Northern Inuit Dog Sitting Outside

Northern Inuit Dog Breed

Other names:
Ni Dog
Northern Inuit Wolf

The northern inuit dog is a hybrid dog which was originally bred by crossing many cold tolerant working dog breeds to produce offspring with the physical appearance of a wolf with a gentle temperament and friendly demeanor. Northern inuit dogs are commonly sold as "wolf hybrid" dogs, but there is actually very little (if any) actually wolf heritage in the breed. The breed's popularity increased after HBO's Game of Thrones series used the northern inuit dog as dire wolves in the show.

Despite the breed's appearance, northern inuit dogs are very friendly and are rarely aggressive. They are intelligent and quick witted dogs, but can be stubborn which may make the breed difficult for inexperienced dog owners.

Northern Inuit Dog Breed Details

Northern Inuits have bloodlines that include dogs of the native Northern Inuit people, Malamute, Husky, and even German Shepherd. The purpose was to maintain the wolfish mystique and appearance while actually having a loyal, loving companion dog. This breed is certainly a success since, unlike wolf-dogs, they excel at training for a variety of activities such as obedience, agility, sports, cart pulling and even on screen work (Game of Thrones). We don't recommend this breed for those with no time and patience to train them or exercise them; ideally, they will find homes with athletic, outdoorsy owners (experience is a big plus for these dogs).


  • Loyal, loving companion
  • Not aggressive, even tempered
  • Enjoys socializing with other dogs
  • Good playmate for children
  • Doesn't usually bark but may howl sometimes
  • Stunning, wolf-like looks
  • Excels in training and sports with firm handler
  • Is not bothered by strangers or visitors
  • Excellent exercise companion
  • Smart, clever, quick-witted
  • Abundant coat but relatively low maintenance grooming


  • Not hypoallergenic, sheds regularly
  • Retains prey instinct towards farm-type animals
  • Best for an experienced owner, not easy to train
  • Needs at least an hour exercise daily
  • Not a watchdog or guard dog
  • May develop separation anxiety if left alone frequently
10 - 15 yrs.
23 - 32 in.
80 - 110 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

Northern Inuit Dog Breed Description

The Northern Inuit dog is a large dog breed. Males can weigh as much as 110 pounds and be as tall as 32 inches from ground to shoulder. Their appearance closely resembles a wild wolf and can easily be misidentified as a wolf by anyone unfamiliar with the breed. This athletic, high energy breed may be difficult for a first timer so we recommend considering all of our compiled Northern Inuit Dog info before deciding upon this breed.

Northern Inuit dogs are very friendly loyal dogs. They have a strong pack leadership mentality which can be overwhelming for inexperienced owners as the breed may not see their owner as the pack leader (which can lead to stubbornness and misbehavior). The breed does well with children, but should be socialized at a young age to decrease the risk of playing too roughly with other pets.

Northern Inuit dogs are a medium to high maintenance dog breed. The breed's coat sheds less in colder weather, but still requires being brushed daily to prevent tangles and to keep the undercoat free of loose hair. Northern inuit dogs need companionship with their owners and can become destructive if left alone or not given enough exercise.

Northern Inuit Dog Temperament

Contrary to her wolfish looks, the NI Dog is not an aggressive or scary dog and will actually submit if challenged by another dog; it's important to keep them away from such aggressive dogs since they aren't likely to defend themselves. These dogs are fantastic for households with visitors since they are very friendly; this also means they don't make appropriate guard dogs or watch dogs.

This breed is very loyal and loving, often experienced separation anxiety if the owner is never present or they aren't allowed to spend time with the family daily. Northern Inuits are great for children and will love to play for hours, however, young/small children should not be left alone with them due to sheer size. They do well with other dogs and it's a plus to have buddies for them if you are gone daily for school or work; keep in mind these playful, tough dogs will do best with another of medium-large size so there are no accidental injuries to their friends. Members of this breed do retain a high prey instinct that MUST be trained out via early socialization if you'd like to keep them around other non canine pets (especially livestock animals).

Although bright enough to excel in obedience, agility, tasks like sled pulling and games such as flyball, an inexperienced owner may find them difficult to train. Their attention spans are somewhat flightly and, combined with their energy levels, this requires much patience and firmness, plus establishment of dominance while training (treats and praise are necessary for all breeds, of course). This last part is key in a pack dog's mind.. you MUST be the pack leader, meaning be firm and consistent-- don't let them jump and bite while puppies.

Northern Inuit Dog Health

Northern Inuit Dogs often live 12-15 years and are considered generally healthy and long lived for their size. Choosing a responsible breeder with a good reputation helps to ensure you bring home a healthy puppy; some can offer health scores for hip, eye, etc. of the dam and sire. Regular visits to your veterinarian can help prevent and detect many health issues. The most reported diseases and disorders for the Northern Inuit are below:

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
  • Eye Disease (such as Glaucoma)
  • Achondrodysplasia (Dwarfism)
  • Cryptorchidism (one or both testicles don't drop)
  • Epilepsy

Northern Inuit Dog Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Northern Inuit Dogs.

Addison's disease
Hip dysplasia

Related Pages

About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:August 30, 2016