12 Dog Breeds That Look Like Wolves

Wolves are stunning animals which has been represented through our history, art, and culture for centuries.

​And now you can bring a piece of the legendary wolf into your home.

These are not wolves though (well, not completely), but dogs that have prominent wolf features passed on from their ascendants. However, adopting these breeds comes unique challenges you need to be aware of.

Here we look at what makes a wolf dog, and the best breed of wolf dog for your home.

What is a Wolf Dog?

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.

However, these types of breeds (whether low or high content) present many challenges that even an expert dog owner would find difficult to overcome. Wolf dogs have a much higher set of daily needs, and you need to be prepared for the extra responsibilities with owning one (which we cover below).

an actual wolf

Dogs with Wolf Content

Through careful selection - some breeders have successfully created new dog breeds that look similar to 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 husky or a dog that looks like one.

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 the way to go. Very low content breeds still have a beautiful wolf-like appearance, but are domesticated and generally family friendly.

​Mistaken Identity

​Many dogs are mislabeled as wolfdogs because they share similar markings. Often this is just a case of mistaken identity and they may just be a breed mix of Husky, German shepherd, or Alaskan Malamute.

​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.

​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 aggressiveness 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.
  • And, some of these breeds are more difficult to own than others.
  • Dogs That Look Like Wolves

    1. Northern Inuit Dog

    Northern Inuit Dog

    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 breed 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", which were actually Northern Inuit dogs.

    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

    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 Eurpean 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 Dog

    Image courtesy of Wylie the Tamaskan

    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.

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

    The Tamaskans breed 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

    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 new breed, recognized for their stunning appearance and close resemblance to wolves. They're a crossbreed of Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, along with other breeds.

    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 this breed at this point. Alaskan nobles 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 breed, 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

    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 13inches

    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

    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 breed, introduced to the UK in the 1980's, which again is a crossbreed 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.

    This breed has 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

    Alaskan Malamute

    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

    Again, mixed with Malamute, Siberian husky, and German Shepherds.

    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 a very challenging breed. Malamutes are intelligent and stubborn, which makes them strong-headed and tough to train.

    Malamutes are a common breed to 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 breed is best suited for large open areas, or with owners who are willing to follow a daily regimen of running, hiking, or sledding.

    More Information about Alaskan Malamutes

    ​8. Siberian husky

    Husky

    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 breed, and recognized for their beautiful markings.

    Do they make good family pets? Yes. 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 very playful and have a gentle nature, and with a little patience and training make wonderful pets.

    More Information about Siberian Huskies

    ​9. Canadian Eskimo / Inuit Dog

    Canadian Eskimo Dog

    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 artic working breed, and they reflect that with their personality. They are active, strong, and love to run and explore. This breed 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  Amerindian Malamute

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

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

    The Kugsha are a rare breed of 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

    Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

    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 Czech wolfdogs 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 Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

    12. ​Shikoku Dog

    shikoku dog


    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. 

    More information about Shikoku Dogs

    6 thoughts on “12 Dog Breeds 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.

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