22 Dogs That Look Like Wolves For The Game Of Thrones-Obsessed
It’s undeniable: there’s something magical about dogs that look like wolves. But just like wolves themselves, a dog is not a cosplay accessory — nor is it a part-time job. Having any dog requires a 12+ year full-time commitment, and you should be prepared to put in the work every. damn. day.
Is it raining? Too bad. A high-energy dog breed, which includes almost every dog on this list, needs vigorous exercise twice a day, rain or shine. If you live in a cramped apartment, research some of the smaller dogs on this list, but please, do not adopt a high-maintenance breed that you will be unable to take care of.
Dogs That Look Like Wolves Aren’t For Everyone
After the commercial success of the Twilight franchise in the mid-’00s, there was a rush of people eager to adopt wolf-dog mixes. Teens who brought home an actual high-content wolf hybrid quickly discovered that owning a wolf wasn’t like the movies, and a wolf-dog does not behave like a dog.
After their wolf-hybrid ate through the drywall, all of their possessions, and possibly the cat, unhappy owners suddenly realized the reality of owning a wild animal. Untrainable and beginning to display aggression, most of these wolf-dogs were euthanized. Although wolf-dog mixes are featured on this list (because they’re still beautiful!), there’s a one in a million chance you’ll end up with Loki the instafamous wolf-dog.
Instead, you’re likely to find yourself sharing your home with a dangerous animal that should never have been removed from the wild. Please be sensible when adopting a dog, and always make sure that your lifestyle aligns with the dog breed you choose.
The following dogs are best suited for homes in rural areas with plenty of outdoor space, and they need an owner with a flexible schedule and a passion for gruelling exercise routines! So many of these dog breeds are abandoned every year. So,where available, breed-specific rescue organizations are listed below.
Dog Breeds That Look Like Wolves
Which Dog Looks Like A Wolf?
There are many dog breeds that look like wolves. Some breeds, like the Northern Inuit Dog, have been bred to look especially wolfish but contain little to no actual wolf content (although all dogs are descended from wolves).
Others, like the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, are descended from Carpathian wolves. As a result, they are almost identical to the real thing, except in behavior. The following list is a comprehensive overview of dog breeds that closely resemble their fierce ancestors.
Big Dogs That Look Like Wolves
The Northern Inuit Dog has gained fame recently after starring in the HBO hit Game Of Thrones. For those wondering which dog breed played the Stark family’s pack of Direwolves, it’s the Northern Inuit Dog. Northern Inuits were bred to look like wolves, and although their genetics are Canadian, the breed began in the UK. The Northern Inuit Dog is a careful cross of German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and other Inuit mixes.
Northern Inuits are intelligent, stubborn, and highly social. If you’re looking to adopt a Northern Inuit, it’s better to adopt more than one, as these dogs thrive on pack life and can become despondent and depressed if left alone. They love being near their family, and they can easily suffer from separation anxiety and boredom.
Fun fact for Game of Thrones fans! Although Sansa Stark's direwolf, Lady, met a sad end on the show, the real Northern Inuit who played her had a happy one! Sophie Turner adopted the Northern Inuit named Zunni, and the two lived happily ever after!
Visit the Northern Inuit Rescue Society on Facebook to find Northern Inuit dogs looking for forever homes!
The Siberian Husky is one of the most common dogs that also looks like a wolf. The Husky is intelligent, curious, and full of seemingly unlimited energy. They fare better in cold climates, and a Husky owner must be prepared to exercise their dog both physically and mentally.
Huskies can often become destructive when bored, and anything left within chomping distance is fair game when they’re left unsupervised. From the couch to your TV remote, take care when leaving a bored Husky home alone. The bill may be expensive!
After the boom of Game Of Thrones, hundreds of Siberian Huskies were adopted by people who didn’t fully understand the responsibility of owning this breed. As a result, record numbers of Huskies have been cropping up in animal shelters across the country, as people realized that they couldn’t cope with how much work a Husky demands.
“The percentage increase of breeds such as Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies being given up is a real concern, and if the last few years are anything to go by, it does look like a trend that could continue,” said a spokesperson for a British animal shelter. In fact, the number of abandoned Huskies has shot up by 700% since Game Of Thrones aired.
The Siberian Husky Club of America Trust works to rehome Huskies, but if you google Husky rescue organizations in your state, you’re likely to find personalized regional results. If you can give a Siberian Husky a good home, consider adopting an adult in need from a shelter near you.
The Alaskan Malamute is a big, athletic breed of dog. Although they have a wolf-like coat and lupine facial features, the Malamute is a big softy who loves nothing more than snuggling alongside their family! Malamutes are quieter than other breeds of dogs, preferring to “talk” over bark. Expect the Alaskan Malamute to talk back to you when you issue a command!
This dog breed was bred for hard work, and as a result, you need to be prepared to meet the demanding physical needs that owning a Malamute entails. An Alaskan Malamute excels at almost every doggy sport and will particularly enjoy any activity that mimics dragging a heavy sled across the snow. These activities include mushing, skijoring, bikejoring, carting, and canicross, along with agility training.
Malamutes have a high prey drive, so they may be an unsuitable addition to your home if you have smaller pets. If you can rehome a Malamute, contact the Alaskan Malamute Assistance League.
If you want a dog that looks like a wolf, but don’t want to deal with the stubborn nature of a spitz dog, consider the German Shepherd. Their long snout and dark eyes gives them the alluring appearance of a mystical wolf, but this breed is one of the top choices among police and military for their unflappable personality, intelligence, and eagerness to obey commands. German Shepherds are also commonly found as service animals and search and rescue (SAR) dogs.
No matter where you live, this breed is adaptable to both the heat and the cold. If you want a family pet that moonlights as a guard dog, the German Shepherd offers personal protection for their family without the unpredictable nature that can come with some other types of guard dogs. A home intruder will think twice before trying to tackle a large and formidable German Shepherd.
German Shepherds make excellent family pets, and a well-socialized and trained pup will do well with kids of all ages! Contact the American German Shepherd Rescue Association to find adoptable dogs in your area.
A dog with pure wolf DNA is a completely different animal than a dog that looks like a wolf. Having plenty of big dog experience won’t necessarily prepare you for the challenges of having a wolf-dog. The higher the concentration of wolf DNA, the more challenging the dog will be.
Many people love the idea of having their “spirit animal” as their sworn companion. But even if you raise a wolf-dog from puppyhood, you cannot forget that you’re handling a wild, and potentially dangerous, animal. Wolf-dogs are bigger than domestic dogs, stronger, more aggressive, and harder to train. If you think controlling a Husky on a leash is hard, try controlling a high-content wolf-dog.
The bottom line is that if you live in a very rural area with plenty of land, and can spend most of your day outdoors with your wolf-dog, it might work. But hundreds of wolf-dogs are euthanized every year because good-intentioned owners get one, and then realize that they have no idea how to handle their animal.
In Russia, high-content wolf-dogs are used by the military. They can track a target in 15 to 20 seconds, as opposed to domestic dogs, which take four minutes.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was first bred in 1955 as a science experiment. The idea was to take the domestic traits of a dog and cross them with the enhanced abilities of a wolf. By breeding a Carpathian Wolf and a German Shepherd, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was born.
Over generations, the wolf content was phased out until breeders were left with a docile and trainable dog with exceptional skills. In endurance training, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog demonstrated better night vision, hearing, sense of smell, and navigational skills than the dogs it competed against. Additionally, the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog finished a 100 km course and was energetic as they crossed the finish line. As a result, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs have become popular European police dogs.
However, this breed ran into controversy in early 2017. Italian authorities seized 229 Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs as part as an ongoing investigation. Agents from the Environmental Protection Unit suspected that, due to the popularity of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog (dammit, Jon Snow!), breeders were breeding Wolfdogs with wild wolves, creating high-content wolf-dog hybrids which were both dangerous and illegal.
Authorities estimated that 250 dog-wolves were sold from so-called Czechoslovakian Wolfdog breeders, who sold Czechoslovakian Wolfdog puppies for €5,000 each to prospective owners. The illegitimate breeders were subsequently arrested and charged with illegal wildlife trafficking.
A real Czechoslovakian Wolfdog (and not a half-wolf!) is an incredible dog who demonstrates a deep and unbreakable bond with the whole family. The Wolfdog is confident, obedient, fearless, and courageous. Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs were recognized by the AKC in 2001, but they’re referred to as the Czechoslovakian Vlkak. If you’re interested in rehoming a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, contact the Czechoslovakian Vlkak Club Of America.
Canadian Eskimo Dog
The Canadian Eskimo Dog, also known as Quimmiq, came to North America from Siberia 1,000 years ago. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is one of the oldest dog breeds alive, but sadly, there are only 300 Canadian Eskimo Dogs left in the world.
Intensely loyal, hardworking, active and unsuitable for hot climates, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is a great sled dog. Due to the popularity of the snowmobile, there isn’t the same need for sled dogs as there used to be, and some think that this has something to do with the decline of the breed.
The Alusky is a Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute mix. It shares the beautiful wolf-like features of both dogs, along with the boundless energy and enthusiasm for outdoor activities!
The average lifespan of an Alusky is approximately 15 years. Long and tall, the Alusky is a powerful breed that needs the same vigorous exercise regimen as their parents! Due to the high prey drive of both the Husky and the Malamute, the Alusky isn’t suitable for a home with cats.
Many Aluskies end up in the pound or the shelter, so if you want to rehome this mixed breed dog that looks like a wolf, try contacting your local animal rescue organisations.
The Tamaskan is a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog crossed with a Utonagan. The Tamaskan, like many dogs on the list, was bred to look like a wolf yet retain the doggish traits of a domestic pup.
Tamaskans are stunning animals who are slightly taller than a German Shepherd. With their tall limbs and almond-shaped eyes, the Tamaskan closely resembles a Timber Wolf, but with none of the ‘tude! In fact, the Tamaskan is a good-natured and gentle pup who bonds deeply with their human.
A versatile breed, the Tamaskan is surprisingly obedient. This wolfy dog excels in dog competitions, especially agility courses. The Tamaskan is a very docile dog breed who is tolerant, sociable, agile, and intelligent. Unlike the Husky, the Tamaskan is good off-leash, and some even get on well with the C-A-T!
There are less than 600 purebred Tamaskans around the world, but the breed is steadily becoming more popular. The Tamaskan Club of America is the official Tamaskan club in the United States.
The history of the Utonagan dog is fascinating. In the early ‘80s, dog breeders in Great Britain imported five dogs that looked like wolves from America. All of them were mixed with Siberian Huskies, including a German Shepherd and an Alaskan Malamute.
One or more of the dogs had a “lupine phenotype,” which means that the dog in question had developed characteristics influenced by its environment — or, in the case of one dog, had been raised in a wolf habitat and started to resemble a wolf! This dog was called the Utonagan, and they evolved in the UK as a standalone breed.
The Saarloos Wolfdog (also called a Saarloos Wolfhound) is another rare breed that isn’t often found in Northern America. Although you may not have heard of the Saarloos, this dog has been around since 1935. A Dutch breeder named Leendert Saarloos bred a German Shepherd and a Eurasian Wolf, borrowed from the Rotterdam Zoo. Saarloos was passionate about German Shepherds, but wanted to add wolf DNA to create a better working dog. The result was a dog that was a doppelganger for a gray wolf.
From the colors of the coat to the wolf-like head, the Saarloos Wolfdog is almost a carbon copy of their wolf ancestors. But if Leendert Saarloos hoped for a deterrent for any would-be rustlers, he found himself with a scary-looking but totally docile dog. Devoted, reliable, and energetic, the Saarloos Wolfdog made a better pet than a guard dog!
The Kugsha dog is also called the Amerindian Malamute. The Kugsha is very rare and hard to find. Standing taller than a Siberian Husky, but smaller than an Alaskan Malamute, the Kugsha is another dog that was bred with a wolf. The name was mostly intended to get around laws restricting wolf-dogs, but the breeders wanted a high endurance dog that could perform well through Arctic conditions. Not much is known about the Kugsha, and it remains an elusive breed.
The Samoyed is also known as the “smiling Sammy” as they generally wear a big grin on their cute faces! The Samoyed is not a wolf-dog, or a wolf cross. This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1906, and they are a variation of a spitz dog. This fluffy guy is perfect for colder climates but doesn’t fare so well in the heat.
If you want a Direwolf to ward off the invading forces of Westeros, the Samoyed will probably fail you. This “white wolf” is SUPER friendly and will greet everyone from the mailman to your mean Aunt Cindy with an abundance of tail wags and licks.
If you’re looking for a bigger, sturdy dog who will get on with everybody, the Samoyed is a great choice. The average lifespan of a Samoyed is 12-13 years, and they remain playful well into their twilight years. Samoyeds get along well with kids, too, making them a great family pet that still looks a little bit like a wolf.
Visit Samoyed Rescue today to find out more about adopting a smiling Sammy!
Native American Indian Dog
The Native American Indian Dog is a huge, imposing dog that is frequently mistaken for a wolf. Some Native American Indian dogs weigh over 100 pounds! Despite their formidable appearance, the Native American Indian Dog is a friendly and gentle breed.
If you’ve been dreaming of owning a dog that looks like a wolf, but allergies are preventing you from adopting a typical spitz-type breed, it’s your lucky day! The Native American Indian Dog is a non-shedding breed of dog.
As a highly intelligent breed, the Native American Indian Dog is easy to train and has served as a SAR, service, and therapy dog. Despite being one of the bigger dogs on this list, the Native American Indian dog is good with other pets and children, providing they are adequately socialized at a young age.
The Greenland dog is genetically identical to the Canadian Eskimo Dog, and both Inuit dogs were descended from the dogs that accompanied the Thule people as they migrated from Siberia to the Americas over 1,000 years ago. Archaeologists believe that the Thule people depended on these dogs for transportation across the treacherous tundra. While most dogs share genetic characteristics with the gray wolf, the Greenland dog, along with several other Arctic dogs, are closer in genetics to the Taymyr wolf, an extinct ancient breed that was found in North Asia. Greenland Dogs are rare, and they are mostly found still working as sled dogs in icy regions.
Seppala Siberian Sleddog
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a variation of the Siberian Husky. The first dogs were bred by famous dog sledder Leonhard Seppala in the early 1900s. Seppala bred these dogs to be advanced fast, and efficient sledders who aren’t quick to tire.
Seppala Siberian Sleddogs have been kept around over the ages, descended from the famous dogs who saved the day back in the Nome serum race. The Disney movie Balto is based on that story, and you can also read about Leonhard Seppala’s amazing adventure right here on DogPack. These dogs are mostly found in Canada.
The Belgian Tervuren is frequently used as a SAR dog and as a police and military working dog. In the 1984 movie The Company of Wolves, Belgian Tervurens played the eponymous wolves — although they were dyed to look a little more lupine!
Although they have the facial features of a wolf, Tervurens have long tan and black coats. They make excellent family dogs, as long as they’re provided with enough exercise and mental stimulation.
The American Belgian Tervuren Club can point you in the right direction if you're looking to find a Tervuren rescue in your neighborhood.
Both the Belgian Tervuren and the Groenendael (also called the Belgian Sheepdog) are two dogs from the Belgian Shepherd family. The only difference between the Belgian Shepherds is the appearance of their coats! While the Tervuren has a long tan and black coat, the Groenendael has a pitch-black coat. With their long snout and tall legs, this Belgian Sheepdog looks a lot like a black wolf!
All Belgian Shepherds excel in obedience classes and on the agility course. They’re happiest when they have a job to do, but if left alone, they may decide to give your house a makeover … with their teeth! A firm and consistent approach to training will give you an exceptionally well-behaved dog who has a loyal and devoted personality.
The Belgian Sheepdog Rescue Trust specializes in rehoming Belgian Sheepdogs.
With that wiry grey coat and wizardy face, the Irish Wolfhound looks a little more like Gandalf than a wolf! Standing between 30 and 34 inches, the Wolfhound has an intimidating stature that echoes that of a tall Timber Wolf. It was the proportional match between the Irish Wolfhound and the native wolf that gave the Irish Wolfhound their ancient purpose: defending villagers and their cattle from roaming wolves.
Don’t let the size fool you! The Irish Wolfhound is actually a big softie who will try and sit in your lap at any given opportunity. Due to their size, the Irish Wolfhound can’t withstand vigorous exercise due to the pressure it puts on their oversized joints. Instead, this gentle giant prefers two amiable walks a day, making it a great choice for an owner who likes big mutts (and cannot lie) but can’t keep up with the frantic pace of a smaller, more energetic breed.
Contact the Irish Wolfhound Club Of America to discover more information about rescuing an Irish Wolfhound.
Related: Dogs That Look Like Bears
Small Dogs That Look Like Wolves
So you want a tiny dog that looks like a wolf … or at least a wolfy dog that will fit into your apartment. You’ve probably seen dozens of photographs floating around the internet featuring a tiny dog that looks like a wolf called the Pomsky. Before you get too excited, there are some important things to consider.
A Pomsky is a cross between a Pomeranian and a Husky, but it’s not a natural match. Pomskies are created by artificially inseminating a Husky mother, as these two breeds aren’t likely to ever pair off together. This raises a slew of ethical concerns, primarily because these dogs are not meant to breed. From health problems to behavior problems, don’t seek out a Pomsky unless you’re prepared to deal with some consequences.
The Finnish Lapphund is another small dog that looks like a wolf! Well, they’re medium-sized and not as teeny-tiny as the Pomsky. The average size is 33 to 55 lbs. They need lots of stimulation, but are generally friendly, family-orientated, and easy to train! Fun fact: the famous photo of a Pomsky is actually a Finnish Lapphund puppy.
Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai is another small dog breed that looks like a wolf. They only weigh between 9.9 and 15 lbs! They are perfect companion pets because of their obedience and playful personalities.
This medium-sized dog looks like a wolf — or a rugged Shiba Inu! The maximum weight of the Shikoku is 55 lbs. They’re courageous, loyal, and intelligent. They love to play outdoors, but are quite calm when inside.
Remember, all dogs are technically descended from wolves! There are so many dogs that look like wolves, but remember: looks are only skin-deep. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. We hope you find your perfect canine companion!
|Northern Inuit Dog||23” - 32”||55 - 110 lbs||Stubborn, intelligent, social|
|Siberian Husky||20” - 23”||45 - 60 lbs||Funny, outgoing, intelligent|
|Alaskan Malamute||23” - 25”||75 - 85 lbs||Playful, dignified, friendly|
|German Shepherd||22” - 26”||65 - 90 lbs||Obedient, loyal, courageous|
|Wolf-Dog Mixes||31” - 33”||51 - 180 lbs||High-strung, unpredictable, nervous|
|Czechoslovakian Wolfdog||24” - 26”||44 - 57 lbs||Lively, active, social|
|Canadian Eskimo Dog||20” - 28”||40 - 88 lbs||Alert, brave, tough|
|Alusky||24” - 26”||60 - 95 lbs||Energetic, loyal, affectionate|
|Tamaskan||24” - 28”||51 - 99 lbs||Tolerant, obedient, social|
|Utonagan||23” - 28”||55 - 90 lbs||Friendly, intelligent, calm|
|Saarloos Wolfdog||24” - 30”||66 - 90 lbs||Devoted, reliable, energetic|
|Kugsha||23” - 29”||55 - 79 lbs||Wild, energetic, social|
|Samoyed||19” - 24”||35 - 66 lbs||Happy, playful, friendly|
|Native American Indian Dog||23” - 34”||55 - 120 lbs||Loyal, alert, easygoing|
|Greenland Dog||20” - 27”||66 - 71 lbs||Bold, boisterous, independent|
|Seppala Sled Dog||19” - 25”||31 - 60 lbs||Active, affectionate, obedient|
|Belgian Tervuren||22” - 26”||44 - 66 lbs||Protective, loyal, intelligent|
|Groenendael||22” - 26”||44 - 66 lbs||Protective, loyal, intelligent|
|Irish Wolfhound||34” - 35”||140 - 180 lbs||Loyal, thoughtful, sweet tempered|
|Pomsky||10” - 15”||15 - 20 lbs||Intelligent, active, social|
|Finnish Lapphund||16” - 20”||33 - 53 lb||Faithful, calm, friendly|
|Alaskan Klee Kai||15” - 17”||16 - 22 lbs||Agile, curious, intelligent|
|Shikoku||17” - 22”||30 - 55 lbs||Cautious, loyal, brave|