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While it’s certainly true that almost all canines are cute, there’s something about those dogs that look like wolves that lends them an undeniable appeal for many pet owners.
Handsome, majestic, and perhaps even a little mystical, these magnificent creatures are as fascinating as they are enchantingly beautiful.
So it’s no wonder that many people -perhaps even *you* are eager to bring a wolfdog breed into the home, especially when you consider that plenty of dogs that look like wolves combine the lupine’s reputation as a ferocious creature (thus making them ideal protective companions) with the loyal, loving nature that is the hallmark of some of our favorite canines.
With that being said then, let’s look at just ten of the most stunning wolfdog breeds, weigh up the pros and cons of adopting them as a family pet, and dive into all manner of fascinating facts about these majestic dogs along the way.
10 Dogs That Look Like Wolves
1. Alaskan Malamute
Let’s start with the adorable Alaskan Malamute, a breed whose strong, powerful presence belies a friendly, playful nature which makes them a joy to have around the home.
Typically growing to between 23″ – 25″ in height and somewhere in the region of 70 lbs – 105 lbs, the Alaskan Malamute has a long life span compared to some breeds, and will generally make a faithful companion for as long as 14 years.
In that time, you’ll find them to be a generally high-energy dog breed that will require a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
When you think about it, that’s hardly surprising given their background.
Originating in Siberia as a close relative of the stunning Siberian Husky (more of whom later), Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred as working dogs tasked with pulling sleds across the vast, barren wilderness. Once the Siberian Mahlemuts tribe settled in Alaska, these formidable creatures were also assigned other duties such as helping their humans ward off attacks from predators.
Today, the Alaskan Malamute retains much of the strength, size, and power that made them so well suited for such roles, though you’re more likely to find them coming up for cuddles and urging you to play with them.
A great choice for families, malamutes get on well with children though their boisterous nature can mean that they overpower smaller children without really meaning to.
2. American Alsatian
Later in this guide we’ll meet the gorgeous German Shepherd, but for now, let’s say hello to his equally adorable cousin the American Alsatian.
Originally a hybrid of the German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamte, further breeds were later introduced to give the American Alsation a distinct look and personality all of its own, though such cross-breeding certainly didn’t diminish their unmistakable wolf qualities.
The sharp, pointy ears, deep amber eyes and lupine-like facial features all combine with the much sought-after gold sable color of their medium fur coat to make this one of the most handsome dog-wolf breeds you’re ever going to come across.
Not that looks are all that matters.
The American Alsatian is also known as a popular family dog thanks not only to their gentle, calm nature but also their high level of intelligence which makes them easy to train. It may be a little standoffish around people he doesn’t know; he’ll remain a loyal member of your pack and get on well with both small children and other pets.
We should also point out that if you’re looking for a low-energy dog breed, the American Alsatian might be one to consider. Though it’s still a good idea to get them a good quality harness and take them out for a walk, they’ll be more than happy hanging around at home and remain pretty quiet and content.
American Alsations tend to grow to 32″ tall and weigh between 80 lbs – 9lbs. Their average lifespan is 10 – 13 years, so you can be sure of a long-term companion too.
3. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a breed with the name “wolfdog” in its name makes it into a list of dogs that look like wolves.
One of many “wolfdog” breeds (others include the Saarloos Wolfdog and Japanese Wolfdog), the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog doesn’t have the same kind of rich and noble history that the likes of the Alaskan Malamute has.
Rather than being a trusted, faithful assistant of an ancient tribe, this is a fairly modern breed developed in the 1950s by the Czech military. The goal was to create a ravenous, blood-thirsty hound that could be used as a protection and attack dog during the early period of The Cold War.
Before you let that put you off ever considering bringing a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog into your home, we should point out that the experiment was largely unsuccessful. Although they are -like most wolfdog hybrids- wary of strangers, they’re also loving and friendly towards their adopted family.
Still, it has to be said that this isn’t a breed for everyone. Originally created by breeding German Shepherds with Carpathian wolves, this is a highly active dog who is at his healthiest and happiest when receiving several hours of exercise today.
While that can be off-putting for first-time dog owners, those with the experience and the time to dedicate to this one can find that adopting a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is often as close as you might get to owning an actual pet wolf.
4. German Shepherd
As you might have noticed by now, German Shepherds are an important breed in the evolution of wolfdog hybrids, often being the main canine breed crossed with wolves to create other breeds.
German Shepherds have undeniable wolf-esque features, with some looking more like wolves than others depending on their coat color. The beautiful White German Shepherd is -in our opinion at least- the version that looks most like a wolf, though the dashing black version also retains many of the same features.
Though they can be quite big dogs (reaching up to 26″ in height and as much as 100 lbs), their size, power, and lupine ancestry certainly doesn’t mean they’re uncontrollable.
When German Max von Stephanitz first began developing the breed at the end of the 19th century, he did so with the goal of creating the first dog breed to be both athletic and highly intelligent, while also capable of taking on the role of a working dog.
To that end, he succeeded tremendously, creating a unique pooch that has since developed a reputation for being very easy to train, a trait that makes them a popular household pet.
Living for up to 13 years, these fiercely loyal and protective canines sometimes take a while to warm up to strangers and don’t always play well with other animals, so you might want to exercise caution when introducing them to your home if you already have pets. Likewise, while they’re generally playful and joyful around their family, their size and rambunctious personality can be a bit much around young children.
5. Finnish Lapphund
Fluffy, cuddly, and ever-so-cute, the Finnish Lapphund is one of the smaller wolf-like dogs you’ll find, rarely growing taller than 20″ and reaching no more than 55 lbs.
Still, despite their stature, these strong and tough dogs were originally bred to herd reindeer over in their native Lapland, hence their name.
Their size does little to take away their wolf-like qualities either. Like wolves, these are swift, speedy creatures with tremendous agility, while they also boast a dog’s intelligence and willingness to be trained which makes them a good fit for a domestic pet.
Despite being bred for working, the Finnish Lapphund tends to prefer relaxing at home with his family and his loving nature means he’s always happy to curl up on the couch for cuddles and Netflix. Be careful though, despite his usually sweet disposition, the primitive startle reflex remains strong in this one, so you might find that your Finnish Lapphund snaps or barks if woken up or otherwise upset.
Ask five different canine experts to give you a brief history of the Kugsha and chances are you’ll get five different stories.
Also known as the Amerindian Malamute or occasionally as the American Husky, the Kugsha’s history is little known and certainly little agreed upon. The general consensus is that he’s an Alaskan Malamute hybrid, though whether he was originally bred with actual wolves or another breed of canine tends to be hotly disputed.
What we do know for sure is that Kughshas are remarkable dogs that look like wolves and act like wolves in that they like being part of their pack and having other people nearby. With that in mind, they tend to make a better pet for somebody who is going to be home for much of the time rather than for somebody who is out at work all day.
That said, although the Kughsha would prefer you to be home, don’t expect them to come bounding up for cuddles too often. They remain fiercely independent creatures who are much happier being able to do their own thing as long as they know you’re around.
This breed grows to as tall as 20″ – 27″ and can weigh as much as 110 lbs. That impressive size, plus the fact that they take a while to respond positively to training can also mean they’re not the most ideal breed for some families, which is a shame because as far as wolf-like dogs go, they really are quite incredibly stunning.
7. Northern Inuit Dog
Their fluffy white coat, erect ears, long snout, and soulful eyes all make the Northern Inuit Dog (also known as the Utonagan) an essential addition to any list of domestic dogs with a wolf-like appearance.
Though their fluffy, medium hair coat comes in a variety of colors (including silver, sable and gold, and grey), it’s the white Northern Inuit Dog that most closely resembles the husky and malamute breeds which they’re rumored to originate from.
We say rumored because, much like the Kughsha, their actual origin is uncertain and hotly debated, though husky, malamute, and German Shepherds are all likely to be part of their DNA.
An unclear origin story isn’t the only thing the Utonagan shares with the Kugsha. Both dogs prefer to be around others and this dog in particular can start to work up some real social anxiety if left on their own for too long. With that in mind, you might want to choose a different breed if you’re out at work a lot unless you already have another dog they can buddy up with at home. Northern Inuit Dogs do get along well with other canines and having a companion for them at home can be just as good as you and your family physically being there.
However, their wolf-like tendencies do give them a high prey drive, so they may not get along well with smaller animals such as domestic cats.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Northern Inuit Dog’s starring role in the hit TV show Game of Thrones, where they played the role of the popular dire wolves.
A truly irresistible big fluffy dog breed, the Samoyed (or Sammie to his friends) is the true definition of an adorable ball of fur, with a luxurious, extra-thick coat of incredibly soft white fur.
Adding to the cute factor is, of course, the famous “Sammie Smile” – a heart-warming expression that speaks volumes about the kind of love and affection this wonderful breed is known for.
All in all, this Samoyed may be one of the most endearing dog breeds around, making them a tempting option for those looking to adopt a new dog.
If you do though, be ready to spend plenty of time grooming them to look after that trademark fluffy coat and ensure that they get enough exercise to satisfy both their high intellect and energy levels as bored Sammies are not above causing havoc to your backyard.
9. Shiloh Shepherd
The formidable yet friendly Shiloh Shepherd was originally bred to be a larger, more powerful version of the German Shepherd, and with a height of around 26″ to 32″ and an average weight of up to 140 lbs, it’s fair to say that those who originally developed this breed were successful in their endeavors.
Along with those German Shepherds, other breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, the Canadian white shepherds, and our old friend the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog can also be found in their family tree.
Given this hybrid, it’s no surprise that the Shiloh Shepherd is predominantly a calm, cool, and collected character with a soft, gentle temperament. They get on well with both children and other animals, though as we often say, it’s best to supervise any big dog breed around young children as breeds like the Shiloh simply don’t know their own strength and can be a little overpowering.
Like the German Shepherd, the Shiloh is easy to train, though despite their relaxed disposition, they do have a high level of energy which means they’ll need plenty of regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally healthy.
10. Siberian Husky
Last but by no means least, how could we ever finish off any guide to dogs that look like wolves without paying a visit to the stunning Siberian Husky. One of the first breeds most people think of when it comes to canines with lupine features, the Siberian Husky can reach up to 22″ in height and weigh as much as 60 lbs, making them smaller than a malamute despite boasting many of the same physical features.
Their medium-length coat is usually a mix of colors including sable, red, black, white, and gray, though you will occasionally find single-color huskies. A white husky with piercing blue eyes is one of the most sought-after versions of this breed, though let’s be honest, you’re never going to find a Siberian husky whose gorgeous look and gentle demeanor doesn’t instantly steal your heart.
It isn’t just their appearance that makes them such a popular family pet. A highly sociable animal, the husky loves to play and will warm to just about anyone, including children and other dogs yet will still be very protective it feels its pack is threatened.
Before you go rushing out to adopt one, however, keep in mind that huskies are incredibly high energy dogs that like to keep active both physically and mentally, so be sure to have enough time and energy to ensure they get both physical exercise and activities to keep their mental faculties suitably challenged.
Final Thought: What You Need to Know About Owning Dogs That Look Like Wolves
From the boundless enthusiasm and playfulness of the Alaskan Malamute to the soulful, enchanting eyes and endless affection of the Siberian Husky, the dogs featured in this guide certainly seem like they’d make ideal family pets.
However, as with any dog, it pays to think carefully about whether or not you’re in a good position to attend to its needs. Those with high levels of energy, for example, will require plenty of exercise so that they don’t just stay physically healthy but also remain mentally stimulated as bored dogs can grow restless, destructive, and possibly even aggressive.
Finally, it’s important to be mindful of the difference between wolf-like dogs and actual wolf-hybrids.
Many US states have certain rules on breeding dogs with wild wolves and many places prohibit the practice altogether, meaning you’ll be much safer -in every sense of the word- opting for a dog that may share similar aesthetic qualities with wolves without sharing any of their actual DNA.