The Utonagan originates from...

A relatively new breed that was only developed in 1987, the Utonagan (or Northern Inuit Dog) is a unique breed of dog with interesting parentage. Although the breed’s founder, Edwina Harrison, initially described the dog as a ‘wolf hybrid,’ it was not in fact influenced by any wolf blood — this breed was developed to reflect the appearance of one as closely as possible. The name ‘Utonagan’ translates to ‘spirit of the wolf’ in Chinook Indian. While the wolf appearance was desired, the wild temperament was not, so alternative forebears were used. This breed is not recognised by any major canine registries.

The Utonagan is characterised by..

Handsomely reflecting both its parents, it is a distinctive breed with unique colouring and a refined appearance. Possessing strong, well conformed legs, a bushy, un-feathered tail, and a lean physique that more closely resembles the German Shepherd influence, the Utonagan is well suited to cold climates with its profuse double coat and shielding tail. Typically, the coat is a grizzled combination of greys, blacks, white, and reds. Due to the nature of its coat, hair is continually shed, so regular grooming is essential.

The average Utonagan...

Unlike its forebears, it is neither a guard dog nor a search and rescue animal and was not developed with any working fulfilments in mind. It is, however, well suited to an active and mentally enriched life within a dedicated family. Utonagan owners and enthusiasts swear by the affectionate and gentle nature of the breed, despite its somewhat imposing appearance. Laid-back with strangers and boisterous children, the Utonagan requires daily companionship, early socialisation, and firm but fair leadership to thrive in a household. Typically weighing 25-40kg, with an average life expectancy of 10-15 years, this breed makes a unique and suitably loving addition to domestic life.


As the Utonagan is relatively rare and new, there is little documented about its general health. However, there are documented cases of disorders in the breed including cataracts and other optical complaints, epilepsy, Addison’s Disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s Disease, a rare bleeding disorder.

Browse more breed facts and information or take a look at our range of dog grooming products, harnesses, and dog bedding.

Our Utonagan owners have uploaded 16 photos

Our Utonagan owners' thoughts

Added on 19/09/2014

My dog is now 7yrs old I acquired him at 13months old. For the last 2 yrs he has had Addison's disease, controlled by fluorinef tablets. He can quickly go into crisis with his health so potential owners need to be aware of such possibilities.
He is excellent with children but is hopeless when left alone, sometimes even a few minutes will lead to chewing. Shedding hair from this breed is a NIGHTMARE, however if homed outside, which is where mine prefers to be this may not be as big an issue for others. Separation anxiety is an issue with this breed.Best kept with another/other dog(s). Mine lived happily with a cross-breed and a lurcher for years. Very much a sight hound kinda guy: something catches his eye, he just wants to explore it.

Added on 12/02/2017
Joined 17/11/2014
From Manchester, United Kingdom

None of my 5 Utonagan suffer from any of the afore mentioned health problems. Their ages range from 11 years to 20 months. Addison's is NOT inherited its caused by a faulty gene. Responsible breeding from health tested parents can screen out inherited health prob!ems, so ensure you contact a breeder of genuine Utonagan who health tests and can provide the relevant documentation.

Added on 22/07/2019
Joined 22/07/2019
From Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

I have a 5 year old Utonagan. She has Severe Hip dysplasia, carries DM, carries MRD and has a heart murmur. Her temperament is excellent despite her being a nervous wreck when I got her from her breeder at 5 months of age. Since shes turned 4 I have noted a change in her in regards to her independence she is happier to go further and is less clingy. She is amazing with small animals and has a strong mothering instinct for them. She is aloof with strangers unless they have treats as shes incredibly food motivated. she does have seperation anxiety which means she will toilet inside and destroy things when left uncontained. She will walk and run as far as I take her on a walk and has the energy but isnt a dog thats pushing to do things which given her health issues is for the best. Shes not a very smart dog either it takes her a long time to learn anything and even then its hit and miss. Not a breed I would ever get again or recommend to anyone else given my experience but I do love her.

Added on 13/05/2020
Joined 25/01/2018
From Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Skye is 19 months old. We have had her since she was 12 weeks. She is a very active intelligent dog. She is extremely lovely and fun to have around. She is good with all children. She loves to meet everyone and everything. She will chase if an animal runs. If it doesn't run she will sniff if and leave it alone. She needs alot of excercise and stimulation. We do leave her and she copes well. She has plenty of toys. She loves soft toys which she will destroy but I'd rather spend out on toys rather than furniture! She can be stubborn /strong willed but persistence and consistency wins. Wouldn't be with out her.