“Is that a wolf?” How many Husky owners have heard this question? It’s no secret that the winter-loving, curly-tailed Husky has been mistaken for a wolf countless times throughout history. But just how closely related are these two? Are there any strong, close connections that make them almost one-in-the-same?
These two are drastically different, so don’t let their looks fool you. We are going to talk about each individual aspect of these gorgeous breeds so you can set the misconceptions straight.
A Quick Glance
The beautiful vocal Husky is a member of the spitz family. These dogs are built for the cold climate, and they absolutely adore snow. It’s no wonder—they were bred for exactly that purpose by the Chukchi people of Siberia.
Huskies found their way to America when they competed in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes sled race in 1909. Since then, they have become one of America’s favorite canines, warming homes across all 50 states. According to the American Kennel Club, the Husky ranks number 12 out of 195 dog breeds, so you can tell just how popular they are.
These nature lovers adore the outdoors—and the colder, the better! Hot climates aren’t as kind to the Husky, so living in areas that have all four seasons is the best for these spunky, energetic pooches.
Huskies are vocal, silly canines with boundless energy—so, try to keep up if you can. They have their own language apart from other canines—with a series of barks, howls, whines, and groans. They talk when they’re feeling any emotion, and the sound for each is unique.
Huskies are generally very good with people of all ages, but they can be very hyper. So, if you have little ones running around, they may knock them down unintentionally. However, they are very tolerant of children, which makes them wonderful family pets. Of course, like any other dog, you should always supervise interactions with little kids.
These dogs are the epitome of a free-spirit, so they also don’t work well locked up in cages with no room to roam. They will happily accompany you on walks, hikes, rides—any adventure, really. They have a deep wanderlust and would run for miles if you let them. If it snows, watch how even an old Husky turns into a frisky pup again, playing and burrowing in it.
A Husky that doesn’t have enough stimulation mentally or physically can develop poor manners. The reason is that these dogs were bred for strenuous work, and lazing about or being caged doesn’t work for them.
Huskies have obedience in their blood. Because they’re hyper, training may prove to be a bit of a challenge at first. They might get so excited or overwhelmed that they get ahead of themselves. However, with consistency and positive reinforcement, you can train them without too much of a problem.
Huskies are extremely intelligent and bred to work, work, work! So, if you give them a task, they will complete it with agility and efficiency. Simple tasks like house training should come as no problem for them, but you still need to remember that some dogs take longer to catch on than others.
Huskies bore very quickly, so they need constant mental stimulation. If you don’t provide them with space, activities, chew toys, and other entertainment means, they can become highly destructive and develop bad behaviors.
Health and Care
Huskies are cold weather dogs able to withstand temperatures as low as 75° below zero. So, it’s not in their best interest to live in a scorching climate unless you take strict precautions to keep them cool. They’re better suited for an area with all four seasons—or mild temperatures year-round. Otherwise, they can get very uncomfortable or even suffer from serious issues, like a heat stroke.
Overall, huskies are healthy creatures, but that doesn’t mean they come without potential issues. Huskies are prone to skin problems related to allergies that can cause hotspots, rashes, hair loss, and itching. They can also suffer from eye issues like cataracts and uveodermatologic syndrome.
Huskies are suitable for most family situations. If you live in a very hot climate, you need to make sure you accommodate your dog at all times. Huskies are better suited for colder climates or areas that have reasonable summers. They do very well with people of all ages, however, they should always be supervised around small children.
It’s hard to tell exactly when the majestic wild wolf was domesticated, but researchers have pinned somewhere between 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. It’s incredible to consider that all of our vastly different canines came from wolf cousins.
Across the globe today, there are three species of wolf and 40 subspecies. The main three are timber wolves, red wolves, and gray wolves. They naturally inhabit Europe, Asia, and North America but have become more endangered due to sport hunting.
When it comes to having a wolf as a pet, it’s definitely possible but it usually requires a permit, experience, and the right living conditions. There are also wolf hybrids that tone down some of these beautiful creatures’ wild qualities, making them more suitable for the pet lifestyle.
The idea of owning a pet wolf may sound appealing. But for both your sake and the animal’s, it’s absolutely essential to know what you’re getting into so you can raise them appropriately—and legally.
Stories of wolves are ages old. They’re known for being fierce, relentless predators that are pack-minded and powerful. As pets, the same sentiment extends but is watered down. These animals are not like regular dogs. They require special accommodations and appropriate training by seasoned owners only.
Wolves are incredibly reliant on their pack, which means that once they consider you family—you’re an essential part of their lives. Unlike dogs, they form highly complex relationships with their families.
Domesticated wolves still carry these attributes. They are loyal, protective, and exceptionally intuitive. Some may be fiercely independent and authoritative, while others are more passive. The personality differences stem from their role in their pack.
Males and females tend to carry themselves differently, too. Surprisingly, females tend to be more domineering and in charge. Males may show off initially, but they tend to be more agreeable, especially with other pets.
Proper training is single-handedly the most important factor when you own a wolf as a pet. You have to know exactly how to handle them and be well-aware of what to expect from them, too. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to handle them, it’s best to go with a look-alike or hybrid rather than a real wolf.
Because of their instinctual nature, they will require an established hierarchy. Your wolf couldn’t look at you as the omega in the situation. They need to understand from a very early age that you are the leader and that they must follow suit. If you don’t integrate this into your relationship, it could be a recipe for disaster.
Unlike what you may have heard, wolves aren’t inherently aggressive creatures. They are more prone to show aggression when they feel something or someone is a threat, but otherwise, they usually avoid confrontation. That’s not to say that you won’t have a wolf prone to more aggressive tendencies, but with proper behavioral training—this may be averted.
Due to the natural, instinctual prey drive of a wolf, you may never be able to train them to be around other domesticated animals. If you have smaller pets, this could pose risks. You have to consider your living situation and whether a wolf would fit into the equation.
Wolves, no matter how tame, are still wild animals. You may find when your wolf dog is around 3 months old, they become increasingly destructive. While this is normal behavior, you have to teach them how to channel their energy appropriately.
Health and Care
Wolves are genetically designed to withstand the elements. They’re hardy, capable, and generally very healthy animals. But, like any living thing, they are susceptible to certain ailments.
Like other large dogs, they can have health issues such as bloat, hip dysplasia, and other joint problems.
It’s important to understand that wolves as pets require special attention. They are domesticated enough to where they can’t be out in the wild, but are also wild enough that they can’t be treated as an average dog.
You have to ensure they aren’t out terrorizing the neighborhood or left to destroy the house while you’re away. Care for your wolf properly, so they live a long, happy life with you with no major complications.
Wolves are best in the hands of very experienced owners who can handle the challenges that come with them. Well-educated owners who understand the fundamental aspects of wolf-owning should be the only people who have them.
Also, every area has different laws when it comes to owning a purebred wolf. Be sure to check laws where you live to make sure it’s legal, and if you need a permit or other form of documentation to own one.
Are Huskies Related to Wolves?
It’s thought that all dogs have wolf ancestry, but Huskies are no more related to wolves than other dogs. This may come as a shock because of their striking resemblance, but Huskies are part of the Spitz family—which is a working group breed.
If you put a wolf and a Husky side-by-side, you can tell the exact differences. Huskies have a smaller frame with a curled tail that sits high up on the lower back. Wolves have longer, lankier bodies with tucked tails. Wolf bodies are more like that of a German Shepherd, whereas huskies are like other sled dogs.
Huskies and wolves can have similar color and coat thickness, but otherwise are very different both physically and mentally.
Which Breed is Right for You?
Huskies have always been domesticated animals. Wolves, on the other hand, are still wild. So, if you are thinking of getting a wolf, make sure that you have an appropriate plan in place to provide proper training, a suitable environment, and the right stimulation.
If you opt for a Husky, you need to make sure that you have the time to provide them with adequate exercise, mental stimulus, and living space.
Having a wolf as a pet is a better idea for someone who is an extremely seasoned owner. As cool as it sounds, it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to remember that you put that animal and other people at risk if you do not raise them correctly. Also, keep in mind that you are required to have the proper permit or license to own a wolf.
Huskies are suitable for most families. If you have the time to spend with them, they can make excellent companion animals. They tend to work well with strangers, other pets, and small children. However, depending on the area you live in, having a Husky may not be the most appropriate decision.
Be sure to do your research to determine which of these are right for you. In any matter, always make sure that the well-being of the animal comes first. In most places, wolf-owning is a no-no, so most people won’t even have the option. Owning a wolf is not for all, and they will never be a traditional “pet” regardless of any attempt to tame them.
If you’re looking for a dog who resembles a wolf, consider a Husky, a wolf hybrid, or another dog who shares a likeness to these wild animals.