How to Tell if a Siberian Husky Is Part Wolf

By Gryphon Adams

It's difficult to tell if a Siberian husky is part wolf; physical characteristics and behavior offer clues but no single trait offers a definite identification. Genetics testing offers the best answer, but test results aren't always conclusive, especially if the wolf ancestry isn't within three generations. Wolves have smaller ears, larger heads and lack the Siberian husky's sociable temperament. In many states, it's illegal to own wolf hybrid dogs, often called wolfdogs. This leads to owners registering them as domestic dogs.

Parents and Misrepresentation

The dog's parents and their parents, if known, can help you determine your dog's ancestry, but you can't believe everything you're told. It's not uncommon for dogs such as Siberian huskies who resemble wolves to be sold as wolfdogs whether they have wolf content or not. Some breeders and owners misrepresent a dog's wolf content in the interest of obtaining a higher price or for to identify with the wolf mystique.

If the dog has 50 percent or greater wolf content, meaning one parent was pure wolf, there's a far greater likelihood of socialization problems. No generalization about differences between wolves and Siberian huskies holds true in all instances. Individual wolfdogs from the same litter often vary greatly in appearance and behavior with some having more wolf traits than others.

Coloring, Body and Size

In comparison to pure Siberian huskies, wolves have longer legs, larger feet, narrower chests and straight tails. The coloring of gray wolves is more blended than the Siberian husky's. Wolflike coloring and other physical traits might be the result of a mix between a Siberian husky and another wolflike breed, such as a German shepherd, making identification based on appearance challenging.

If your dog is part wolf, he may be larger than average. Wolves weigh [up to 175 pounds with a head and body up to 63 inches long with a 20-inch tail.]

Eyes, Head and Face

Yellow or light eyes don't prove a wolf mix; Siberian huskies often have light eyes. A more telling sign is if your dog's eyes are farther apart than a typical Siberian husky's, although this can result from other mixes, too. Pure wolves don't have masks, spectacles and other distinct facial markings common to huskies.

The wolf's head is larger in proportion to its body than the dog's and its muzzle is smooth from the nose to the top of the head, without the bump dogs have between their snout and head. [Wolf ears are significantly smaller and more heavily furred than the Siberian husky's.]( Lack of smaller ears doesn't rule out wolf heritage; a part-wolf Siberian husky could have large pointed ears.

Behavior Traits

Your dog's personality and tendencies won't give a definite answer as to whether he's a wolfdog, but once he matures, he may display wolf traits. A wolfdog may be aggressive, territorial and unpredictable. Siberian huskies aren't the easiest dogs to train, so a lack of obedience doesn't mean the dog is part wolf. Likewise, hybrids vary in temperament just as domestic dogs do, with some adapting better to life with humans than others.

If your Siberian husky is part wolf, he's likely to be much less sociable than typical Siberian huskies. It takes far more time and consistent, experienced care to socialize a wolfdog than it does to accustom a husky to life with people.