14 Dog Breeds Closely Related To Wolves Genetically

Apr 15, 2022 | 0 comments

siberian husky dogs

Dogs are available in different shapes and sizes, and – with certain breeds having more than others, it’s easy to forget where they came from between 27,000 and 40000 centuries ago; the animal that we have now evolved from prehistoric animals like wolves. The estimates suggest that the domestication of dogs began at around 15,000 years old. Dogs are a distinct breed from wolves. However, they have the exact genetic blueprint.

For some breeds, it’s easy to determine their origins due to their physical similarities with the wolves. However, with other species, it’s more difficult to tell. For instance, imagine an adorable Shih Tzu with a cute bow, keeping its long fur away from its eyes.

Physically, the wolf-like characteristics are gone in certain breeds, but the genetic makeup is similar. So, without further delay, we will look at the 14 dog breeds most closely resembling those of wolves genetically.

While it’s been many hundreds of years since dogs were domesticated, The latest DNA studies have identified which breeds are the closest to the wolves and their relatives. The study involved 414 dogs of 85 different species. The results may be a surprise to you! Learn further about the research on National Geographic.

The 14 Top Dogs that are closest To Wolves Genetically.

1 Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky.

Siberian Huskies aren’t wolves, but they have many distinct differentiators. Siberian Huskies appear so physically similar to wolves that people are unsure if they are, in fact, wolves. The author Pontus Skogland of Harvard Medical School has asserted that a part of the Siberian Husky’s DNA traces its roots back to the ancient Siberian Wolves.

Siberian Huskies are a breed of dog that originated from the region of Siberia, where they were highly prized as working sled dogs. They were explicitly adapted to the climate they were raised in and capable of withstanding temperatures below freezing. Siberian Huskies make great companion dogs in various homes at the present.

2 Shih Tzu

Sitting Shih tzu

While this breed is not like wolves and wild canids, Shih Tzu is genetically one of the domestic breeds close to the wolves. It is believed that this breed was first introduced within China about 800 BC.

Shih Tzu Shih Tzu is a breed that is more likely to cause a frown and raise an eyebrow, but the truth can be that the species is genetically related to the wolf. Shih Tzus came from Tibet and were used for a long time by Chinese Emperors as pets.

Most likely to be in their owner’s laps rather than chasing, working, or hunting, like Shiz Tzu, Shiba Inu, or Basenji, the Shiz Tzu is a popular pet for families today. Don’t let their tiny size fool you, though. They are the big dog. Shih Tzu is a vocal breed with a huge personality. They can also not have enough digging in the dirt, so be aware of your garden when you have a Shih Tzu is about!

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3. Akita

american akita

Researchers have discovered the Japanese Akita Inu is among the breeds with the closest genetic connection to wolves from the past. The elegant and classy Akita is a renowned Japanese breed with various capabilities. In addition to being great hunters, they’re often trained to be police dogs and are wonderful pets for families.

Akitas are adored throughout Japan and are thought to be a part of an important national heritage. The renowned writer Helen Keller brought the first Akita to the United States. Its Akita, “Kamikaze-go,” was given by the Japanese government when she visited the country. She showed her love for the breed.

4. Chow Chow

Chow Chow

Chow Chow is a breed of dog. It’s of the common ancestry with the other native Chinese or East Asian species and one of the closest breeds that genetically resemble gray wolves. Chow Chow is an ancient Chinese breed believed by researchers to be among the first breeds that emerged following dog domestication.

As pets for families, Chow Chows are thought to be highly loyal to their owners but cautious of strangers. Because of this, they are likely to make excellent guard dogs. Additionally, there is a long history of being utilized for farm animals in China.

5. Shiba Inu

shiba inu
Shiba Inu looking at camera against white background

A Shiba Inu sits right at the top of the chart, which shows the amount of “wolf-likeness” in dogs. A breed famous for its hunting abilities and hunting ability, the Shiba Inu, is another member known as”the “basal breeds’ club” together with Chows. Chow Chow. The Shiba Inu is another ancient breed and is a descendant of the mountain ranges of Japan.

Shibu Inus are “fox-like” in appearance. They also have their hunting heritage and are very alert and lively. They are also believed to be suspicious of strange objects, animals, or people outside of the immediate group of their family.

6. Basenji

the basenji

The Basenji was born in central Africa. The breed is famous for its distinctive bark, more like a yodel sound. They are also among the genetically closely related species to wolves, as they carry lots of “wolf-like” DNA.

The breed is short-haired and trims and a great hunter. They’re incredibly active and need at least 40 minutes of physical activity per day. They’re great pets for families; however, just like their base breed brothers, the Shiba Inu and the Chow Chow are said to be reserved with strangers.

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7. Shar-Pei

Shar Pei puppy

The distinct Shar-Pei is yet another ancient Chinese breed that originated in the southern part of China. Shar-Pei is known for being employed as guard dogs and even guarded palaces of ancient China. It’s true; their genetic makeup is similar to the genetics of their ancient wolves.

Maybe their role as guardians is the reason for the loyalty that Shar-Pei is famous for in the present. Archeologists have discovered Shar-Pei-like monuments, which date back to circa 200BC.

8. Afghan Hound

afghan hound

As the name implies, as the title suggests, the Afghan Hound has its origins in the mountains of Afghanistan. This Afghan Hound is one of the most ancient dog breeds and is also among the “basal breeds” alongside other breeds like the Chow Chow, Shiba Inu, and other species on this list.

This breed looks like a supermodel from the world of dogs–tall and with a long, shiny coat and a long slim face, Afghan Hounds turn heads wherever they are. While they’re not exactly similar to wolves but their DNA is very alike.

9. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso

Yes, this adorable funny dog’s genetics are very similar to the wolf’s. Indeed, the Lhasa Apso looks as far from a wolf as it’s possible to be. However, DNA isn’t lying. They come from Tibet and, despite their dimensions, adorned palace doors as guards similar to the Shar-Pei from China. They also served as watchmen for monasteries.

As with other breeds of watchdogs, Lhasa Apsos aren’t to be taken lightly when they come to their owners. They are dogs that deceive their small size. They are believed to be very secure and brave.

10. Samoyed

Samoyed dog

The sweet Samoyed is a sight to take in. We invite anyone to stroll past these beautiful white dogs on the streets and not feel the desire to cuddle them! The breed was used historically for work and a blanket for Samoyedic people. The Samoyeds would lie on their owners’ feet to stay warm during the cold Siberian and Russian nighttimes.

It might be surprising that the Samoyeds who look like wolves are less closely related to the wolves of the past as Lhasa Apsos or Tibetan Terriers. But they’re pretty close.

11. Tibetan Terrier

tibetan terrier
Tibetan Terrier, 1 year old, sitting in front of white background

It is believed that the Tibetan Terrier was bred to be an obedient dog for Tibetan monasteries and also as an animal companion. Small but genetically linked to wolves and wolves, the Tibetan Terrier is built for life in the mountains of snow. Their flat feet put them well when traversing across the Tibetan mountains.

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The breed is lively, playful, and intelligent. Tibetan Terriers are more comfortable when their owners offer them lots of mental stimulation and physical exercise.

12. Pekingese

pekingese dog

Who would have believed this cute lapdog could be among the breeds closest to the wolves? People of the Chinese royal family once loved the species. The Pekingese was the imperial lapdog and companion dog more than an animal guard.

The term “Pekingese” refers to Beijing, also known as Peking. Pekingese dogs remain beloved family pets in the present due to their loving and gentle nature. They require an amount of grooming to keep their coats from becoming matted.

13. Saluki

saluki dog

The Saluki is often referred to as the “Persian Greyhound.” It is a breed from the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Although not as genetically related to the wolves but the Saluki nevertheless has a firmer connection to wolves than other breeds.

Beautiful, slim, and calm Salukis are naturally shy and require a loving pet owner. They’re also not thought to be the easiest breed to train. They’re highly independent and well-behaved despite their timid nature. The species is best introduced to the world as early as is feasible.

14. Alaskan Malamute

alaskan malamute

One look at the Alaskan Malamute with its thick double coat and “wolfish” appearance, and it’s easy to believe that this beautiful breed of dog is the closest genetically to wolves. It is believed that the Alaskan Malamute, like the Siberian Husky, has its roots in Siberia. The name is derived from the Mahlemuts, which is an indigenous tribe.

Fortunately, The Alaskan Malamute doesn’t share its predecessor’s unfriendly nature. The breed is great companions and family dogs because of their playful and affectionate nature.

Last Thoughts

While aesthetics are important, the most important thing is that domesticated dogs do not possess the same inability as their wild ancestors to be a part of a human family. Although all dogs are descendants of animals, some breeds have a higher degree of being connected to wolves from the past than others. While some have more apparent “wolfish” physical traits, like that of Akita and the Alaskan Malamute, other breeds have no resemblance to their ancestral ancestors.

Fortunately, evolution has managed to get rid of the frightening things and develop a wide range of beautiful breeds of dogs for us to share our lives and homes in the present.

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