Northern Inuit Dog
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The Northern Inuit Dog is a crossbred dog that originated in the late 1980s, in an attempt to create a domestic dog breed more closely resembling the wolf by Eddie Harrison. It is currently only recognized by its own independent breed clubs, but by no other major kennel club, however there are a few accredited breeders within the British Kennel Club assured breeders scheme. The dog originates from crosses among German Shepherd Dogs, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamute, Wolf hybrid mix. Although the original stock is Canadian in origin, the breed was developed in the UK. Embark in the USA have reported in 2017 that the breeds prominent are German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Samoyed and Grey Wolf. However, there are lines that will show no Samoyed or Grey Wolf.
The Northern Inuit Dog is of medium to large build, athletic but never racy. Females should be between 23 and 28 inches (58–71 cm) tall and weigh around 55–84 pounds (25–38 kg), while males should be between 25 and 30 inches (58–81 cm) tall and weigh 79–110 pounds (36–48 kg). The dog should have a double coat and a straight tail (Sickle when excited) – curly tails are considered a fault.
Temperament and health
The Northern Inuit dog is not for the novice owner as they can be very stubborn and are very quick-witted. The owner of a Northern Inuit must show themselves to be a strong leader or be prepared to be the underdog, and be taken advantage of.
The breed is quite primitive and are more difficult to train than other, more biddable breeds. Separation anxiety may arise when they are left alone and unsupervised too long, leading to destructive behaviour, but training from a young age will rectify this. Positive training from the onset is a must for this breed. Often, they will do better with another dog for company. Socialisation should begin when vaccinated and throughout as their play can be very rough and misinterpreted. Desensitisation training also is recommended from puppy stage.
Some genetic problems have become apparent in Northern Inuit line as with many breeds, including hip dysplasia and epilepsy, all of which are included in the health screen within the society's breeding programme. All breeding stock are health tested for Hips, Elbows, eyes along with some parentage OSD3 (A form of Achondrodysplasia) which tests have been assisted with via AHT (Animal Health Trust) and DM (Degenerative myelopathy) OSD3 is tested but it's not compulsory.
There are two stories regarding the history of the Northern Inuit Dog. In the late 1980s, the founder of the breed, Eddie Harrison, bred several mixed-breed rescue dogs of unknown origin or heritage with Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and a specific bloodline of German Shepherd Dog, to produce the early Northern Inuit dogs. The breed's intent was to create a dog that closely resembled a wolf in appearance while possessing the gentler, more trainable character of the domesticated dog.
The other story relating to this breed is that a few Canadian Eskimo Dogs or Labrador Huskys were brought into the UK from the US in the late 70s or early 80s and crossbred with Alaskan Malamutes and German Shepherd Dogs. This version of events should be substantiated by the publication of importation and quarantine documents; however, this has never happened. The Northern Inuit dog has never been used by the indigenous peoples inhabiting the arctic region.
Over the years various groups have split from the original Northern Inuit Society (formed in mid 90's) to form their own breed groups. These have included The Inuit Dog Association, The British Timber dog, Anglo Wulfdog, The British Inuit Dog Club, and The Utonagan Society; the latter has also now splintered into different groups. The Northern Inuit dog is also used within the W.O.L.F World of Lupine federation breeding programme for the Lupine dog and recently the addition of The Northern Inuit Association. None of these clubs have been accepted by larger organizations, such as the British Kennel Club.
Some of the breed groups also have their own Rescue team. The NISociety breeders will accept their dogs they've bred or the Society Rescue team will assist in assessing and rehoming.
Since 2017 according to latest Embark DNA there is small percentage of grey-Wolf present under 15%. Variable low content varies from 3-15%, alongside genetic markers for the Samoyed dog. The registered dogs DNA submitted returned results of (greatest first) GSD, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute and some lines present with Samoyed and Grey Wolf.
The breed was cast in 2017 to play the character of Rollo (A Wolfdog won by the character Ian Murray played by John Bell) in Starz smash hit show Outlander, which is filmed in Scotland, to be aired November 2018.
- Cusdin, P.A. "The Keeping Of Wolf-Hybrid Dogs In Great Britain" (PDF). Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. pp. 16, 42. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Northern Inuits double as direwolves". Winter Is Coming.net. Retrieved 14 December 2012.