Huskies look much like wolves; as far as their physical appearance is concerned. When you look at their faces, you will almost think that these two are from the same family.
Both have a double coat that works to insulate them against extreme temperatures, especially during the winter.
The tails of the two are also heavily furred. And also, just like the wolves, huskies howl as opposed to barking like the rest of the dogs. Other features that make the two animals look similar include wedge-shaped heads and pointed ears.
Why do huskies look like wolves?
Well, the truth is, huskies and wolves share their DNA and that means they can breed together to produce normal and healthy offspring. However, they don’t belong to the same family.
The similarity between these two animals is such that some movie producers opt to use huskies to stand in for movies that require the character of wolves. A popular example is a movie Little Red Riding Hood, which features a small but stubborn wolf.
The most visible difference between the two is that the Huskies have a closer and intimate relationship with the humans as opposed to the wolf.
In this article, I take you on a journey to understand the relationship between the husky and the wolf. We’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two animals as well as their origin.
The dog breed closely related to the wolf
As you must know by now, dogs are descendants of wolves. But even as such, the dog that’s closely related to the wolves is the Siberian Husky. The Siberian Husky was originally a sled dog that also was used as a means of transport in the Arctic.
Another advantage of the husky is that it’s easily adaptable to different kinds of environments. The dog has a friendly disposition and can be trusted even with children. However, I’m not sure you could say the same thing about the wolf.
Given that dogs are descendants of wolves, it’s expected that the dog and the wolf will have some similarities. I also need to mention that some of the features found in wolves are switched off in huskies.
Most of these traits can easily be activated through the process of selective breeding. However, this is a movie that’s not recommended as it would give rise to dogs that behave and act more like wolves than dogs.
It’s even considered illegal for selective breeding of dogs and wolves to take place. That means if you’re found engaging in such a practice, you’ll get in trouble. The Siberian Husky also has polished and smooth fur which helps to reflect the heat away especially during the hottest seasons.
Which other dog breeds are related to the wolf?
As I’ve already mentioned, the Siberian Husky holds the closest resemblance to the wolf. But besides it, there are other breeds that have some similarities with the Wolfe. These include the following:
- Saarloose Wolfdogs
- Alaskan Malamute
Most of the resemblance between the wolf and these breeds is in terms of the physical traits. I would love to delve into them in a later post, but for now, let us confine ourselves to the huskies.
The genes of huskies and wolves
Research has shown that wolves and huskies have a common genetic blueprint. The type of wolf that holds a close association with the dogs is the Gray wolf. The researchers argue that this wolf can interbreed with dogs to give rise to healthy and normal offspring.
However, huskies share more DNA with other dogs just as the gray wolf also shares more DNA with the other types of wolves. In other words, huskies are more dogs than they’re wolves.
From the perspective of scientists, it would be inaccurate to conclude that wolves and huskies are the same only on the basis of the fact that they share similar genetic blueprints.
For a long time, speculations went around that the gray wolf and the huskies are of the same species. Gray wolves are the ones you’ll hear them howling in the forests. However, to the disappointment of the propagators of the theory, this genetic evidence says something different.
The researchers now seem to hold that based on a recently concluded sequencing of the ancient wolf genes, the gray wolves and the dogs might have undergone separate evolutions.
However, the two species descended from the same much-older ancestor that is now nonexistent. The evidence now puts the contention about the genetic similarities between the two to rest.
In the following section, I now want to take you through the stark differences between these two species. Take it as the tips that will help you tell the two apart. Most of these differences revolve around physical characteristics including the eyes, tail, and color patterns.
Take a look at the following:
- The huskies boast of a curly and fluffy tail while that of the wolves is fluffy but straight.
- Huskies come in multiple color patterns of brown, white and black while gray is the dominant color in wolves.
- The eyes of the wolves are in two main color combinations i.e. brown or yellow-amber while the huskies can have blue, brown eyes or a combination of both.
- The wolves are also way taller and heavier as compared to the medium-sized huskies.
From what you’ve seen so far, it’s clear that huskies are closely related to wolves as compared to any other dog breed. The false theory that we’ve debunked so far is the rumor that the two evolved together. As a matter of truth, I’ve demonstrated to you that the only thing the wolf and the husky have in common is a common ancestor who is non-existent.
Besides the ones we mentioned above, there are other dog breeds that carry much older genes that can be traced to the wolf ancestor. These are the Shiba Inu, the African Basenji, the Chinese Shar-pei, and the Akita.
Do huskies behave like wolves?
The first thing worth your attention is that both the wolf and the husky are pack animals. That tells you that they act in a few similar ways.
They both have a strong prey drive, that’s why if you’ve got a husky you might have realized it has the tendency to chase other small animals around.
The other difference is that huskies are domesticated while wolves are wild animals. Besides these two similarities, there isn’t much we can say about them. However, the two have world’s apart temperaments which I want to look at next.
The wolf is 100% carnivore. Its body can’t function on any other diet apart from meat since it can’t metabolize plant-based starches. They possess a high level of ingenuity that makes it possible for them to hunt and survive in the wild.
Also, the wolf is nearly impossible to train. They might get a few tricks right but their level of response to training can’t be likened to that of the huskies.
The wolf has a tendency to shy away from humans even when you beckon them to come to you. It’s only when they’re hungry that they’ll sneak into homesteads to hunt for prey.
Even if these animals are raised by humans, they’ll not easily bond with them nor will they ever look up to man for help.
They might have some familiarity with the people that are taking care of them but they can’t get to a level where they’ll generalize these behaviors to other humans. If anything, they tend to have a high level of mistrust, especially with strangers.
On the other hand, huskies thrive on relationships with humans. They want to be petted, shown affection, and enjoy that bond with the humans. The same friendliness with humans can also be extended to other animals especially those they’ve grown up together with.
The Huskies aren’t as aggressive as the wolves. They value relationships and therefore their tenderness makes them approachable. They value playtime and during such moments is when they bond with their human masters.
Of course, the huskies can be quite difficult to train due to their stubbornness but they’re trainable all the same. If you’re intentional about it and start while they’re still young, you will achieve your goals.
In terms of survival, the Huskies can’t survive on their own as compared to the wolves and instead, they depend on their human masters for provision, shelter, and protection.
Finally, huskies are omnivores. That implies they’ve got genes that make it possible for them to metabolize the starches found in plant-based foods. They can therefore combine proteins, starches, and carbohydrates.
As we wind up, you’ve without a doubt proved that the huskies are related as they’ve got a similar nonexistent ancestor.
However, these two species are very different especially when you look at their physical traits, temperaments, and the nature of lives that each lives.