Northern Inuit

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Key Breed Facts
Breed Characteristics
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Northern Inuit
Average Cost to keep/care for a Northern Inuit

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #142 out of 238 Dog Breeds.

The Northern Inuit breed is also commonly known by the names NI dog, Wolf Dog.
12 - 14 years
Pedigree Breed ?
No - Not Currently KC Recognised
Males 58 - 81 cm
Females 58 - 71cm at the withers
Males 36 - 50 kg
Females 25 - 38 kg
Average Price (More Info)
£768 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Northern Inuit is a relatively new breed that was first developed during the 1980's and in the short time these handsome dogs have been around, they have gained popularity not only here in the UK, but elsewhere in the world too. With this said, anyone wishing to share their homes with one of these handsome dogs would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because so few well-bred puppies are available every year. The Northern Inuit looks very much like a wolf, only they are not related whatsoever and they make wonderful companions and family pets for people who have the time to dedicate to an active, intelligent canine companion.


The Northern Inuit first appeared on the scene in the late 1980's when they were developed by a breeder named Eddie Harrison. He wanted to create a dog with wolf-like looks that would be a faithful and loyal companion. Several breeds were introduced into the mix which included the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd Dogs.

Since the Northern Inuit was first developed, these handsome dogs are now being bred in other parts of the world other than here in the UK and they have gained popularity with many people thanks to their wild-like looks and gentle, loyal natures. With this said, finding breeders can still be challenging and anyone wanting to share their home with a Northern Inuit would need to go on a waiting list for the pleasure of doing so.

As yet, the Northern Inuit is not recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club or other international breed organisations. However, many local breed clubs have been established in various countries of the world with an end goal being to standardise the breed.


Height at the withers: Males 58 - 81 cm, Females 58 - 71cm

Average weight: Males 36 - 50 kg, Females 25 - 38 kg

The Northern Inuit is bred to look and move very much like their wild wolf cousins. They are athletic, lean and medium sized dogs that boast having very weather resistant coats. Their heads are nicely in proportion with the rest of their body with dogs having slightly domed skulls that are never too broad. Their muzzles are strong with flat cheeks and they gently taper to the nose which is typically black in colour, although some dogs can have what is known as a "snow nose" which is acceptable. They have a slight stop and wide, large nostrils with their lips being tight fitting and black in colour.

The Northern Inuit has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Ears are set fairly wide apart and never too low or too big which dogs carry upright. They have oval shaped eyes that are set a little obliquely and which can be of any colour. They have muscular, strong necks with well-defined napes.

The Northern Inuit has flat shoulders and strong, straight front legs that show a good amount of bone. Their feet are oval shaped with open, well knuckled toes and firm, black pads nicely cushioned with hair. They have lean bodies with nice level toplines, long ribs and short, deep loins. Their bellies are not too tucked up, but just enough to add to a dog's overall lean, athletic appearance. Croups are quite short and broad with tails being a continuation of the croup. Dogs carry their tails upright when alert or excited, but in the shape of a sickle when they are on the move. Their hindquarters are strong and lean with dogs having well-muscled back legs with well-developed first and second thighs. Back feet are oval shaped with some dogs having five toes and dewclaws.

When it comes to their coat, the Northern Inuit boasts having an extremely dense, weather resistant double coat that consists of a coarser top coat and a much softer undercoat. The hair on a dog's neck and on the backs of their legs is longer forming a ruff and breechings. Tails are well covered in hair giving them a bushy appearance. The most commonly seen colours include the following:

  • Pure white
  • Sable with or without white faces
  • Grey with or without white faces
  • Apricot with or without white faces
  • Pure black

Black face masks and cap type markings are allowed on a dog's face, but not in dogs with white coats. Any white on a dog's legs and feet has to be gradual.


The Northern Inuit is a friendly, outgoing and calm dog even though they look a lot like their wild wolf cousins. They are very people-oriented by nature and love nothing more than to be in the company of humans so much so that they can often suffer from separation anxiety when they find themselves left alone for any amount of time. As such they are best suited to people who are familiar with their specific needs and in households where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house.

They form strong bonds with their owners and thrive in a family environment, although the Northern Inuit is not the best choice in households where the children are very young. The reason being that they can be a little boisterous when they play which could result in a dog knocking a toddler over, albeit by accident.

They are highly intelligent and in the right hands and environment, the Northern Inuit is very easy to train because they love to please. However, they are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak in them which is another reason why they are not the best choice for first time owners because these clever dogs need to be handled and trained by people who understand their particular needs.

They are active, energetic dogs, but less so than many other Spitz-type dogs and as long as they are given the right amount of daily exercise and enough mental stimulation, the Northern Inuit is just as happy to chill out with their owners in the home. Because they are so people-oriented, they make superb PAT therapy dogs in schools, hospitals and hospices.

They are best suited to people who live in more rural environments and in homes that boast secure, large back gardens which they can run around in whenever possible. However, the Northern Inuit is known to be an extremely good escape artist and is more than capable of digging their way out which is something that owners need to bear in mind.

These smart dogs need to know their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in the household or they may take on the role of dominant dog which can make them unruly and wilful to live with. They are never happier than when they know who they can look to for direction and guidance. It's really important for Northern Inuits to be well socialised from a young age which has to include introducing a dog to lots of new situations, noise, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated so they grow up to be well-rounded mature characters.

Intelligence / Trainability

The Northern Inuit is an intelligent dog and one that can often show a more dominant side to their nature if they are not taught their place in the pack. Their training has to start as soon as puppies arrives in their new home when they need to be taught the basics and boundaries. Once they have been fully vaccinated, their training can start in earnest and one good way of doing this is to enrol a Northern Inuit into puppy classes. Not only is this a great way of socialising a dog, but it's the best way to start their education in a safe and controlled environment surrounded by other dogs and people.

The key to successfully training one of these smart dogs is to make the training sessions short and very interesting. This helps dogs stay more focussed on what is being asked of them. A Northern Inuit would find it hard to concentrate when a training session is long and too repetitive which in short means it can prove harder to train them. They are quite sensitive dogs by nature and as such they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do answer well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these clever, handsome dogs.

Children and Other Pets

The Northern Inuit is known to be a great choice as a family pet. However, they are not the best choice for families with very young children because of their size and the fact they can be quite boisterous when they play which could result in a dog knocking a toddler over, albeit by accident. They are suited to families where the children are older and who therefore know how to behave around dogs.

Being social dogs by nature, the Northern Inuit generally gets on well with other dogs, more especially if they have been well socialised from a young enough age. However, care has to be taken when they are around any small animals and pets which includes cats because of their high prey drive and the fact a Northern Inuit might just see them as "fair game" with disastrous results. As such any contact is best avoided.

For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.

Northern Inuit Health

The average life expectancy of a Northern Inuit is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Like so many other breeds, the NI is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

  • Hip dysplasia - Breeders should have stud dogs hip scored
  • Elbow dysplasia - Breeders should have stud dogs tested
  • Hereditary Eye diseases - Breeders should have stud dogs eye tested
  • Achondrodysplasia
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Epilepsy
  • Addison's disease
  • Cancer

Caring for a Northern Inuit

As with any other breed, Northern Inuits need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


The Northern Inuit boasts having a thick double coat that consists of a harsher top coat and a much softer undercoat. However, they are not that high maintenance on the grooming front and ideally only need to be brushed a few times a week to remove dead and loose hair from their coats. They shed profusely throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things. It's a good idea to keep an eye on the hair that grows between a dog's paw pads and to trim it when it gets too long especially during the wetter and muddier winter months.

It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.


The Northern Inuit, as previously mentioned is an intelligent, energetic dog but unlike other Spitz-type dogs they don't need to be given an excessive amount of exercise. With this said, they still need daily walks for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. Ideally, they should be given anything up to 1 hour's exercise every day and because they are so intelligent, the Northern Inuit has to be given enough stimulation on a daily basis to avoid boredom setting in.

In the right hands and environment, these dogs are easy to train and love the one-to-one attention they get when they are being put through their paces. Some dogs are trained in agility, flyball and other canine sports which they excel at because they thrive on being with their owners and doing things whether it's competing or just hiking through the countryside.

A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these inquisitive, energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that Northern Inuits are extremely good escape artists.

With this said, NI puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.


If you get a Northern Inuit puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again. The Northern Inuit can sometimes suffer from a sensitive stomach which is something that owners need to bear in mind when trying to change their diet for whatever reason.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Northern Inuit

If you are looking to buy a Northern Inuit, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Northern Inuit in northern England would be £19.49 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £45.91 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with an NI and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1000 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Northern Inuit would be between £70 to £110 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.

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