Siberian Huskies share a striking resemblance with wolves from their dense, bulky coats, alert demeanour, to their intense-looking eyes. Of course, it leaves many of us intrigued and puzzled. Are Huskies related to wolves?
Although both of them share the same features or colouration, Siberian Huskies and wolves are not related. Therefore, Siberian huskies are not wolves lightly disguised as your family pooch.
But Why Do They Look So Similar?
- Siberian Husky is an Ancient Dog Breed that Resembles Closely to Its Ancestor
Every dog breed has a distinct appearance and character, but in reality, each domestic pooch shares 99 per cent of their genes. Only 1 per cent of the genes will be responsible for the unique diversity among dogs. With DNA analysis, scientists were able to track the ancient history of every dog types and also established their ancestry.According to a study in 2004, researchers compared the genes of different purebred to those of wolves. They discovered that some breeds such as the Siberian Husky, African Basenji, and Chinese Shar-Pei started to evolve from their wild ancestors much earlier compared to other dog breeds. This marked Siberian Huskies as one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world.The Siberian Husky has undergone less change in comparison to other breeds because of its isolation from other dog breeds. This means that they closely resemble their original canine ancestor.
- Huskies Do Not Originate From Wolves but Share a Common Ancestor
Every dog shares the same genetics with other dogs than wolves, and wolves are more genetically related to other wolves than dogs regardless of their location. Before a research study in 2014 was published, it was believed that every dog breed originated from wolves.However, the recent study shows that dogs and wolves descended from an extinct common ancestor from which they both evolved. Although their ancestor is unknown, researchers discovered a key piece of evidence that distinguishes dogs from wolves.It involves one specific gene that’s significant in digesting starch which dogs are able to do while wolves cannot. Therefore, wolves are obligate carnivores while dogs, on the other hand, are omnivores that can feed on a wide range of food.
Where do Siberian Huskies Originate?
The origin of this dog breed dated back to an eastern tribe in Siberia known as the Chukchi. Since they lived a semi-nomadic life and their lands are usually covered up in the snow, the Chukchi used Siberian Huskies as sled dogs to accompany them in their travels.
These dogs are capable of dragging loads to faraway places without giving in to fatigue regardless of the sub-zero temperatures.
The Siberian Huskies entered the gateway to fame as they made their North American debut in the All Alaska Sweepstakes Race. For the following decade, Sled teams which are comprised of these long-distance runners snagged most of the Alaskan race awards.
The purity of the sled dogs was impressively maintained by the Chukchi. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the canines that this tribe has kept were the main ancestors of the modern Siberian Husky.
Temperament Differences between a Siberian Husky from a Wolf
Although Siberian Huskies look like wolves, they do not share the same temperament. Since they are domesticated, Huskies tend to show their trust and affectionate personality easier compared to wolves.
On the other hand, wolves, especially adults, are extremely wary of humans and are difficult to tame. According to researchers, wolves and dogs differ greatly when it comes to socialisation. They stated that every animal undergoes a short period of time known as a socialisation window.
During this period, new things can be introduced to them and in turn, they will be accustomed to it throughout their lives. However, after the socialisation window passes, anything introduced to them will frighten them.
Both dogs and wolves develop their sense of smell first and later on followed by their sense of hearing and then, sight. Wolves experience their socialisation window while only developing their sense of smell which means they discover new things around them without hearing or seeing much.
The wolves’ hearing and sight develop only after their socialisation window ends. Taking in new sights and sounds will bring out their fear responses which explain why they are difficult to tame.
Meanwhile, a dog’s socialisation window starts after they have developed their sight and hearing. Therefore, they can easily get comfortable with most of the sounds and sights they encountered during their early life. It enables them to easily socialise with humans and other animals.
Similar-looking Animals with a Whole Lot of Difference
Siberian Huskies may share almost the same physical features as wolves. However, they are more related to other dog breeds. Huskies and wolves also have contrasting temperaments in which Huskies tend to be more comfortable around humans compared to wolves because they undergo different experiences during their socialisation window period.