10 Most Wolf Like Dog Breeds

All dog breeds are descendants of wolves, but some breeds look more like their ancestors than others. These include Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, and Norwegian elkhounds.

Jun 20, 2024byHeather Jarek

most wolf like dog breeds

The wolf’s beauty, strength, and mystery have captivated people for centuries. However, these animals are truly wild and cannot be domesticated to live safely among humans. Fortunately, many dog breeds closely resemble wolves. These dogs have been bred for hundreds of years to keep their wolf-like appearance while losing their wild wolf behaviors. They have tall pointy ears, long, narrow snouts, and thick coats like their wolf ancestors but with the loyalty and trainability of the domesticated dog.

1. Siberian Husky

siberian husky woods
Image credit: Flickr

The Siberian husky is one of the most popular dog breeds. They were bred for pulling sleds in Northeast Asia and Siberia but quickly became one of the most common wolf-like companions worldwide. Their double coat can be a variety of colors and patterns, making each husky beautifully unique. Their eye color can be blue, brown, green, or even a mixture of colors, adding to the husky’s striking appearance.

Like their wolf ancestors, Siberian huskies have enormous amounts of energy and can be very vocal. Without a lengthy and regular exercise regime, they will exhibit destructive behaviors. Their thick double coats shed constantly and require routine brushing. They are known for their quirky and stubborn personalities, making them more challenging to train than other breeds. However, huskies are a friendly and outgoing breed and, with the proper training, can make excellent pets for active, knowledgeable owners.

2. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute laying snow
Image credit: Petside

Although not as popular as the Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamutes are another commonly owned wolf-like dog breed. They are bigger and fluffier cousins to huskies. Malamutes are among the most ancient breeds and the native Alaskan Arctic breed. They were bred for pulling sleds, hunting Arctic wildlife, and protecting people from polar bears. Their coat colors and patterns resemble the husky, but a purebred malamute’s eyes can only be brown.

A malamute’s temperament is similar to the husky. They can be stubborn and vocal but make great family pets if they are properly trained, and their exercise needs are met. Their thick double coat requires regular maintenance. Be prepared to vacuum daily if you choose to bring an Alaskan Malamute home!

3. Norwegian Elkhound

norwegian elkhound standing woods
Image credit: Chewy

The Norwegian elkhound is another ancient breed that resembles its wolf ancestors. They hunted alongside the Vikings before they went to herd sheep and guard Norwegian farms. They have a thick silver coat with a tail curling over their back. Thick-bodied and one of the shortest breeds on the list, this dog stands at about 20 inches at the shoulder.

Like most wolf-like breeds, the elkhound has a double coat that sheds often and requires regular brushing. They generally blow their coat twice a year—once when winter turns into spring, and again when fall turns into winter.

Since they were bred as hunting dogs, they have a strong prey drive and high energy levels. They need daily exercise and, unless in a fenced yard, should not be let off the leash. Elkhounds are notorious escape artists, like huskies.

4. Samoyed

samoyed standing rock woods
Image credit: Earth

Similar in height and build to the Norwegian elkhound is the Samoyed. This stocky breed is characterized by its thick white coat and adorable smile. Bred for pulling sleds, their upturned lips help keep them from drooling, preventing icicles from forming on their face, resulting in a perpetual smile! Their smile matches their personality perfectly.

Samoyeds are medium-sized dogs with big personalities. They require lots of attention and don’t do well when left alone for long periods. They are intelligent but require firm training methods while they learn that you are the leader of the “pack.” Samoyeds are a very loving and playful breed that make excellent family pets.

5. Tamaskan

tamaskan dog standing field
Image credit: Wikipedia

The Tamaskan is an athletic-looking dog that the American Rare Breed Association recognized in 2013. Their strong wolf-like appearance results from breeding Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, German shepherds, and samoyeds. They resemble wolves so much that they are commonly used as “wolves” for movies, mascots, and Broadway shows!

Unlike many breeds on the list, the Tamaskan’s medium-length coat requires little maintenance. A few short weekly brushing sessions will keep their coat healthy and reduce shedding. Despite their wild, wolf-looking appearance, Tamaskans make great companions. Their gentle and affectionate personalities make them a good fit for families with children.

Yet, they do have high energy levels and require a substantial amount of exercise. You want to prevent boredom in these dogs whenever possible. A bored Tamaskan will not hesitate to dig holes in the yard or rip apart the couch cushions!

6. Saarloos Wolfdog

saarloos wolfdog snow
Image credit: Wikpedia

The Saarloos Wolfdog was created and named after the Dutch dog breeder Leendert Saarloos in the late 1900s. Saarloos originally bred a German Shepherd to a Eurasian gray wolf. He continued to crossbreed the offspring back to their sire, creating a hardy companion and family dog. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2006.

True to their close wolf lineage, the Saarloos Wolfdog are loyal to their “pack” but wary around strangers. It’s important to adequately socialize them from puppyhood. They don’t tend to show aggression towards strangers but rather flee from “scary” situations. With plenty of exercise, they make loyal and affectionate companions.

7. German Shepherd

black and tan german shepherd
Image credit: PetDT

The German shepherd dog is another commonly owned dog with wolf-like characteristics. Their athletic build, pointy ears, and long snouts resemble a wolf’s. Their coat colors vary, but the black-and-tan pattern is the most common. These intelligent and fearless dogs were originally bred to herd sheep, but their unique versatility has led them to thrive in many jobs. From police dogs to seeing-eye dogs, the German shepherd can do it all. They are among the smartest dog breeds and take direction well.

With an abundance of intelligence and energy, a German shepherd must have a job to do. They will resort to destructive behaviors if they become bored or are not exercised enough. Still, with an educated owner and consistent training, the German shepherd makes a wonderfully loyal companion.

8. Seppala Siberian Sleddog

seppala siberian sleddog
Image credit: Hepper

This rare working breed used to be the same as the Siberian Husky. Over time the huskies used for show purposes evolved to be more attractive for the show ring and less for pulling sleds. The huskies that remained working dogs and continued to pull sleds developed into the Seppala Siberian Sleddog. The breed was officially recognized as its own in the 1900s by Canada. In the early 2000s, the Seppala spread to the United States.

The Seppala’s coat colors and patterns are similar to a husky, and their eyes can be brown or blue. Some of these dogs have heterochromia, where their eyes are two different colors. They are loyal to their owners and considered to be more trainable than most sled dog breeds. These are very active, hard-working dogs that need lots of exercise to keep them from developing unwanted behaviors. They have a strong pack mentality, so it’s essential to establish yourself as the “pack leader” when owning and training a Seppala.

9. Northern Inuit Dog

northern inuit dog
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The exact history of this striking wolf-like breed is still under speculation. Experts agree that the breed was created by crossbreeding Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, and German shepherds. This makes the Northern Inuit Dog a crossbreed rather than a purebred. They resemble a wolf so closely that they were the dog used to portray the Dire Wolves in the popular TV series, “Game of Thrones.”

The breed was purposely bred to resemble a wolf, but they are no closer to their wolf ancestors than a husky or German shepherd. They are known for their calm, friendly, and confident nature. They are very intelligent and trainable but possess a stubborn side that requires a knowledgeable owner. They have a strong pack mentality and love to howl, so they can be noisy and destructive if left alone.

10. Czechoslovakian Vlcak (CSV)

czechoslovakian vlcak dog
Image credit: DogTime

true working dog, the Czechoslovakian Vlcak, or CSV, was originally bred as a border patrol canine in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. They were derived from breeding a German shepherd with a Carpathian wolf and breeding the offspring back to hybrids to remove the “wolf blood.” The result was a loyal, hard-working, and energetic wolf-like dog.

The CSV is now used as a search and rescue, tracking, agility, drafting, and herding dog. They tend to be more independent than most other wolf-like breeds. They have a dominant nature and extremely high energy. They require an experienced owner who can dedicate two hours a day to exercising and working their CSV.

These beautiful dogs are the perfect example of the commitment most wolf-like dog breeds require. If you have the energy, knowledge, and dedication and want to own one of the most wolf-like dogs, they will repay you with loyalty and devotion like no other.

Heather Jarek
byHeather Jarek

Heather is a lover of all animals, big and small. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology in 2014. She has been working as a licensed veterinary technician for the last eight years. Her favorite hobby is horseback riding, and she has been riding horses since the age of eight. She enjoys spending time with her family at the lake with their golden retriever Calista in her free time.