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Northern Inuit Dog
Other namesdog
British Timber dog
OriginUnited Kingdom
Breed statusNot recognised as a breed by any major kennel club.
Dog (domestic dog)

The northern Inuit dog, along with its offshoots, the British timber dog, the tamaskan and the utonagan, is a crossbreed of dog developed from a 1980s breeding project in the United Kingdom with the objective of producing a dog breed resembling wolves.[1][2]


Northern Inuit dogs originated from dogs of unknown breed ancestry imported from North America in the 1980s that were crossed with Alaskan Malamutes, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies and possibly Samoyeds.[2] The aim of these breedings was to develop a dog resembling a wolf in appearance but suitable for companionship and trainable for various tasks. During its development, the northern Inuit dog breeding initiative diverged into several related breeds, including the tamaskan, the British timber dog, and the utonagan.[2]


The northern Inuit dog is a medium to large dog, with the males larger and heavier than the females. They have thick coats of varying color. The ears are upright, with the muzzle and skull usually the same length. They have straight, furry tails.[3] Genetic testing has identified a color variant linked to partial recessive red traits that at least 50% of northern Inuit and tamaskan dogs carry. Initially detected in DNA samples from prehistoric dogs dating back 10,000 years, this variant was identified as one of the earliest mutations discovered in domestic canines.[4][5]


Northern Inuit dogs are often confident and friendly. Their good-tempered nature has led to them being used as therapy dogs. They enjoy human company and sometimes develop separation anxiety. They bond quickly. Their trusting nature is known to make them bad guard dogs. They are good with children, but they should be supervised while near kids, due to their strength and size. They are known to howl. They are very intelligent and bore quickly, leading to them being hard to train. They are also quite sensitive. The breed is known to chase small, swift animals, like squirrels.[citation needed]


The breed is a very healthy breed, with dogs often living for twelve to fifteen years. However, northern Inuit dogs are known to develop elbow and hip dysplasia, a condition where their joints do not form properly, leading to pain and lameness later in life. They can also develop achondroplasia, cryptorchidism, and degenerative myelopathy.[citation needed] Oculoskeletal dysplasia has been identified in seven northern Inuit dogs.[2]


The Northern Inuit Society, founded in the early 1990s, exists to govern the wellbeing of the northern Inuit dog, as well as its breeding. It is currently the northern Inuit dog's only governing body. It also holds the complete pedigree database for the breed. All northern Inuit dogs are tested before breeding. The Northern Inuit Society does not approve of mixing the breed with other dogs.[citation needed]

The Tamaskan Dog Registry is the overseeing registry of tamaskan dogs. While there is a standard for the tamaskan, the TDR maintains an open studbook. Tamaskan dogs are recognized by the American Rare Breed Association.[6]

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ a b Sorenson, John; Matsuoka, Atsuko (2019). Dog's best friend?: rethinking canid-human relations. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University. ISBN 978-0-7735-5905-9.[page needed]
  2. ^ a b c d Stavinohova, Renata; Hartley, Claudia; Burmeister, Louise M.; Ricketts, Sally L.; Pettitt, Louise; Tetas Pont, Roser; Hitti, Rebekkah J.; Schofield, Ellen; Oliver, James A. C.; Mellersh, Cathryn S. (2019). "Clinical, histopathological and genetic characterisation of oculoskeletal dysplasia in the Northern Inuit Dog". PLOS ONE. 14 (8): e0220761. Bibcode:2019PLoSO..1420761S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0220761. PMC 6695176. PMID 31415586.
  3. ^ "Northern Inuit Dog Facts". Wisdom Panel™. 2021-06-16. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  4. ^ Anderson, Heidi; Honkanen, Leena; Ruotanen, Päivi; Mathlin, Julia; Donner, Jonas (2020-11-05). "Comprehensive genetic testing combined with citizen science reveals a recently characterized ancient MC1R mutation associated with partial recessive red phenotypes in dog". Canine Medicine and Genetics. 7 (1): 16. doi:10.1186/s40575-020-00095-7. ISSN 2662-9380. PMC 7643265. PMID 33292722.
  5. ^ "Ancient Gene Variant Influences Coat Color in Modern Dogs". 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  6. ^ "History". Tamaskan Dog Register. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  7. ^ "2 'Game of Thrones' Direwolves Take Embark DNA Test". Embarkvet. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  8. ^ Winer, Linda (19 April 2016). "'The Crucible' stars Tamaskan, rare-breed dog, in role of wolf role". Newsday. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  9. ^ Griffin, Samuel (30 June 2016). "Tuffy II in training: new pup learns old tricks". Technician. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  10. ^ Bernstein, Viv (5 October 2014). "Sheepdog in Wolf's Clothing? Actually, Mascot Is Crossbreed". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  11. ^ Rice, Lynette (2018-02-17). "Outlander Releases New Picture of Rollo the Dog". Entertainment Weekly. p. 1. Retrieved 2024-02-21.