Wolves are majestic creatures that are known for their sharp teeth and haunting howls. They are found throughout North America, Asia, and Europe, and look strikingly similar to some of the world’s most beloved domesticated dog species. But that brings up an interesting question as to what other animals are like wolves. Keep reading to learn more about some of the animals.
10 Animals Like Wolves
Domesticated dogs are, of course, some of the most well-known animals like wolves. But did you know there are several other species of animals that share similar traits to wolves?
Let’s take a look at 10 animals like wolves and learn a bit more about what makes them similar to these fierce canines.
1. Domesticated Dogs
Domesticated dogs may be the closest animal that is related to wolves. While you may look at a pug and wonder how that little flat-faced creature can be related to a wolf. If you trace the pug’s lineage back far enough, you will find that they are descendants of wolves.
The truth is, all domesticated dogs are descendants of wolves, and both the domesticated dog and wolves belong to the Canidae family. Genetically, however, there are several domesticated dogs that are more closely related to wolves.
The Siberian husky is probably the pet dog that gets mistaken for a wolf most often. This is because the two have such similar appearances. Other domestic dog breeds that share the closest genetics to wolves include Alaskan malamute, akita, chow chow, shiba inu, and samoyed.
Coyotes are often confused with wolves due to their extremely similar appearance, although coyotes are smaller than wolves. Both the coyote and the wolf belong to the canine family and both are carnivorous. However, the coyote’s food source is much less diverse than a wolf’s.
Another difference between the two is that wolves tend to be more reclusive than coyotes, and it is not uncommon for coyotes to make their way into residential areas and attack pets and even people. It is because of this brazenness that some people feel coyotes are much more dangerous than wolves.
Like wolves, jackals are a part of the canine family and even look similar in appearance. That doesn’t mean these two animals don’t have their differences. Jackals are much smaller than wolves and even have thinner bodies and legs.
They also are not found in as many different areas as wolves. Jackals are located in Africa, while wolves are found throughout North America, Canada, and Russia.
Foxes don’t share a lot of the same characteristics as wolves, but they do have a canine-type look to their faces and they are both in the same family. Foxes, however, are much smaller than wolves and have a bushier tail.
Even though foxes are in the same family as wolves, a lot of people mistakenly assume they are more closely related to felines due to some characteristics that they share, such as more pronounced whiskers and retractable claws.
Both the hyena and the wolf are dog-like animals that are skilled hunters who live and roam in packs. The biggest difference between the two, however, is that hyenas are not a member of the canine family like wolves.
Hyenas belong to their own family known as Hyenidae, while wolves are in the Canidae family. Another difference is that, even though they look similar to a dog, hyenas are more closely related to felines than canines.
Dingoes have many of the same characteristics as wolves. They are both in the same canine family, live in packs, travel far distances, and share that traditional dog-like appearance. There are a few differences, however, most notably the size.
Dingoes are much smaller than wolves, reaching about 2 feet tall and 44 pounds. When you compare that to the average size of a wolf, which is almost 3 feet tall and over 100 pounds, you can see just how much smaller dingoes are. Dingoes also have shorter fur than wolves, and are native to Australia.
7. Bush Dogs
Bush dogs are closely related to maned wolves, although they look like a cross between a wild pig and a small wolf. These animals are native to South and Central America, and are considered rare due to their population continuing to decrease.
While they both live in packs and are carnivores, bush dogs are much smaller than wolves, weighing only about 13 pounds.
8. Raccoon Dogs
Most people are not as familiar with raccoon dogs as they are with the other animals on our list. Native to the forests in Europe and Asia, these creatures look like a cross between a domesticated dog and a raccoon, but with short, round ears that look similar to a mouse’s ears.
These animals were named after their face markers, which resemble that of a raccoon. It’s because of their long snouts and canine-like faces, however, that make raccoon dogs similar to wolves.
Native to Asia, dholes have an appearance that can only be described as a cross between a fox and a wolf. Like the bush dog, dholes are considered rare with a population that is in decline.
These canines are commonly known as Asian wild dogs and can weigh a little less than 50 pounds. While they are smaller than wolves, they do have that dog-like appearance that wolves also possess.
10. African Wild Dogs
As with other species on our list, the African wild dog has many of the same dog-like characteristics that wolves have and they are both a member of the Canidae family. Despite these few similarities, African wild dogs are more closely related to dholes.
These creatures are also not as widespread as wolves, and are found in small areas throughout Africa. According to the World Wildlife Fund, African wild dogs are considered one of the world’s most endangered mammals.