Differences Between Wolves and Dogs

Many people ask us the question: what is the difference between a wolf and a dog? Since all dogs are descended from wolves, the two species share some similar characteristics, such as their sense of smell, and even behavioral things like putting back their ears to show submission. That being said, their similarities are few. Dogs have spent many thousands of years living amongst humans, and have evolved to be very different from their wild ancestors. 

Dogs are domesticated, and in many cases this means the retention of juvenile traits. An example of this is the fact that the majority of dog breeds have floppy ears and short snouts; these are characteristics that are only found in wolf puppies. Exceptions to this rule are dog breeds such as Huskies and Shepherd type dogs. These breeds are generally the closest you can get, aesthetically, to owning a wolf while still having a dog. We encourage anyone wanting to own a wolf or wolf-dog cross to instead get one of these breeds.

If you were to look at a wolf, the first thing you are sure to notice is its piercing yellow eyes. Nearly all wolves have varying shades of yellow eyes. This is an eye color that is occasionally found in dogs, though most have brown or sometimes blue eyes. 

The next thing you are sure to notice about a wolf is how big its head is. Wolves’ heads are much larger in comparison to their body size than dogs. Wolves also have chests and hips so narrow that you can easily hold their front legs together, elbows touching, and they can stand comfortably. Coupled with the fact that wolves have very long legs and large paws, this allows them to run great distances at very high speeds. If you were to watch a wolf run, you would notice that its back remains almost perfectly flat and smooth. In contrast, dogs (like Huskies and other shepherds) have very wide hips and chests and rather short legs in comparison to their body size. This is the reason that dogs’ backs tend to bob up and down when they run.  
  Kiya, 100% wolf
Perhaps the biggest difference between a wolf and a dog, and the thing that causes the most problems when owning a wolf, is their mental state. Wolves reach maturity anywhere from 1 to 3 years of age. Up until this point, their minds and habits are similar to that of a dog. When wolves do finally reach maturity, they become very independent, and possessive of anything that happens to find its way into their mouth. It is usually at this point that people who own a wolf or a wolf-dog cross find that they have an animal they can no longer control.
 M:W Resident Wolf Arrow Abraham, a Husky/Shepherd