Top Ranked Dog Breeds Closest To Wolf | The Most Closely Related Wolves Dogs

A genetic study carried out in 2004 identified 14 dog breeds with the closest phenotype to a wolf. They are considered the most ancient. Both animals belong to the genus Canis (just like jackals, coyotes or dingoes) so it is not surprising that they are so similar physically.

If you love wolves, dogs, or dogs that look like wolves, you’ve come to the right place!

The Basenji

The basenji was not known in Europe until the end of the 19th century, they are originally from Africa. The history of the breed goes back about 5000 years, but, perhaps, the Basenji is even older: we can only judge by the first mentions and images that are found in the cultures of Nubia and Ancient Egypt.



Basenji do not bark, but they “purr” when worried or angry. Hence one of the names of the breed – African barking dog.

The Chow Chow and Shar-Pei

Both breeds are Chinese. Chow Chows have changed a lot during the 20th century when British breeders took over them, so we don’t know exactly what these dogs looked like several hundred or thousands of years ago. 
Even the name was different: in Europe, the Chow-Chow was called the Tatar dog and the dog of the barbarians, in China they called it – the dog of the Tang dynasty and the “shaggy lion”.Now Chow Chows are companion dogs and guards. They do not lend themselves too easily to training, but not because they are stupid, but because of their stubbornness and willfulness. Maybe these qualities passed on to them from a direct ancestor, a wolf?
Chow chow



The Chow Chow has a blue-black tongue, straight front legs, and a stilted gait due to the special structure of the hind legs.

According to one version, the modern Shar Pei descended from the short-haired chow-chow (there are an external similarity and a distinctive feature – a blue-black tongue). .The breed is not less than three thousand years old according to genetic data and not less than 2300 years old according to archaeological data: in the burials of the Han dynasty (3rd century BC), figurines of very similar dogs were found.

In ancient China, they tried to make Sharpei fighting dogs, but they did not work out of good and balanced dogs, and gradually they were retrained into guards and companions.

The Pekingese , Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu

These are Tibetan related breeds. Five Pekingese were taken from Beijing to England only after the end of the so-called “opium” war, in the 1860s.

For centuries, these tiny creatures were considered the palace dogs of the Chinese emperors. Members of the royal family and their entourage wore “fu dogs” in the sleeves of their clothes.

There is evidence that puppies were tightly swaddled and fed in a special way to prevent their growth, which is why modern Pekingese are much larger than imperial dogs.




Pekingese descend from another ancient breed of Shih Tzu, whose ancestors are the Tibetan dogs Lhasa Apso.

The Tibetan Terrier

The history of the origin of the Tibetan Terriers is covered in darkness: it’s known that in the Middle Ages these dogs already lived in Tibetan monasteries, like the Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu. Unlike the latter, they were not associated with the Buddha’s dog, but they were still considered symbols of happiness and good luck, so the puppies were never sold, they were only given as a sign of special affection.

There is evidence that Tsang Apso (a dog from Tsang province) was used as guards for merchants And now this breed is considered one of the most friendly and non-aggressive.

Tibetan terrier



Interestingly, Tibetan Terriers are not terriers at all: Europeans named the breed that way because of the apparent similarity of its representatives with burrowing hunters, however, they are rather herding dogs and companions.

The Akita Inu and Shiba Inu

Two of the six native Japanese breeds are related. According to archaeological finds from the second millennium BC, it can be assumed that dogs, outwardly very similar to Akita Inu, lived in Japan in those distant times, and genetics confirms this. In ancient times, Akita (or dogs, very similar to them) were used for hunting.

Akita Inu

The Shiba Inu is much smaller than the Akita, but it also belongs to the Spitz-like hunting dogs. True, they hunted with them mainly for birds. Both breeds are considered the property of Japan and are actively reviving because in the 20th century they were on the verge of extinction: the Akita was crossed with German shepherds, and the Shiba – with setters, pointers and other European dogs.




 The Akita-Inu Hachiko, who waited for his master at the train every day for 9 years, became a symbol of love and loyalty in Japan. In the famous film “Hachiko is the most faithful friend” The role was played by dogs of both breeds – the Akita Inu, and the Shiba Inu, who played the young Hachiko.

The Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute

Outwardly, these dogs really resemble wolves, and malamutes, they hardly bark, compared to their wild relatives. Both sled breeds were bred by northern people, although in the northeast of Siberia this breed was tamed and bred by the Chukchi, and in America – the Eskimos had similar dogs.

Malamute got its name from one of the Eskimo tribes in Alaska. At the beginning of the 20th century, huskies were transported to participate in sled races in the United States, where they were engaged in breeding, while in Russia and the USSR it almost disappeared among other dogs.

Siberian Husky



Malamutes and huskies, despite their size, serious appearance, and wolf origin, are completely non-aggressive dogs towards people: they make bad guards, but excellent hunters. They will catch the prey and keep it for themselves, they will not bring it back to the owner. Just like wolves

The Afghan Hound and Saluki

The Saluki Persian greyhound is a born hunter and runner: it develops a speed of up to 43 Miles / h, which is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. The first images of dogs that look like Saluki date back to the middle of the fourth millennium BC. e. For centuries, these greyhounds lived with the Bedouins, who hunted with them the gazelle (hence Its other name – gazelle dog).

Afghan hounds are most likely descended from long-haired Saluki. The length and density of wool in this breed are different depending on the climate of the habitat (in ancient times, this is the entire Fertile Crescent).




Afghan hounds are ranked last, eightieth in the “rating” of breeds in Stanley Koren’s book “Intelligence of Dogs”. According to the American and Canadian kennel clubs, on the statistics on which the author relied, they need 80-100 repetitions to master a new command, and they perform it the first time only in 25% of cases.

Specialists in the breed believe that the point is not low intelligence, but the over independence of greyhounds.

The Samoyed Laika

Samoyed is a simplified and distorted name for a group of northern and Uralic people of Russia – Samoyed, or samoyed, the name was also passed on to dogs.

The breed is more than three millennia-old, and according to one version, it originates from a domesticated white wolf. The Samoyeds were both watchmen, and deer herders, and hunters, and they also looked after the children and warmed people with their warmth.

There are currently seven variations of the breed, including the South African and Australian

Samoyed Laika



Samoyeds have an amazing self-cleaning coat, so you shouldn’t wash them often – just comb them out.


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.

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