Current research suggests that ancient Asian and north African breeds, such as the chow-chow, basenji, shiba inu, akita and Lhasa apso, are the most closely related to wolves. Some DNA studies suggest that the direct wolf ancestors of dogs died out, and current wolves are more like cousins.
According to LiveScience, researchers believe that dogs were originally domesticated in Asia, eastern Europe and the Middle East. Although the exact length of time dogs have been domesticated is unknown, there is evidence that it may be as long as 33,000 years. Appearance is not a reliable indicator of genetic similarity, because some wolf-like breeds, such as huskies, are newer recreations of ancient breeds, and some very old breeds, such as the Pekingese, have been bred for different traits.