Northern Inuit Dogs are an amazing breed with complicated characters. They are loyal, affectionate and loving, but on the other hand independent, stubborn and far too intelligent for their own good. They are not suited for novice owners and require for them to have a good sense of humour, patience and commitment as well as being able to put in a lot of hard work into training. They are not the type of dog that will obey command "sit" just because you say so...they will check and then double check if this is definitely what you meant and wanted.
The Northern Inuit Dog makes a fantastic companion but can be quite boisterous at play, and can easily knock a child down so common sense dictates that children and dogs should never be left unsupervised. They are usually absolutely fantastic with children and grown ups due to their non-aggressive nature. Any companion dog must be able to withstand rough and tumble play that comes with an NI.
Overall, if you are willing to put time and effort into raising your NI puppy you will be rewarded tenfold with a loving, loyal and cheeky companion. Beware though, this breed is very addictive...a lot of people don't just stop at one and once you are in the crazy NI world you wouldn't have it any other way.
As with any breed, training should begin from young age. Preferably as soon as you get your puppy. Consistency is also an important part of the training. You have to be prepared to give them leadership as otherwise they will take an advantage and you can quickly become the omega. They are non-aggressive and will usually submit when challenged, but they don't respond well to harsh treatment. They are eager to please, but lose interest and get bored very quickly, therefore training needs to be varied and most of all - fun!
They have quite high prey drive, especially around smaller furry animals, and they will chase. Some of the dogs introduced to livestock at an early stage will grow not wanting to chase, but care should always be taken as sometimes the pack instinct can take over.
They don't like to be left alone for long periods of time and can often suffer separation anxiety. Another dog as a companion is a good idea as NIs are very sociable, love company and will want to take part in everything you do.
Due to their intelligence, they are successful in variety of disciplines for example: agility, flyball, pulling sledges, obedience etc.... Some of them are already registered as PAT dogs. They have really good sense of smell and enjoy scent training. They are definitely not guard dogs though and this is due to their friendliness and treating every visitor like long lost friend.
Excercise & Diet
Unlike other Northern Breeds, they need moderate amount of exercise which needs to be restricted in the first year as they are fast growing and slowly maturing breed. They don't reach full maturity until year two to three. Once grown up, most of them will be more than happy to walk for miles with their humans, but also lounge in the sunshine (or in front of the fireplace) all day.
Nice, manicured gardens don't usually exist alongside an NI. They absolutely love to provide landscaping services and will taste test every plant they will come across. They are very inquisitive and will want to check and be a part of everything that their owners do, which includes new and exciting activities (eg. scootering, cani-cross etc).
They don't tend to respond well to supermarket food brands and can suffer from sensitive stomach. Therefore it is always advisable to do a lot of research before deciding upon food type. Quite a lot of owners have gone down a raw feeding route (or very good quality kibble.. or both - but this has to be managed carefully) and there is a lot of information available online if you would like to know all the pros and cons.
They are quite a hardy breed, but, like all large breeds, they can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. This disorder is thought to be part genetic which is why, prior to breeding, according to the code of ethics all the dogs are hip and elbow scored under the BVA scheme. This can also be brought by environmental factors, eg. inappropriate diet or level of excercise when young.
All Northern Inuit breeding dogs are eye tested prior to breeding to rule out any genetic eye diseases. The incidence of reported eye problems is really low. To follow the strict guidelines of the UK Kennel Club we repeat eye testing every year or before next mating (if one year has passed) to ensure that there are no new diseases developing over time.
There have been eight Northern Inuits born with a form of achondrodysplasia. The shared ancestry has been investigated by the Animal Health Trust, parents are no longer in the breeding programme and genetic test has been developed to ensure this will never happen again. All of our dogs are tested for this variation of the disease called OSD3. It's inheritance mode is recessive, which means that two carrier parents have to be put together to produce an affected puppy.
Male Northern Inuits can be prone to retained testicles issue, where one or both testes do not drop. There is no lasting consequences, if the dog is neuted at an appropriate time (for this breed recommended age is not earlier than 18mths - 24mths of life as they are slow developers).
There has been a limited number of dogs reported as having symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). As a result, the dogs in our breeding programme have to be tested for DM (Exon 2) to ensure two carriers are never put together. This genetic disease is having inheritance mode of recessive, which means that two carrier parents shouldn't be bred together. However it is advised that carriers should be used in the breeding programme to ensure variety of genetic pool remains high. Those should be bred to clear NIs.
As mentioned above, they can suffer from sensitive stomachs. In addition, there have been very few cases reported of: epilepsy, glaucoma, addisons disease, some form of brain damage and cancer. However it was unknown whether the causes were genetic or environmental.
Due to limited gene pool some Northern Inuits are slightly more inbred than we would have personally liked therefore occasionnally to expand the gene pool we will do an outcross to a breed, that has similar temperament and looks, to improve the overall health and vitality of the Northern Inuits and ensure that gene pool is as diverse as we can manage but also retain the temperament and looks of this beautiful breed, Please ask us for more details and details of the inbreeding of our litters - we are open with all prospective puppy owners.
Unfortunately there can never be any guarantee that a puppy of any breed will not develop health issues (genetic or environmental issues), no matter how many tests are carried out. Thankfully, the majority of Northern Inuits live happy healthy lives without issue and the life span averages between 12 and 15 years old. Ask us if you have any questions about the health of the breed - we are open and honest and no questions are considered stupid.