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Are Huskies Related to Wolves? Husky vs Wolf Breakdown

Are Huskies Related to Wolves? Husky vs Wolf Breakdown

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most asked questions regarding the Siberian Husky… Are huskies related to wolves? In this article, I’ll cover exactly what science has to say on such a popular question.

Are Huskies Related to Wolves?

Is a husky a wolf?

A Husky is not a wolf. They’re two separate breeds of animals, despite sharing 98.8% of the same mitochondrial D.N.A.

Although appearing much more like a wolf than most other dog breeds, huskies aren’t that much more closely related to wolves than say, a sausage dog!

Some people debate that domesticated dogs are not the same species as their ancestors, the gray wolf. The definition of “species” being a group of individuals who already interbreed or have the potential to would suggest that the gray wolf and dog are in fact the same species.

Originally, science thought that dogs were a direct descendant of the gray wolf. But a newer study suggests that dogs evolved separately from a common ancestor, the prehistoric wolf.

The family tree is complex and a lot of subgroups of the prehistoric wolf went extinct. It still isn’t clear exactly which group of wolves are responsible for our dog breeds today.

Similarities & Differences Between Huskies and Wolves

husky vs wolf

1. Appearance

There are a few clear visual similarities between huskies and wolves which is pretty much why this question is asked so much.

The huskies initial appearance does resemble a wolf. The husky has a similar-looking face structure to a wolf, along with similarly pointed ears. These two key factors are what make up the clear visual similarities between both of them.

Huskies along with wolves have two thick coats, an undercoat that sheds, and a topcoat for further protection against the outside elements. These coats are both similar in look, although the coloring of the coats does vary from husky to wolf.

That’s actually about it… The differences now outweigh the similarities.

2. Markings and Color

Despite both of them having double-layered coats, the coloring of their coats is fairly different. Huskies have more defined color differences in the coat, especially in their face markings, whereas wolves tend to display a more gray/brown blended-looking coat, more suited for survival in the wild. Take a look here.

4. Eyes

The above photo also displays the difference in eye color. Wolves often have yellow/amber/ brown eyes whereas the huskies usually have light blue colorings. Heterochromia which huskies are known for does not happen with wolves. Heterochromia is one of the most visually striking elements of the Siberian husky.

5. Height

Wolves can be so large they actually hold the No.1 spot for the biggest animal in the canine family. The husky is far from holding this title. The average height of a male husky is 21-23.5 inches compared to a male wolf which is 26 – 32 and in some cases even taller.

6. Snout and Teeth

Wolves have a narrower and longer snout which leads to a mouth full of bigger and sharper teeth. Both of which help wolves survive in the wild. While the husky being a domesticated pet, not needing to continuously hunt and kill animals, does not need to have teeth so sharp.

7. Head

Although the head is similar in structure and shape, the head of a wolf if much larger than a husky. This larger head contains a much larger brain. Having a bigger brain capacity enables the wolf to have superior intelligence and allows them to survive in the wild. Our domesticated husky although deemed an independent dog, would fall very short on the survival side of things compared to a wolf.

Husky vs Wolf Comparison Chart

Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between huskies and wolves with this breed comparison chart.

Siberian HuskyWolf
HeightFemale – 20-23 inch
Male – 21-23.5 inch
26-32 inch
Adult wolf (F+M)
WeightFemale – 35-50 lbs
Male – 45-60 lbs
Female – 50-121 lbs
Male – 50-176 lbs
Lifespan12-14 years6-8 years (in the wild)
LocationGlobalNorth America,
Europe, Asia
Eye ColorsBlue, Brown,
Bi-Colored,
Parti-colored
Amber, brown
CoatDouble coatedDouble coated
EarsPointed uprightPointed upright

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Behavior &Temperament: Husky vs Wolf

When it comes to the behavior and temperament of huskies and wolves, these animals couldn’t be further apart. Our huskies are domesticated family pets, and wolves are wild animals.

Domestication is what separates these two animals.

The Siberian husky is a warm, affectionate, social, human-loving animal who is likely to come to you for cuddles and playtime. This happens because of domestication, the process of changing the behavior, temperament, and mind of an animal to live closely with humans.

Coming to you for affection and playtime is obviously the last thing a wolf would ever do. Wolves are wild animals and have only one goal: survival.

A very popular question asked by many is if huskies make good guard dogs? Interestingly enough, this is only asked because of their wolf-like appearance! The answer is that they generally make terrible guard dogs as they are not aggressive, protective or overly suspicious of anyone or anything.

I have an entire article about huskies being guard dogs, some things may surprise you!

When Did Dogs Split From Wolves?

From a 35,000-year-old ancient wolf rib bone found in the Taimyr peninsular in northernmost Siberia, scientists have found that dogs split from their wolf ancestors at least 27,000 years ago.

Before knowing this, scientists thought that the dog-wolf split only happened around 16,000 years ago. Source (livescience.com)

This separation point isn’t to be mixed up with domestication. The original domestication point has not been discovered and remains a complete mystery. Although there is no clear date, science has discovered dogs and people being buried together up to 14,000 years ago.

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Husky Vs Wolf FAQ’s

Let’s go through some more commonly asked questions about huskies being wolves, and wolves being huskies!

Is a Siberian husky a wolf hybrid?

The short answer is no. While they have unusually close (almost identical) mitochondrial D.N.A. they are still two different breeds of animals. Dog/wolf hybrids are when a domesticated dog interbreeds with a wild wolf.

Are husky wolf hybrids dangerous?

People have had mixed results trying to make a nice family pet of a wolf hybrid. You could never be totally sure that your husky-wolf would not attack you or any other small pets.

Why do huskies howl like wolves?

Wolves howl in the wild because the sound travels much further through the air. The howl is primarily used to locate another wolf or pack and is often used by lost wolves to find their way back. When other wolves hear howling, they will almost always howl back.

Which dog breed has the most wolf DNA?

While all dogs have at least a 98.8% match of mitochondrial D.N.A there are some that are technically closer than others.

Summary

Hopefully, this has cleared up your question about Siberian huskies and wolves. If you have a husky-wolf hybrid, comment below! I would love to hear about them.

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The Furminator Undercoat Rake and a Hertzko Slicker Brush are by far the two best brushes that any husky owner should use.

Best Online Training Program For Huskies

Brain Training For Dogs has become very popular with Siberian Huskies in the last few years. Owners that have tried it say amazing things about the incredible results and how easily implemented the training is.

Best Husky Puppy Book 

If you would like an easy to read guide for training your husky puppy, check out my book The Husky Puppy Handbook on Amazon. All purchases are greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer

The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here


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Jonathan Johnson

Sunday 21st of February 2021

And my do is very well trained I don't use a leash to walk him

Jonathan Johnson

Sunday 21st of February 2021

I have a Canadian husky black with blue eyes he is huge like a big German Shepherd and I have read about the breeders in canada the dogs are crossed with Wolves and I read about how the esquimos domesticated the husky thousands of years ago and they said they didn't want to change the wolf that was now a dog well you say huskies don't have the capacity to survive my huskies love to go hunting with me and when my dog fight he crushes the dogs head because he tries to swallow them hole I think you should think about it every animal that is brought to the american continent his decendants are much much bigger and the esquimos used the domesticated wolves from siberia for hunting as well as for mushing if every animals decendants in america grow bigger than the ancestors I can totally see how the grey wolf and the husky different in size the husky didn't really change compared to it's ancestors how sure are you when you say my husky is not a close resemblance of it's relative the grey wolf I mean shoot he dominates everyone and every animal except me he only respects me but he has never bit anyone except me but I he warned me and I was playing to rough so tell me how my dog that is the size of a small wolf and stronger than most dogs not a wolf yes he is registered a purebred husky and mushers from Alaska have come to see him and they say he walks and acts like a wolf but he's a purebred husky they say and I live in Mexico

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