10 Popular Dog Breeds that are Actually Wolf Relatives


Last Updated on June 21, 2017

All dog breeds have probably descended from wolves or other wild canines. Even though they are good pets nowadays, many pups still hold on to their primitive temperaments and appearance.

It has been a very long time since dogs have become domesticated animals, but the latest researches about DNA have highlighted which ones of the popular breeds are the most closely related to wolves.

The DNA study included 414 dogs from 85 various breeds and the results are truly surprising, even more, if one of them is your dog!

10 Popular Dog Breeds that are Actually Wolf Relatives© Petsparadise

Check out these 10 Dog breeds that are descendants of wolves:

1. Tibetan Terrier


Just like the name indicates, this dog breed’s origins are from Tibet. However, is not a true terrier.
This breed is an ancient working dog and companion from the Himalayas and was also used for other purposes like herding and guarding.

This ancient dog was perhaps developed from the small mountain wolf. This dog was also
Tibetan Terriers have been kept as purebred dogs in their original home for more than two thousand years.

2. Saluki

SALUKI© Elelur.com

This dog breed is a sight hound that’s native to the Middle East and is famous for traveling long distances with nomadic tribes and caravans.

Salukis are believed to be one of the oldest breeds in history, especially after finding an ancient rock that goes back to 10,000 BC with artwork showing Saluki-like dogs.

Genetically, this dog breed is still very close relative to its wild ancestors today.

3. Afghan Hound


Similar to the Saluki, the Afghan Hound is also a sighthound that is regarded as one of the oldest domestic dogs in history. According to the genetic tests from this study, Afghan Hounds don’t differ so much from wolves.

4. Siberian Husky


The Siberian Husky is a northern breed that originates from Siberia, where it has been used as sled dogs and is still being used as such nowadays.

Amazingly, this dog breed doesn’t only have a similar appearance to its wild ancestors, but it has also slightly changed genetically over the years.

Siberian Huskies have been helping nomadic tribes to move and survive in the harsh cold climate and difficult environment of North Russia.

5. Shar Pei

SHAR PEI© Pets4Homes

The Shar-Pei is a genetically very old breed, just like almost all other Chinese breeds. Although its appearance is quite different, its genes are quite similar to the ones of wolves.

In fact, the detailed and specific history of this breed is unclear, there are some images painted on containers made from clay, or simply ancient clay art, which depict Shar-Pei-like dogs and goes back to 206 BC.

6. Basenji

BASENJI© Pets4Homes

This beautiful breed is a hunting dog that originates from Africa and comes in a small to medium size.

Basenji is actually famous for its yodeling instead of barking, just like wolves and other wild dogs do.

From a genetic perspective, this dog breed is regarded as very old in existence and is a close relative to its wild ancestors.

7. Shiba Inu

SHIBA INU© Chien.fr

This incredible dog is the smallest one of all the Japanese breeds and is a very ancient dog breed.

Shiba Inu was initially used in hunting birds and rabbits, but nowadays, this pup is commonly seen as a pet and a good family companion.

According to the study, the DNA makeup of this dog breed encourages researchers to think that it is one of the most ancient living breeds.

8. Akita

AKITA© akita-land

Akita is a Japanese breed that is frequently viewed as an enlarged version of the Shiba Inu.

This breed was originally used as guardian dogs and just like the Shiba Inu, it is genetically very old and is closely related to its wild ancestors.

Even though the American and Japanese Akitas have now become two widely different dogs and are even regarded as separate dog breeds in some countries, they are still relatively very similar.

9. Alaskan Malamute

ALASKAN MALAMUTE© alaskanmalamute

This big northern dog breed was created for cart pulling and sledding and is still used for the same purpose to this day.

The wolf-like appearance of the Alaskan Malamute is one more proof that this Alaskan-native dog is also genetically similar to its wild ancestors.

10. Chow Chow

CHOW CHOW© animais.culturamix

The Chow Chow is a Chinese huge breed that is more similar to its wild ancestors that all other Chinese dog breeds.

Even though this immense cute dog is still different in appearance, it is genetically very old and is regarded as one of the most ancient breeds alive.

Chow Chows actually possess some primitive temperaments today and were being used in guarding 150 BC ago.