Information about the Utonagan

The Utonagan is a breed of dog that resembles a wolf, but in fact is a mix of three breeds of domestic dog: Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, and Siberian Husky.

The Utonagan is medium/large in size and well-muscled, but possesses a slender build that lends to its wolflike resemblance. The breed has a thick double coat that appears quite different in winter and summer. The guard hair is straight and slightly coarse to the touch. The pelage can be silver grey, cream, or brown with black overlay and a characteristic wolf mask. It also comes in all white, all black and Ink Marked, meaning white with markings of brown, silver or black which look like ink spilled on blotting paper.

The Utonagan is a dog with a superb temperament; this in turn makes for a wonderful family dog and companion. They love the company of people and also socialize well with cats and smaller dogs. They are not a dog that likes to be left alone and problems may arise if they are, such as destructive behaviour and escaping. They have a high “pack” mentality, and it is best they have the company of another dog(s), unless you are able to give them your full time companionship. If trained incorrectly, the dog may suffer same-sex dog aggression during its “teenage” years. They are very intelligent, are boisterous in play, and can do well at many activities.

Unlike some of their ancestors, Utonagans will return to their owner when called, if they are trained to do so from a young age. Utonagans enjoy being trained and they are exceptionally quick learners and are always eager to please their owners. They need firm, but fair training starting at a young age.

The Utonagan’s coat is very easy to manage and (roughly) only requires a twice weekly brush. However, when the dog is moulting, its coat will require more attention.

Some have thick coats that keep them warm in cool conditions but they have great difficulty staying cool in summer. This becomes a problem when walking the dog during hot weather, so owners must be careful not to over-exercise the dog and to keep water available when playing.

Utonagan can live up to 10-15 years of age.

Generally the Utonagan is an active agile and healthy dog, they should not be overly exercised until their bones are fully mature.

Prior to breeding all breeding stock should be KC/BVA hip scored and eye tested clear.

The Utonagan and Northern Inuit were created from 5 rescue dogs of unknown origin imported to the UK from America in 1987. Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd were added. The original dogs were bred by Edwina Harrison, who advertised them as wolf-dog hybrid. Buck, the founding father, looked like an Alaskan Malamute. His more wolf-like pups were prized for breeding.

The Utonagan and the Northern Inuit originally came from the same stock, but the Utonagan Society further developed its lines by returning to stock from the conceptual breeder. They are now considered two separate breeds.

The name Utonagan was found in a book of Native American mythology by one of the original breeders, Lyn Barraclough. It was then suggested by Brian Jenkins, her partner, as the breed name. It is originally from a Chinook tale where it was interpreted as “Spirit of the Wolf”.