Nature has a funny way of giving different animals similar features, whether through convergent evolution or because certain traits are advantageous. That’s certainly the case for dogs that look like wolves—these breeds bear an uncanny resemblance to their wild cousins despite being domesticated for centuries.
As fascinating as this phenomenon is, it’s made even more so because each breed has its unique history. Some have more extraordinarily wolf-like qualities than others, but all of them are equally majestic in their way.
List of Dogs That Look Like Wolves
The uncanny similarities between the two species are more than skin-deep. These dogs have many of the same physical characteristics as wolves, including thick fur coats, pointed ears, and powerful builds. While they may not be able to run as fast or hunt as effectively as their wild cousins, they more than make up for it in loyalty and companionship.
Plus, it’s not uncommon for wolves to breed with domestic dogs, so even if your pet isn’t a direct descendant of a wolf, there’s a good chance there’s at least some connection between the two in the family tree. Let’s dive in to see which pups made the cut.
We’re starting the list of dogs that look like a wolf with the Alaskan Malamute. Bred for centuries by the Mahlemut tribe in Alaska, these dogs were initially used as hunting and sledding partners, and their thick fur coats made them well-suited for life in the coldest parts of the world.
Today, they’re still popular working dogs but have also made their mark in the domestic sphere, thanks to their ability to adapt to different living environments. Their fur is typically gray or black with white markings. They typically weigh between 75 and 85 pounds.
As for personality, Alaskan Malamutes are known for being independent and stubborn, but they’re also fiercely loyal to their families and make excellent watchdogs. They need a lot of exercise and can be destructive if left alone for too long, so they’re not the best choice for first-time pet owners.
One glance at the American Alsatian, and it’s easy to see the resemblance to a wolf, mainly due to their sheer size and striking features. Their nose is typically longer than that of most dogs, and they have a thick mane of fur around their necks that makes them look even more regal.
Interestingly, the American Alsatian was only recently developed, with the first litter being born in 1987. Their creators used a mix of German shepherds, great Pyrenees, and Anatolian shepherds to create a loyal and gentle pup, which are often hard to find in such a large subspecies.
The result was a dog that looks like a wolf in more ways than one, with an average weight of 110 pounds and a lifespan of 12–14 years. They’re relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, but they do need a lot of exercise and socialization as an outlet for their high energy levels.
If there was ever a top contender for a dog breed that looks like a wolf, the Siberian husky would take the cake. Although it bears some similarities to the Alaskan Malamute, it certainly holds its own in several key areas. Hailing from the coldest parts of Russia, these dogs were bred for centuries by the Chukchi people to help with sledding and hunting.
Their thick fur and robust build make them well-suited to life in the snow, with many of them still being used for sledding competitions today. As for appearance, they typically have blue or brown eyes with a narrow and elongated face. They come in a variety of shades, with the most common being black and white.
Regarding personality, Siberian huskies are known for being mischievous and stubborn but also incredibly friendly and outgoing. The more socialization they get, the better, as they tend to bond closely with their families and can become withdrawn if left alone for too long.
Commonly known as Sammies, these wolf-looking dogs are easily recognizable thanks to their lush white fur and perky ears. Coming from the cold wastelands of Siberia, Samoyeds were originally taken care of by the Samoyedic people, who used them for hunting and herding reindeer.
Nowadays, they’re more likely to be found lounging on the couch than out in the tundra, but they still have the same physical traits that make them look like wolves. They typically weigh between 40 and 60 pounds and can live anywhere from 12 to 14 years.
When it comes to their temperament, Samoyeds are usually quite snuggly and open to being around people, mainly due to the fluffy coats that make them look like giant teddy bears. They’re also very lively and active, which makes them a great pairing for people who like to go on long walks or hikes.
Coming from the Finland coast, the Tamaskan is a lanky dog that looks like it could be part-wolf, part-husky. Bred in the 1980s, they’re essentially hybrids of German shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, and Siberian huskies, resulting in an athletic and intelligent pooch.
They typically weigh around 100 pounds and can grow up to 33 inches tall, which makes them some of the largest dogs that look like a wolf on this list. They also have yellowish-green eyes and lean legs that make them look more intimidating than they are.
Tamaskans tend to be very even-tempered and good with children, often forming close bonds with their families. But these ties are usually more substantial than those of other dogs, meaning they can suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them behind quite often.
Canadian Eskimo Dog
Originating from the coldest parts of North America, the Canadian Eskimo dog was once used by Indigenous people for everyday tasks such as going out on hunting trips and pulling sleds. Nowadays, they’re one of the rarest subspecies of the gray wolf, with only around 300 purebreds left in the world.
Their triangular heads, erect ears, and almond-shaped eyes are similar to those of wolves, although they’re usually smaller in size and may have blue or brown eyes. Their tails are also relatively bushy, which helps them navigate the harsh arctic environments where they originate from.
In contrast to their wild and somewhat unkempt appearance, Canadian Eskimo dogs are pretty loving and affectionate, particularly with close family members. They’re also incredibly protective and will do whatever it takes to keep their loved ones safe from harm, which is why they’re often used as guard dogs in many parts of the world.
You can’t possibly answer the question of ‘What dog looks like a wolf?’ without mentioning German shepherds. One of the most popular breeds in the world, they’re known for their loyalty, intellect, and strength, all of which are traits that can come in handy when faced with a dangerous situation.
Their physical appearance is also quite striking, with a long snout, large ears, and a muscular body that’s often compared to a wolf’s. Their outer coat is usually a mix of black, brown, and gray, although some German shepherds may have all-black or all-white fur. They weigh anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds and can live up to 13 years.
But even though they may look ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice, these canines make for some of the most devoted companions you could ever ask for. They form a strong partnership with their owner and are always ready to lend a helping paw, whether it’s going for a run or just relaxing on the couch after a long day.
Rounding off the list is a breed often called the ‘miniature Viking dog’ due to its small stature and long, shaggy coat. Despite being about the same size as a corgi, Swedish vallhunds were initially used for tasks such as herding cattle and guarding property by the people of Sweden.
These pups have a wedge-shaped head, pointy ears, and a long tail that’s often carried over their back. The lush coat covering their body has a signature ‘striped’ pattern made up of darker and lighter hairs, which helps them camouflage in many different environments.
Swedish vallhunds are just as caring and adoring as any other domesticated dog. They love spending time with their family and are always up for a good cuddle, even if they like to play rough every once in a while.
While there are certainly a lot of different dogs that look like wolves in one way or another, the ones listed above are some of the most notable examples. Regardless of what they look like on the outside, they can provide us with companionship, love, and loyalty.
If you ever want one for yourself, don’t let their appearance hold you back—there’s a loyal friend waiting behind those furry doors. What’s stopping you from giving them a chance?