Wolf Like Dogs – Huskies, Malamutes, Shepherds & More
There are several breeds that fit into the category of wolf like dogs, and this article explores five of them. We have included information on temperament and needs so that you can decide if these wolf like canine breeds are right for you.
The dogs we mention in this article should not be confused with wolf-dog hybrids. Wolf-dog hybrids, also known as wolfdogs, are animals that are a crossbreed between an actual wolf and some breed of domesticated canines. Although able to breed together, wolves and dogs are very different animals, physically and behaviorally.
Domesticated canines are thousands of years of selective breeding from their wild counterparts. Many believe it is unethical and unsafe to own or breed wolf-canine hybrids. In many states and countries, the practice is illegal or specially regulated.
With so many great domesticated breeds that share the look of wolves without the ethical and behavioral concerns, there is no compelling reason to seek out a wolf-dog hybrid anyway.
Here Is Our List Of The Top 5 Wolf Like Dogs:
German Shepherd Dog
The most popular breed in the wolf like K9 category is the German Shepherd Dog (GSD). This breed shares the large alert ears, bushy straight tail, wide deep chest and the long agile legs of their wolf cousins.
GSDs are great dogs for experienced canine lovers who want to devote some time to training and working with their pup. They tend to not do well when they have to spend a lot of time alone and they get bored easily. This working breed needs a job to keep mind and body active.
German Shepherds are great family dogs who bond with children and will protect the family. Sometimes they can be a little overzealous with the guarding so plan to socialize your puppy with people and other canines early and often if you go with this breed.
One advantage of going with a German Shepherd is that the breed is well established and reputable breeders are easy to find regardless of where you live.
Another beautiful wolf like breed is the Alaskan Malamute. It shares the grey and white grizzled fur of wolves, and the face coloration is very similar. One thing that gives this dog away is the curly plumed tail, which suits their playful personality.
The Alaskan Malamute is an old breed whose original purpose was as an Arctic sled dog. These canines are best suited for folks that can provide them with lots of exercise. They are large dogs, averaging from 75-85 pounds, some are much heavier, with a double thick coat that is not suitable for warm climates.
Families with other smaller animals (such as cats or small dogs) and/or small children may want to move on to a different breed. Alaskan Malamutes have a strong prey drive and can be temperamental around small kids.
The coloration, erect ears and thick double coat of the Siberian Husky give this breed a distinctively wolfy look. However, this breed averages only 35-60 pounds, making it considerably smaller than wolves.
Huskies are a very old breed developed by the Chukchi, an ancient indigenous people in eastern Siberia, long before coming to Alaska to be used for sled-dog racing in the early 1900’s.
They have a better temperament for children than their Malamute cousins. They have a very strong pack drive and depriving this breed of human and dog companionship is not recommended. They like to stay active and be a part of the team.
If you go with a Siberian Husky, consider getting involved in a canine sport like agility or dog sledding to keep this intelligent pup’s mind and body occupied.
This is a very new and rare breed of canine that has been bred specifically to match the look of a Timber Wolf, although they are slightly smaller (weighing between 60-90 pounds). Their coloration, especially the grey coated variety, combined with wolf like features, give them the most wolf like dog appearance of all the breeds.
Tamaskans are extremely rare, with anywhere from 400-600 of them in the world. They are not yet recognized by the major kennel clubs yet, but you can expect that to change in the coming years as breeder clubs continue to protect the line and lobby for acceptance.
Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and Czechoslovakian Wolfdog are the breeds known to be in the Tamaskan bloodline. Notably, blue or mismatched eyes are being selectively bred out of the standard for the breed which helps these K9s look even more wolf like.
These are large dogs that are gregarious and very intelligent. Like the other wolf like breeds, this is not a dog that should be left alone often. They are a poor fit for warmer climates due to their thick double coats.
Northern Inuit Dog
The Northern Inuit Dog is another new breed that has been deliberately bred for both the physical look of wolves and the temperament of a working canine.
It is not known for sure, but it is likely the Inuit people sometimes crossbred actual wolves into their dog stock over the centuries. These Inuit dogs were later used in a breeding program that crossbred them with Huskies, Malamutes and German Shepherds. The bloodline was closed in the 1980’s and the breed was born.
Fun fact: The Direwolves from season 1 of the hit HBO television drama Game of Thrones were cast by Northern Inuit Dogs. Even more interesting is that Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) officially adopted the Northern Inuit Dog cast as Lady in the series!
The Northern Inuit Society, protector of the breed, warns that the breed is not for everyone. These intelligent and powerful canines need experienced owners that can provide the early socialization experiences and lifelong training requirements of this working breed.
Is A Wolf Like Dog Right For You?
There are a few common features of these wolf like breeds that make them unsuitable for some folks:
- Thick coats are more suitable for colder climates and potentially unfit for hot climates.
- Strong pack drive, leading to a tendency toward separation anxiety if left alone for long.
- These wolf like breeds require early and constant socialization to be safe around other dogs.
- All of the wolf like breeds have significant exercise requirements.
- These dogs are all very intelligent so they need mental stimulation to be balanced.
How To Purchase A Wolf Like Puppy?
The first three wolf like canine breeds we looked at (German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky) are well established breeds that have been accepted into the international kennel club organizations.
Do some research to find the breeder club in your country or state to find a list of certified breeders that have been vetted by an official organization. Be wary of puppy mills and backyard breeders who often use unethical breeding practices and, in some cases, put profit over animal well-being.
If you are interested in the final two wolf like breeds we looked at (Tamaskan and Northern Inuit Dog) then prepare yourself for a high price tag and stringent requirements (verifiable experience as a canine handler, references, even a home inspection is possible). These dogs are both rare, and highly protected by their breeder clubs.
Contact the Northern Inuit Society if you are interested in the Northerm Inuit Dog. If you are interested in the Tamaskan, and you are in the United States, contact The Tamaskan Club of America. There are also Tamaskan dogs available in a few other countries; look for the national breeder club in your country before selecting a breeder.
Sharon Elber (M.S. in Science & Technology) - Professional Dog Trainer
Sharon is a professional dog trainer with over 10 years experience. She is also a professional writer that received her M.S. in Science & Technology Studies from Virginia Tech.
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