Siberian Husky vs. Wolf: Are They Related? (Differences & More)

Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Becky Roberts

Quick Summary: The Siberian Husky is a high-energy yet calm dog with an extensive and long-standing background. They look similar to wolves and are also often confused with an Akita because of the similarity in appearance. The most popular wolf species is known as the Gray Wolf. The Husky is a big dog, but the wolf is a lot bigger and is the biggest animal within the dog family. The fur of the Husky can be many shades, while the Gray Wolf generally has a white and gray coat. There is a chance that if the wolf had been domesticated for a few thousand years, as is the case with Siberian Husky, it is possible that he would be more like a domestic dog. However, at that point, he’d be considered a totally distinct species, in all likelihood.

One of the most frequent questions asked in the dog world is, “Are the Siberian Husky and the Wolf long-lost brothers?” The answer isn’t entirely certain. We do know that a few individuals have opted to adopt mixed wolf-husky breeds as pets.

Some believe that the dog comes from the wolf and that the dog’s domestication occurred during the past few millennia. Although genetic evidence supports this idea, some scientists believe that they developed independently from an ancestor who shared a common origin. Due to the many thousands of years of crossing breeds of dogs, we do not know how exactly they’re related; however, we know they are connected to each other in some way.

No matter what their background, there are a few commonalities between Siberian Husky and the Wolf. However, we will examine a significant amount of distinctions in this article.

Siberian Husky vs. Wolf

Breed History and Background

The Siberian Husky is a high-energy yet calm dog with an extensive and long-standing background. People often mistake them for a common dog, but there are distinct differences and many similarities. Before we get into the details of what differentiates them, first, we must be aware of where they came from.

Siberian Husky: An Overview

It is believed that the Siberian Husky was born through people of the Chukchi Tribe within Russia many thousands of years ago. It is believed to have come from other canines that are believed to be wolves, but this is not proven with certainty.

The Husky was designed to carry light loads across vast terrain areas at high speed without causing fatigue. After their work, they also served as family pets because of their playful and sweet nature.

It is believed that the Siberian Husky was relatively unknown to the outside world until 1925, when a group of Huskies traveled 658 miles across frozen terrain in just 5 days to provide a life-saving remedy to fight a fatal epidemic of Diphtheria. The Siberian Husky called Togo, the leader of the pack, was one of the dogs, along with Balto, one of the most adored and famous dogs ever.

Since its inception, the Husky has been among the most loved dog breeds worldwide and is listed with the American Kennel Club as the 14th most-loved breed of dog in America.

Due to their similar nature, huskies are an animal that has been incorporated into the trend of designer dogs that has taken several nations to the forefront. There is evidence of this in the form of popular mixes, including that of the German Shepherd and the Husky or even a smaller mixed breed version called the Husky-pom.

Gray Wolf: An Overview

There are two kinds of Wolf species – the Gray and the Red. However, certain scientists believe there are three kinds, including the Ethiopian Wolf (which is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf). It is believed that as many as 38 different subspecies belong to the Wolf, and they are often named for the region where they live. The most popular wolf species is known as the Gray Wolf, and throughout this article, we’ll refer to him as the Gray Wolf.

The theory is that the Gray Wolf originated from the Eurasian continent about one million years ago and moved into North America approximately 750,000 years ago. They’ve since spread across the globe and differ in size and shape depending on their environment. They are extremely adaptable animals and are one of the mammals that survived the Ice Age.

Appearance and Size

It is said that the Husky, as well as the wolf, are quite similar. Both are covered with large fur that protects them from the elements. And underneath that fur, they each have an undercoat that keeps the body warm. Another thing they have in common is that they both have similar shapes to their heads. However, that’s where the similarities come to an end.

It is true that the Husky is a big dog, but the wolf is a lot bigger and is the biggest animal within the dog family. The Husky is about 23.5 inches tall from shoulder to paw, while the Gray Wolf is much taller in the range of between 26-32 inches.

The Husky has bright blue eyes, while the wolf has yellow eyes. The fur of the Husky can be many shades, while the Gray Wolf generally has white and gray fur. The wolf has larger legs that allow him to take longer strides and cover greater distances than the Husky.

It is also easy to observe how the Husky has transformed into a domestic dog in the course of time, as his characteristics could make him unsuitable for nature. The wolf is much bigger in feet that allow the wolf to move across different terrains, including frozen snow or boiling desert sand. The Wolf also has larger teeth that allow him to tear and hunt prey and has a smaller muzzle, however, it is highly unlikely that the Husky is an experienced hunter with the same skills.

The Wolf also has a bigger head than the Husky; however, it is not in line with the size of his body. It is believed that the wolf has superior intelligence, which assists him in surviving the dangers of the wild. The extra power is geared toward survival, and it’s unlikely to allow him to perform additional tricks, such as backflips or cartwheels, at the human’s command.

If it’s an animal that resembles the wolves you’re looking for, and you are looking for a wolf-like dog, then consider looking at this breed: the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. It is a domesticated dog; however, it is a relatively new breed. It looks similar to wolves when compared with the Siberian Husky.  Siberian Husky is also often confused with an Akita because of its similarity in appearance.

Temperament and Personality Traits

It is important to note that the Husky and the Wolf are very distinct in their behavior. One can be a domestic animal, and one is wild, so there aren’t many affinities or even any similarities between the two. Domestication is the process used to change the mentality that the animals have so that they can be able to live happily and peacefully with humans.

First of all, as a domesticated animal, the Husky is at ease when surrounded by humans. However, the wolf is averse to human beings, and their natural habitats are located in areas where humans are not.

Furthermore, it is believed that domesticated dogs cannot attain maturity age because the dog will be constantly dependent on their human master as they would be on their mother when he was out in the wild. The Wolf matures completely at 2 years old, and at the point of maturity, he will leave the family group to create an individual pack or even join another and thus is capable of living by himself.

The third reason is that Huskies can be a bit silly. They love to play and muck around with their furry or human siblings and lie on the couch with their families. They enjoy sharing feelings with their human companions without any purpose other than being loved.

The wolf doesn’t do this. Everything the animal does is performed for a specific reason. They might fight with their friends; however, this is an important lesson to be able to fight or hunt. They certainly don’t cuddle to be loved by their pack.

One thing they could share is that Siberian Husky and the wolf can be heard howling. It is believed that this is a characteristic that is innate in dogs and is frequently used to warn other dogs not to invade their territory. But it’s also possible that other dogs also are known to howl, like the Beagle or the Labrador. It frequently will do so whenever they hear sirens or certain notes in the music, which means it isn’t an exclusive resemblance between the Husky and the Wolf.

Wolf-Dog Hybrids: Mating and Behavior

The wolves and dogs are both interfertile, meaning that they can mate successfully, and their offspring may also produce offspring. It is rare if it ever happens in the wild, as packs are protective of females, so they will not be allowed to crossbreed. But, since humans have been fascinated by mixing domestic dogs with wolves, they’ve begun to explore this over the past few decades.

These hybrid breeds have been adopted into homes with families; however, the results have differed. If they are good, the majority of owners say that it was extremely difficult, and more so than any dog they’ve encountered. The wolf and dog breeds develop at different rates, which makes their behavior unpredictable due to this, there is no single answer that is the best for raising hybrids.

There is even a belief that hybrids threaten humans since they have the instinct to hunt; however, it has a lower level of human security, and this is the case for the latest generation that are pure wolves. In particular, it is being reported in Canada and other countries similar to Germany and other countries, where Wolves are growing bolder and expanding into human space and are cause for concern. It is unclear whether this is because they are in desperate need of food or if they are connecting humans to food sources, but either way, the behavior is new and something that biologists would like to observe.

If this is an issue you’d like to tackle the plunge, there could be obstacles in the way even before you buy the hybrid dog. In some states, the hybrid wolf-dog breed can be considered an exotic pet like the Wolf, so you’ll need a special permit. Make sure you check the laws in your state if this is something that is something you’re interested in. There is no need for a permit to own a Siberian Husky.

Is Wolf Domestication Possible?

Wolf ownership has long been a topic of contention in America for quite a long period of time. As such, there’s little data or examples to draw accurate facts from. One famous instance of a failed effort at domesticating a wolf is the case of the Gysinge Wolf. After many years in captivity, the wolf escaped and inflicted injury on 31 people, and 12 of them died.

While recent research has shown that wolves may develop an emotional connection to their primary caregiver, this is only true while they grow as young adults and puppies. The subject hasn’t been investigated after they reach sexual maturity.

In the wild, that is the time when wolves quit their family. It is, therefore, possible that this isn’t an actual attachment; however, the animal is simply showing dependence on its primary caretaker until the time he doesn’t require a caregiver. The Husky is likely to show this type of attachment throughout the rest of his life

Experts say that the biggest risk in domesticating a wolf is when people treat wolves as they would treat a dog. The wolf isn’t an animal and should not be treated like a dog. According to the dog behaviorist Ian Dunbar explains, “Trying to train dogs by studying wolf behavior is like learning how to raise a child by watching chimps.”

The solution is that they might be domesticated, but with a risk. You must certainly not think of this method as the one of a dog or, in this instance, the case of the Siberian Husky.

Husky vs. Wolf: Myths and Facts

Myth: Huskies and Malamutes are half-wolves.

Fact: Huskies and Malamutes are totally separate species from wolves.

Myth: A wolf will be a better dog to guard my house.

Fact: Wolves naturally shy away from humans, and they either flee or act in fear and attack them.

Myth: Wolves would fit into my family and be an ideal pet alongside my other dog.

Fact: Wolves hunt domestic dogs, and, in certain countries, they are the primary food source. Therefore, there is always the possibility that your wolf, or hybrid, could strike your dog.

Conclusion

It is important to note that the Siberian Husky and the wolf are vastly different, so there aren’t many similarities between them. While they might appear like one another, this is not in terms of their similarities.

There is a chance that if the wolf had been domesticated for a few thousand years, as is the case with the Siberian Husky, it is possible that he would be more like a domestic dog. However, at that point, he’d be considered to be a totally distinct species, in all likelihood.

If the experts decide otherwise, the best option is to purchase a Husky for your home for the family because they’re just as attractive, and you can admire the wild animals from a distance (for safety).

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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