No matter what breed or mix your dog is, they're related to wolves. In fact, the two canines share 99% of their DNA and belong to the same species (the wolf's scientific name is Canis lupus and the dog's is Canis lupus familiaris). This is because both modern dogs and wolves descended from an extinct wolf species. So whether you have a Chihuahua or Great Dane, a Poodle or Bulldog, they're related to wolves. That being said, some dogs are more closely related to wolves than others and those breeds will have a more wolf-like look. Read on to find out the physical differences between the two species and 16 dog breeds that look like wolves.
Physical Differences Between Dogs And Wolves
Although dogs and wolves share nearly all of their DNA, they do have some differences. Scientists estimate that this genetic divergence occurred between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago. A 1% difference in DNA may seem like a trivial amount, but it makes for significant behavioral and physical variations. Here are some physical differences between the two:
- Despite having the same number of teeth as dogs, wolves have bigger and stronger jaws (and bigger teeth). This is most likely because they need to hunt, bite and break through tougher things like bones and hide. Dogs, on the other hand, evolved as scavengers of human goods.
- Wolves also have larger, less-round skulls and longer muzzles.
- Wolves have smaller eyes than dogs, always have perky ears and shorter, straight tails.
- Wolves have narrower chests and hips, longer legs and ankles, and larger paws with two extra large front toes. Much of this is for endurance in the wilderness (such as running long distances at high speeds) and stealth when hunting.
- Wolf eyes are always a yellow or amber shade, while dog eyes range in color from blue to brown.
- Wolves only have gray, brown, black or white coats for camouflage while dogs have a wide array of coat colors.
Although there are many physical differences between wolves and dogs, several breeds do still look like wolves. Here are 15 dogs that look like wolves:
1. Alaskan Malamute
2. American White Shepherd
3. Belgian Sheepdog
4. Berger Blanc Suisse (White Swiss Shepherd)
5. Canadian Eskimo Dog
6. Czechoslovakian Vlcak (Czechoslovak Wolfdog)
7. Dutch Shepherd Dog
8. German Shepherd
9. Northern Inuit Dog
10. Norwegian Elkhound
11. Saarloos Wolfdog
13. Shiloh Shepherd Dog
14. Siberian Husky
15. Swedish Vallhund
16. Tamaskan Dog