What Dog is Closest To a Wolf?

What Dog is Closest To a Wolf?

Many dogs are closest to a wolf, as the gray wolf is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs. But some modern breeds are more closely related to this species than others. For example, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are bred from their ancestors, gray wolves, and retain many wolf-like characteristics such as thick fur coats and pointed ears. 

husky, dog, pet

Similarly, German Shepherds have been developed to look very similar to their cousin, the wolf. 

Many other breeds, such as Lhasa Apso and Tibetan Terrier, are also thought to be derived from the gray wolf. 

Let’s discover in detail which dog breeds only resemble the wolf and which are genetically similar to the wolves. 

What makes some dog breeds close to wolves? 

Humans started domesticating wolves thousands of years ago and got dog breeds as a result. That’s why wolves are known as their ancestors. 

Dogs are closely connected with wolves genetically, which is proven by various experiments on dogs and coyotes.

A biologist Dr. Robert K. Wayne, narrated that the dog breed present today only has a 0.2% difference in their DNA from grey wolves. 

With this, coyotes which assumed as the most closely related animal to the grey wolf, have a surprising 4% difference in their DNA from the grey wolf. 

It shows that dogs are closer to wolves genetically as compared to coyotes. 

With this, few dog breeds have almost 99% same genetical traits as grey wolves cause of cross-breeding. 

Dogs closest to wolves in regards to their looks and DNA

When people see a husky or malamute, the very first thought that comes to their mind is, is a malamute or husky a wolf?

As both dog breeds look a lot like a grey wolf. But genetically, they are not closely related to the wolves. So, below, you will find out the 11 closest wolves that look like wolves, so next time, you won’t be confused.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is a breed of dog native to Siberia. They are known for their striking appearance with the Siberian wolf, but they have notable differences such as thick fur, expressive eyes, and unique markings. 


When comparing this canine breed with wolves, they are smaller in size than wolves.

But visibly and genetically, they resemble wolves. That is why most people mix them up. 

Both canines share some physical characteristics, such as thick fur coats, an alert posture, and pointed ears. 

However, one major difference between them is in their temperaments. Additionally, both have a strong prey instinct.

Shiba Inu

Shiba inu has somewhat resemblance to wolves and are native dogs of Japan. But they are genetically similar. 

Shiba inu have have thick fur coats ranging from red to sesame in color and rolled inwardly. They stand out among other breeds because they are intelligent, independent, and fearless in nature.

Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan malamute and husky have a strong resemblance with wolves. But the purpose of breeding malamute is to pull the sled with other malamutes as a team member. 

Additionally, Alaskan malamutes weigh between 70 to 100 lbs and are 20 to 25 inches taller. And a grey wolf weighs around 145 lbs and is 30 inches tall. 

Comparison of wild Wolves and Dog breeds Genetically. 

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is an ancient breed of toy dog originating in Tibet and does not look like its wild ancestors. But this dog breed is closest to wolves genetically. 

Unlike the grey wolf, which weighs up to 175 lbs, the Shih Tzu typically weighs between 9 – 16lbs.

Saluki Salukis

Saluki Salukis is originally Middle Eastern dog and are one of the oldest dog breeds out there, dating back to 10,000 BC. The breed is genetically closest to wolves.

Moreover, Afghan Hound is very similar to the Saluki because it is another one of the ancient domestic breeds.


The Basenji is reminiscent of the wolf. For instance, this canine has pointed ears and a long muzzle. It is a hunting dog from Africa and has genetic similarities to a typical wolf. Moreover, they don’t bark but instead, howl.


This canine breed does not look like a wolf and has a peaceful and affectionate personality compared to its wild relatives, wolves.  But aside from physical appearance, their DNA strongly matches.

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a domesticated dog breed originating from Tibet. While it looks similar to wolves, it is much smaller than wolves. Its coat of long, straight hair can range in color from white to gray. But they are similar to the wolves genetically. 

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.

German shepherd dogs

German shepherd dogs share 99.9% of their DNA with grey wolves. They resemble a lot with wolves as they have long snouts, big ears, and muscular and lean bodies. 

But a wolf is larger than a German shepherd. Additionally, a wolf has a bite power of 1200 PSI, and a dog has a biting power of 300 PSI.


Husky and Alaskan malamute have a striking resemblance with wolves which is why most people get confused to decide whether it is a wolf breed or a dog breed. 

However, it does not mean both dog breeds are closest to wolves. As there are many dog breeds that do not resemble wolves looking wise but share the same genetic information. 

Such as Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, and German shepherds.  These dog breeds are closest to their ancestor, wolves. Check out the video given below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which dog is the closest to a wolf?

Alaskan malamute is closest to the wolf visibly.

What two breeds make a wolf dog?

A wolf-dog hybrid is produced by mating between these gray wolf (Canis lupus), eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), red wolf (Canis rufus), or Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis).

Are Huskies closer to wolves?

Yes, visibly, they are closer to wolves. 

How close is a German Shepherd to a wolf?

German shepherds have 99% of the same DNA as of wolf’s.

Are Siberian Huskies Part Wolf?

Huskies are less related to wolves.

Olivia Kepner