Norrbottenspets Temperament: Back from the Brink of Extinction

When this elusive breed was declared extinct after World War II, the Norrbottenspets temperament almost disappeared from the earth entirely. However, the breed actually survived in remote Scandinavian villages and is making a comeback today.



Norrbottenspets are a variety of Nordic spitz. Spitz-type dogs are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of cold climates. All Spitz breeds have sturdy, compact bodies and thick fur. Norbottenspets are no exception!

Norrbottenspets are agile, alert and attentive little dogs.

They are extremely rare outside the countries of Sweden and Norway.

If you think you might be interested in this unusual breed, it is important to learn all you can about their needs. In this article, we will explore some of the most widespread Norrbottenspets traits.

Norrbottenspets Behaviors and Temperament

Below are some of the most common Norrbottenspets temperament traits. Of course, it is vital to remember that not all individual dogs will display all of these characteristics. There will always be some variation between individual dogs.

Agile and Athletic

Norrbottenspets may be small, but they are hardy and active dogs. They were bred to hunt large game in the forests of Scandinavia. Consequently, Norrbottenspets had to be quick, agile, and tough.

If you own one of these dogs as a pet, you will need to provide an outlet for their desire to work.

With Norrbottenspets exercise is a must! This breed needs daily exercise and playtime.

Jogging, walking, and hiking are all great activities for Norrbottenspets.

Without proper exercise, Norrbottenspets can become bored and destructive. If you are dealing with nuisance behaviors such as barking, digging, howling or chewing, this probably indicates that your pet needs more exercise.

Sensitive to Heat

This Nordic breed is tolerant of cold weather, but you have to be careful in the heat. Norbottenspets are susceptible to heat stroke.

Colder climates are ideal for these dogs. They love to romp in the snow.

If you live in a warmer region, you may need to do exercise sessions indoors during the heat of the summer.

One option would be to find a doggie daycare where playgroups are conducted indoors. This would be a great way for your dog to get the exercise he needs without getting overheated during the hot summer season.

Strong Desire to Work

Since Norrbottenspets have such a strong drive to work, you can give them a job in the form of a canine sport.

There are numerous Norrbottenspets that have won titles in competitions such as Agility, Lure Coursing, Barn Hunt, Rally Obedience, and Nosework.

If your dog needs a job, you can also get involved with search and rescue or therapy work.

Fearless Watch Dogs

Norrbottenspets were designed to be versatile working dogs that could hunt during the day and guard the homestead at night.

To this day, Norrbottenspets make excellent watch dogs. They are keen and alert, and they bark to warn their guardians of any intruders on the property.

They are brave little dogs that will fearlessly take on perceived threats that are much larger than them.

Clever problem solvers

Norrbottenspets are very smart dogs.

They are good at solving puzzles and figuring out problems.

It is important to provide your dog with plenty of outlets for his creative mental energy.

For example, you can get him enrichment items and puzzle toys that dispense treats when he solves the puzzle.

You can also teach him tricks such as “spin,” “paw,” or “high five.”

Learning new tricks is a great way to exercise the brain.

If you do not provide enough outlets for their mental exercise, Norbottenspets can become bored and destructive.

Norbottenspets Temperament with Children

Norbottenspets can be good family dogs as long as they are socialized and introduced to the children properly.

It is important for the parents to supervise all interactions between the dog and the child. Children must learn not to be rough with the canine member of the family.

As long as they are treated gently, Norbottenspets usually do well in homes with kids.

Norbottenspets Temperament with Other Dogs

Norbottenspets usually do well around other pets as long as they are introduced slowly and supervised closely.

If possible, sign up for a puppy socialization class when your puppy is still young. Even if you acquire an adult Norbottenspets, you can still sign up for an obedience class to help with socialization around other dogs.

Norbottenspets Temperament with Cats and Other Pets

Norbottenspets can coexist with cats and other small critters, but a lot of training is usually needed.

They have an innate desire to chase and hunt small mammals. If you have a cat, rabbit or ferret, this breed may not be the best choice for you.

If you do bring one of these dogs into a home with existing pets, you will need to be patient while you slowly integrate them into the household.

Even if your Norbottenspets seems to get along fine with the other animals, it is always best to separate them when they are unsupervised.

Norbottenspets History

Norbottenspets have a fascinating story.

They come from the Scandinavian Peninsula. Their name means, “Spitz from the country of North Bothnia.”

Some people believe that Norbottenspets descend from small, Laika-type Spitz dogs that hunted with the inhabitants of the Scandinavian Peninsula during prehistoric times.

The breed evolved over centuries into the dogs that we know today.

Norbottenspets became crucial companions for Northern hunters as they tracked ermine, martin and sable.

However, when fur trading declined after World War II, the number of Norbottenspets dwindled.

The Swedish Kennel Club declared the breed extinct in 1948.

Then, in the 50s and 60s, a few specimens were discovered in remote villages. The Swedish Kennel Club recognized the breed again in 1966.

Today, the breed is relatively rare outside of Scandinavia, but awareness is growing in the United States and other countries around the world.

Norbottenspets Size and Appearance

Norbottenspets are sometimes described as “fox-like” in appearance.

The average Norbottenspets weight is between 20 and 30 lbs. Males are heavier than females.

The average Norbottenspets height is between 16 and 18 inches.

The most common Norbottenspets colors are white with patches of red or yellow. All Norbottenspets should have a “mask” around their eyes.

Another distinctive feature is a tightly curled tail and pointy ears.

Norbottenspets Training

Training is an important aspect of owning any dog.

Training will help you form a close connection with your pet and it will also help your dog become a polite canine citizen.

Start training your dog as early as possible.

If you acquire your dog as a puppy, you can sign up for a positive reinforcement puppy socialization class. Puppy classes help young dogs learn how to socialize and play with other dogs.

If you adopt your Norbottenspets as an adult, you can still sign up for a basic obedience class with a positive reinforcement trainer.

Never use physical punishments or harsh reprimands with these dogs. Instead, use positive methods. Positive reinforcement training is safe, effective and fun!

Once you and your dog have mastered basic obedience, you can explore more advanced options such as Agility, Rally, Lure Coursing, and other activities.

If you are struggling with any major training issues such as aggression or separation anxiety, seek assistance from a professional trainer and/or your veterinarian.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Norbottenspets dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Norbottenspets Grooming

Grooming for this breed is fairly straightforward.

Norbottenspets have a thick double coat.

Weekly bushing and occasional bathing will keep the coat looking its best.

Norbottenspets do not require professional grooming. The average owner can easily manage their grooming needs at home.

Norbottenspets Shedding

Like most arctic breeds, Norbottenspets shed their coat once or twice per year.

During this time, increased brushing and vacuuming may be needed.

If you have a strong aversion to pet hair, this breed may not be the best choice for you.

Are Norbottenspets Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunately, this breed is not considered hypoallergenic. If you suffer from allergies to dog dander, the Norbottenspets may not be the best fit.

Staying Healthy: Norbottenspets Health Issues

Like all dogs, it is important for your Norbottenspets to visit a veterinarian at least once per year. During the annual checkup, your dog can receive a thorough physical exam as well as their yearly vaccinations. It is also crucial for all dogs to be on heartworm, flea and tick prevention at all times.

In general, Norbottenspets tend to be fairly healthy dogs. However, they can be prone to some health conditions.

Speak with your vet about common health concerns for this breed before you add a Norbottenspets to your household.

With good care, the Norbottenspets lifespan is between 14 and 17 years.

Spaying and neutering is highly recommended for all dogs for health reasons, behavioral reasons, and to prevent further overpopulation of pets in this country.

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Norbottenspets Rescue and Adoption

If you think this breed might be the right fit for you, you can start your search by researching rescue and adoption options.

The American Norbottenspets Association has a page on its website for foster and adoption. You can fill out an online form and submit it to the Norbottenspets Rescue.

You can also use Google or Facebook to search for Norbottenspets for adoption.

Happily, Norbottenspets are rare in American animal shelters. However, you can still visit your local shelter to let them know that you are looking for a Norbottenspets or a Norbottenspets mix.

Although it is unlikely that a Norbottenspets will go up for adoption at your local animal shelter, it is not impossible.

The staff at the animal shelter can also notify you about similar breeds or mixes.

Another good adoption resource is Petfinder.com. Even if you do not find many Norbottenspets listed on Petfinder, you might find similar Spitz-type dogs that could be a good match for your household.

Finding Norbottenspets for Sale from a Reputable Breeder

If you decide to buy a Norbottenspets puppy from a breeder, be prepared to invest some time to find a high-quality breeder.

Never buy Norbottenspets puppies over the internet or through a pet store. If you purchase puppies through these sources, you may inadvertently purchase a puppy from a puppy mill.

Instead, contact the American Norbottenspets Association for a list of Norbottenspets breeders in the United States.

Remember, this breed is extremely rare in America, so there may not be a breeder in your immediate local area. If you are set on this particular breed, you may have to look farther afield. If you cannot find a breeder in your state, you should be prepared to travel.

Once you identify a promising Norbottenspets breeder, ask to make an appointment to visit the breeder in person.

Meeting the Breeder

Meet with the breeder and ask him or her about the temperament and medical conditions of their breeding dogs. Tour the property to make sure it is clean and not overcrowded. Make sure the breeding dogs are healthy, friendly, and appear to be good specimens of the breed.

The breeder will probably have a list of questions to ask you as well. A good breeder wants to make sure every single pup goes to a good home. They will also probably insist that you return the puppy to them if things do not work out for any reason.

A good breeder also will not over breed their dogs. Therefore, you may have to be placed on a waiting list and wait for a puppy to be available.

When you purchase a Norbottenspets through a top-quality breeder, the Norbottenspets price is usually between $600 and $1000 depending on the breeder.

If you choose to adopt through a rescue group, the price will be substantially lower.

Conclusion: Why the Norbottenspets?

The lively Norbottenspets temperament makes this breed a fun companion and a great working dog.

Although it is quite rare in this country, Norbottenspets have been around for centuries in Scandinavia.

Norbottenspets are beloved for their intelligence, bravery, and cute fox-like appearance.

Although they are not the perfect breed for everyone, Norbottenspets make great dogs for many families.