Northern Inuit Dog Care

The Northern Inuit Dog (NI Dog) is a medium- to large-sized crossbreed that can vary from 55 to 110 pounds in size. And though these hybrids can look exactly like wolves, their appearance is the only thing they share with their wolf cousins; in fact, NI Dogs are friendly, enthusiastic, and make excellent family companions. And one of its greatest attributes is that Northern Inuit Dog care and maintenance doesn't take a great deal of work.

Below you'll find plenty of details about caring for the NI Dog, including puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to your questions about owning this good-natured crossbreed, keep reading!

Northern Inuit Dog Breed Development

As a medium- to large-sized breed with quite a bit of variation in size, Northern Inuit Dog puppy development can span 16-21 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: NI Dog puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first 7-9 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. Depending on the dog's size when mature, an NI Dog reaches its full adult height and weight (an average of 28 inches at the shoulders and 80 pounds) at 10-13 months of age.

Social Development: NI Dog pups reach adolescence at 6-7 months, sexual maturity at 8-11 months, and full mental maturity at approximately 18 months.

For specific milestones in Northern Inuit Dog development, refer to the following:

Northern Inuit Dog Exercise Needs

Though this is an active and athletic crossbreed, Northern Inuit Dog exercise requirements aren't as extensive as one might think. Since they're hybrids of breeds with good running skills and endurance, these dogs will need some time each day to stretch their legs, but their activity needs aren't too great. They make good jogging and bicycling companions, and can be excellent competitors in agility and field trials.

The typical adult NI Dog, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 60 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of walks, jogs, or bike rides and a good period of play. You can start exercising your NI Dog puppy at three months old by taking it on short (10-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.

A few things to consider when exercising your Northern Inuit Dog: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, all NI Dogs will need to be leashed when in public. These dogs can have high prey drives and strong herding instincts, which will make them chase small animals like squirrels, birds and cats, and they might try to control (or "herd") moving objects like joggers, bicyclists, or even cars. A leash will help you control your NI Dog in these situations. Even when exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off after interesting-looking critters or other moving objects. And finally: while these dogs are fine in cold weather, their thick coats may cause them to overheat in very warm weather, so it's best not to exercise them in sweltering temperatures; also make sure your NI Dog has access to fresh water at all times.

Precautions aside, it's important to give your NI Dog some exercise every single day. While generally good-natured and friendly, a lack of activity will cause these dogs to become frustrated and high-strung, destructive, and disobedient--so consistent exercise will be great for your NI Dog's peace of mind, and for your own sanity as well. A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, your NI Dog will enjoy the company of other canines
  • Tug-of-War: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; use a rope or old towel
  • Swimming: Most NI Dogs love the water; start swimming with the dog when it's still a puppy
  • Canine Sports: These dogs can excel at agility and obedience trials, lure coursing, and other events
  • Sled Pulling: Great activity for those living in snowy regions
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding excursion; the dog can even carry the backpack

If your NI Dog spends a lot of time indoors, it's a good idea to give the dog access to one or more balls or toys that will allow it to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

Northern Inuit Dog Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these crossbreeds need moderate care overall. Northern Inuit Dog shedding is fair for most of the year, and more profuse during the twice-yearly shedding seasons; drooling isn't much of an issue.

NI Dogs have thick, double-layered, medium-length coats that shed some year-round--but when they "blow" their coats in the spring and fall, the shedding can be pretty heavy. Owners will need to brush their NI Dogs 2-3 times per week with a pin brush to keep the shedding to a minimum; hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be necessary from time to time. (Brushing and cleanup, obviously, will be needed more frequently during shedding season.)

The NI Dog doesn't drool much, though--possibly a bit in anticipation of food, after drinking water, or when especially excited or nervous, but it's not really a problem. If your NI Dog is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is recommended.

Northern Inuit Dog Diet

Northern Inuit Dogs are athletic and well-built, so they'll need a diet that corresponds to their active lifestyles. Like all breeds, NI Dog food will need to contain plenty of animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. This means the best choice of food for NI Dogs is the premium dry kind, particularly brands formulated for active breeds (or, if your NI Dog is 90 pounds or more, a large-breed formula is good). This high-quality kibble, while more expensive and difficult to obtain, contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients--all of which your NI Dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. Cheap, generic food is not recommended for this crossbreed, because it contains mostly empty "filler" ingredients that are unhealthy, are harder for the dog to digest, and can even shorten its lifespan if consumed on a regular basis.

Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, and Taste of the Wild are three recommended brands that carry excellent lines of premium dry food.

In regards to portions: meal sizes will vary depending on your NI Dog's weight, which can range from 55 to 110 pounds. On average, though, a healthy adult NI Dog weighing 80 pounds will need about three cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. NI Dog puppies, depending on age, will need a bit less: about 2¼ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months old.

For further details on feeding a Northern Inuit Dog from puppyhood through maturity, see the following chart:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a bit more adult food to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

If possible, try and stick to the above-listed portions (which will be modified, of course, depending on your NI Dog's size). While this crossbreed isn't especially prone to obesity, it can certainly become overweight if constantly overfed (and under-exercised)--and a fat Northern Inuit Dog will have joint, breathing, and digestive issues, not to mention a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your NI Dog's weight by establishing consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time, thereby allowing it to eat anytime it wants. It's better to put your NI Dog's bowl down only at mealtimes--then pick it up a few minutes after the dog begins eating.

If you're worried your NI Dog is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk, jog, bike ride, or play period to its daily exercise schedule.