Feeling foxy? Well, so were we. In this edition of Animal Facts we’re counting down seven of our favorite fox-like dog breeds. From triangular ears, to slender muzzles, to bushy tails and more, these canines check all the boxes that make them look like foxes.
7. Alaskan Klee Kai – Dog Breeds that Look Like Foxes
Developed in the 1970s, the Alaskan Klee Kai fulfills its original breeder’s goal of creating a pint-sized Siberian Husky that’s perfect for lap lounging. So, since the Husky resembles a wolf, it’s only natural that the Klee Kai looks like the wolf’s smaller cousin—the fox.
Klees come in toy, miniature, and standard sizes, and weigh anywhere from 5 to 22 pounds with a height range of 11 to 17 inches. Their coats come in varying shades of gray and white, black and white, red and white, and solid white. Though all Klees have a fox-like appearance, those with red and white coats seem to look more like foxes because the red fox is the most common and widely known species of fox.
Fun Fact: Klee Kais have three basic eye colors: brown, blue, and green. But some Klees have heterochromatic (each eye is a different color) or particolored eyes (each eye has two colors).
The Pomeranian is the epitome of a big dog in a small body. At between 7 and 12 inches in height and weighing 3 to 7 pounds they are one of the world’s smallest dog breeds. While they are fun-sized, friendly, and frisky with familiar faces, Poms can be quite feisty with other dogs and strangers when they feel they have to prove themselves or defend their territory. We know we just used a lot of f-words, but there’s one more we’d like to use to describe Poms—fox-like.
There are several physical similarities between Poms and foxes, including wedge-shaped heads, upright ears, almond eyes, and fluffy tails. Pomeranians have a thick double-coat that comes in the widest array of colors of any dog breed, including black, white, orange, tan, brown, blue, sable, and the most popular fox-like color—red. These colors can also show up in any combination and pattern including parti, brindle, and spotted.
5. Icelandic Sheepdog – Dog Breeds that Look Like Foxes
The Icelandic Sheepdog is an ancient breed thought to have been brought to Iceland by the Vikings to protect livestock from raptors. With Iceland being a rather isolated country, and a strict embargo placed on dog imports after plague and distemper epidemics decimated the breed in the late 1800s, they have remained virtually unchanged and have survived extinction at least twice. Pretty sly for a dog that looks like a fox, huh?
Icelandics are small to medium-sized dogs, standing 16 to 18 inches at the shoulder and weighing 20 to 30 pounds. They come in long-haired and short-haired varieties, both of which have features similar to those of the fox—a narrow muzzle, erect ears, oblique eyes, and furry tail.
Coat colors come include shades of cream, tan, brown, red, grey, and black. All have white markings, and some Icelandics have black masks.
According to folklore, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an enchanted creature beloved by fairies and elves. The legend probably stems from their friendly nature and dwarf-like stature—which would be the perfect height for accompanying and transporting these mythical creatures throughout their realms—and the fact that they look like forest-dwelling foxes.
A “true dwarf” breed right down to their name (Corgi means “dwarf dog” in Welsh), the average Corgi is 10 to 12 inches tall and weighs about 25 to 30 pounds. They’re an adorable, yet peculiar breed, that’s long like the Dachshund with short, muscular legs, a thick chest, and the head, eyes, and ears of the fox. Their coats come in red, fawn, sable, and black and tan, sometimes with splashes of white interspersed throughout.
But the similarities don’t end there. Like their wild cousins, Pembrokes are clever, intelligent, independent, and can be strong-willed on occasion.
Fun Fact: Pembrokes are born with bobbed tails or (depending on the gene mutation) no tail at all.
3. Canaan Dog – Dog Breeds that Look Like Foxes
When it comes to dogs, sometimes there’s a fine line between wildness and domestication. Our next pup, the Canaan, effortlessly walks that line. Not only are Canaans physically similar to the fox, but their roots as a pariah dog also influence their behavior, making them more fox-like overall.
Since they possess all the physical attributes that make the previously mentioned dogs on our list fox-like, we’ll focus on the Canaan’s history and behavior. The Canaan Dog is an ancient breed, native to the Middle East, including Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula. They are believed to have been originally used by Hebrews to herd sheep and guard their campgrounds, and desert Bedouins still use them in those capacities. In North America and Europe, they are exclusively kept for companionship and frequently compete in agility, tracking, and flyball trials.
Canaans are pack oriented, so they tend to be alert, loyal, and gentle with their families, but are standoffish with strangers. Extremely territorial, they will bark to let you know when someone is on your property. Their suspicious nature can muddle their judgment as to who is a threat and who isn’t, but with extensive training and socialization, they can be wonderful watchdogs.
Finland’s national dog, the Finnish Spitz, is a breed that was originally developed to hunt both small and large game, such as squirrels, bears, and everything in between. Known as a “bark pointer,” the Finkie barks to alert their human hunting companion to the location of game, which at that point is probably confused and distracted by how much their nemesis looks like a fox.
Finkies stand anywhere from 15 to 20 inches tall and weigh 22 to 30 pounds. They’re squarely built with plume-like tails, classic foxy wedge-shaped heads, almond-shaped eyes, and prick ears. In typical Red Fox fashion, their coats can be one of several shades of scarlet—from a light honey to rich auburn. Finkie puppies are actually born with black hair, which they shed by the time they reach adulthood.
Fun Fact: They may look like foxes, but Finkies share DNA with the Taimyr Wolf, which has been extinct for thousands of years.
1. Shiba Inu – Dog Breeds that Look Like Foxes
The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the six original Japanese dog breeds. They range in height from 13 to 17 inches, have a stocky, athletic build and their facial features are very similar to those of the fox…but you knew that already.
Shibas have a short, double coat of fur. Their outercoat is coarse and straight, with guard hairs that protect the skin and are rain and snow repellent. The undercoat is soft, thick, and serves as a barrier to frigid winter temperatures, as does its tail, which they wrap around their faces while sleeping, like foxes. Shibas have a grey, buff, or cream undercoat with an outer coat that is black and tan, red, or sesame (black-tipped red fur).
But the similarities between the Shiba and its doppelganger are more than just skin deep. Like foxes, Shibas are intelligent, stubborn, independent, and instead of barking, they let out a high pitched “Shiba Scream” which sounds like one of the many vocalizations foxes use when mating, fighting, or alerting their skulks when danger is near. What does the Fox say? Nothing…they scream—and so does the Shiba.
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