Northern Inuit Dog: Meet A Friendly Wolf-Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Northern Inuit Dog has a wolf-like appearance and Hollywood status. Learn why this breed was selected to present Dire Wolves in 'Game of Thrones' and what makes them so unique today.
Dog Breed Group:
Hybrid Dogs
23 to 32 inches
55 to 110 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

If you ever wanted to have a large, white or black dog breed that looks like a wolf, you may think about welcoming the Northern Inuit dog to your home. This breed is also the most similar to the original Dire Wolves.
Nowadays, they are more similar to Siberian Husky. Let’s learn more about this amazing breed and start with the basics.

Quick Facts

Real name: Northern Inuit Dog
Origin: United Kingdom
Breed type: Guard Dog
Weight:Male: 79-110 pounds (36-50 kg), Female: 55-84 pounds (25-38 kg)
Height:Male: 23-32 inches (58-81 cm), Female: 23-28 inches (58-71 cm)
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Color: Black, white, grey, apricot and sable
Coat: Double coat, thick, coarse and waterproof

Northern Inuit Dog: History

The Northern Inuit Dog is officially a crossbreed, so until this day you can’t find this amazing breed registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Even when it comes to its history we don’t know the origin for sure. However, we do know that there are two different stories on how this breed was developed.

According to the first story a man named Eddie Harrison, the founder of the breed bred several mixed-breed rescue dogs (unknown origin) with larger and stronger breeds such as Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky. The story claims that he also used a specific bloodline of German Shepherd dogs to create the very early Northern Inuit Dogs. This was happening in the 1980s. His idea was to create a dog similar to a wolf in appearance with the trainable character of the domesticated dog.

The other story claims that breed was created earlier, at least a decade earlier in the 1970s. According to this story, Canadian Eskimo Dog was crossed with Labrador Huskies, German Shepherds, and Alaskan Malamutes. Still, we don’t know which of these stories is true, but we can believe that all of the breeds mentioned, were involved. Nowadays, the breed is protected by the Northern Inuit Society and they work toward the AKC certification of the breed.

Northern Inuit Dog: Physical Appearance

This is a true wolf-like dog. They are actually so similar to their distant relatives, that if you would meet this breed alone in the open you would easily mix it with dogs.

Next to their wolf-like appearance, they have strong athletic body followed by strong legs and chest. You can know the true Northern Inuit Dog by his tail. Their tail is always straight. They will never have a curled tail.

Also, their coat is pretty impressive: double, coarse, and waterproof. They come in different colors, including apricot and sable color, next to more common black, grey, and white. This breed often comes with facial markings.

Both facial markings and a variety of colors are acceptable for the breed. In most cases, Northern Inuit Dog will have a grey coat mixed with white. Interestingly, they won’t have facial markings if they are completely white.

For a mixed breed, this is really a big dog. They reach between 23-32 inches when they are fully grown. Their weight is usually between 55 to 110Lb. Males are in general larger than females.

Northern Inuit Dog: Temperament and Personality

They may look serious and terrifying due to their wolf-like appearance, but their true nature and temperament are so far from their appearance. They are gentle, loyal and highly unlikely to show any type of aggression. However, they have strong natural confidence, so they may act stubborn sometimes. Because of this trait, it’s highly recommended not to choose the Northern Inuit as your first dog.

It takes a strong and patient hand to keep them in check. Also, they are known for forming a strong bond with their humans. In most cases, they will attach to the person that spends the most time with them, feeds them, walks, plays with them and so on.

They are such good-tempered dogs, that they have been used often nowadays as therapy dogs. Dedicated to their families, they tend to suffer enormously when they are separated from their family members. Therefore, they tend to develop separation anxiety.

If you are looking for a guard dog, you should opt for another breed. This breed is generally overly-trusting including the people that they don’t know, just like Huskies. Just like their relatives Siberian Huskies, Northern’s love to howl. Actually, howling is instinctive with this breed and anyone with the neighbors nearby should think twice before getting a northern Inuit Dog.

They Are Not Good Guard Dogs

The Inuit has a very high prey drive. Next to that trait, they had an impeccable sense of smell, which when combined only lead to a strong urge to hunt around anything small that moves. And if livestock is present, your Inuit must be introduced properly and socialized with them at an early age. But when it comes to guarding the area they are just not good at that.

Simply said, they are really bad guard dogs. Moreover, they love making new friends, so they will easily become best buddies with any intruder. But, one light spot here is that due to their size people would think twice about entering somewhere they shouldn’t. But overall, if your Inuit just barks at someone you should feel lucky and proud.

Is A Northern Inuit Dog A Good Family Dog?

Simply said, yes. As mentioned earlier this breed has a calm and peaceful nature, which makes them perfect for a family with children. There is one thing that you should always be aware of, and that’s their size. They may accidentally knock children over. Luckily, these accidents are extremely rare. However, better safe than sorry, so always supervise your Northern Inuit dog and your children. In addition, educate your child on how to behave around dogs.

Overall, from, their temperament and personality you can expect to see a gentle and calm dog, with a strong friendly background, and with zero aggression. This breed is also highly intelligent, so you can expect stubbornness, especially if this is your first dog (we usually recommend less stubborn breeds for the first-time dog owners).

Just like with any other dog you should train your Nothern Inuit dog properly and start training him from day one.

Northern Inuit Dog: Training

Northern Inuit Dog thrives when they are around experienced owners. Every dog owner needs to put time, energy, and patience into training, so the dog can become a well-behaved dog. Inuit’s are stubborn dogs who tend to have a mind of their own, and if they can they will easily and gladly take over the role of alpha, and that’s something that you should avoid by any cost.

Trainers must work hard to ensure that they are properly shaped. Also, because of their intelligence, they must have engaging and fresh training sessions, or they will easily get bored. Moreover, they can easily become bored and distracted. If they are interested they will simply not follow the instructions. To ensure their obedience and good behavior you should start early training and proper socialization.

Also, keep them on a leash all the time, because they may easily start chasing small animals when they spot, such as squirrels. You want to keep this strong dog on a leash when his hunting instincts jump in.

Northern Inuit Dog: Exercise

Surprisingly, considering the breed that was crossbreed to get this dog, Inuit dogs are not extremely active and they don’t need an excessive amount of exercise. But they do enjoy to have a few long walks during the day. If you fail to exercise your Inuit you may risk to delver proper mental stimulation and directly out your dog’s health at risk.

Dogs need proper amount of exercise to keep their hips, joints, and back legs strong. Moreover, they also need daily exercise so they get to explore and meet people and dogs. Altogether, each factor leads to a healthier and happier dog.

Northern Inuit Dog: Nutrition

The Northern Inuit Dogs are known for having a sensitive stomach. Therefore, you should put special attention to his diet and feeding habits. Make sure that you know how much you should feed your dog every day and if the veterinarian suggested a raw diet or a kibble diet.

If you are already going with kibble food, make sure that you look at food high in fats and proteins. Also, make sure that you avoid food with sugar and sugary treats. Provide your Inuit with food specially designed for active, large-breed dogs.

Northern Inuit Dog: Health

Northern Inuit Dogs are a fairly healthy breed. As long as you provide proper nutrition, steady training, and daily exercise and keep your Inuit mentally stimulated, your dog could pass by with minor health problems or no health problems at all. However, you should still be informed about the most common health issues that may appear in this breed. So far, we know that Inuit dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, as glaucoma (issues with eyes).

Other health conditions that are not as common but can be seen in the breed are epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, dwarfism, and cryptorchidism. Luckily, most of these conditions are rare.

Your breeder should provide you with a full list of any health worries that may affect the dog’s line. In addition, the Northern Inuit Society ensured that all breeding dogs have elbow and hip scoring, next to regular eye checks. A great thing that you can do for your Inuit to support his health and proper development is to have a proper grooming practiser that can enchase your connection and support dog’s health by preventing numerous health conditions.

Northern Inuit Dog: Grooming

You will have to take care after this breed. They have a double coat, similar to Huskies, so you can expect serious shedding twice a year. Having a regular brushing practice each week should help them shed faster.

Make sure that you have proper grooming tools and that you brush often during the shedding season (during spring and fall). This is the best way to reduce the amount of fur in your home. They will need regular nail clipping and gums check. They don’t have to be bath often unless they fall into the mud. Their coat is unique because it repels dirt.

Their super-coat is the reason why they don’t have a doggy smell or a minimal one. Make sure that you brush/clean his teeth regularly and that you have regular veterinarian check-ups.

Famous Northern Inuit Dogs

People learned about this relatively young breed when the first episode fo famous HBO’s show ‘Game of Thrones’ aired back in 2011. This breed was selected to present puppy and adult Dire Wolves. Ever since their popularity is on the rise.

The other famous moment for this breed was when Wayne Dixon and his Northern Inuit dog Koda, walked for the 7000-mile journey. They started their journey back in 2016 when they walked the UK coast picking up litter. Along the way, this duo got huge media coverage.

Northern Inuit Dog – Conclusion

Although these dogs may look like wild wolves, the truth is that they are highly loveable and sweet. What you should always keep in mind is that this breed is simply not for everyone. They are intelligent and stubborn and is you let them they will become alpha. Moreover, they react only to positive training.

They are family-oriented dogs that love to bark, so think about neighbors as well. f you are up for a daily challenge filled with barking, unity, and frequent shedding, this might be your perfect dog. In return, you will get a lot of love, loyalty, and happiness.

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