Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. – Anatole France
Although declared extinct by the Swedish Kennel Club in the 1960s, it was discovered that the breed still existed in the northern province of Norrbotten in Sweden. By 1967 the kennel club was registering the dogs again and a new standard had been written.The ancient Norrbottenspets is a member of the Spitz family of dogs and is similar in appearance to the Finnish Spitz and the Norwegian Lundehund. He is sometimes called the Nordic Spitz.
Originally used to hunt small game and as an all-purpose farm dog, today he is mostly bred to be an affectionate companion. The Norrbottenspets is used to hunt wood grouse, black grouse, capercaillie and hazel grouse, but also fox, marten and raccoon. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, he also hunted squirrels for their fur.
This is a rare dog in North America. As of 2008, there were only 300 dogs living in Canada and the United States.
Photos displayed courtesy of Neda Joss, Savo Kennel, British Columbia
The Norrbottenspets stands up to 18 inches (45 cm) tall at the shoulder. He has a thick, straight, hard coat over a dense undercoat that provides good all-weather protection. Unlike most other Nordic breeds, his coat is short. Ideally, the coat is white with yellow or red/brown markings, but all colours are permitted. Even with regular combing, he will shed!
Like other members of the Spitz family, the Norrbottenspets has naturally erect ears, a pointed muzzle, and carries his tail curled up over his back.
Considered a rare breed, the Norrbottenspets is virtually unknown in North America. However, his lovable and self-confident nature makes him a wonderful companion. He is extremely loyal, affectionate and loving. However, this is also a very independent breed so he may spend a lot of time outside on his own or happily curled up on a couch.
Like many of the hounds his independent nature – almost catlike – can be a challenge. Also like other hounds, use caution before letting him off leash. He will take off after anything of interest, especially squirrels!
He is playful but gentle with children and possesses an even temperament making him an excellent family companion.
This dog is strong, compact, and alert. Although a member of the Hounds Group of dogs, he uses a combination of air scent and ground scent tracking to hunt, unlike other hounds that tend to use either sight or scent when hunting. To locate his quarry, the Norrbottenspets will range anywhere from 100m to 400m away from his hunting partner. Ranging allows the dog to cover more ground and the chances of picking up scent are greater.
To hold the game in place he uses a system of barking and continuous movement. This barking can be up to 120 barks per minute! The purpose of this rapid barking is to confuse the game and cover any sounds made by the approaching hunter. So, be warned…this is a very vocal animal!
The Norrbottenspets’ excellent hunting instincts make him an ideal partner for the sports hunter. He is swift, agile, persistent, and has a high level of endurance. He is also a fast learner and respects firm leadership. As an active dog, he requires regular outdoor exercise. He is happiest when his high-spirited nature can be channeled into having a job to do. He should get involved in hunting, high obedience, or tracking.