogs that need a high level of exercise and stimulation.

They are noisy, and known to bark excessively, therefore do not make good apartment pets.

Because of their high energy, they require daily vigorous activity, or else they may result to destructive behavior.

More information on Swedish Vallhund

​6. Utonagan

Utonogan comparison

Image courtesy of Trevor Grant on Flickr

Temperament: Friendly, Intelligent, Loyal, Social, High Energy

Size: Large

  • Females 55 to 80 pounds, 23 to 25 inches
  • Males 65 to 90 pounds, 23 to 28 inches


Utonagan is a newer crossbreed, introduced to the UK in the 1980’s, which again is a ​mix of Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd. They got their breed name from a tale passed on by , where Utonagan translates to “spirit of the wolf”.

Do they make good family pets?

Yes, but they do need some work. Similar to a Tamaskan’s temperament, they are curious, affectionate, loyal, and playful, but require daily training and exercise. They have plenty of personality, and are very receptive to their owners which makes them easy to train.

Utonegan’s are energetic, so they need to run and require mental stimulation. Their free roaming instinct is very much alive so they are best suited for large living spaces and acreages.

They have a high prey drive, so squirrels, birds, and rabbits will definitely catch their attention.

And you guessed it – they have high separation anxiety, and will resort to destructive behavior when left alone.

​Utonagan’s have been known to have health issues, so be sure to research their pedigree and health tests before adopting.

More Information about Utonegan’s

​7. Alaskan Malamute

malamute comparison

Temperament: Strong, Stubborn, Intelligent, Friendly towards people.

Size: Large

  • Female – 75 to 90 pounds, 21 to 25 inches
  • Male – 85 to 100 pounds, 22 to 25 inches


Alaskan Malamutes carry some wolf-like markings, although their long coat and stature has some distinct differences. They originally were bred as an arctic sled dog to haul loads through Siberia or Alaska. Malamutes and are still considered strong work dogs, which makes can make them difficult to handle in a normal household.

Do they make good family pets?

Yes, but they ​can be very challenging. Malamutes are intelligent and stubborn, which makes them strong-headed and tough to train.

Malamutes ​commonly end up in shelters as many owners underestimate how difficult this breed is to train. A strong assertive leader is required​ or else they’ll assume the alpha position in your home.

Malamutes have separation anxiety, which may lead to destructive behavior when left alone. This ​dog is best suited for large open areas, or with owners who are willing to follow a daily regimen of running, hiking, or sledding.

​8. Siberian Husky

Husky Comparison

Temperament: Friendly, Social, High Energy, Affectionate, Stubborn, Gentle

Size: Medium to Large

  • Females 35 to 50 pounds, 20 to 22 inches
  • Males 45 to 60 pounds, 21 to 24inches


Not much is known about the Siberian Husky’s history, it is believed they originated in Siberia and are an ancient breed. They were then used in Alaska during the 1900’s for dog sledding to assist in hauling loads over arctic tundra.

Huskies today are a common ​sight in North America, and recognized for their beautiful markings.

Do they make good family pets?

Absolutely. Huskies are still considered work dogs however, and need daily exercise or they’ll resort to destructive behavior. They are strong-headed, and often need an assertive leader and training.

They are difficult to train due to their stubbornness and intelligence. You’ll often hear stories from husky owners about constant barking, digging, and chewing.

Huskies are a popular adoption choice ​for many families. They’re very playful and have a gentle nature, and with a little patience and training make wonderful pets.

​9. Canadian Eskimo / Inuit Dog

Canadian Eskimo Dog comparison

Temperament: Loyal, Brave, High Energy, Intelligent, Alert

Size: Large

  • Females 40 to 66 pounds, 20 to 24 inches
  • Males 66 to 88 pounds, 23 to 28 inches


Considered one the oldest and rarest breeds, and have been threatened with extinction. The Canadian Eskimo ​dog is another arctic working breed, and they reflect that with their personality. They are active, strong, and love to run and explore. This ​canine is accustomed to cold climates, and even prefers to sleep in the snow.

Do they make a good family pet?

Yes, they are affectionate and loyal to their owners. They are best suited for a working environment, where they can get daily exercise and stimulation – which makes them excellent sled dogs.

More Information about Canadian Eskimo Dogs

​10. Kugsha / Amerindian Malamute

Kugsha comparison

Temperament: Very high intelligence, Stubborn, Free roaming, Curious, Playful.

Size: Large

  • Females: 60 to 102 pounds, 20 to 25 inches
  • Males: 65 to 106 pounds, 20 to 27 inches


The Kugsha are a rare​ wolf hybrid. They are an ancient breed, believed to have originated 1000s of years ago, and were used in Early America as a working breed to haul shipments through the snow.

Do they make good family pets?

No. These dogs still carry wolf-like mannerisms, and do not behave like a domesticated dog. Kugsha are intelligent, but also stubborn, which makes them difficult to train. They need constant stimulation and open space because of their free roaming personality.

Kugsha are shy with strangers, but are not known to be aggressive. In the right environment, with strong leadership, they can be excellent companions.

More Information about Kugsha

1​1. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

Czech Wolfdog comparison

CC Image courtesy of Sonja Pauen on Flickr

Temperament: High Energy, Loyal, Curious, Fearless, Playful

Size: Medium

  • Females 44 to 54 pounds, 24 to 26 inches
  • Males 54 to 60 pounds, 26 to 28inches


A New dog breed that was created to have the temperament of a German Shepherd, but the physical build and strength of a Carpathian Wolf. Originally bred to be attack dogs in Czechoslovakia in the 1980’s, the ​Czechoslovakian Wolfdog are now used for a range of work.

Do they make a good family pet?

Yes, but these dogs require a high level of training and strong leadership.

They can be good with children, but are suspicious of strangers. Czech wolf dogs are active and playful, and need daily stimulation to feed their curious minds. They are best suited for large open spaces where they can roam and get daily exercise.

Until 2008 this dog was classified as a “Dangerous Wild Animal” in the UK. And due to the wolf-content of this breed, they cannot be legally owned in some States or Countries.

More Information about ​this breed.

12. ​Shikoku Dog

Shikoku Dog comparison

Temperament: Curious, ​Alert, Energetic, Intelligent​

Size: Medium

  • ​30 to 35 pounds, 18 to 21 inches


​A cousin of the infamous Shiba Inu and Akita Inu, the Shikoku is a Japanese breed that shares similar qualities. While they ​carry many of the same physical ​characteristics of the Shibu Inu, ​the Shikoku coat/markings are darker in color and much more wolf-like. ​. 

Do they make a good family pet?

Shikoku’s are enthusiastic and sociable dogs, and can certainly make a good addition to your family.

However, these are working breeds, and were often used for hunting boars. While they are a good natured dog, they still carry those ​working traits to this day. ​Exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation are required everyday, or they’ll become bored and frustrated.

Also, Shikoku’s have a very high prey drive, so they will chase any small creature or interesting object. 

1​3. ​German Shepherd (White Swiss Shepherd)

white-swiss-shepehrd comparison

Temperament: ​Loyal, Curious, Cautious, Protective, Intelligent

Size: ​Large

  • Females 49 to 73 pounds, 22 to 24 inches
  • Males 66 to 88 pounds, 24 to 26 inches

​Finally, we have the German Shepherd, an incredibly popular breed throughout the world. Known for their sharp minds ​and acts of bravery, it’s no wonder you’ll often find them on the job in military service, ​police duty, or human assistance.

In particular the solid white and black colored coats on the German Shepherd show more resemblance to a wolf. ​Learn more about German Shepherd colors.

Do they make a good family pet?

German shepherds’ are gentle companions and natural protectors.

Ideally, they should be raised along side children and other pets. An adult dog being introduced to a new family with young children may pose some difficulty.

They have a natural guarding instinct, with proper training they will ​protect young ones while being wary of strangers. 

​They are a working breed, therefore require daily strenuous exercise and mental stimulation. With a proper routine, training, and guidance they can make excellent family dogs.

You can learn more about breeds that look like German Shepherds (or descended from).

14. Norwegian elkhound

Norwegian elkhound comparison

Temperament: High Energy, Loyal, Watchdog, Affectionate

Size: ​Large

  • Females 48 to 55 pounds, 17 to 20 inches
  • Males 52 to 60 pounds, 19 to 20 inches


The Norwegian elkhound is a high energy hunting dog and companion. Originally they were used to hunt big game such as moose. Despite their name, these dogs were not used to hunt elk.

Their coat and face bares similar markings of a wolf (yet has no relation), but their tail has a distinct curl to it.

Do they make a good family pet?

Elkhounds do make a great family pet, if you’re up for the challenge of training and obedience. They are incredibly affectionate and loving. However, their focus is on what is most interesting to them at that moment, which may not be you.

They have a strong prey drive and a desire to track. They’ll follow their nose and shut out the world around them. And if they see small prey outdoors they will bark and chase without regard.

Remember, the Norwegian elkhound is a working breed, thus requiring extraneous daily exercise and training. However they are still friendly and affectionate and can make great pets.

Dogs, Wolf Content, and Adoption

Through careful selection – some breeders have successfully created ​dogs that look like wolves, but have the temperament of a domestic dog.

Some breeds have zero wolf content, such as huskies, which have some similarities in markings but have no relation at all. In which case, you may just want ​a dog that looks like a husky.

Then there are very low wolf content dogs. This generally means your dog is at least 4 generations removed​ from their wolf ascendants, while being mixed with other breeds.

If you’re considering adopting a wolf-like breed, then this is certainly the way to go. Very low content breeds still have a beautiful wolf-like appearance, but are domesticated and generally family friendly.

Comparison of a Dog and a Wolf

Quick Facts About Wolf Hybrid Breeds:

  • They shed A LOT, and will blow their coat twice a year. In which case you’ll need a good brush.
  • They experience extreme separation anxiety and are destructive when left alone.
  • They all have very high energy, and require high intensity exercise every day or they’ll become bored and destructive.
  • They require early socialization to avoid nervous or aggressive behavior as they mature.
  • They can be serious noise makers, with lots of barking and howling.
  • They are best suited for large open areas or owners who can stick to a regimen of daily exercise and constant supervision.
  • Some of these breeds are more difficult to own than others.

Wolf Dogs & Wolf Content

Wolf dogs ​are any breed that has “wolf content” in their genetic makeup. This means that any cross breed with a dog and wolf is considered a wolf dog.

Wolf dogs can be described as High, Mid, or Low wolf-content, depending on how much wolf is passed on to them.

Some of the breeds in this list haze zero wolf content (like the Husky or Malamute) but share similar markings.

A full wolf standing in a forest

However, these types of dogs (whether low or high content) present many challenges that even an expert ​owner would find difficult to overcome.

The Problem With Adopting a Wolf Dog

​Wolf hybrid popularity is on the rise, and that’s to be expected. These dog’s are ​stunning and many owners are willing to spend money for the cool, exotic pet. 

But once money gets involved it leads to a lot of unhealthy practices. 

Puppy mills, ​unethical breeding practices, and mislabeled breeds can have you spending thousands of dollars, while you ​end up with the wrong kind of puppy​.

​Shady Breeders

​Be careful where you adopt from. ​Many for-profit breeders will purposely misinform you, but by the time you realize it they’re long gone. 

How breeders might scam you:

  • ​Completely mislabeling the dog breed (You wanted a Tamaskan but got a Husky mix).
  • Giving you a high ​content wolf dog (making them extremely difficult to manage).
  • They cannot produce any pedigree or authentic paperwork.
  • Telling you their dogs are very easy to train.
  • Saying things like: “These dogs were in ___________ (TV Show or Movie)”

​These ​victims will eventually give up and give their dog to a wolf sanctuary, but even the sanctuaries are completely full due to these practices.

Two wolf dogs sitting in the grass

Wolf Content Can Vary

​A common misconception is believing certain breeds always carry a certain level of wolf-content. While Huskies and Malamutes are always zero content, the same cannot be said for other breeds. 

​Some areas of the world have allowed mid content wolfdogs to be added for outcrossing purposes. However, Mid and High level content puppies ​will be a nightmare for the average owner. 

When adopting always ask about their pedigree and ​get ​a full history of ​your breeder.

Mistaken Identity

​Many dogs or wolf-like dogs are mislabeled as wolves because they share similar markings. Often this is just a case of mistaken identity and they may just be a ​mix of Husky, German Shepherd, or Alaskan Malamute.

​Be warned: some ​breeders purposely mislabel their dogs as having wolf ​content (or as a completely different breed) to have them appear more unique or to sell puppies for more profit.

​Illegal In Some Areas

​Be aware that it’s illegal to own a wolfdog in many States and Countries, unless you have acquired a license or work with a wolf sanctuary. If you’ve acquired a dog that is part-wolf, or you have incorrectly labeled your dog as one, you may receive a visit from animal control.

Photo of author

Liam J. Barnes

Liam is a dog trainer, owner, and lover with over 20 years experience. You can find him working with vet clinics, grooming facilities, training centres, and food/toy brands in order to grow their business. His passion for dogs and business make him uniquely suited to help move the world forward with canines and humans.

19 thoughts on “14 Dogs That Look Like Wolves”

  1. hi, i am intrested in getting a dog with wolf-like looks,however because I love and admire Wolves I would never consider getting a wolf hybrid dog.I currently have a greyhound abd I love his laid back personality.So I guess my question is if there is a breed or subbreed of the ones on this list that has wolf markings,large size BUT is laid back.

    • Greyhound’s are great dogs, but you might be hard pressed to find a wolf-like breed as laid back as your dog. Since these dogs are working breeds they tend to have insane levels of energy and playfulness.

      A good example is my friend who owns a Tamaskan dog, who after 4 years of training has finally managed to get that dog to be a little more laid back. So with a ton of training and patience it’s certainly possible.

    • I have an Irish wolfhound and although not on the list she’s a very large breed at 56 kilos and very laid back. She is also gentle with my grand babies and loyal to a fault.
      I’ve had many breeds but she is by far my favourite x

  2. Depends on where you live. Do a lot of research, they are very different dogs. We had one for 14 years and she was the best dog I ever owned. If you get one with more shepherd than wolf you will do better. Training is essential!

  3. We have two Japanese Akitas one brindle, the boy and one red and fawn, the girl. Our little girl is tall and slim and looks like a fox, the boy is big and solid and looks like a bear and wolf. They are both pure breed Akita

  4. I have a wolf hybrid and they are very different when compared to other dogs. First, he prefers to be outside 24/7. Second, he is very intelligent. He is not like a reactive domestic dog that barks at almost anything. He prefers to observe and calculate, he doesn’t always bark along with my other two dogs.
    He has a very high prey drive. If it is small and is in our yard, it usually ends up dead.
    He is extremely vocal, when he has missed me when I’m gone or if he wants attention he will “talk” to me and sometimes even bark!
    He is extremely loyal. When I walk our property he stays by my side, watching me, very attentive. While my other 2 dogs have taken off running and playing.
    It takes a lot of time to train them and they have a lot of energy. In my opinion if you can, get two. Having a playmate to tire themselves out has been crucial to his happiness. And prepare to brush…a lot, lol.

  5. I have an Alaskan Noble Companion Dog. I didn’t trust what I was told by the breeder and had his DNA tested. German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Husky, and…. sadly Wolf. Which is not advertised at all. It’s contested even.

  6. Hi,
    I’m Cecelia Ericson and I used to have dog named lady and she was Lab cross with wolf breed. She was awesome with kids but she was very protective over her family. She also hunt for chickens in the neighborhood. This was years ago. She died of liver cancer. Which it’s common in wolf breads. She was huge dog. I still miss her loving smile.


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