The Inuit dog has existed for thousands of years. The Inuit people needed a dog to suit their lifestyle and as a working companion. Legend has it that to achieve this, they staked out several bitches to be mated by wild wolves
By selective breeding and culling of the offspring, they eventually got what they wanted - a dog that could work long hours in cold temperatures, would live as a family pet and be obedient and loyal.
In the early 1980's, a few Inuit type dogs were imported to Britain and by following the Inuit peoples example and using northern breeds of dogs, we have arrived at the Northern Inuit dog we have today. They withhold the original characteristics and traits of the original Inuit dogs, e.g. a willingness to work and to please.
Although originally having to battle against the elements for survival, they have fitted in well with our modern day lifestyle as a loyal pet capable of competing successfully in obedience, agility and also flyball, as well as their original job of pulling sledges.
Where the Northern Inuit has not proved a success however, is as a guard dog, due to their friendly manner and a willingness to greet any visitor as a long lost friend.
With their incredible sense of smell and eagerness to please, the future of the N.I looks bright, and could provide future services, such as search and rescue, guide dogs for the blind and hearing dogs for the deaf. Some are already registered PAT dogs, but all are the pride and joy of their families as their loyal pets.
The Northern Inuit dog is totally non aggressive. They are the most versatile of dogs, but they are not for the novice owner as they can be very stubborn and are very quick witted. The owner of an N.I. must show themselves to be the Alpha member of the pack or be prepared to be the underdog, and be taken advantage of. A firm hand is most definitly needed, however, the pluses far outweigh the cons of owning an N.I. as they are a joy to live with and attract attention where ever they go.
Nice gardens don't usually exist alongside a Northern Inuit as they love to dig and eat any variety of garden plant, so most owners now have gardens consisting of slabs and concrete.
Some N.I., if introduced to livestock at an early age, will grow up not wanting to chase sheep and so on, but two or more N.I become a pack and pack instinct will take over, and as their prey drive is quite high, caution should be taken at all times when out near sheep, cattle or horses.
Common sense dictates that you should never leave children and dogs unsupervised. The N.I. can be quite boisterous at play, and though they would never bite intentionally, they do sometimes like to 'mouth' things e.g. arms and hands, and can easily knock a child down.
The Northern Inuit dog is also non dog aggressive and will usually submit when challenged. They don't like to be left alone and can often suffer separation anxiety. At these times they will destroy anything in the immediate vicinity, including chairs, doors and table legs. The best solution for this is to ensure your dog is never left alone for long periods of time. Another dog as a companion is a good idea, as the N.I. is a very sociable animal and loves the company of people or other dogs.
This breed of ours is very addictive, so beware, because it is a great possibility that you will end up with more than one. Most people I know have several and wouldn't have it any other way.
In the 1990's, there was an increase in the amount of advertisements offering ‘wolf hybrid’ pups for sale. As the recent ‘Pit Bull’ horror stories from an over zealous tabloid press emerged, the RSPCA and other authorities grabbed the chance to try and have many people prosecuted and their dogs confiscated under the Dangerous wild animal act. Because of all the controversy surrounding any wolfy looking dogs, a group of people got together to try and safeguard the future of a particular line of these dogs.
The dogs were given the name ‘the Northern Inuit dog’ (which I shall hereafter refer to as the N.I.), due to the Northern breeds and Inuit type dogs that were used to create the breed. Two of these original Inuit types were imported to the UK from the USA as ‘wolf hybrid’ dogs, and there ensuing progeny were sold up and down the country as ‘wolf hybrids’, it is very dubious as to whether there was any actual wolf content in these dogs at all.
At the time of the N.I being established, one of the founder s of the breed, Julie Kelham, had the local authorities hammering at her door, trying to seize her dogs as dangerous wild animals. Although they went away empty handed, it resulted in a court case being brought against her, at the local magistrates court on the 20th of june 1998. At this time, the N.I was well established as a breed of dog and not as a wolf hybrid. The end result of the court case was a not guilty verdict due to the fact that it could not be proven that there was any wolf content in the breed.
The N.I has flourished since then and is rapidly gaining in popularity, therefore, the Northern Inuit society was formed to govern the breeding and well being of this wonderful dog, although, some members, in the past, were obviously not satisfied with the N.I as it was, and went on to cross their dogs with other breeds, which has resulted in several splits,and breeds such as the Utonagan, British Inuit, Tamaskan and ‘Inuit’ groups being formed. The N.I society believes that crossing the N.I with any other breed would only be detrimental to them and we are quite satisfied with the N.I as it is.
So, the question still remains ‘is there any wolf content in the N.I.? This is a question many people ask, and the truthful answer is, it really is impossible to say. If there is, it is so far back that it would have been diluted to almost 0%. Although some people would prefer that we steer well away from the wolf question, we are proud that our breed resemble the wolf in looks and of the unanswered question ‘is there or isn't there?’
For further reference on the on the subject, please see DEFRA and BVA report on this link http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/gwd/wolfdogs/wolfdogs.pdf
Written by J. Kelham & S. Sutton