The Top 10 Dog Breeds That Look Like Foxes

Written by Dayva Segal
Updated: May 9, 2023
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The Top 10 Dog Breeds That Look Like Foxes

Some dog breeds resemble foxes a bit, which makes sense. They are in the same family. However, they also have many differences. They are completely different animals with different numbers of pairs of chromosomes, which means they can not mate with each other.

There are other differences too, some of which make dogs a more ideal human companion. First, foxes only live between two and four years. Dogs live an average of 11-13 years. Foxes are not easily trainable because while they are smart, they have very short attention spans, which is an advantage that help them with surviving in the wild. Additionally, foxes have a much stronger marking behavior which means they can’t be house-trained. They would just pee on everything. Finally, dogs are very social creatures, while foxes tend to be skittish. Your dog barking at a guest is one thing, but your pet fox biting every guest that comes over would be another! So, if you want a fox for a pet, you’ll probably have to settle for one of these adorable fox-like dog breeds.

1. Akita Inu

Akita - Dog, Dog, Adulation, Adult, Animal

While Akitas make a much better pet than a fox, they are not for everyone.

©iStock.com/DevidDO

Another name for this dog breed is the Japanese Akitainu. There are actually two versions of this breed. One is strictly Japanese and is sometimes called Akita-ken. The other is an American version that is slightly larger. Some people believe there are now two separate breeds of Akita Inus, a Japanese one and an American one, but others do not follow this belief.

This breed is a strong mountain dog originally bred to help hunt bears, fight, and work as a guard dog. They were also faithful companions to Samurai soldiers. This breed has at least 1,000 years of history, and possibly more. It started in the mountains of Akita prefecture in Japan before disseminating throughout the country. In 1931 the breed was declared a national monument for Japan, and the country created a program to preserve the breed.

While akita inus come in brindle, red, and white, the ones that may look the foxiest are the reddish ones with a white mask on their face. Other things that make this breed resemble a fox include the shape of its head and its perky triangular ears.

While Akitas make a much better pet than a fox, they are not for everyone. They can be aloof, especially with strangers, and are not very friendly with other dogs. However, they are great guard dogs, have moderate grooming and exercise needs, are very cute, and the breed certainly has many enthusiasts.

2. Shiba Inu

gentle giants wet dog food

Shibas are fastidious dogs that groom themselves with their tongues.

©OlesyaNickolaeva/Shutterstock.com

This adorable foxy dog had its moment in the sun as the doge meme, which has led to several different cryptocurrencies, including dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB). However, it’s more than just a silly face on the internet.

This is an ancient breed of dog that also originates in Japan. There is evidence of shiba inus in Japan from the Jomon Period, which started in 14,000 BCE. Even though these dogs have been popular in Japanese culture for thousands of years, they almost went extinct after World War II because of a lack of food and a distemper outbreak. However, an intentional program saved the breed, and now it is well-loved worldwide!

These dogs are cute and have a spunky, independent personality. Their face and ear shape are fox-like, and they come in many colors that mirror a fox’s, like red, cream, and red sesame. Shibas are fastidious dogs that groom themselves with their tongues. Because of this, they don’t need as many baths as other breeds. However, they do shed their coat once a year, which can make a mess. They typically hate to go to the bathroom inside and often house-train themselves because of that.

3. Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz sitting in a field

Finnish spitzes are descended from Russian hunting dogs, spitzes that came to Finland with immigrants thousands of years ago.

©rodimov/Shutterstock.com

The Finnish spitz is another mountain-based dog breed with foxy triangular ears and a general fox-like shape. These lovely dogs are quite barky and are known as bark pointers. They were originally hunting dogs who barked to show their owners where the prey was.

Finnish spitzes are descended from Russian hunting dogs, spitzes that came to Finland with immigrants thousands of years ago. The original Finnish spitz dogs primarily helped with hunting. However, the breed was nearly extinct in the late 1800s due to breeding with other types of dogs. A Finnish hunting enthusiast, Hugo Roos, created a program to save the breed, and after 30 years of careful selection, the breed was re-established.

These dogs are very friendly and usually make great family pets. They love children and often get along with other dogs. They are super affectionate and love to be around the people they know. However, potential Finnish spitz owners should know they bark a lot because that is part of their history and function as hunting dogs.

4. Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz with muddy paws on gravel path

The Japanese Spitz is known as the “cloud dog.”

©Elena Yakusheva/Shutterstock.com

The Japanese Spitz is a foxy-looking dog that is actually a larger cousin of the Pomeranian breed. They are also similar in appearance to Samoyeds, as they are very fluffy and all white, but smaller. What gives the Japanese spitz their fox-like look is their cute triangular ears and pointed snout.

The Japanese spitz is actually a fairly recent breed. It was created in the 1920s and 1930s by breeding white German spitz dogs with other smaller white spitz breeds. This cute dog breed is one of the longest-living breeds and lives on average for between 10 and 16 years.

This breed is typically a great home companion. They love kids, get along well with other dogs, and have few genetic health problems. They love to be the center of attention and are eager learners since they love to please their owners.

5. Schipperke

Schipperke playing at the beach.

While they may have been around since at least the 1600s, schipperkes were first officially recognized as a breed in the late 1800s.

©Melounix/Shutterstock.com

The Schipperke dog breed comes from Belgium, where its name means little boatman, and little captain. It is also very similar to the word meaning little shepherd in Flemish. Experts believe that the name’s original meaning is little shepherd, and it got a bit twisted through a historical game of telephone. This is because these are not seafaring dogs but shepherd dogs. While they may have been around since at least the 1600s, they were first officially recognized as a breed in the late 1800s.

These dogs are mainly black and have cute fox-shaped faces with a long snouts and perky ears. They can sometimes be cream or reddish. Unfortunately, in Canada and the US, many people dock (cut off) the tails of schipperke puppies to achieve the desired look. In other countries, this practice is illegal. When left as-is, the tail is curled like other spitz types of dogs.

This is a dog breed that has a lot of energy and loves to have a job to do. So, they are great for someone who wants to exercise with their dog. They have a somewhat strong prey drive and tend to chase smaller animals, and they are notoriously bad with horses. This dog breed can bark with strangers, and if they are left to live outside, they can become a neighborhood barking problem. They tend to do best when around their humans, and they know who is the dominant human of the pack. Even though this dog is only 13 inches high on average, they have the personality of a bigger dog.

6. Volpino Italiano

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - volpino italiano sitting on blue stairs

The volpino Italiano is an energetic breed who needs some exercise but is happy to sit in your lap for the rest of the day when done.

©iStock.com/DevidDO

This adorable dog also resembles a Pomeranian or a small Samoyed. They are also related to the German spitz, as are many of these fox-like dogs. These Italian dogs have been in a number of historical paintings, some of which date back to the 1500s, showing this breed has been important in Italy for a while. This is another all-white dog with a long snout and perky ears. They are small, measuring 11 inches high at most.

The volpino Italiano is an energetic breed who needs some exercise, but once they are done, they are happy to sit in your lap for the rest of the day. They love to be around their people and are quite smart, so they need a lot to keep them busy, or else they might get into trouble!

7. Long Hair Chihuahua

Two Longhair Apple Head Chihuahua dogs playing in green summer grass.

Long hair chihuahua dogs are small and usually need some training to be able to live peacefully with children and other dogs.

©Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com

In general, short hair chihuahuas have a distinct look that would not be considered too foxy. However, when they have long hair, their faces and bodies can take on a more fox-like appearance, especially if they are reddish or “fawn” in color. These dogs are small and usually need some training to be able to live peacefully with children and other dogs. However, they are faithful companions and perfect city dogs since they don’t need much space. Without proper training, any chihuahua, including a long-haired one, can become that stereotypical yappy and even biting lap dog with poor manners.

However, with proper training, they can be delightful companions. They live for up to 18 years, making them one of the longest-living dog breeds.

8. Iceland Sheepdog

An Icelandic sheepdog

The breed standard for Icelandic sheepdogs prefers for them to have double dewclaws.

©Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

The Icelandic sheepdog, also called Íslenskur Fjárhundur in its native country, is the ancestor of dogs brought by Viking settlers all the way back in the 900s! It was historically used to help herd sheep and horses. This is a friendly and hearty breed that makes a great family pet. They love children and are fairly trainable.

They are a spitz type of dog, which is what gives them their foxy face and characteristic pointy ears. Similar to Samoyeds, these dogs always seem to have a smile on their faces, especially when they are with their families.

9. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog after a knee TPLO surgery

The Pembroke

Welsh Corgi

is primarily known for its long body and short legs.

©Jus_Ol/Shutterstock.com

The Pembroke Welsh corgi was popularized by Queen Elizabeth II in the UK. Her love of the breed brought them to the global stage, as has happened throughout history with other royals who loved a certain breed of dog. Due to this, in 2020, they were the 11th most popular dog breed, according to the American Kennel Club.

While these herding dogs are primarily known for their long bodies and short legs, they also have a foxy face with a long pointed snout and perky but rounded, not triangular, ears.

They are smart and don’t have much fear. They were originally used to herd animals much larger than themselves. They are great family dogs and love to please. So they are easy to train. However, they do have quite a bit of energy and do need plenty of exercise and stimulation to be at their happiest.

10. Jindo

Jindo

Though rare, the Jindo is a yellow-cream color.

©jamongcreator/Shutterstock.com

The Jindo is a Korean dog breed that comes from Jindo Island in that country. According to the South Korean government, only dogs born on this island can officially be considered part of the breed. Once again, these are spitz dogs with cute pointy ears and a long snout, as well as the typical spitz curled tail.

Jindos are notoriously loyal dogs. In Korea, one Jindo dog from the island had been sold to someone off the island 170 miles away. After a few months, the dog ran away, and it took seven months to return to its original owner, who decided to keep the loyal dog. Another Jindo did not eat for seven days after his owner died. He followed the body to the funeral and was taken back home, where he would not eat for another four days. After being cared for by someone else, it was reported that the dog refuses to interact with anyone except the person who feeds him.

Apart from their loyalty, this breed is very reserved with strangers but loves to be around their family. They are not the most affectionate dogs but are great companions and good watchdogs.

Summary of the Top 10 Dog Breeds That Look Like Foxes

RankBreedKey FeaturesQualities
1AkitaLarge frame, thick coats in brindle or red and white,Aloof with other pets and strangers, excellent guarding abilities
2Shiba InuThick red and white coat, stiff curly tailIndependent, fastidious, shed heavily once a year
3Finnish SpitzLuxuriant red coat, broad head, tapered muzzle, curly tailFond of children, extremely affectionate, fond of barking
4Japanese SpitzAbundant white coat, dark eyes, curly tail,Eager learners, great with kids, enjoy a great deal of attention
5SchipperkeMedium-sized frame, silky fur in black, cream, or red, curly tails,Energetic, a strong prey drive, fond of the sound of their own barking
6Volpino ItalianoA small-sized frame, a luxuriant, white, silky coatEnergetic, smart, and affectionate
7Long Hair ChihuahuaSmall frame, long, silky coat, protruding eyesA potential lifespan of 18 years, amicable when properly trained
8Iceland SheepdogLuxuriant smooth coat, large bushy tailLoves children, easy to train, especially friendly
9Pembroke Welsh corgiLarge pointy ears, large eyes, short legs, smooth medium-length coatSmart, courageous, and energetic
10JindoHeavy set frame, broad head, curled tail, pointy ears, smooth medium-length coatExceptional attachment to owners or carers
Table of the Top 10 Dog Breeds That Look Like Foxes

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are dogs and foxes related?

Dogs and foxes are part of the same taxonomical family, canids, but are in different genera. The last common ancestor between dogs and foxes lived around 10 million years ago.

What are the differences between dogs and foxes?

Dogs and foxes are very different species. They even have different numbers of chromosome pairs, meaning they can not breed with each other. Dogs are domesticated while foxes are wild animals who are not easily domesticated. Foxes only live for up to four years, while dogs live an average of 11 to 13 years.

What are some dog breeds that look like foxes?

Examples of dog breeds that resemble foxes include Shiba Inu, Akita Inu, the Finnish spitz, and the Japanese spitz.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pembroke_Welsh_Corgi
  2. The American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/japanese-spitz/
  3. Midwest Akita Rescue Society, Available here: https://akitas.org/the-akita-breed/akita-breed-standard-akc/
  4. The American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/finnish-spitz/
  5. Group Nine Media, Available here: https://www.thedodo.com/dodowell/are-foxes-canines