Siberian Husky in a winter

Top 14 Dog Breeds with Astonishing Links to Wolves

Dog Breeds
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Dogs have a long-standing connection to their ancestral wolves, a relationship that fascinates many.

Recent DNA studies have shed light on which dog breeds share the closest genetic ties to wolves.

Here’s an insight into the 14 breeds that surprisingly resemble their wild ancestors.

Shih Tzu: A Surprising Genetic Relative of Wolves

Shih Tzu in a serene garden

Despite its distinct appearance from wolves, the Shih Tzu, originating from China around 800 BC, is one of the breeds most closely related to wolves.

This revelation is unexpected given the breed’s modern role as a companion dog.

Pekingese: Imperial Elegance with Wild Roots

The Pekingese, another Chinese breed known for its imperial history, is among the least genetically diverged from wolves.

This breed’s enduring legacy within the Chinese Imperial Palace highlights its prestigious past.

Samoyed: The Northern Spitz with Ancestral Ties

Samoyed in a snowy landscape

Originating from Russia, the Samoyed, a northern spitz-type breed, maintains both its social nature and primitive traits.

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Used for sledding and reindeer herding, the breed’s link to its wild ancestors is more visually apparent.

Lhasa Apso: Ancient Guardian with Wolf-like Genes

The Lhasa Apso, a watchdog from Tibet, possesses a genetic makeup that confirms its 4,000-year history.

Despite its distinct appearance, this breed remains closely related to wolves.

Tibetan Terrier: The Misnamed Ancient Breed

Contrary to its name, the Tibetan Terrier is not a true terrier. This breed, with over 2,000 years of pure breeding in Tibet, shares a close genetic link to wolves.

Saluki: The Sighthound of Ancient Trails

Saluki in a desert with Middle Eastern

The Saluki, native to the Middle East and a companion on the Silk Road, is one of the oldest breeds.

Its depiction in ancient rock art and its genetic makeup both point to its deep-rooted connection to wolves.

Afghan Hound: An Ancient Sighthound’s Link to Wolves

Similar to the Saluki, the Afghan Hound is considered one of the oldest dog breeds, with a genetic structure showing minimal divergence from wolves.

Siberian Husky: The Northern Breed’s Wolf Ancestry

Siberian Husky in a winter

The Siberian Husky, from the harsh climates of Siberia, is used for sledding and shows a strong resemblance to wolves, both in appearance and genetics.

Shar-Pei: China’s Ancient Breed with Wolf-like Genes

The Shar-Pei, another ancient Chinese breed, shares surprising genetic similarities with wolves, despite its unique appearance.

Basenji: Africa’s Primitive Hunter

The Basenji, a hunting dog from Africa, known for its unique vocalizations, shares a close genetic relationship with wolves, underscoring its ancient lineage.

Shiba Inu: Japan’s Oldest and Smallest Breed

The Shiba Inu, used originally for hunting in Japan, is one of the oldest breeds. Its DNA reveals a significant link to its wolf ancestors.

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Akita: The Large Guardian with Ancient Roots

The Akita, a larger relative of the Shiba Inu and a guardian breed from Japan, shares a deep genetic connection to wolves, evident in both the Japanese and American varieties.

Alaskan Malamute: The Large Northern Breed’s Wolf Connection

Known for its wolf-like appearance, the Alaskan Malamute has a strong genetic link to its wild ancestors, serving as a sled and cart pulling breed.

Chow Chow: China’s Wolf-like Ancient Breed

The Chow Chow, among the oldest breeds and with a distinct resemblance to wolves, has a deeply rooted genetic makeup, highlighting its ancient origins and use as guard dogs.

Understanding the Canine-Wolf Evolution

The journey from wolves to modern dogs, scientifically known as Canis lupus familiaris, is a fascinating topic.

This transition, believed to have started 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, involved two major steps: initial interaction with human tribes and later selective breeding post-agriculture.

Despite their diverse appearances and roles, dogs’ shared history with wolves continues to be an intriguing area of research and discovery.

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