Dog Breed Closest to Wolf?

Both dogs and wolves belong to the canine family, although both are completely different from each other. While one is mans best friend, the other is a dangerous species and top predator in the ecosystem.

Some breeds are so similar to humans, in fact, that people often get confused between a dog and a wolf. Lets take a look at the closest dog breeds to wolves and why theyre close to their distant relative the wolf.

Dr. Robert K. Wayne is a canid biologist and molecular geneticist who states that modern dogs only differ from grey wolves by 0.2% of their DNA. Some dogs are closer to wolves than others due to cross-breeding making them look and act so different from one another. Both the Husky and wolves have boxy snouts, pointed short ears, muscular bodies, and similar eye shapes.

The Basenji bears a slight resemblance to its wolf ancestors and is a hunting dog from Africa. This shows that a dog does not have to look like a wolf to necessarily be close to wolves in regards to their DNA. Lhasa Apsos are used as watchdogs for Buddist monasteries in Tibet, where the breed originates from.

While the Saluki is larger than the other dogs that weve looked at on this list, it is much slimmer and less muscular than a wolf. Salukis are often thought of as the oldest dog breeds in existence, dating back as far as 10,000 BC.

Which dog is most closely related to the wolf?

Some of them may surprise you! According to a DNA study of 85 domestic dog breeds performed by members of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published by National Geographic, the Shiba Inu and chow chow are the two breeds most closely related to wolves.

What breed of dog is half wolf?

A wolf dog is the offspring of a wolf and a dog, a wolf and a wolf dog, or two wolf dogs. Many hybrids are part German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, or Siberian Husky, but Chow Chows, Akitas, and other breeds are often used.

What is the closest related animal to a wolf?

Wolves (canis lupus), coyotes (canis latrans), and domestic dogs (canis familiaris) are closely-related species. All three can interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring — wolfdogs, coywolves, and coydogs. Through DNA analysis, scientists have established that the wolf is the ancestor of the dog.

Intelligent, strong but obedient, these gorgeous wolfdog breeds will be happy to become part of the family. Find out more about their personalities and what it takes to be their owner.

Their double coat might seem an unstoppable fur machine, but these wolf dogs are such friendly and joyful pets that you will quickly forgive them for the extra house work. The Swedish Vallhund’s herding background makes them an intelligent dog that’s always on the lookout, announcing guests well before they even have a chance to reach for the doorbell.

They are game masters and veritable canine comics that will put their playful side on full display whenever you need a smile on your face. Although this disqualifies them for guard dog jobs, they are quite vocal in showing their love and very affectionate, which makes them great family pets.

All dogs descended from wolves. In fact, wolf and dog DNA differ by a mere 0.2 percent. Genetically speaking, domestic dogs are much closer to wolves than even coyotes are. Wolf and coyote DNA differs by four percent. A study called CanMap was conducted by UCLA, Cornell University, and the National Institutes of Health. It endeavored to discover what the closest dog to a wolf is. They gathered DNA from 1000 canines representing 85 breeds. This study concluded that the Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Shiba Inu, and Chow Chow were the closest dog breeds to wolves.

The consensus at Englands Durham University is that all modern dogs are directly and exclusively descended from gray wolves. However, there has been so much canine cross-breeding over the past few hundred years or so that its now nearly impossible to trace a direct link from a modern dog to the wolf.

DNA studies have shown that dogs do indeed descend from wild wolves. In addition, some dog breeds closest to wolves had almost identical DNA, with only a 0.2% difference. Geneticist Elaine Ostrander, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and her team conducted DNA testing on 414 dogs from 85 common breeds with the purpose of studying human diseases like epilepsy, cancer, and heart disease.

The Alaskan Malamute, for example, is large enough at 25 inches to pass for a smaller gray wolf. In order to create the perfect dog, unspecified breeds were carefully bred with specific Spitz types like Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Siberian Huskies.

One of the most genetically matched domestic breeds was actually the Shih Tzu, which is a tiny little dog from China that doesnt get bigger than 11 inches. Other breeds that originated from Asia include the Pekingese, which has the long fur-like its wolf ancestors but certainly not the height or build; the Tibetan Terrier, which originated in Buddist monasteries in Tibet, where they became known as the Holy Dog; Lhasa Apso; Shar-Peis, which are famous for their wrinkled skin and flat faces; and the Saluki. As youve seen from the examples provided, a breed does not have to have similar wolfish looks in order to have wolf DNA.

If we were going off that basis, we would assume that the German Shepherd, which is often used as a police and military service dog, would be closely related to the wolf. However, despite the Spitz similarities in size, fur type, facial structure, and bushy curled tail, the German Shepherd was less of a DNA match. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.

Samoyed

While this breed is much smaller than a wolf, they could still be considered similar-looking to wolves. They have short and pointed ears with long snouts. Samoyeds are still used in Russia for pulling sleds and herding reindeer. This dog also has similar genetics to wolves.

Siberian Husky

This northern dog breed originated from Siberia where it is and has been used for pulling sleds. The Siberian Husky resembles a wolf both in looks and genetics. It’s worth noting that the Siberian Wolf is different from the Siberian Husky, although many people get these confused.

Basenji

The Basenji bears a slight resemblance to its wolf ancestors and is a hunting dog from Africa. It has pointed ears, a long snout, and similar tendencies to the grey wolf. This dog is also genetically similar to the wolf, and you can see a few similarities between their faces.

Shiba Inu

This breed is a small Japanese dog, but you can see a small resemblance to wolves. They hunt rabbits and birds, also giving them a similar personality to wolves. Plus, their DNA is also similar. While it may be small, the Shiba Inu is very similar to its wolf ancestors.

Alaskan Malamute

Similar to the Husky, this breed is perhaps the closest to wolves in regards to their looks. This is partly due to the fact that their genetic make-up is still incredibly similar to their wolf ancestors.Scientists gathered data and DNA from 1,000 dogs of 85 different breeds. After analyzing the data, they found that four dogs were closest to wolves in regards to their DNA. These breeds were the Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Akita, and Alaskan Malamute.It is interesting to note that Huskies are not on this list. This shows that a dog does not have to look like a wolf to necessarily be close to wolves in regards to their DNA.Below is a list of a few more dog breeds that are closest to wolves regarding their DNA and genetics.

Shih Tzu

This dog is a small, decadent-looking dog that has no visual similarities to wolves. However, the Shih Tzu is one of the closest dog breeds related to wolves in regards to their genetics.

Pekingese

Again, this lapdog looks nothing like a wolf and is extremely calm and loving in their personalities. However, they are extremely close to wolves in their genetic make-up.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apsos are used as watchdogs for Buddist monasteries in Tibet, where the breed originates from. This dog is very small and fluffy. Despite this, their DNA is very similar to that of a wolf.

Tibetan Terrier

Similar to the Lhasa Apso, this dog originates from Tibet. This dog is not a true terrier; however, as they have been kept as purebred dogs for over 2,000 years in their native country. Despite this, its DNA is very similar to grey wolves.

Saluki

While the Saluki is larger than the other dogs that we’ve looked at on this list, it is much slimmer and less muscular than a wolf. They have long snouts, but this is pretty much where the similarities in looks end.Salukis are often thought of as the oldest dog breeds in existence, dating back as far as 10,000 BC. Ancient rock art indicates that this is factual. As this dog is considered the oldest breed, it makes sense that they are incredibly close to their wolf ancestors.

Siberian Husky

The striking looks of Siberian Huskies have made them one of the most recognisable canines out there. Their stunning eyes, compact bodies and upright ears remind us of their wolf ancestors, but their playful and friendly personality helps them make fast friends with anyone.Siberian Huskies are athletic, full of energy and love to have a job to do. That’s no surprise considering they used to be reliable sleigh dogs. So before taking a Husky home, make sure you have a solid plan for daily exercise, fun games and brain-teasing challenges to keep them occupied.

Alaskan Malamute

Another strong-headed dog that looks like a wolf, the Alaskan Malamute is just as handsome as the Husky. Bigger and slightly fluffier, Alaskans will also know their way around a sled. But if you don’t have one, they will be happy to spend their energy doing plenty of running, hiking and exploring all the world has to offer. Their double coat might seem an unstoppable fur machine, but these wolf dogs are such friendly and joyful pets that you will quickly forgive them for the extra house work.Their muscular build makes them very strong. After all, Alaskan Malamutes were bred to pull heavy weights for long distances. Keep this in mind when you walk them on a leash or they will end up pulling you along instead of the other way around.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a natural hero. Intelligent and loyal, German Shepherds love to be on a mission. From search-and-rescue jobs to guide and assistance tasks, no challenge is too big for their many talents.This ever-popular dog looks like a wolf, but behaves like the best canine friend you’ll ever have. Their protective nature will match up well with families and they’re great dogs for older children. As long as there is plenty of action around, they will be the exuberant canine reminding you just why you love dogs so much. But if there isn’t much for them to do, they will easily turn to mischief, so make sure you’ve always got games and challenges for them to do.

Swedish Vallhund

This dog looks like a wolf but sports the size of a Corgi. With a great personality to match their dual looks, you will get the best of both worlds. The Swedish Vallhund’s herding background makes them an intelligent dog that’s always on the lookout, announcing guests well before they even have a chance to reach for the doorbell. They are also lively and playful wolf dogs, looking for hugs wherever they can get them.They are high-energy dogs constantly running around and barking up a storm, which is why you need to be an active owner to thoroughly enjoy their charm. But many Swedish Vallhund owners will tell you there is plenty of fun to be had with this dog. They are game masters and veritable canine comics that will put their playful side on full display whenever you need a smile on your face.

Akita

This magnificent Japanese breed is sometimes called a wolf hybrid. They resemble a wolf with a curly flip tail.

Shiba Inu

This curly-tailed Japanese hunting dog looks somewhat like a very small red wolf. They are smart, charming, faithful, and fearless.

Chow Chow

These are sturdy, blue-tongued, independent, and loyal dogs with a double coat and curly tail. Often red, they can also be black, blue, cream or fawn.

A Domesticated Wolf?

In the 1980s, a new breed of dogs was developed to have an identical look of wild wolves, yet still be a good working dog and a suitable family companion. This new breed was named the Northern Inuit dog. In order to create the perfect dog, unspecified breeds were carefully bred with specific Spitz types like Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Siberian Huskies. The creators also used German Shepherds. The result was an almost identical replication of a wolf, but one that likes to cuddle without eating your face off.

Asian Dog Breeds Closest to Wolves

This is the fun part. Looks can be deceiving and that certainly goes for some of the breeds on this side of the fence. When you think of dog breeds closest to wolves, you’re most likely picturing larger dogs with thick fur and sharp teeth. Well, you’d be right on two of the three. One of the most genetically matched domestic breeds was actually the Shih Tzu, which is a tiny little dog from China that doesn’t get bigger than 11 inches. I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover after all.

Similar Where It Counts

Other breeds that originated from Asia include the Pekingese, which has the long fur-like its wolf ancestors but certainly not the height or build; the Tibetan Terrier, which originated in Buddist monasteries in Tibet, where they became known as the “Holy Dog”; Lhasa Apso; Shar-Peis, which are famous for their wrinkled skin and flat faces; and the Saluki. Each of these breeds are ancient and have very little differences between their DNA sequencing and that of wild wolves.

Other Ancient Bloodlines

The Shih Tzu, which is a very close identical DNA match to wolves, has been around for centuries. It’s believed that they originated around 800 BC.