Which Breeds of Dogs Are Closest to the Wolf? Everything You Need To Know – Fumi Pets

Which Breeds of Dogs Are Closest to the Wolf; Everything You Need To Know - Fumi Pets

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Fumipets


Unlocking the Canine Ancestry: Breeds Closest to the Wolf


The fascinating world of canine genetics offers a glimpse into the ancient roots shared by domestic dogs and their wild ancestors, the wolves. While centuries of selective breeding have resulted in diverse dog breeds with unique traits and appearances, some breeds maintain a remarkable resemblance to their wild counterparts.

In this exploration, we delve into the question: Which breeds of dogs are closest to the wolf? Unveiling the connection between certain dog breeds and their wolf ancestry sheds light on the captivating evolution of our loyal companions.

Breeds Closest to the Wolf

Dogs are not just man’s best friend; scientists have known for a long time that they are also man’s first friend. Dogs were the first animals to be tamed. While the precise date of dog domestication is unclear, Durham University researchers in England believe that dogs were domesticated about 15,000 years ago.

Dog Genetics 

Modern dogs barely vary from grey wolves by 0.2 percent of their DNA, according to Dr. Robert K. Wayne, a canid biologist and molecular geneticist at UCLA. This is a minor distinction given that, according to Dr. Robert K. Wayne, the coyote is the wolves’ closest wild cousin, differing by 4% genetically, making dogs 20 times more closely related to wolves. While genetic evidence clearly shows a connection between the grey wolf and contemporary canines, hundreds of years of crossbreeding make it impossible to categorise one breed as more wolf-like than another.

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Closest Relatives

Scientists have been attempting to identify which breeds are the most wolfish, despite the fact that it is difficult to do so. Scientists collected DNA from almost 1,000 dogs spanning 85 breeds for examination as part of the CanMap project, a partnership between Cornell University, UCLA, and the National Institutes of Health. The Shiba Inu, chow chow, Akita, and Alaskan malamute were discovered to be the four canines most closely related to their wolf progenitors. This research, however, only looked at 85 breeds. Future research using additional breeds may provide different outcomes.

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Canine Descent Controversy

According to University of Copenhagen professor Merete Fredholm, experts used to think that all dogs originated from a single wolf group in China. According to recent study, dogs were domesticated by several distinct cultures at various periods. In the meanwhile, researchers at Durham University in England have discovered that contemporary canines are all derived from grey wolves. However, due to extensive crossbreeding in recent history, modern dogs bear little genetic resemblance to their canine ancestors, making it nearly impossible to trace a direct line from one breed to a wolf.

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Wolf-like Characteristics

Researchers from Durham University also point out that today’s dogs have little in common with dogs from a few hundred years ago in terms of behaviour and appearance. Throughout the millennia, modern dogs have been bred for specific tasks, and in the last few hundred years, they have been bred for specific personality traits as pets. This continuous trait specific and crossbreeding has completely transformed them from wild wolves.


Questions & Answers About Dog Breeds Closely Related to Wolves


Are all dog breeds descended from wolves?

Yes, all domestic dogs share a common ancestry with wolves. The process of domestication, occurring over thousands of years, has led to the development of various breeds with distinctive characteristics. Some breeds, however, exhibit closer physical and behavioral resemblances to wolves.

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Which physical traits indicate a closer connection to wolves?

Breeds closely related to wolves often showcase physical traits such as a robust, straight back, erect ears, bushy tails, and a thick double coat. These characteristics mirror the features seen in their wild ancestors and hint at the shared genetic lineage.


What are examples of dog breeds that resemble wolves?

Breeds like the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, and the Alaskan Tundra Shepherd are considered to be among the closest in appearance to wolves. These breeds often exhibit wolf-like features, including a similar coat coloration and distinctive facial markings.


Do wolf-like breeds share behavioral traits with wolves?

While domestication has influenced the behavior of all dog breeds, those closely related to wolves may retain certain primitive instincts. This can include independent thinking, a strong prey drive, and an inclination towards forming close-knit packs with their human families.


Is it possible to trace a dog’s lineage to wolves through genetic testing?

Yes, advancements in canine DNA testing allow pet owners to uncover their dog’s genetic makeup and trace their ancestry back to wolves. These tests provide insights into the breed composition, potential health risks, and the proximity of a dog’s lineage to its wild ancestors.

Embarking on the journey to understand which dog breeds are closest to the wolf unravels not only the physical similarities but also the shared behavioral traits that echo the untamed spirit of their ancestors. As we explore the connections between our beloved companions and their wild roots, a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of canine evolution emerges.




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