Breed Type: Spitz
Country of Origin: Sweden and Finland
Popular Names: Nordic Spitz, Norrbottenspet, Norrbottenspets, Pohjanpystykorva
Height: (At the withers) Males under 45 cm, Females under 42 cm
Weight: Males 11 – 15 kg, Females 8 – 12 kg
Best suited as: Companion or working dog to active family
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Another of the ancient dog breeds, the Norrbottenspets comes from Sweden and Finland, and was used as a hunting companion and farm dog.
This medium-sized dog has the tightly curled tail, pricked-up triangular-shaped ears, and wedge-shaped head of the typical spitz-type. Their eyes are almond-shaped and moderately large. These dogs are rectangular in shape, being slightly taller than they are long. The tail curls over the back and rests on the hip. Rarely, some dogs carry the bobtail gene which results in a short tail.
They have a double coat. The outer coat is hard, dense, and straight. The under coat is soft and fine. The main colour is white and secondary colours are typically reddish, although some range in colour is permitted, from yellows to browns. White should make up at least 30 percent of the coat. There must be some colour at least at the base of the tail and on the ears. Markings do not have to be symmetrical. Dogs with white on both ears tend to be deaf and so this is an undesirable trait. Ticking sometimes occurs and is acceptable. Some dogs have a dark-coloured mask, or a dark-coloured mask and dark tips on the guard hairs.
The Norrbottenspetz was documented as early as the 1700s, but stories conflict as to whether the dog originates in Sweden or Finland. It gets its name from the province of Norrbotten, Sweden. They were used mostly as hunting companions. They hunted grouse, fox, raccoon, squirrel, and sometimes larger game like bear or moose. The dog would use sound, sight, and scent to track the animal after being released in the woods. The dog would chase the animal until it stopped or was cornered or treed. The dog would then use continuous movement and barking to disorient the animal, to notify the hunter as to its location, and to prevent the animal from hearing the hunter’s approach. Their barking is very loud and these dogs can bark up to 120 times per minute.
Breeding today is very strict to ensure only the prime dogs are bred to avoid interbreeding and health issues. The breed is very rare and is found mostly in North America, Finland, and Sweden.
These dogs are highly intelligent, good natured, cheerful, easy to train, and are easily bored. They do well with advanced obedience training and other activities that keep their minds active. They do very well with children and are not aggressive with people in general.
They are eager to please their owners, and respond very well to positive reward-type training. They can be dominant, though, so a firmly-established “pack leader” mentality works best with this breed.
They enjoy being outside, particularly in cooler winter months, but should not be relegated to the kennel or backyard for hours on end. They need human companionship to be happy, healthy dogs.
Care and Grooming
The Norrbottenspetz is a low-maintenance breed that requires only one brush a week, regular ear cleaning, and weekly tooth brushing. They have no “doggie” odour and rarely need a bath. Their nails should be trimmed once a month if they don’t wear them down outside.
They are highly active dogs that need an hour to two of exercise each day. Dogs that do not receive enough exercise can develop undesirable and destructive behaviours. They love playing fetch, and make excellent cycling, Rollerblading, and jogging companions. They enjoy participating in agility trials and make excellent search and rescue dogs.
This is a very hardy breed with no known reported health problems. They live a long and healthy life – usually to between 12 and 15 years.
Suitability As A Pet
Their small size makes them a good choice for a pet in small homes, but beware that you teach the dog quiet commands so that its barking doesn’t get out of control. They also enjoy being outside and love bounding through snow, so people in cooler climates make good companions to these dogs.
They are great with kids of all ages and are not so large that they are a danger to wobbly toddlers. They bond very well to all family members and so are good for both single owners and families. They get along well with cats and other household dogs.
This breed is not suitable for people who are not active on a daily basis. Once or twice around the block is not enough exercise for this dog – they need a good, hard run, plus a walk, and maybe play of some kind, every single day. Outdoor enthusiasts or people who enjoy agility and other competitions would make good companions to these dogs.
They are still useful as hunting dogs and may be used as therapy dogs, too.
Norrbottenspets Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Norrbottenspets Organisations in the UK
American Dog Owners Association (ADOA)
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