Dogs vs. Wolves – Who’s Bigger? Differences and similarities

All domestic animals are descended from wild ancestors. And so that’s why many dog owners, like myself, are interested in comparing the modern day wolf and the modern day dog.

One question people often ask is “Which dog breeds are larger than grey wolfs?”

So in this guide, I provide an answer for you. After lots of research into dog breeds, I’ve found only three breeds that are larger than wolves — Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards.

However, there are plenty of dog species that weigh more than a greyhound.

Where I will begin by defining what we mean by a “were” (or werewolves).

What is a wolf?

We usually think of grey wolves when we think of them. These are the largest and most impressive wolves. A man can usually reach his full height (85cm) standing upright. He can weigh between 40 and 50 kilograms. However, in reality, there are other species of gray wolves that are smaller.

A wolf is just 70cm tall and weighs about 35 kilograms. An Indian wolf is around 72 centimeters tall and weighs approximately 25 kilograms.

How large is a wolf?

There is some confusion between the number relating to the length of a wolf or a dog’s legs (legs) and the number relating to its height.

To keep things consistent, I’ve used Wikipedia for all of my statistics. And I’ve only measured the maximum height and weight for a male wolf or a male dog. It makes the whole thing easier to understand.

If I were to constantly reference ranges of height or weights for dogs, then this would make the article difficult to read. All those numbers would definitely make your mind go crazy.

Now that we’ve cleared up that potential point of misunderstanding, let’s go ahead and discuss how I define the term “bigger”.

Bigger than a wolf means something that is larger than an average size wolf.

Bigger isn’t really a precise term. Which one am I talking about? To keep things a tad less boring, I’ve searched for dogs that are taller than wolves.

It’s amazing just how few breeds there actually are. So far, I’ve found three different ways to get rid of acne scars, but searching for them has taken so long that I haven’t tried any of these yet.

It’s much easier to find dog breeds that weigh more than a gray wolf because most large dogs are actually heavier than wolves.

So in my hunt for dog species that are taller than wolves, I’ve found three types of canine that are taller than wolves and seven others that are there or thereabout.

Dogs vs. Wolves - Who's Bigger? Differences and similarities

Three big dog breeds that are larger than a grey wolf.

First, I want to talk about the three breeds that are larger than a grey wolf. If you want to know more, here is a list of the most important facts.

St Bernard

Next up is the tallest of any breed of dog. The St. Bernard breed dates back to at least the 17th-Centuries.

St. Bernard dogs are larger than wolves, weigh three times as much, and measure up to five centimeters taller than their gray cousins. They were originally developed to help travelers stranded in the Alps. Of course, the most famous of these dogs was named after its rescuer, Barry.

It’s been claimed that no dog was trained for this task; instead, each one simply watched others who had already performed the job. Over time, the size of dogs has gotten larger. It is believed that the original rescue dogs only measured about the height of a German shepherd.

Great Dane

A close second to Saint Bernard is a Great Dane. And the interesting thing is that, despite his size, Zeus is actually the current holder of the title of “the largest living dog.”

Zeus is 112 centimeters tall, which is 25 centimeters taller than a large male wolf, making him one of the tallest wolves in the world.

However, the tallest Great Danes usually stand at around 86cm (which makes them just slightly taller than wolves). They weigh almost twice as much as wolves but are just under half their size.

Great Danes were bred to kill boars or bears. It goes way further than just the eighteenth century.

They’re actually from Germany, not Denmark! Unfortunately, most dog lovers don’t realize that their beloved pets aren’t really capable of true hunting instincts. So long as you have a big enough couch for them to lie down on.


My expectations were for other breeds to be bigger than Borzoi dogs. Because compared to Great Danes and Saint Bernards, Borzois don’t have the sheer size of the others. It is approximately the same size as a wolf at 85 centimeters tall.

It weighs almost twice as much as a wolf (47 kg vs. 24 kg). Compared to an adult dog weighing 47 kilograms, however small, is quite significant. To be considered an authentic Borzoi, you must prove yourself to be both agile and fearless by catching and killing a wolf.

It’s because they look similar to a wolf but are actually descended from dogs brought back by Russians from Siberia. After looking at the three breeds which were as large or larger than a gray wolves, it’s now the turn for us to look at dogs that are nearly as big.

5 dog breeds that are slightly smaller than a wolf

To help you understand this article better, here’s a quick table showing the seven breeds in size from largest to smallest.

1. Irish wolfhound

From one dog breed to another – from Russian to Irish.

We learn almost everything we need to know about a particular animal from its name alone.

It was bred to catch wild Irish wolfhounds in Ireland.

As far back as we know, wolves haven’t been seen in Ireland since the late 18th century when the last one died there.

Standing just under two meters tall, an Irish Greyhound weighs up to 50 kilograms. It stands out from a greyhound by looking like a cross between a small dog and a large sheepdog.

When wolves were hunted to extinction, the Irish Wolfhounds became extinct.

From the mid 19th centur­y onwards, a new strain of Irish wolfhound dogs was created.

These dogs were bred using Scottish deerhounds and Great Dane dogs.

2. Anatolian Shepherd

Originating in Turkey, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog stands between 5 and 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs anywhere from 50 to 65 kilograms.

They weren’t bred for hunting either.

It wasn’t bred for any particular purpose; it just happened to be useful when used by farmers to protect their animals from wild beasts.

It is known by different names depending on where it lives; in its native country it is called a Kangal shepherd, but in America it is most often referred to as an Anatolian shepherd.

Two dogs, which are thought to be responsible, for all the breeds’ stock in the United States, were only bred as recent as 1967.

3. Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs with their big head and fluffy coat look much larger than they actually are.

A mastiff is taller than a wolf but weighs less than a wolf.

Some interesting characteristics of these breeds include their fluffy coats which may sometimes smell pretty awful and that they’re more active at nighttime than daytime.

And that barking at midnight will certainly wake you up!

4. Komondor

This particular breed of dog looks really good. A moped looks so good!

These Tibetan mastiff puppies are the same size as wolves but they’re slightly smaller because they’re bred for their small stature. They’re heavier than wolves, but not by much.

It’s no wonder that you think she looks so good in that coat. It is a perfect fit for the dog.

It disguises the wolf among the flocks of sheep that it usually protects and it also keeps the wolf warm and dry during wintertime in its native country of Hungary. It may be very athletic and brave at times, but it is also very sensitive towards people and kids specifically.

5 Kuvasz

My last dog in the category of “almost as big as a wolf” but not quite goes to another Hungarian dog called the Kuvasz.

It looks more like an Anatolian shepherd than a Komondor. However, they’re both the same height at 76 centimeters. A gray wolf is 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) longer than a coyote. At 52 kilograms (114 pounds), it is the closest in size to the wolf to any breed we’ve examined so far.

Originally, they were bred to protect livestock from predators such as wolves. Boy oh boy was she good! They were so skilled and had such a good reputation for being effective body guards, they were one of its tragic victims during the Second Word War.

They were known for their high intelligence and ability to learn quickly. So they became a legitimate target for both Soviet and German armies who slaughtered millions of them.

What kind of dog can kill a wild animal?

Before I finish this blog post, I just want to address one question which is often asked by people who wonder whether dogs are bigger than wolves.

Which dog breeds can kill a wild wolf?

Most of the breeds that I’ve highlighted here could kill a wolf if they were presented with the right circumstances. The only exception is an American Bulldog which was never bred to attack or protect anything.

Other breeds that I’ve discussed in this post might have been able to hunt wolves thousands of years ago but that skill has long since been bred into them. Here I am thinking of the Great Dane.

Most of the other dog types depend on whether they have any working strains. These include working sheepherding, guard, herding, and terrier types.

Dogs from those specific breeds will be able to kill wolves. It was reported that the mop dog has been hugely popular in the U.S. for its ability to guard livestock since 2016.

Other breeds of the same species which have been selectively bred for certain traits may not have the same abilities. When we’re discussing whether wolves can kill coyotes, another factor to take into account is that many of these wolves worked with other wolves.

Therefore, they would have fought an intruder as a group. And dogs are social animals too, so they’re often found hunting together.

Dogs vs. Wolves - Who's Bigger? Differences and similarities

Dogs and Wolves: Differences and similarities

Dogs are related to wolves, whether they are Dachshunds, Border Collies, or Alaskan Malamutes. Dogs separated from wolves between 15 and 40 thousand years ago, according to scientists. According to Dr. Angela Hughes, veterinary genetics research manager at Wisdom Health, which produces Wisdom Panel dog DNA tests, dog breeds evolved between one and two thousand years ago.

Dog evolution was influenced by human tribes. Many wolves scavenged from refuse piles created by humans near their camps. Due to their ability to get closer to humans, less fearful wolves would likely have been more successful at scavenging, and the more successful animals would be more likely to pass their genes on.

In the course of many generations, these animals became domesticated, learned to read human cues, and developed closer relationships with humans, even becoming guardians and companions,” says Hughes.

According to Dr. Hughes, wolves and dogs are both members of the same species, Canis lupus. They share 99 percent of their DNA, and although interbreeding does not happen very often, it is possible. There are several dog breeds that have the appearance of wolves, such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Poodle. Still, all dog breeds have a closer relationship with each other than with the wolf.

Due to the wide variety of dog breeds, it is difficult to generalize about dog breeds based on less than a one percent difference between them.

Wolves and dogs have different physical characteristics

While wolves and dogs have the same number of teeth, the wolf’s teeth are larger and stronger, along with its skull and jaw. Compared with dogs, which evolved more as scavengers of human refuse, they bite and break things like bones in the wild.

Jenn Fiendish, a veterinary behavior technician who runs Happy Power Behavior and Training in Portland, Oregon, says dogs have rounder faces and larger eyes than wolves. Additionally, they evolved to have floppy ears and curly or short tails, while the wolf evolved to have pointed ears and a long, sickle-like tail.

In contrast to dogs, wolves have enormous feet, and their two front and middle toes are much longer than their side toes, according to Kent Weber, who is co-founder and director of Mission: Wolf, a refuge for wolves and wolf-dogs located in Westcliffe, Colorado. By using their longer ankles, keeping their elbows right together, and springing off of their toes, wolves are able to conserve energy and move far more than dogs.

Their dependence on humans differs

According to Joan Daniels, associate curator of mammals at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois, dogs cannot survive without humans. Feral dogs are out there in the wild, but they don’t do well because they have been domesticated to the point where they can’t survive anymore.

According to Michelle Proulx, director of Animal Caretaker and Educational Programs at W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Laporte, Colorado, dogs obey commands like sit and stay because they want to please humans and be rewarded. Wolf behavior differs.

We would be trying to get [wolves] to perform a behavior, and they would look at me and say, ‘You’re making this too hard.’ They would walk away and find something else to eat. They were like, ‘I have food, I can find something else.'” There have been many studies regarding the ability to train wolves in the same way you would a domesticated dog, which confirms Proulx’s observations. According to Fiendish, wolves do not develop attachments to people and do not behave the same way as domesticated dogs.

Dogs mature slower than wolves

It takes about eight weeks for wolf pups and domestic dogs to wean. Despite this, wild wolf puppies mature more rapidly than domestic dogs, according to Regina Mossotti, director of the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri.

The ability of wolf pups to solve puzzles is more advanced at a young age than that of dogs, according to studies comparing the two species. “That makes sense.”. Wild dogs must mature faster in order to survive, while domestic puppies need us to take care of them. “Life is a little bit easier,” she says.

In two years, your dog is likely to remain your loyal companion for the rest of her life. After about six months, wolves become difficult to handle, according to experts. It is common for wolf and wolf-dog sanctuaries to receive calls when the animals reach sexual maturity.

Dogs and wolves breed differently

Wolves breed only once a year, unlike dogs who can breed several times throughout the year. The pups are born in April and May during their rigid breeding season, which lasts from February through mid-March.

The size of their litters also differs, she says. On average, wolves have four to five pups per litter, while dog litter can vary. Most domestic dogs have litters of about five to six pups on average, but there are instances when many different domestic dog breeds have larger litters.

Dogs care for their young without the assistance of their fathers, according to Laura Hills, owner of The Dogs’ Spot in North Kansas, Missouri. In wolf packs, there are two parents and their offspring. Unlike humans, dogs do not form family groups.”

Play means different things to different people

Unlike a domestic dog, a wolf pup plays primarily for fun. “Play teaches them how to hunt; it teaches them how to discipline a pack member when they become leaders,” Mossotti explains.

It helps them learn their limits, just like human kids. It’s important that they learn how to work together and respect each other, so they can hunt together and keep the pack healthy as they grow up.”

There are also differences in dog behavior throughout adulthood, according to Fiendish. Dogs need to learn social boundaries, but those skills are not as important as those in wolves. Dogs play constantly throughout their lifetime, socialize with a wide range of species, and even display affiliative behaviors.

Nutrition for dogs vs. nutrition for wolves

Dogs evolved to eat what we eat because they are omnivores. The GI system of wolves, on the other hand, can process raw meats, go longer without meals, and absorb nutrients differently. As Fiendish points out, your dog’s ability to fight common pathogens is very limited when eating raw foods.

Despite eating plant materials sometimes, Mossotti says wolves are true carnivores. The amount of food they consume is also higher than that of dogs. “Wolves eat a lot at once because they know it’s going to be a long time until their next meal or it’ll get stolen.”. Wolves can hold up to 20 pounds, depending on their species. The morning and afternoon cups of food are given to domestic dogs.”

The high level of protein in wolf kibble would probably make a domestic dog sick and have diarrhea. In contrast, “if I fed a domestic dog food to a wolf, the wolf would have deficiencies.”

Wolves are shy; dogs are not

There is a misconception that wolves are vicious and aggressive, but experts say they are actually shy and avoid humans. They are also extremely unlikely to attack humans.

Mossotti and her team would approach the prey the wolves had just taken down as part of the Yellowstone Wolf Project. “You’d think they’d take you on, but they run away.”

“It could be a pretty serious situation if you combine the strength, intelligence, and wildness of wolves with the lack of fear that dogs have,” Mossotti says.

Wolves are better at solving problems than humans

Studies looking at problem-solving abilities in wolves and dogs show that dogs will eventually quit when a problem becomes more difficult, says Proulx. Unlike wolves, they tend to search for someone to fix things for them, whereas wolves try to figure things out on their own.

As part of one study, dogs and wolves were required to solve a puzzle in order to receive a treat. “They had to pull a rope at the exact same time so the tray could slide in and provide food. The wolves figured it out quickly. After a human taught the dogs that they needed to pull the rope, they finally understood the problem.

Interestingly, even when the puzzle became more challenging, the wolves managed to solve it. The wolves were waiting for each other to enter the experiment, so they could get the treat together.”

Dogs and wolf-dogs are starkly different, so experts recommend against keeping them as companions in the home. “We have four or five animals here that look like wolves in some ways. The truth is, they’re nice dogs,” Weber said. “If you put them in a shelter, they have to euthanize them, because they can’t adopt out animals that are part-wild.”

According to experts, the Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, Husky and German Shepherd are the best breeds to adopt if you’re looking for the wolf look.


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