The Norrbottenspets descends from the ancient spitzes that helped humans hunt across northern Scandanavia for thousands of years. This small-medium dog has now found a new role to excel at: companionship.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
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Norrbottenspets are called Pohjanpystykorva by people in Finland, Norrbottens-skollandehund by some farmers, and Nordic Spitz in many English-speaking countries.
The Norrbottenspets is a Nordic breed of dog belonging to the Spitz family. Norrbottenspets are originally from Finland or Sweden—there’s a rivalry going on about which country they originated from. Regardless, they were used primarily as hunting dogs.
Unfortunately, they almost became extinct during World War I—sadly a common scenario for European dog breeds—and they are still considered a relatively rare breed, especially outside of Northern Europe.
Fox-like, nimble, and intelligent, Norrbottenspets are much smaller than their very long name may imply. They are not as stocky as some other Nordic breeds, and thus were prized for their sure-footing and graceful appearance. They are multitalented in that they use their eyes, ears, and nose while on the hunt—most dogs use only one or two of those senses. Also, they do not actually kill the animal they are hunting, but corner it and bark for their owner to come.
Norrbottenspets do well with other dogs but may not be a great choice for homes with smaller pets—a result of their high prey drive from years of hunting. They like children and are friendly, affable dogs, especially with their family. Interestingly, they tend to form a strong bond with one member of a family. Because of their background, they require a fair amount of exercise and mental stimulation.
Norrbottenspets are not a quiet breed. Because so much of their hunting technique was rooted in barking at their master to alert them to the presence of game, Norrbottenspitzs like the sound of their own voice and will use their bark gleefully at any strange sight or sound. As a result, owners will want to train them well from an early age to keep the barking under control—especially if living in an apartment building. However, they are more suited to suburban or rural living.
Norrbottenspets are rare outside of Finland and Sweden. Prospective owners outside of these countries will likely need to do a good deal of searching in order to find a breeder. But it will be well worth it—Norrbottenspets make excellent family companions.
Norrbottenspitzes on Embark
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