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Author: Jaime Gann
Page Title: Dogs-that-look-like-wolves-furzly
I always tell people who think they want a pet wolf or even a hybrid wolf-dog this one secret: domestication takes thousands of years. Breeders carefully bred the dogs listed in this article to live comfortably with people.
This article has two sections, AKC recognized breeds and unrecognized breeds. An AKC recognized breed has developed a predictable look and demeanor more so than designer dog breeds. This separation should help you look for a predictable dog vs. a dog that might be a little improvisational.
Some of the AKC recognized breeds in this article have been AKC classified but not officially recognized yet. But hopefully, regardless of recognition, you will discover some dogs that look like wolves you never even knew existed.
As tempting as it is to pull a "Jon Snow" and form a human bond with a wolf, it's not really in the wolf's best interest. Wolves are notoriously shy creatures, thus creating their mysterious and elusive reputation.
"Okay...so wolves need to stay wild, but what about hybrid wolf dogs?"
It's advisable not to get a hybrid wolf-dog because deep down inside, they are still wolves. Wolf-dogs can't help the urge to tear up furniture, mark their territory, and howl.
These behaviors often lead to abandonment or even euthanasia. But fear not. Many people like you also desire the companionship of a wolf. Fortunately, some of them have remedied the need for wolf companionship with these eight dogs that look like wolves.
Note: This list compiles information from American Kennel Club.org and Pet.Guide.com. Before adopting any dog, it is crucial to do thorough research to make sure you find the breed that will be happiest with your lifestyle.
AKC Recognized Breeds
Height: 17-22in Weight: 35-55lb Energy: Moderate
We love this breed because of its uncanny resemblance to the American Red Wolf. Much like the endangered red wolf, the Shikoku dog has the trademark big ears and sesame coloration. Initially bred in Japan to hunt wild boar, these dogs are strong and will generally be relatively healthy if adopted from a good breeder.
This primitive breed has a hunting instinct, so he should be supervised around pets and children. However, if properly educated on how to honor a dog's boundaries, this dog can be a good companion for children and adults.
Height: 23-25in Weight:85-75lb Energy: High
Malamutes look more like wolves than huskies do on account of their large size. As long as you remain the leader of your household pack, he will be a great dog.
Malamutes are compact dogs bred for pulling freight as opposed to covering long distances. That means these guys may require some extra leash training.
Unlike wolves, which are commonly skittish Alaskan Malamutes are incredibly friendly and eager to make new friends. Like all dogs, he needs supervision around other dogs and children. If raised properly, the Alaskan Malamute can be a great family dog.
Height: 18-22in Weight:30-50lb Energy:High
The Jindo is excellent for someone who wants a dog that looks like a white wolf. This dog is perfect for introverts as she prefers the direction of a single master. That's not to say a rescue won't readily love you. Just make sure she is the only dog in your home.
Jindos have a reputation for being the lone wolf, but they will shadow you around the house. With enough mental stimulation and exercise, they will be able to entertain themselves for the most part. Typically obedient and self-controlled Jindo's are sure to become loyal companions.
4. Dutch Shepherd
Height: 21.5-24.5in Weight:42-75lb Energy:Very High
Dutch Shepherds of the long-haired variety have a wolf-like coat and facial features. These dogs come in three brindle shades, gold, silver, and chestnut red. Though black wolves are known for having short lifespans in the wild, this wolf look-alike can live for 11-14 years.
While Dutch Shepherds are known for having incredible amounts of energy, they are also a joy to train. Their herding nature makes them crave mental stimulation and challenges.
These dogs are also notably good with children. (Please remember to keep your dog supervised around children for both their safety and the safety of the child.)
5. Czechoslovakian Vlcak
Height: 23.5-25.5inches Weight: 44-57 lbs Energy: High
Now I know what you are thinking, "Isn't this list supposed to be alternatives to wolf-dog hybrids?" Well, yes, it is. But I made an exception because the AKC recognizes this breed. Enough Czechoslovakian Vlcaks have bred together to make these dogs their own breed.
However, when welcoming this breed into your home, the same care should be taken as if you were adopting any other wolf-dog. Many of these dogs get abandoned because their owners don't know they are in for a wild ride.
While this stubborn yet compassionate dog is not an ideal dog for novice pet owners, significantly experienced owners may find companionship with this intelligent and curious breed.
Important Note: Although heavily mixed with German Shepherds, some jurisdictions may consider this dog illegal, in which case it could be confiscated or euthanized. It is essential to research laws in your home town and find a reputable breeder to ensure a happy life for your Czechoslovakian wolf dog.
Height: 19.5-20.5in Weight:48-55lb Energy:Moderate
These dogs are polite and easily housebroken; they won't let their hunting instinct loose in your home like a wolf hybrid might. However, as far as obedience training, they tend to lose interest when a command gets too repetitive. Once a companion to Vikings, Elkhounds are noble protectors but also curious explorers. Letting them walk leash-free is not recommended.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a gentle, honest dog, hardworking, and polite. These dogs are generally clean and smell nice. We recommend brushing their wolfish coat five minutes a day to maintain its silver splendor, and when it's time to shed, you may find enough fur to build a second dog.
Height 24-28in Weight: 55-88lb Energy: High
If you are looking for a photogenic wolf look-alike, you're in luck. Breeders specifically mixed German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamutes, and Siberian Husky to create a dog that looked like a wolf but could be happy in people's company.
Tamaskans are family-oriented gentle dogs that need all the love and praise you can offer because they are prone to separation anxiety.
Remember how I said the Jindo is a lone wolf? Well, these guys are the polar opposite. Tamaskans are enthusiastic dogs that need a hobby. (Don't worry, he won't be building model planes or anything.) Tamaskans would do well in sports competitions and obedience training to give them something to do with all of that energy.
While the Tamaskan is a great companion for children and adults alike, first-time dog owners may want to look elsewhere for their "Intro to dogs 101" companions.
8. Northern Inuit Dog
Height: 23-32in Weight: 55-110lb Energy: High
Oddly enough, these dogs don't have a drop of wolf in them. They may look like wolves but are much more comparable to dogs in temperament. Several theories about the Northern Inuit Dog's origin suggest that she comes from Labrador-huskies.
The vital thing to note is she is not a wolf-dog hybrid. However, they do have a remarkable resemblance to wolves. In fact, Northern Inuit Dogs played five of the six direwolves in HBO's Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones actress, Sophie Turner, loved her character's dire wolf so much that she adopted Zunni, the Northern Inuit Dog who played Lady. We hope Sophie Turner is a firm and loving caregiver for her, as dire wolves-oops- I mean Northern Inuit Dogs require a patient and confident trainer. Sophie Turner seems to have the confidence, and maybe you do too. Be prepared, though; these wolf lookalikes belong with an experienced dog trainer.
While it's fun to imagine running with the wolves and having grand adventures with your "spirit animal," wolf and wolf hybrid adoption should be avoided if possible.
Wolves belong in nature, helping to balance the ecosystem. However, dogs need homes, and many of them are waiting with wagging tails for the right family to rescue them.
I hope this list inspired you to discover more dogs that look like wolves and reconsider exotic pet adoption. Who knows, maybe one of these wolf look-alikes could become your new best friend.