Northern Inuit Dog


echo best in show

"Echo" - Frequently placed Best in Show 

Northern Inuit Dog Breed Standard

 (There are currently at least three 'Breed Standards', one is physically impossible and another eliminates blue-eyes, this is the original and the one I accept)

GENERAL APPEARANCE:  A dog of medium build, athletic but not racy.   Slightly longer than tall (as 10 – 9), with leg length slightly longer than overall depth of body.   Oval bone is neither too heavy nor too light.

HEAD:   Not too broad, skull slightly domed.   Muzzle slightly longer than skull, strong and gently tapering.   Lips close fitting and always black.   Cheeks flat.   Nose black (winter noses acceptable) and nostrils large.   Perfect scissor bite.

EYES:   Oval, forward facing and set at a slightly oblique angle.   Any colour or colour combination permitted.

EARS:   Set fairly high, not too large and carried erect.

NECK:   Strong and muscular with a well-defined nape.

SHOULDERS:  Moderately sloping. Elbows fitting close to chest, which must not be too broad.

BODY:   Top line level, ribs well back.   Loin short and deep with no exaggerated tuck up.   Croup broad and fairly short but not steep.   Tail set fairly high and reaching to the hock, carried down when standing, may be lifted when excited.   Curly tails considered a fault.   Good rear angulation.   Short hocks.

HIND FEET:   Oval, may have five toes, dewclaws permitted.

FORE FEET:  Round, pasterns upright but flexible.   Pads black and well cushioned with hair.

COAT:  Dense double coat, slightly harsh in texture, heavy coats permitted but long, flowing, silky coats considered a fault.    Well defined ruff and breaches.   Tail bushy.

GAIT:    Easy and far reaching covers the ground.

SIZE:     Bitches 22 inches min., dogs 24 inches min. – overall balance more important than size.

COLOUR:  Pure white or any shade of grey and sable through to pure black.   White faces and dark masks  are permitted but any colour change should be subtle.

TEMPERAMENT:  Friendly and placid, never aggressive or showing any guarding tendencies.   Will submit when challenged.

All Males should have two fully descended testicles apparent.

FAULTS:  Gay tails, long soft/silky coats, patchy/pinto or black and tan colours.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.



"Sansorrella Pagan Promise" 

There are many admirers of the Timber Wolf but it is not practical or fair to keep these wild animals as domestic pets.   The aim of the founders of this breed was to satisfy this love of the wolf, by creating a breed that resembled the wolf in appearance while having the loyal and affectionate nature required of a family companion.

A Court case was fought in 1995, which proved (albeit on a technicality) that the 'Northern Inuit dog' is not a wolfdog or wolf hybrid. The 'Northern Inuit dog' is merely a wolf look-a-like with wolfish qualities.


Brief History (fuller history is given in "The Wolf Lookalike Handbook")

The 'Northern Inuit dog' is a relatively new, manmade type of dog.   The name 'Northern Inuit dog' is a misnomer since I am led to believe the breed has nothing whatsoever to do with genuine Inuit dogs and is therefore misleading.   It is also politically incorrect and insulting to the Inuit people, who have my full support and understanding in their frequent complaints regarding the name.   It is my personal opinion that the name should be changed to reflect what this dog truly is and its UK origins.    A small group of breeders, including myself, will be changing the name of our dogs, as well as improving the lines we breed, and from 2009 our dogs will be known as Anglo Wulfdogs.

The 'Northern Inuit breed' stems from the late 1980’s, when various northern breeds of dog, some imported, were selected for type and size (including Husky and Malamute crosses) and another breed for trainability (the German Shepherd).  These were carefully bred over several generations by Edwina Harrison and a few others to create the 'Northern Inuit dog' we know today.   In the early years a handful of other dogs were included to improve the 'breed' and set certain characteristics.   It is rumoured that some of these dogs were crossed with wolves.  However, an investigation by DEFRA was unable to prove this and they believed it was highly unlikely and most probably a claim made in order to obtain a higher price for pups. If our dogs did originate from wolf hybrids then it was many generations in the past and the wolf content would now be miniscule.  For many generations now the 'Northern Inuit dog' has been bred pure, Northern Inuit to Northern Inuit, and a loose type has been established but there are still variations on that type.   

The reader should see the Health Problems page, along with the articles on the Genetics page and Breeding for Genetic Health page, regarding concerns over the consequences of repeated inbreeding.   Breeders were mislead in the belief that the gene pool was sufficiently large to support the breed and indeed on 3 or 4 generation pedigrees it does appear to be the case.   However, if we take pedigrees back 7 - 10 generations there is a totally different picture and I can't stress strongly enough that the gene pool needs to be expanded if the 'breed' is to have a viable and healthy future.   Sansorrella, together with a handful of other responsible breeders, took advice from renowned genetics experts and instigated a new breeding programme in 2009 that should address these issues (see Anglo Wulfdogs for more information).  


sansorrella pack 

Some of the Sansorrella Pack  


Breed Profile

The 'Northern Inuit dogs' we have today withhold some of the characteristics and traits of Inuit type dogs but without the intense working drive that would prevent family life.   They have a calmer nature more befitting of the family dog.   Although originally this type of dog would have to battle against the elements for basic survival they have fitted in well with our modern day lifestyle as a loyal pet, capable of competing successfully in obedience, agility, fly ball, canix and the popular sport of pulling rigs.   Where the 'Northern Inuit dog' has not proved a success is as a guard dog, due to their friendly manner and willingness to greet any visitor as a long lost friend in an extremely boisterous and exuberant manner!

The 'Northern Inuit dog' is a very affectionate and versatile dog, with an incredible sense of smell and willingness to please.   The future of the 'Northern Inuit dog' looks bright and could provide future services such as Search and Rescue dogs, Hearing Dogs for the deaf, P.A.T dogs or simply as the pride and joy of families as their loyal and loving pet.   A handful of dogs are already being trained as a Search and Rescue dogs and some have qualified as P.A.T. dogs.  Several Northern Inuit dogs have passed the KC Good Citizen Award scheme, achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold standard for their proud owners.

Sansorrella Wanagi

If introduced at a young age 'Northern Inuit dogs' mix well with other pets, but it must always be remembered that they naturally have a very high prey drive and should never be left alone with other domestic pets or livestock.  Because of their friendly personalities they love the companionship of other dogs and very rarely argue, usually submitting when challenged.   They make great family members and like to be included in everything the family does.   They love children and are happy to play games for hours or cuddle up on the sofa for a kip.   Those that are privileged to own a 'Northern Inuit dog', or more, know how loving and caring these dogs truly are. 

However, they are not a dog that can be left alone while you are at work, this can lead to a very distressed dog and destructive behaviour.   They have a very strong pack instinct and it cannot be over emphasised that they need constant company, human or canine - but any canine companion should be large enough to take the rough and tumble of Northern Inuit play.

Sansorrella Simply Adorable

The 'Northern Inuit dog' is a faithful companion and bonds very closely with their family.   You never forget that smile; they have a wonderfully expressive face and really do ‘smile’.   They require a medium level of exercise as they are not over active dogs, but they are boisterous in play! 

'Northern Inuit' dogs are larger than a Siberian husky, with dense double coats ranging in colour from white through to black and reds, with grey being the most common.   They can have a ‘mask’ but colour change should be subtle.   They moult twice a year; the heaviest being the spring moult but good brushing keeps this under control.   Some 'Northern Inuit' dogs do not tolerate cereal based complete dogs foods very well and as a breed they do best on BARF diets. (See the diet section on this website)

'Northern Inuit dogs' are very independent and strong willed dogs and are not really suited to a novice dog owner.   They are trainable (but it helps if you have an abundance of patience and a good sense of humour) and they should be well socialised from a very early age.   With confident handling they can be reliably obedience trained and safely let off lead.

Sansorrella Blue Moon


NB It should be noted that the above description is a broad generalisation of the breed.   Behaviour and temperament of individual dogs will be shaped as much by Nurture as Nature.   Handling, training and socialisation affects how a dog will behave.   As with every breed there are always exceptions to the rule.   There are Northern Inuit dogs who will guard their territory, some are more independent and aloof than others.   Not all will submit when challenged; as they are predominantly a pack animal there will always be those with Alpha tendencies.   It is common sense that no child be left alone with any dog, especially a large breed and they should be supervised by an adult at all times.   Even the most friendly of Northern Inuit dogs can accidentally knock a child over or 'mouth' them as they would their siblings during exuberant, over excited play.  Training must be started young, be consistent and reward based, making it fun for the dog as well as the owner.   Owners will get out of a dog what they are prepared to put in.  This is a unique breed, by no means perfect, requiring a special type of owner who is experienced and fully committed to their dogs.  It must always be remembered that these are NOT German Shepherds and will not behave like one.   You will not get the instant obedience that you might expect from a GSD, as 'Northern Inuit dogs' will very often weigh up the pros and cons before deciding whether or not it is 'worth' doing what you want.  They have a "What's in it for me" attitude.  (See my training section for more info)

aime and the pack 
Sansorrella Spirit of the Sky with Aimee
playing in the snow
Some of the Sansorrella pack playing in the snow 

Prospective owners would be well advised to meet as many adult 'Northern Inuit dogs' as possible, so they are fully aware of the 'Northern Inuit dog experience' before buying a puppy.  The 'breed' cannot be properly appreciated by meeting a single dog on its own;  this will not give any indication of what happens when more than one of these dogs get together.  'Northern Inuit dogs' have their own style of play and interaction, which is very rough and can often be misconstrued as 'fighting'.   They love nothing better than to roll around in mock battles, a bonding characteristic of the 'breed' which can be a little unnerving for the uninitiated!  

Here at Sansorrella visitors are encouraged to meet the pack before viewing any puppies that might be available but it should be noted that we will no longer be breeding Northern Inuit x Northern Inuit litters.   We believe that the Northern Inuit dog gene pool is too small to sustain the dogs as they are and out crossing is the only way to give this 'type' of dog a viable future.

dogs playing in garden 09
Some of the Sansorrella pack playing 
You may have noticed that I refer to the Northern Inuit dog as a 'breed', in inverted commas.   This is because I do not believe they will ever be recognised by the Kennel Club as a breed in their own right, due to the lack of honest, accurate and provable records from the foundation dogs to the present day.   I therefore regard them as a 'wolf lookalike' type of dog.  

"Look into the eyes of a wolf and see your soul"




copyright Sansorrella 2010  All rights reserved