What Domestic Dog Breed Most Closely Resembles a Wolf?

Updated in February, 2024 | By John Robert
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Many people are fascinated by wolves and their wild beauty. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and pack mentality.

However, owning a wolf as a pet is illegal in most states in the US, and it’s also not recommended due to their wild nature. So, what is the next best thing? Domestic dogs that are closely related to wolves.

There are over 300 dog breeds in the world, and some of them are more closely related to wolves than others. In fact, according to studies, all domestic dogs share 99.9% of their DNA with wolves.

However, some breeds have more wolf-like characteristics than others, such as their appearance, behavior, and genetic makeup.

In this article, we will explore the domestic dog breeds that are closest to wolves in terms of their DNA and physical traits.

We will examine the scientific research that has been conducted to determine which breeds are the most closely related to wolves and what makes them unique.

Whether you are a dog lover or a wolf enthusiast, you will find this article informative and interesting.

Physical Similarities with Wolves

There are several physical similarities between wolves and certain domestic dog breeds. While many dog breeds have been bred for specific purposes, some breeds have retained their wolf-like appearance and characteristics.

Here are some of the physical similarities between domestic dogs and wolves:

  • Fur: Wolves and some domestic dog breeds have a thick, double-layered coat that helps them stay warm in cold weather. This type of fur is also water-resistant, which allows wolves and dogs to swim and stay dry. Some dog breeds with this type of fur include the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd.
  • Ears: Wolves and some domestic dog breeds have pointed ears that are erect and can rotate to detect sounds from different directions. This type of ear allows them to hear prey and predators from a distance. Some dog breeds with this type of ear include the German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, and Alaskan Malamute.
  • Eyes: Wolves and some domestic dog breeds have almond-shaped eyes that are usually yellow or amber in color. This type of eye allows them to see in low light conditions and detect movement from a distance. Some dog breeds with this type of eye include the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd.
  • Muzzle: Wolves and some domestic dog breeds have a long, narrow muzzle that allows them to bite and hold onto prey. This type of muzzle is also useful for digging and sniffing. Some dog breeds with this type of muzzle include the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd.
  • Tail: Wolves and some domestic dog breeds have a bushy tail that they use for balance and communication. This type of tail is also useful for keeping warm in cold weather. Some dog breeds with this type of tail include the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd.

While not all domestic dog breeds share these physical similarities with wolves, these characteristics can be seen in certain breeds that have retained their wolf-like appearance and characteristics.

Behavioral Similarities with Wolves

Domestic dogs have been bred for specific purposes and have evolved to have a range of behaviors that are different from their wild ancestors, wolves.

However, some breeds still retain some of the behavioral traits of wolves. Here are some of the behavioral similarities between dogs and wolves:

  • Pack mentality: Both dogs and wolves are social animals that live in packs. They have a hierarchical structure with an alpha leader and other members following their lead.
  • Communication: Wolves and dogs use a range of vocalizations and body language to communicate with each other. They use barks, growls, howls, and other sounds to convey different messages.
  • Hunting instinct: Wolves and some dog breeds have a strong hunting instinct. They are skilled hunters and use their intelligence and instincts to track and capture prey.
  • Territorial behavior: Both dogs and wolves mark their territories with urine and other scents. They also defend their territories from other animals.
  • Protectiveness: Wolves and dogs are protective of their pack members and their territory. They will defend themselves and their pack from perceived threats.

While there are many similarities between dogs and wolves, it’s important to note that dogs have been bred for specific purposes and have evolved to have different behaviors than wolves.

Domestic dogs have been bred for companionship, hunting, herding, and other purposes, which has led to a wide range of different breeds with different behaviors and temperaments.

Domestic Dog Breeds that Resemble Wolves

There are several domestic dog breeds that resemble wolves in appearance, behavior, and even DNA. These breeds have been carefully bred over time to maintain their wolf-like traits and are often used for hunting, guarding, and as loyal companions.

Here are some of the most popular domestic dog breeds that resemble wolves:

Akita Inu

The Akita Inu is a large, powerful dog breed originally developed in Japan as a guard dog and for hunting.

They have a thick, plush coat and a broad head that resembles that of a wolf. Akitas are fiercely loyal and protective of their family, making them excellent guard dogs.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is a large, muscular dog breed that was originally bred for hauling heavy loads over long distances. They have a thick, double coat that is perfect for cold weather and a wolf-like appearance.

Malamutes are highly intelligent and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a highly intelligent and versatile dog breed that is often used as a police or military dog. They have a strong, muscular build and a wolf-like appearance that is both striking and intimidating.

German Shepherds are loyal and protective of their family and require plenty of exercise and training to keep them happy and healthy.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog breed that was originally developed in Siberia for pulling sleds over long distances. They have a thick, plush coat and a wolf-like appearance that is both beautiful and striking.

Huskies are highly intelligent and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a small, agile dog breed that was originally developed in Japan for hunting small game. They have a thick, plush coat and a fox-like appearance that is both adorable and striking. Shibas are highly intelligent and independent, making them a great choice for experienced dog owners.

Overall, these domestic dog breeds that resemble wolves are highly intelligent, loyal, and protective of their family.

If you’re looking for a dog that has the appearance and behavior of a wolf, these breeds are definitely worth considering.

Conclusion

After researching and analyzing various sources, it is clear that there are several domestic dog breeds that are genetically closest to wolves. While different studies and sources may have slightly different results, there are a few breeds that consistently appear on the list.

According to the research, the Saluki is the dog breed that is most directly related to wolves, originating from ancient Egypt.

Other breeds that are consistently mentioned as being genetically close to wolves include the Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Akita, and Alaskan Malamute.

It is important to note that while these breeds may be genetically close to wolves, they are still domesticated dogs and have been selectively bred for specific traits over many years.

It is also important to remember that individual dogs may vary in behavior and temperament, regardless of breed.

Ultimately, the question of which domestic dog breed is closest to a wolf is a complex one with many factors to consider.

While genetics may play a role, there are many other factors that contribute to a dog’s behavior, temperament, and physical characteristics.

Regardless of whether your dog is genetically close to a wolf or not, it is important to provide them with proper care, training, and socialization to ensure that they are happy and healthy companions.

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John Robert

John Robert is a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT). Owner of the most gorgeous dog on the planet, developed an interest in dog nutrition after finding the best food for his pet's allergies. The most impactful motive of his life is educating dog owners about dog nutrition and improving the lives of pets.