Norrbottenspitz :: Norrbottenspitz


Norrbottenspitz :: Norrbottenspitz


Norrbottenspitz :: Fishing with a Norrbottenspitz

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The Norrbottenspitz (Norrbottenspets) is a breed of dog of the Spitz type that originates from Sweden. The name Norrbottenspitz means "Spitz from the county of North Bothnia." It is also known as the Nordic Spitz and Pohjanpystykorva in Finland.

The Norrbottenspitz is an ancient breed that probably originates from small Laika type Spitz that was known to live with hunting people in the North Cape area already in prehistoric time. Small hunting Spitz has survived for thousands of years through natural selection.

The original purpose for the Norrbottenspitz was as a farm and hunting dog but it has recently became more popular as a companion dog. The Norrbottenspets is used to hunt black grouse, capercailzie and hazel grouse, but is also effective with mammals as large as moose and grizzly bear.

Although the dog does not have the long hair typical to a northern breed this dog can easily cope with the long harsh winters and the deep snow to hunt. The dog is an excellent hunter, one that would intently listen for the sound of a bird in flight and led the hunter to where the bird has landed.

The Norrbottenspitz is quite small as compared to other Northern Spitz breeds. This small dog though has a big personality. They are highly intelligent and would always know whom to trust and to bestow their affection. This furry creature is energetic and vivacious... would never fail to make the master smile with their antics.

The Norrbottenspitz is very rare in North America and even in Sweden their land of origin, the breed population is still small. Recently the population has increased tremendously as the dog's impressive appearance has captured the interest of dog lovers. People are now purchasing and raising the dog as companions.

The Norrbottenspitz has also excelled in search and rescue operations. They are tireless and tenacious workers and are known to form a strong bond with their handlers.


The Norrbottenspitz is a small dog, yet powerful in appearance with a compact and muscular body. Males are noticeably more masculine than females, who are smaller and of lighter build. It should give the impression of being alert, sprightly, and intelligent. In proportions the Norrbottenspitz is slightly taller than long - fit for the original use as a hunter. The tail should curl over the back and rest on the hips.

The Norrbottenspitz is a physical mixture of endurance, speed, and strength. The ribcage has elements of both speed and strength. Viewed from the front the ribcage is oval and relatively deep, half from height. The ribcage is also relatively long with well developed last ribs. The arched neck, distinguishable withers and slightly slanting croup makes the lines of the body very speedy. The underline has only a slight tuck up, which with the long ribcage reflects endurance.

Viewing the legs one can see both elements of speed and endurance. The relatively slanting shoulder blades, long upper arms and strong back angulations reflect endurance. The upper thigh forms a nearly 90 degree angle with the pelvis. Small, tight paws belong to an endurance trotter, but relatively long hocks add to the speed in gallop, especially in the start.

The Norrbottenspitz has a wedge shaped broad skull, a moderately long muzzle that tapers to a point, a black nose and a moderately defined stop. The color of the large almond shaped eyes would range from shades of light amber to deep chocolate brown. Eyes are bright and have an energetic and calm expression. The set on high medium ears have rounded tips. Ears are pricked. The dog's neck is short and slender but appears to be thick because it is covered by dense fur. The dog has tightly fitting lips. Well developed teeth meet in a scissor bite.


The Norrbottenspitz has a coat that is hard, straight, dense, and lies close to the body. It must always have a double coat (although after a coat loss, the undercoat can be rather sparse), and the undercoat is fine, soft and thick. The overcoat is rough, straight and close fitting. Both coats insulate the dog from harsh and extremely cold weather.


The ground colour of the coat is white, with yellowish red or reddish brown markings. The ears, nasal bridge, the skull and the front legs are covered with short hairs. Slightly longer hair covers the neck and the back of thighs. Long hair covers the set on high tail making it bushy. The tail is carried loosely curled over the dog's back, the tip touching the side of the thighs.

Size Variations

The breed standard for the Norrbottenspitz is 43 - 47 cm (17 - 18.5 in.) in height at the withers for a male, and a slightly smaller 40 - 44 cm (16 - 17.3 in.) for a female. The Swedish and Finnish standards indicate that males over 47 cm and females over 44 cm should be disqualified.

The weight is approximately 11 - 15 kg (24 - 33 lbs.) for males, and 8 to 12 kg (18 - 27 lbs.) for females. Weight is not mentioned in the standard.


The Norrbottenspitz originated in North Bothnia (Norrbotten) in Sweden as well as on the border area of Finnish Lappland in the 1600s. Thought to be a descendent of the wild Dingo, the small dogs that lived with people in the northern hemisphere, the origins Norrbottenspitz have not been well documented. It is believed that this breed has been used as a hunting, guard, companion, and search and rescue dog throughout its history.

When Finnish kennel men did undertake the project of breeding the Finnish Spitz in the 1800s, the white spotted Spitz were not included in the program. These little white spotted hunting dogs were adopted by the Swedes and in 1910 the first standard for the Norrbottenspitz was approved by the Swedish Kennel Club. However, the story of the Norrbottenspitz was short-lived. In 1948 the stud book was closed as it was thought that the breed has gone extinct after the World War I.

Fortunately, some dogs were preserved but they were in a non-Swedish speaking area in the far north as a farm and companion dog. Breed enthusiasts sought out the few remaining dogs and started a successful breeding program between the 1950s and early 1960s. A few Norrbottenspitz were found in Pajala from where a breeding program was started.

In 1966 the breed was officially named Norrbottenspitz (Norrbottenspets) and a new breed standard was confirmed by the FCI. The same standard was accepted by Finland in 1973. The breed is making a slow but steady comeback. Aside from the impressive appearance dog lovers value the dog for its outstanding personality.

Dog Numbers Today

The Norrbottenspitz fanciers have been very interested in registering dogs. In Finland, there are about 1200 Norrbottenspets currently living, as of 2008. Canada and the United States have approximately 300 living dogs, as of 2008. Sweden has approximately 1000 dogs, as of 2008. Finland's breeding program has used breeding consultants and computer programs to determine inbreeding coefficients to keep the risk of genetic diseases low given the small population. (Numbers collected by the Finnish Spitz Club, Finland.)

Health and Life Expectancy

While the Norrbottenspitz is known as a healthy and hearty breed with a long lifespan, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: hip dyplasia, patellar luxation - dislocation of the knee, and various joint problems such as arthritis.


The Norrbottenspitz is a naturally healthy breed, and typically lives 12 - 15 years, although some dogs live for more than 20 years.

Litter Size

The Norrbottenspitz litter size is 5 - 7 puppies per litter with a usually average litter size of 6 puppies.


The Norrbottenspitz is best known for its lively, independent, and feisty character. He is an affectionate and loving dog that would form and display unwavering loyalty to the owner. This dog can be likened to a shadow as it would follow the master wherever he goes. These dogs are vivacious and playful.

The Norrbottenspitz make excellent family companions as they are very gentle with children. And because of the herding background it gets along well with other dogs and other smaller pets.

The Norrbottenspitz are hunting dogs and bravery is inherent. They like to bark but excessive barking can be corrected with obedience training. They are curious and alert, making an excellent guard dog due to its territorial nature. Their barking would warn the owner of approaching strangers but the protection level is low as it is friendly with everyone.


The Norrbottenspitz is a beautiful dog with an impressive looking coat. This breed that was originally developed as a hunter has now evolved to be excellent family pets as the dog is easy to care for. A Norrbottenspitz is a clean dog with no doggy smell. Bathing therefore should be done on a necessary basis only.


The coat needs to be regularly brushed to maintain its good condition. Being short coated, hair trimming would not be necessary. The teeth though should be regularly brushed, the nails regularly trimmed. Ears must be inspected on a regular basis to prevent infection.


Due to its intelligence and need for human relationships, the Norrbottenspitz generally responds quickly to basic training and commands. They love to learn and has the ability to perform most any task its trainer is willing to take the time to teach it.

To establish immediate dominance and trust is the key to successfully training the Norrbottenspitz. These dogs can be overly independent and stubborn at times, requiring a gentle yet stern and strong approach. Training however must be done in a positive manner as the dog would not take to harsh reprimands. And they easily get bored with to many repetitive commands too.

Living Conditions

There are many benefits to owning the Norrbottenspitz but apartment living may not be one of them. These energetic and alert dogs require large amounts of daily exercise, room to run and play, and human attention. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A Norrbottenspitz not receiving the proper amount of exercise or attention will often act out by destroying property, barking, whining, chewing, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

The Norrbottenspitz depends upon almost constant love and attention and falls victim to separation anxiety. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed who travel regularly, have full time work, or are away from the home on a daily basis are advised to begin researching another breed. During an attack of separation anxiety, the Norrbottenspitz will act out of nervous destruction and may destroy property, chew, whine, bark, and ignore housebreaking training.

If you have the proper living conditions for the Norrbottenspitz, they can be your most wonderful companion. They are considered among the most gentle and caring with children. The Norrbottenspitz are highly intelligent and can be taught to perform most any trick or task. They are loyal, loving, and affectionate, thrive on human relationships, and make a nice family pet and companion alike.


Being working and hunting dogs, a Norrbottenspitz is highly energetic. The dog would appreciate being given a task to do. They would also need more exercise. This is why the dog is more suitable for sports minded people who love the outdoors. The dog will be an excellent companion in hiking, jogging, camping and other outdoor activities.


The Norrbottenspitz make excellent family companions as they are very gentle with children. A Norrbottenspitz is one of the ten breeds of dogs noted for their gentleness with children.

The dog can be depended to guard the children. This breed is never known to hurt a child. The dog would simply retreat when teased or harassed by an obnoxious child. However the dog may never play again with the child.

How to Find a Norrbottenspitz

As previously mentioned, this breed remains rather rare outside of its native Sweden and its popularity in Finland. Individuals seeking to purchase a Norrbottenspitz will often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, extremely high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.



  • Aliases: Nordic Spitz, Nordic Hunting Spitz, Norrbottenspets, Pohjanpystykorva.
  • Height (Male): (Approx.) 43 - 47 cm (17 - 18.5 in.).
  • Height (Female): (Approx.) 40 - 44 cm (16 - 17.3 in.).
  • Weight (Male): (Approx.) 11 - 15 kg (24 - 33 lbs.)
  • Weight (Female): (Approx.) 8 - 12 kg (18 - 27 lbs.).
  • Coat: Medium-short, thick, coarse, and stand-off.
  • Colour: Primarily white with a few colour spots in yellow, red or brown.
  • Hair Length: Medium-short.
  • Shedding: Moderate.
  • Temperament: High-spirited, yet very lovable.
  • Feeding: Moderate feeding.
  • Grooming: Occasional brushing to remove loose hair.
  • Training: Easy to train.
  • Activeness: Active, alert and energetic.
  • Overall Exercise: 60 - 80 minutes per day.
  • Friendliness: Very friendly.
  • Children: One of the best dogs with children.
  • Living Conditions: Require a lot of time and space.
  • Most Suited As: Companion dog and family pet.
  • Distress Caused if Left Alone: High.
  • Barking: Medium tendency to bark.
  • Aggression: Low level of aggression.
  • Personal Protection: Medium.
  • Watch Dog: Moderately good watch dog.
  • Ease of Transportation: Medium.
  • Life Span: 12 - 15 years.
  • Litter Size: 5 - 7 puppies per litter.
  • FCI Number: 276.
  • Group: Northern Group
  • Size: Medium-Small Dog Breeds
  • Type: Best Dogs for Kids, Companion Dogs, Expensive Dogs, Family Dogs, Healthy Dogs, Hunting Dogs, Pure Dog Breeds, Rare Dog Breeds, Spitz Type
  • Kennel Clubs: Canadian Kennel Club, Continental Kennel Club, FCI, United Kennel Club
  • Origin: Sweden