While owning a wolf or wolf-hybrid is inhumane and oftentimes illegal, there are a variety of domestic dogs that look like wolves capable of being great pets.
More friendly and companionable than their wild ancestors, most wolf-like dogs still require additional attention and expertise from their owners, due to their thick, long coats, high-level of energy, and great size and strength. Whether such a high-maintenance pet is right for you will depend on the time you’re willing to invest in exercising, grooming, and taking care of your dog.
Use this list of 5 popular dogs that look like wolves, which covers everything from the breed’s appearance, characteristics, and traits, to find a dog you love, can properly care for, and appreciate for its unique qualities.
Northern Inuit Dog
Many know the Northern Inuit Dog from the Direwolves on Game of Thrones. These large dogs boast a short, dense double coat and a gentle, calm, and friendly demeanor. They don’t require excessive amounts of exercise; two walks a day or one long walk is enough, but they are also fine with being outdoors all day.
These wolf-like dogs are bred by the Northern Inuit Society. The breed was created in the 1980s in an effort to produce a family-friendly dog with the appearance of a wolf. It’s a mixture of Siberian Husky, German Shepard, and Inuit dogs. According to Northern Inuit Society, there is currently a waiting list for puppies due to their rising popularity, although they are not currently recognized by the Kennel Club as an official breed.
Common Characteristics of Northern Inuit Dogs
- Height: 23-32 inches, Weight: 55-110 pounds, Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Temperament: Friendly, stubborn, intelligent, gentle
- Best Suited For: Active singles, families with older children
This wolf-like breed’s origins lie with the Chukchi people of Northeastern Asia, who bred the dogs so they could pull sleds and travel long distances in low temperatures. The Siberian Husky was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930, but they became world renown when John Johnson’s team of Siberian Husky won the 1910 400-mile long Alaska Sweepstakes Race. Since then, Siberian Huskies have saved lives on search and rescue teams during WWII and many arctic expeditions.
Today they are a favored dog among families, thanks to their intelligence, warmth, and outgoing nature. Born pack dogs, they get along well with other dogs and family members. They are extremely energetic and need a lot of space to run. A large fenced in yard is advisable for Siberian Husky owners. But beware, the dogs are notorious escape artists, so extra tall, deep fences are most effective.
Bred in the arctic, they have a thicker coat than most dogs, which includes a dense undercoat and a long, course top coat, which requires weekly grooming. If you are away from home often this dog is not for you. Due to its social nature, it dislikes being alone for long periods of time. Many Huskies have piercing blue eyes and distinctive face markings. Their coats can be solid or multicolored varying from black, white, gray, red, and brown. You can learn more about these beautiful dogs that look like wolves on the American Kennel Club’s Siberian Husky page.
Common Characteristics of Siberian Huskies
- Height: 20-24 inches, Weight: 35-60 pounds, Lifespan: 11-13 years
- Temperament: Adventurous, playful, alert, clever
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
Utonagans are large dogs that look like wolves. They are a combination of Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and German Shepherd bred in the eighties for the sole purpose of creating a wolf-like dog, rather than for work related needs. According to easypetmd.com, Utonagans were also bred to be as “kind as kittens.” They are extremely loving dogs that show little aggression even in the most challenging situations.
Like Siberian Huskies, they have a thick double coat, which requires weekly grooming, and are social pack animals that dispize being left alone. Doing so may result in destructive behavior or escape attempts. If owners are unable to provide these wolf-like dogs with full time companionship, providing your Utonagan with other dogs to be around is encouraged.
Common Characteristics of Utonagan Dogs
- Height: 23-30 inches, Weight: 55-90 pounds, Lifespan: 9-13 years
- Temperament: Friendly, energetic, strong prey drive, intelligent
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
Canadian Inuit (Eskimo) Dogs
Of all the dogs that look like wolves on our list, the Canadian Eskimo Dog breed is the most ancient. With its origins dating back up to 4,000 years from today, the Canadian Eskimo Dogs were bred to be strong sled dogs, hunters, and protectors for the Inuit people. They helped the Thule Civilization cross the Bering Strait between 900 and 1100 AD. Canadian Inuit Dogs can haul up to twice their weight through the bleakest weather.
While this breed was very popular in the 1920s, with a population around 20,000, sometime in the 1960s the breed began to decline as modern technologies, such as snowmobiles and other automobiles gained popularity. By the 1970s there were only around 200 of these dogs left. Today the breed is still at risk but measures are being made to bring these beautiful dogs back by the Canadian Eskimo Dog Research Foundation.
The Canadian Inuit Dogs have a distinct look, with a thick neck and chest, shorter legs, and a dense double coat. Boasting wide set ears, large heads, long coats, and stout statures, these dogs look like a mixture between a bear and wolf. The male dogs have long, poofy, main-like fur around their neck and shoulders, while females have shorter coats.
Both sexes are kind and affectionate, but due to their history as a working companion for the Inuit people, they tend to have a more determined nature and can over respond to stimuli, such as food, exercise, and play, so this breed is best for adult pet owners without children. For this same reason, they require firm training and abundant exercise. Keeping these dogs cool is also important. Their thick coat puts them at risk of overheating, exhaustion, and dehydration in warm weather.
Common Characteristics of Canadian Inuit Dogs
- Height: 20-28 inches, Weight: 40-88 pounds, Lifespan: 10-14 years
- Temperament: Hardy, loyal, strong prey drive, vocal, prefer cold weather
- Best Suited For: Adults, active singles, houses with yards, cold climates
Like the Canadian Inuit Dog, Samoyeds are an ancient breed of dogs that look like wolves. They were bred by the Samoyed peoples of Northern Siberia to pull sleds and are considered one of the dog breeds most genetically similar to wolves. Samoyeds are friendly, social, loyal, and vocal and boast a thick, fluffy double coat, typically in the color of solid white, cream, or biscuit.
They are extremely intelligent, independent, and strong willed, due to their heritage as working dogs in harsh habitats, which can be a challenge for their owner. Samoyeds may not respond well to forceful commands, but should be trained through rewards and sharing understanding and compassion with your pet. Hunting is another instinct prominent in this breed, so ensuring your pet is leashed or within a fenced yard will guarantee its safety, in case it bolts after other animals.
Samoyeds are very social, high energy dogs. Leaving them alone for very long is unhealthy and may lead to destructive or annoying behavior. Their thick, puffy coat requires rigorous grooming and sheds more than the other dogs on our list. Samoyeds get bored fast, so keeping them busy with walks, hikes, or games is a must. They do well around children and their alertness and loyalty make them good watchdogs. You can find out more about them on dogtime.com.
Common Characteristics of Samoyed Dogs
- Height: 19-24 inches, Weight: 50-60 pounds, Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Temperament: Strong-willed, friendly, alert, energetic, gentle, devoted
- Best Suited For: Families, active singles, houses with yards, cold climates
Where to Buy Dogs That Look Like Wolves?
If you’re wondering where to buy dogs that look like wolves, visit any of the five breeder society links below. Also consider checking with your local humane society or online for rescue dogs in your area. They may have dogs of the breed you’re looking for who are in desperate need of a loving pet owner. And, explore websites such as siberianhuskyassist and taysiablue both are dedicated to saving Siberian Huskies and other dogs who are in danger of being killed at animal shelters.
Breeder Society Links:
Hopefully you enjoyed our list! If there’s anything we missed, please let us know in the comment section below.