Spitz type dogs originated in the colder arctic regions and are well suited for working in extreme conditions. This breed is characterized by their double coat of fur and their generally curved and bushy tail. The breed is divided into 5 general categories and are considered either sled dogs, hunting dogs, watch dogs, guard dogs or herding dogs. These dogs are very task oriented and will work with unwavering focus to complete an activity to the point of exhaustion.
The Spitz breed type is a very ancient one and there is evidence that Spitz type dogs either descended from wolves or at least mated with them early in their history. In fact many of the breed look and act very similar to wolves and exhibit many of their characteristics. This provides them with many desirable attributes that make them great workers and great pets as well.
The hunting variety of Spitz breed type include larger dogs like the Akita Inu or the Norwegian Elkhound that are used to hunt big game like bears and elk. These dogs are fearless and will pursue this game aggressively to help in the hunt. Smaller varieties of Spitz type dogs like the Lundehund are used for smaller game and do an excellent job of rousting birds and other mammals from their hiding places. Their combination of speed and tenacity makes them the perfect hunting companion.
Other members of this breed type are used as sled dogs and are capable of pulling heavy sleds over great distances as part of a team. With their warm coats and stamina they are perfectly suited to working in these arctic conditions. In fact this particular branch of the breed has been refined over the years to improve their sledding abilities. There are Spitz type dogs that have been crossbred with wolves to produce a hybrid that runs faster and longer than any of its ancestors.
The pack mentality that is needed for sled work is another strong trait of this breed and helps to make them a great pet as well. Because they are used to working in a pack they will blend in well with other animals in the home.
Certain breeds are also great around children and crave the attention they can provide. This pack mentality also helps them bond with the family and make them loyal pets that respond well to training. This branch of Spitz type dogs has been specifically bred to be somewhat smaller and more docile than their working cousins. This non-working dog is tailor-made for family life and will provide years of loving companionship in almost any home.
The breed type is also a very intelligent animal that will train easily. They are anxious to please and are able to learn fairly complex commands over time. They require a good bit of exercise and this can be done through daily walks or by working the dog with a sled or a flock for the breeds designed for this.
As a pet, the smaller breeds are perfect for any sized home or apartment and crave the attention of their owners. They make great lapdogs and are content to curl up near a member of the family for a night of relaxation. They can also spring into action when playtime arrives and have enough energy to keep young children entertained for hours. These smaller breeds still retain many of the characteristics of their larger brethren and make excellent watch dogs than can scare away intruders with their bark and warn their owners of danger. This can sometimes get them into trouble as they will confront other animals they feel are threats that may be several times their size in an effort to protect their family.
Akita or Akita Inu
Alaskan Klee Kai
American Eskimo Dog
Canadian Eskimo Dog
East Siberian Laika
Karelian Bear Dog
Korean Jindo Dog
Lapponian herder (Lapinporokoira)
Mackenzie River Husky
Nenets Herding Laika
Northeasterly Hauling Laika
Seppala Siberian Sleddog
Thai Bangkaew Dog
West Siberian Laika