Like A Wolf: The Tamaskan
There are a lot of problems with keeping wolves and wolf hybrids in a household. Some animals become difficult to deal with as they become older, some cannot be trusted with kids and small animals, and some cities and other areas do not even allow these animals to be owned.
There are also several breeds of dog sold that have been crossed with wolves for several generations. The Lupo Italiano, Czechoslovkian Wolfdog, and Kunming Wolf-dog are in that category.
In my opinion the best choice would be to own a breed of dog that looks like a wolf but is actually a dog. Take a look at these five great dog breeds before making your choice.
This rare dog breed from Finland has actually been bred to look like a wolf. The Tamaskan is smaller than a timber wolf, usually weighing about 30 to 40 kilos (around 65 to 90 pounds), but they do have grey coloring that make them look like wolves.
They do not have blue eyes, and their tails are straight. Like with many rare breeds, there is still not information on health problems. Tamaskans might be prone to hip dysplasia, like all large breed dogs, and about one in ten males are likely to be cryptorchid.
The dogs have only been around since about 2006 so life expectancy is still not known. Some dogs are shy but many of them are intelligent and good in obedience, agility, and in search and rescue. Tamaskans are also good as sled dogs, of course.
Although some fanciers claim they are good with small animals, some have strong prey drive and should not be left alone with other small pets. They are also known to be diggers and are likely to have behavioral problems if not given something to do.
There are still only about 400 Tamaskan dogs around the world, but they are gaining in popularity so are becoming available almost everywhere.
Northern Inuit Dog
Like the Tamaskan, the Northern Inuit Dog is a recent breed designed to look like a wolf. This breed, however, was developed in the UK from Siberian Huskies, German Shepherd Dogs, Alaskan Malamutes and some of the Inuit breeds.
The dog is medium sized, around 25-40 kilos (about 55 to 85 pounds) with a double coat and a straight tail.
They are probably prone to hip dysplasia, cataracts, and epilepsy, like many of the northern breeds, but there is still not enough information to be sure. No reliable data about life expectancy is available.
Northern Inuit dogs were developed to be friendly, like Siberian Huskies, but can have the behavioral problems seen in that breed.
They are good with kids but do not like to be left alone. If they are not allowed to work, they will probably dig holes in the yard and maybe even escape.
Alaskan Malamutes have a double coat, often in sable or white or gray and white like a wolf. Their eyes are brown and their tail is usually carried up and is well furred.
Like the other sled dogs, they have some eye problems like retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Like a lot of other big dogs, they are prone to hip dysplasia.
Alaskan Malamutes usually live about 11 years. They are well known for their ability to resist training, so they really need something to do besides normal obedience classes. Malamutes are strong so do well in bikejoring, skijoring, and weight pulling.
This breed of dog is now so popular that a lot of people will see them on the street and recognize them. Some dogs, however, do not have the typical Siberian Husky markings and are more wolf like in their appearance.
Huskies were bred by the Chukchi tribes in Siberia to pull their sleds over long distances. They have been a domesticated breed for thousands of years but have not changed much from their wolf ancestors and still have a thick double coat, heavily furred tail, and erect ears. Siberian Huskies are smaller than most wolves, usually only about 25 kilos (55 pounds) and sometimes even a lot less.
Most of them are healthy, but some have sled dog problems like retinal atrophy (PRA) and epilepsy. Hip dysplasia is almost never found in Siberians, and the normal life expectancy is usually 12 or more.
If a brown-eyed, agouti coated Siberian Husky is the wolf-like dog you want, be careful to avoid some of the common behavioral problems. They are not big dogs but they require a lot of exercise, and families that do not provide it end up with a dog that digs holes, tears up the fence, and runs off when given the chance.
They do look like wolves, though, and sometimes they act like it!
If you want your dog as healthy as a wolf, let him eat naturally. This book was written by an Australian veterinarian and gives details on how to feed puppies, adults, and dogs in special conditions.
Canadian Eskimo Dog
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is another tribal sled dog that has probaby been bred with wolves; dogs weigh from 30 to 40 kilos (about 65 to 90 pounds) with a thick coat like that of the Siberian Husky. They are powerful, athletic, and look similar to an Alaskan Malamute, and a lot like a wolf.
Like a Siberian, they can be pets but they need a lot of exercise. Walking just won´t do it—besides pulling sleds these dogs are good at pulling carts and skijoring. In Canada they were used as sled dogs and also for hunting polar bears.
With their thick coats, Canadian Eskimo Dogs are prone to heatstroke. They usually live about 12 years.
Like many sled dogs, they have a strong prey drive and are not suited around small animals. There has been a breeding program in place since 1972—if not for that the dogs might already be extinct. Over the years they have been crossed with Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies,and maybe with other dogs.
Some of these dogs were used in the development of the Northern Inuit Dog.
Even in Canada they are considered rare, unlike years ago, before the popularity of the snowmobile.
The name is native American, a Chinook phrase that means “Spirit of the Wolf”.
These dogs are said to live up to 15 years and have few health problems. Fanciers claim that the dogs are good tempered even with cats, but there are still so few of them around that most of these claims cannot be verified. Dogs are still rare.
They are a Spitz, popular in Finland but not seen in many other countries outside of Scandinavia. Finnish Lapphund only weigh about 17 or 18 kilos (about 35 to 40 pounds) with a long thick coat and a wolf-like face.
Some of them are black or brown but some others have a wolf-like sable coat. The tail is carried over the back but may hang down when the dog is standing.
Most Finnish Lapphunds are healthy but some are prone to retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Very few have hip dysplasia.
An average lifespan is about 13 years. If you are looking for an active dog that never minds the cold, this is a great choice. Finnish Lapphunds are one of the few breeds of dog allowed to legally live outside in Finland.
They are now registered by the AKC in the US.
Some solid black German Shepherd Dogs are also wolf-like in appearance. American Alsatians also look like wolves but they have been bred to look like the Dire Wolf, an extinct species.
If you are looking for some breeds listed in this article (like the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute) you might be able to find a dog at your local animal shelter. If you are in a tropical area, your chances are small, since most of the wolf-like breeds are from the Arctic. You can also try Petfinder.com and see if any of these dogs are available in nearby cities.
If you want to look for a breeder, try visiting a dog show and looking at some of the dogs you are interested in. Just do not buy from a pet shop or an internet puppy wholesaler, since you will be purchasing from a puppy mill and will end up with a dog difficult to housetrain.
If your dog is in need of help please look over advice to help sick dogs before proceeding. There are articles about diseases, advice on how to save money on your dogs health care, and articles about natural cures you can use to treat your dog at home.
About DrMark1961 : Author of this Article
If you are looking for articles on dog health, dog training, dog selection, puppies, dog behavior and canine philosophy, or dog law, you can click on one of my “in the spotlight hubs” and find the specific article in the subject you are searching for.