Northern Inuit Dog: A Veritable Dire Wolf To Call Your Own

While there are some who prefer tiny purse dogs that you can rely on to amuse you at a moment’s notice, others prefer larger dogs that like to make their presence known. With a Northern Inuit Dog, you get exactly that and then some.

Boasting the same physical characteristics of ancient wolves, a Northern Inuit Dog is the closest you can get to owning an actual wolf. So if you’re imagining a wild, black & white wolf in your head right now, you’re basically thinking of a Northern Inuit Dog.

Spectacular to look at and highly intelligent by nature, Northern Inuit Dogs are seen as true descendants of the wolves of old, but a lot friendlier by most accounts. Then again, the same can be said by many large dogs that people have bred throughout the years.

What Is A Northern Inuit Dog?

Even though the precise origins of the Northern Inuit Dog are largely unknown, there are some who believe they branched out from early Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Others believe that this impressive dog originated as a cross between Labrador Huskies and Canadian Eskimo Dogs.

Whatever the case, there are a handful of breeds within the large family of the Northern Inuit Society and you can find them in many places around the world. As the dog was likely bred from an already established pedigree dog, it is not recognized as its own breed.

Regardless of the pedigree, the Northern Inuit Dog is a quite healthy dog by most standards and it rarely showcases congenital issues that should worry any would-be owners. In fact, these dogs are known to be rather healthy and strong as long as they’re acquired from a reputable breeder.


Popular for portraying the Dire Wolves in HBO’s popular ‘Game Of Thrones’ series, these dogs are quite spectacular to look at. Their eye-catching looks involve a wolf-like appearance with an athletic body with strong legs, a long muzzle, and erect ears on top of the head.

At the same time, this good-looking dog has a straight tail and comes in many colors depending on the parents. The coat is plush and thick, with a weather-proof double coat that measures around 4 centimeters in length, a coat that may vary not only in color but shade as well.

Speaking of its coat, bear in mind that this dog’s coat sheds throughout the year with large blowouts during the spring and fall. Still, the overall look of the coat is clean and sublime, which greatly adds to the dog’s presence.


Height & Weight

You can expect a Northern Inuit Dog to reach between 23 to 32 inches in height when fully grown. Their height is, of course, dependent on the dog’s exercise levels, diet, health, and genetics. Even so, the males of the breed tend to outgrow the females.

In regards to weight, this particular dog can weigh between 55 to 110 lbs with males being somewhat heavier than females on account of their bone structure. Because they are cross-bred, individuals can vary in size from one geographical area to another.

Coat & Color

The coat of a Northern Inuit Dog is very thick and dense. In fact, these dogs have a waterproof double coat that sheds at all times during the year, with accentuated intensity during the spring and all, when you’ll have to do most of the brushing.

As for color, it should be said that the Northern Inuit Dog comes in many colors, with grey and white being the most widespread. Even so, the dog can be apricot, black, sable, or any possible combination between these colors.

Northern Inuit Dog Personality & Temperament

The Northern Inuit Dog has been purposefully bred throughout the years to be a friendly and confident dog, the type you can rely on to not only work hard at all times but to protect you and your family should the situation require it.

As a matter of fact, these dogs are such good companions that they have often been used as therapy dogs over the years on account of their reliable character. They are known to form strong bonds with family members and to show a great deal of composure around them.

Confident and friendly, these dogs are unlikely to show any signs of aggression if properly socialized from an early age. Despite their resemblance to wolves, they do not possess any wolf DNA to speak of, so they can only be considered wolf-like in looks alone.

Northern Inuit Dog Behavior

The Northern Inuit Dog is known to form a strong bond with its human companions, especially the one that shows the most dominant behavior. Yes, you heard that right. This particular dog prefers to be lead by a strong and confident hand, thus it will bond well with anyone showcasing a dominant behavior around them.

Provided that you do most of the feeding, walking, and training, a Northern Inuit Dog will develop very strong feelings for you and will refuse to leave your side at all times. This makes the dog an excellent companion while also explaining why these canines are often used as therapy dogs and even service dogs in some cases.

Incredibly loyal by nature, they are well suited to family life and are sure to exhibit a very friendly behavior around people they like. That said, their strong familiarity with people makes them develop separation anxiety rather fast should the owners neglect them for extended periods of time.


Northern Inuit Dog Temperament

It should perhaps be said from the get-go that these dogs are not the aggressive type and that they only resemble wolves in looks alone. In fact, they are impressively friendly and tolerant among people, even around people they haven’t yet been introduced to.

One thing to keep in mind about the Northern Inuit Dog is that it can easily exhibit signs of separation anxiety, which the dog can express through disruptive behavior. I don’t necessarily mean that the dog will showcase any signs of aggression in the traditional sense, more on the line of breaking things around the house and all that.

Bear in mind that the Northern Inuit Dog is also prone to howling. As a matter of fact, these dogs are so prone to howling that there isn’t much you can do to prevent it from happening, so unless you live in an area where the dog can howl in peace, then you should perhaps take your mind off ever owning one.

Is A Northern Inuit Dog A Good Family Dog?

Bred for their tolerant and loyal behavior, these dogs are perfect for family life. They seem to do well not only around people they know but also around strangers. Furthermore, they tend to develop quick bonds with people they interact with on a daily basis.

Having said that, you need to understand that the Northern Inuit Dog is a relatively large dog. As such, you should always supervise it around small children, if not for the risk of the dog causing any intentional harm to the child, then at least to ensure that it doesn’t accidentally do it on account of its strong physique.

Caring For A Northern Inuit Dog

Due to its intuitive and intelligent nature, this dog is quick to figure out training patterns and human speech tones. This makes it easy for the dog to adapt to family life and to easily fit into any living space you designate for the dog when you first bring it into your home.

That said, be aware that this is a strong and muscular dog and that it requires plenty of space to play. While you may have some success adapting the dog to reduced or confined spaces as long as you’re there to make things easier, the dog is likely to get stressed by the limited roaming space as soon as you step out of the picture.

One should also consider the importance of companionship for a dog like this, be it human or canine. Although they don’t really need a lot of exercise on a daily basis, they do love to play around with humans and other dogs as often as they get the chance.



Despite its size and muscular physique, the Northern Inuit Dog doesn’t require a lot of daily exercise¬†as long as it lives a relatively active lifestyle. In fact, these dogs only need about two walks a day, neither of which needs to be longer than an hour or so.

Having said that, I should point out that the dog has a high prey drive and that it enjoys chasing things, especially smaller animals. So if you do not take the time to socialize it properly from an early age, you might find yourself pulling back on the dog’s leash as soon as it sees a cat or a squirrel later in life.

There’s also some good news on this front because you see, these dogs are highly inquisitive by nature. This makes it easier for you to introduce them to new activities and to quickly go through a list of potential activities looking for one that best suits your dog’s needs and wishes.

Grooming & Shedding

The Northern Inuit Dog boasts a waterproof double coat that requires a lot of grooming on a regular basis. In this respect, you will need to brush the dog at least two or three times a week just to help them shed their fur, not to mention the aesthetics of a well-brushed dog.

When it comes to shedding, you should know that it mostly happens during the so-called ‘shedding seasons’ in the spring and fall. It is then when the dog does most of the shedding and also when you should intensify your brushing efforts. Either way, with a Northern Inuit Dog inside the house, you are bound to see a lot of dog hair everywhere on a daily basis.

Interestingly enough, these dogs do not require regular bathing due to the fact that their hair repels dirt. They do, however, need to have their nails clipped every couple of months or so and for you to brush their teeth every single day.

Feeding & Diet

Although quite healthy by most standards, Northern Inuit Dogs have very sensitive stomachs and require a carefully planned diet. These dogs don’t do well with regular dry food and may require high-quality kibble or a raw diet in some cases.

It also has to be said that they are prone to developing issues with sugar if they eat it on a regular basis. To be on the safe side, you should perhaps avoid feeding them too many sugary foods and to stick to dog treats instead.

You are advised to feed a Northern Inuit Dog 3 to 4 meals a day as a pup and twice a day as an adult. If you can, try to include healthy snacks in the dog’s diet, sooner rather than later.


Known Health Problems

A rather healthy breed by most accounts, the Northern Inuit Dog does have its share of issues that you should probably look out for. It is known that these dogs are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia along with a variety of eye issues including glaucoma.

Some of these dogs have also been known to suffer from dwarfism, cryptorchidism, degenerative myelopathy, and even epilepsy in some cases. Needless to say, these last few issues are rather rare with this breed but you should probably get your pup from a reputable breeder just to be safe.

How To Train A Northern Inuit Dog

Because of how inquisitive and intelligent these dogs are, you will find them very easy to train. Their intelligence, however, may also work against any efforts to accustom the dog to training methods the owner finds comfortable. This is because the dog gets easily bored with repetitive training methods and will always be on the lookout for new activities.

Now, these dogs absolutely love being around people, so you shouldn’t have too many difficulties trying to socialize them from an early age. Even so, make sure that you supervise their interaction with people and correct their transgressions, preferably without subjecting them to any form of verbal or physical punishment.


Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Information
Size 23 to 32 inches
Weight 55-110 lbs
Lifespan 12-14 years
Color Black, white, grey, sable, and apricot
Coat Waterproof double coat, thick and coarse
Shedding & Grooming Requires a lot of grooming, sheds constantly
Temperament Very friendly, loyal, and calm
With Other Pets Good with other dogs and pets they’ve been properly introduced to
People Skills Great with people
With Children Very good with children of all ages
Exercise Needs Regular walks twice a day
Food Quality kibble, raw diet
Known Health Problems Hip & elbow dysplasia, glaucoma, degenerative myelopathy

All Things Considered

If we are to believe what Northern Inuit Dog owners have to say about the breed, this particular dog is no short of a perfect companion. Loyal, confident, yet surprisingly placid, this dog is sure to provide you and your family with the companionship and love you can expect from a pet.

Despite the fact that it is prone to howling fits from time to time, the dog is otherwise quite composed and calm. That, however, can all change if you leave the dog alone for extended periods of time as it is the type of dog that requires constant attention.

All in all, the Northern Inuit Dog is one of the best dogs you can own due to its friendly and loving nature, even though it requires a lot of care and regular grooming.

Caroline Jones

Caroline has been a dog lover since she was only 6 years old, when her parents got her a rescue Boxer. Since then her love for dogs has lead her to study Dog Behavior & Welfare. She now educates people on how to properly raise and care for dogs, through her online site, Bark Friend. Now, she's a proud owner of a beautiful German Shepherd.

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