Information about the Northern Inuit Dog

The Northern Inuit Dog is a breed originating in the late 1980s, in an attempt to create a domestic dog breed more closely resembling the wolf.


  • Ears: Set fairly high, not too large and carried erect.
  • Body: Topline level. Tail set fairly high and reaching to the hock, carried down when standing, may be lifted when excited.
  • Coat: Dense double coat, slightly harsh in texture, well defined ruff and breeches. Tail bushy.
  • Size: Males: minimum 25 inches. Females: minimum 22 inches. – Overall balance more important than size.
  • Colour: Pure White or any shade of Grey and Sable through to pure Black. White faces and dark masks are permitted but any color change should be subtle.
  • Faults: Curly tails, long soft silk coats, patchy/pinto or Black and Tan colours.

Northern Inuit, like their spitz predecessors, are intended to be friendly yet stubborn dogs, and possess a high activity level. They are intelligent, independent thinkers, which can make them more difficult to train than other, more biddable breeds. They are good with children, but are boisterous when young so should not be left alone with them, as with all large powerful breeds. They are very loyal and form a close bond with their owner and family. Separation anxiety is known to be a problem when Inuits are left alone and unsupervised too long, leading to destructive and sometimes self-mutilating behaviors; often, they will do better with another dog for company. Socialization should begin early. The downside of their cleverness is that they do not obey their owners for the sake of obedience, and (even more so than many breeds) require motivational, reward-based training.

Some genetic problems have become apparent in Northern Inuit lines, such as hereditary cataracts, hip dysplasia, and epilepsy, all of which should be tested for prior to breeding by responsible breeders.

In the late 1980s, the founder of the breed, Eddie Harrison, utilized several mixed-breed rescue dogs of unknown origin or heritage, crossing them with the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and German Shepherd to produce early Northern Inuit dogs. The breed’s intent was to create a dog that phenotypically closely resembles a wolf in appearance while possessing the gentler, more trainable character of the domesticated dog. However, like many spitz-type breeds, Northern Inuits have a more “primitive” nature than many breeds and are not recommended for inexperienced owners.

Over the years various people have split from the original Northern Inuit Society to form their own breed groups. These have included The Inuit Dog Association, The British Inuit Dog Club, and The Utonagan Society; the latter has also now splintered into different groups. None of these clubs have been accepted by larger organizations such as the British Kennel Club. Although not officially recognized by The Kennel Club, Northern Inuits are eligible to be registered in The Kennel Club’s Companion Dog Club and participate in some performance events, including agility and obedience. They are ineligible for sled dog mushing events or pulling a rig (wheeled sled), as only purebred Kennel Club-registered dogs can be entered in these.

Other domestic dog breeds selectively bred to resemble wolves include the Utonagan and Tamaskan Dog, and the hybridized Saarlooswolfhond, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Kunming Wolf-dog and Lupo Italiano.