Last Updated on April 4, 2021 by Dogs Vets
Black wolf dog – Dog Breeds That Looks Like Wolves
The Black wolf Dog
A black wolf dog is a melanistic color variant of the gray wolf. Black specimens have been recorded among red wolves, although the color morph is probably now extinct in this species.
Genetic research at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California at Los Angeles revealed that wolves with black coats owe their characteristic coloration to a mutation that occurred in domestic dogs and was transmitted to wolves through wolf-dog hybridization. Besides fur and knee color, they are normal gray wolves.
Black wolves rarely appears in Europe and Asia, reports of incidents and interactions with domestic dogs have declined over the last thousand years due to the decrease in wild wolf populations.
They have occurred occasionally, as wolf-dog hybrids are known as “black wolves” in Russia and currently 20-25% of the Italian wolf population consists of black animals.
See also: Top 12 most famous scent hounds breeds
They are more common in North America; about half of the wolves in the reintroduced wolf population in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park are black. Black wolves, like Pyrenean wolves, do not live in France.
In southern Canada and Minnesota, black wolfs are more common than white, although gray wolves predominate.
Dog Breeds That Looks Like Wolves
These are not wolves (well, not completely), but dogs with outstanding wolf traits passed down from their ancestors.
Some of them are specifically designed that way, and others just have these traits naturally. However, adopting these breeds comes with unique challenges that you need to be aware of.
What is a wolfdog?
Wolfdogss are any breed whose genetic makeup has a “wolf” content. This means that any cross with a dog and a wolf is considered a wolf dog. Wolfdogs can be described as high, medium, or low wolf content, depending on how much wolf is passed on to them.
Some of the breeds in this list have zero wolf content (such as the Husky or Malamute), but have similar markings.
However, these types of dogs (whether low or high content) present many challenges that even an experienced owner may struggle to overcome.
See also: Top 13 Big Fluffy Dogs Breed You would love to Cuddle Today
We will go into more detail about adopting and raising wolf hybrids at the end of this article. Click here to continue.
Quick facts about wolf hybrids:
- They shed A LOT and will blow their coats twice a year. In this case, you will need a good brush.
- They have extreme separation anxiety and are destructive when left alone.
- They all have very high energy and require high intensity training every day or they will become bored and destructive.
- They require early socialization to avoid nervous or aggressive behavior as they mature.
- They can be serious noisemakers, with lots of barking and howling.
- They are best suited for large outdoor areas or owners who can stick to a daily training program and constant supervision.
- Some of these breeds are more difficult to own than others.
Dogs That Look Like Wolves
1. Northern Inuit Dog
Temperament: Loyal to a fault, Friendly, Stubborn, Intelligent
- Females 55 to 84 pounds, 23 to 28 inches
- Males 79 to 110 pounds, 25 to 30 inches
Northern Inuit Dogs were an attempt to create a wolf-like breed with the temperament of a dog. It is speculated that this dog originated from Britain in the 1980s, mixing Malamute, Siberian Husky and German Shepherds. They became famous from the series Game of Thrones, in which the characters from the Stark family encounter a litter of “wolf pups” that were actually Northern Inuit dogs.
Do they make a good family pet? Yes, but best suited for singles or families with older children. They tend to have no patience for young children. Northern Inuit Dogs, while loyal and loving, require training and assertive leadership and are not recommended for the inexperienced dog owner.
They have extreme separation anxiety which leads to destructive behavior when left alone – therefore they cannot be trained as kennel dogs.
2. Saarloos Wolfdog
Temperament: Cautious, Shy, Gentle towards owners, Curious, Loyal, Stubborn
Size: Medium to Large
- Females 45 to 74 pounds, 23 to 28 inches
- Males 69 to 90 pounds, 25 to 30 inches
These breed of dog was created in 1935 when Dutch breeder Leender Saarloos crossed German shepherds with European wolves to create a working dog. But what he got instead was too much wolf personality, which didn’t translate well into working dogs.
Do they make a good family pet? Not exactly. Although not always recommended for children, they are excellent dogs if their specific needs are met. Saarloos are generally not aggressive, but need strong leadership to overcome their free-roaming wolf instincts. While they are shy, they need socialization with other dogs.
Due to the roaming nature of the Saarloos Wolfhound, they are best suited for large open living spaces, growing areas and require daily activity.
They have very high separation anxiety and cannot be trained as a kennel dog.
3. Alaskan Noble Companion Dog
Temperament: Loyal, Curious, Anxious, Alert, Active
- 60 to 110 pounds, 26 to 33 inches
Alaskan nobles are a considerably new breed of hybrid dogs known for their stunning appearance and close resemblance to wolves. They are a cross between a Siberian Husky, German Shepherd and Alaskan Malamute.
There are conflicting reports as to whether or not these dogs carry wolf content.
Do they make a good family pet? Not enough is known about the Alaskan noble at this time. They have been reported to be very loving, relaxed and playful with their owners. However, these same owners have also reported concern and even aggression towards strangers and children.
Beyond these reports, Alaskan nobles are known to be extremely loyal to their owners. They are very active dogs that love to explore and run around in open spaces. Daily stimulation is required to keep their intelligent minds busy.
Like any dog, they need early socialization to avoid becoming aggressive as they mature. They are also known to have very high separation anxiety.
4. Swedish Vallhund
Temperament: Friendly, high energy, playful, intelligent, loving,
Size: Small to Medium
- Females 22 to 32 pounds, 8 to 12 inches
- Males 25 to 35 pounds, 9 to 13inches
Vallhund translates to Herding Dog, and that is exactly what they do. Originally developed for herding cows and called The Swedish Cow Dog, this is a rare breed thought to have originated thousands of years ago.
Do they make a good family pet? Absolutely. They are playful, loving, loyal and fun. They still have a herding instinct and are considered working dogs that need a high level of exercise and stimulation.
They are loud and known to bark excessively, so they do not make good indoor pets.
Because of their high energy, they require vigorous daily activity or they can lead to destructive behavior.
Temperament: Friendly, Intelligent, Loyal, Social, High Energy
- Females 55 to 80 pounds, 23 to 25 inches
- Males 65 to 90 pounds, 23 to 28 inches
Utonagan is a newer crossbreed introduced to the UK in the 1980s and is in turn a mix of Malamute, Siberian Husky and German Shepherd. They got their breed name from a story passed down, in which Utonagan means “spirit of the wolf”.
Do they make good pets? Yes, but they need some work. Similar in temperament to a Tamaskan, they are curious, loving, loyal and playful, but require daily training and exercise. They have a lot of personality and are very responsive to their owners, which makes them easy to train.
Utonegans are energetic, so they need to run and require mental stimulation. Their free roaming instincts are very lively, making them best suited for large living spaces and growing areas.
They have a high prey drive, so squirrels, birds and rabbits will definitely get their attention.
And you guessed it – they have high separation anxiety and resort to destructive behavior when left alone.
Utonagans are known to have health problems. So find out about their pedigree and health tests before adopting.
6. Alaskan Malamute
Temperament: Strong, Stubborn, Intelligent, Friendly towards people.
- Female – 75 to 90 pounds, 21 to 25 inches
- Male – 85 to 100 pounds, 22 to 25 inches
Again, mixed with Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and German Shepherds.
Alaskan Malamutes bear some wolf-like markings, although their long coats and stature show some distinct differences. They were originally bred as Arctic sled dogs to carry loads across Siberia or Alaska. Malamutes and still considered strong working dogs, which makes them difficult to handle in a normal household.
Do they make good pets? Yes, but they can be very challenging. Malamutes are intelligent and stubborn, which makes them strong-headed and difficult to train.
Malamutes end up in shelters first because many owners underestimate how difficult it is to train this breed. A strong, confident leader is required or they will take the alpha position in your home.
Malamutes have separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior when left alone. This dog is best suited for large open spaces or for owners who are willing to run, hike or sled daily.
7. Siberian Husky
Temperament: Friendly, Social, High Energy, Affectionate, Stubborn, Gentle
Size: Medium to Large
- Females 35 to 50 pounds, 20 to 22 inches
- Males 45 to 60 pounds, 21 to 24inches
Not very much is known about the history of the Siberian Husky. It is believed that they originated in Siberia and are an ancient breed. They were then used for dog sledding in Alaska in the 1900s to help pull loads across the Arctic tundra.
Huskies are now common in North America and are known for their beautiful markings.
Do they make good pets? Yes. However, huskies are still considered working dogs and require daily exercise or they resort to destructive behavior. They are strong-headed and often need a confident handler and training.
They are difficult to train because of their stubbornness and intelligence. You will often hear stories from husky owners about constant barking, digging and chewing.
Huskies are a popular adoption option for many families. They are very playful and gentle and with a little patience and training make wonderful pets.
8. Kugsha / Amerindian Malamute
Temperament: Very high intelligence, Stubborn, Free roaming, Curious, Playful.
- Females: 60 to 102 pounds, 20 to 25inches
- Males: 65 to 106 pounds, 20 to 27inches
The Kugsha are a rare wolf hybrid. They are an ancient breed, believed to have originated 1000s of years ago, and were used in Early America as a working breed to haul shipments through the snow.
Do they make good family pets? No. These dogs still carry wolf-like mannerisms, and do not behave like a domesticated dog. Kugsha are intelligent, but also stubborn, which makes them difficult to train. They need constant stimulation and open space because of their free roaming personality.
Kugsha are shy with strangers, but are not known to be aggressive. In the right environment, with strong leadership, they can be excellent companions.
9. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Temperament: High Energy, Loyal, Curious, Fearless, Playful
- Females 44 to 54 pounds, 24 to 26 inches
- Males 54 to 60 pounds, 26 to 28inches
A New dog breed that was created to have the temperament of a German Shepherd, but the physical build and strength of a Carpathian Wolf. Originally bred to be attack dogs in Czechoslovakia in the 1980’s, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog are now used for a range of work.
Do they make a good family pet? Yes but these dogs require a high level of training and strong leadership. They can be good with children, but are suspicious of strangers. Czech wolf dogs are active and playful, and need daily stimulation to feed their curious minds. They are best suited for large open spaces where they can roam and get daily exercise.
Until 2008 this dog was classified as a “Dangerous Wild Animal” in the UK. And due to the wolf-content of this breed, they cannot be legally owned in some States or Countries.
10. Shikoku Dog
Temperament: Curious, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent
- 30 to 35 pounds, 18 to 21 inches
The Shikoku is a cousin of the infamous Shiba Inu and Akita Inu and is a Japanese breed that shares similar characteristics. While they share many of the same physical characteristics as the Shibu Inu, the Shikoku coats/marks are darker and much more wolf-like. .
Do they make a good family pet? Shikokus are enthusiastic and sociable dogs and can certainly be a good addition to your family.
However, these are working breeds that were often used for hunting boars. Although they are a good-natured dog, they carry these working traits to this day. Exercise, socialization and mental stimulation are required every day or they become bored and frustrated.
Also, Shikokus have a very high prey drive, so they will hunt any small creature or interesting object.
Dogs, Wolf Content, and Adoption
Through careful selection, some breeders have successfully created dogs that look like wolves but have the temperament of a domestic dog.
Some breeds have no wolf content, such as huskies, which have some similarities in markings but no relationship at all.
Then there are dogs with very low wolf content. This generally means that your dog is at least 4 generations removed from its wolf ascendants while mixed with other breeds.
If you are considering adopting a wolf-like breed, this is certainly the way to go. Breeds with very low content still have a nice wolf-like appearance, but are domesticated and generally family friendly.
The Problem With Adopting a Wolf Dog
The popularity of wolf hybrids is increasing, and this is to be expected. These dogs are stunning and many owners are willing to spend money on the cool, exotic pet.
But once money is involved, it leads to many unhealthy practices.
Puppy mills, unethical breeding practices and mislabeled breeds can cause you to spend thousands of dollars while you end up with the wrong type of puppy.
Be careful where you adopt from. Many for-profit breeders will intentionally misinform you, but by the time you notice, they’ll be long gone.
How breeders might scam you:
- They Completely mislabeling the dogs breed (You wanted a Tamaskan but got a Husky mix).
- Giving you a high level wolf dog (making them extremely difficult to manage).
- They cannot produce any reliable pedigree or authentic paperwork.
- Telling you about how their dogs are very easy to train.
- Saying fun things like: “These dogs were in ___________ (TV Show or Movie)”
These victims will eventually give up and give their dog to a wolf sanctuary, but even the sanctuaries are completely full due to these practices.
Wolf content may differ
A common misconception is that certain breeds always have a certain wolf content. While Huskies and Malamutes always have zero content, the same cannot be said for other breeds.
In some regions of the world, medium content wolfdogs could be added for outcrossing purposes. However, medium and high content puppies are a nightmare for the average owner.
Always ask for their pedigree when adopting and get a complete history from your breeder.
Many dogs or wolf-like dogs are mislabeled as wolves because they have similar markings. Often this is just a case of mistaken identity and it may just be a mix of Husky, German Shepherd or Alaskan Malamute.
Be warned: some breeders intentionally label their dogs as wolf content (or a completely different breed) to make them appear more unique or to sell puppies for more profit.
Illegal in some areas
Note that in many states and countries, it is illegal to own a wolf dog unless you have obtained a license or are working with a wolf sanctuary. If you have purchased a dog that is part wolf, or if you have mistakenly labeled your dog as one, you may receive a visit from animal control.
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