Norrbottenspets (Norrbottenspitz)

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pure white with red or yellow patches
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • great watchdog
  • loves children
  • playful and friendly
  • excellent family companion       
  • requires a lot of daily exercises

The Norrbottenspets is a tenacious and lively dog, which was initially developed in Sweden. This excellent hunter and vermin exterminator was proclaimed the National Dog of this country. Despite its small population even in its homeland it gradually has won small but loyal following among dog fanciers all around the world.

The Norrbottenspets was initially bred in North Bothnia (Norrbotten) in Sweden in the XVII century. However there is an opinion that it was simultaneously developed on the border territories of Finnish Lappland, Sweden and Kainuuland. The breed most probably descended directly from the wild Dingo and it has been an indispensable companion of the northern folks for centuries. It fulfilled multiple responsibilities including hunting, guarding and simply being a trustworthy and loving family pet. It’s believed that this dog many times rescued its owner from attacks of bears and other fierce wild beasts.

During the XIX century the Finnish breeders have launched a project, which was aimed to invent the Finnish national breed. The one-coloured Spitz-type dogs were selected for this mission and the white spotted variations were declared as unsuitable candidates for the breeding program. So these small hunting dogs were chosen by the Swedish Kennel Club and in 1910 the first standard was written and officially recognised by this national club. Sadly enough, but the breed went virtually extinct as the result of the Second World War.

Luckily, some specimens outlasted the war times primarily because they were kept as farm and companion dogs in some distinct corners of a non-Swedish speaking territory. A few concerned breeders combed the country in an attempt to find few living dogs for еру new breeding program. Several members were located in Pajala from where this program was initiated. In 50s and 60s of the XX century the number of the Norrbottenspets grew slowly but steadily so the breeding efforts proved to be a complete success.

In 1966 the breed was granted its official name and a newly-developed breed standard was approved by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Despite its rarity the Norrbottenspets is continually acquiring more and more following in the Western countries due to its pleasant temperament and astonishing beauty.

The Norrbottenspets is a frisky and amiable dog whose presence can enliven each and every household. Being extremely faithful to its human family it craves to always be with it and tends to experience strong separation anxiety if left alone for a long time. This breed is famous for its gentleness with children with whom it usually develops especially tight bonds. It doesn’t favour rough games but it will never bite an offensive child but rather flee the situation.

The Norrbottenspets is also very good with unfamiliar people since it’s not predisposed to be either overly shy or aggressive. In Finland this dog was granted the name «barking bird dog». It means that during a hunt it is supposed to pinpoint the direction of the game bird with its distinct, sharp bark. It usually preserves this habit of being exceedingly vocal while living as a pet. Fortunately the proper training can fix this problem partially though it’s impossible to eliminate it totally. The Norrbottenspets will become a very alert and observant watchdog but it’s not suitable for the role of a guardian because of its affable nature.

The Norrbottenspets isn’t notable for any type of canine aggression. In most cases it will happily co-exist with other dog but the more the merrier. On the whole the properly-socialised dog will behave nicely with other species of animals because it has never been its duty to directly attack the game during a hunt. Nevertheless in order to ensure that the dog and other pet get along they must be introduced to each other at an early age.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• patellar luxation;
• joint problems (arthritis).

The Norrbottenspets has relatively low grooming requirements. Its short coat repels dirt so the dog should be bathed only occasionally. Moreover it’s deprived of specific doggy smell. In order to maintain the dog’s hair healthy and good-looking it’s essential to brush it a few times a week.

The owner also shouldn’t forget about other regular care practices, namely nail trimming and teeth brushing. The breed is a seasonal shedder and will lose its hair intensely when the seasons changes.

The Norrbottenspets is a highly intelligent breed, which strongly depends on a human for leadership. Properly committed handler will be able to teach it practically every trick no matter how sophisticated it is. It also shows outstanding results in agility and obedience competitions.

Most specimens are usually very eager to please but only if it acknowledges the authority of the trainer. The Norrbottenspets is prone to become a little bit stubborn from time to time so it’s obligatory to apply a mild yet stern and consistent approach to its training. It’s somewhat sensitive to critiques and reacts to it with a resentful behaviour.

The Norrbottenspets usually brims with energy, which should be burned in plentiful physical exercises. The dog should be taken for a long, brisk walk on a daily basis but it will probably demand more strenuous activity in order to feel itself completely satisfied.

This breed will constitute a superb companion in jogging, hiking, camping and other outdoors occupations. That’s why it’s safe to say that this breed is more suitable for sport-oriented people. The Norrbottenspets tends to become overly destructive, disobedient, vocal and extremely excited if it doesn’t get enough opportunities to spend its impetuous energy.