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Norrbottenspets | Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Personality & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Height: 16.5 – 18 inches
Weight: 18 – 39 pounds
Lifespan: 14 – 17 years
Colors: White, with yellowish-red or reddish-brown markings
Suitable for: Families or individuals looking for a friendly and active small dog
Temperament: Brave, agile, and attentive with an easygoing and friendly disposition

The Norrbottenspets (also known as the Norrbottenspitz or Nordic Spitz) is a small and alert Spitz-type dog with a foxlike face, pointy ears, and a classic curled Spitz tail.

The breed’s origins go back to the 17th century when the Norrbottenspets was developed in Sweden as a hunting dog. The breed has traditionally been popular in rural Sweden, but with the modernization of farming practices, they are now often found living as family pets within metropolitan areas.

The Norrbottenspets is an extremely versatile hunting dog and is typically used for hunting smaller animals like fowl, foxes, raccoons, and martens, but on occasion, they have also been used to hunt larger mammals, such as moose or even bears.

As family pets and companion dogs, they are active and friendly and get on well with adults and children alike.

Divider 1Norrbottenspets Puppies


he Norrbottenspets is still considered to be a rare breed, with most examples of the dog residing in Sweden. It is estimated that there are no more than a few hundred Norrbottenspets currently residing in the United States.

As Norrbottenspets are a rare breed, it is difficult to estimate an exact cost, but you can likely expect quite the price tag. Of course, the initial purchase price of your puppy is only a starting point, and over the life of your dog, you should expect to pay many times this amount in caring for your dog.

If you are looking for a friendly pup, this breed may be the one for you.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Norrbottenspets 🧠

Norrbottenspets are intelligent dogs that have a friendly and affectionate disposition. The breed tends to make friends quite easily but is usually a little wary of strangers and will likely not warm up to them until they have determined for themselves that the person is no threat.

Are Norrbottenspets Good for Families? 🏡

The Norrbottenspets is an excellent dog for families. They are loving and loyal dogs that will get on well with children of all ages and will form a close bond with each member of their family.

Norrbottenspets do not do well when left to their own devices for long periods. They need a home with a family that will include them in their everyday life, and whether you’re sitting around watching Netflix or out exploring your local park, your Norrbottenspets will want to be with you.

Having been bred as a working dog, the Norrbottenspets is a naturally active breed, and they will enjoy playing games and running around in a yard with children. Norrbottenspets don’t like rough play, but rather than react aggressively if children’s games get a bit much for them, they will walk away and sit and watch from the other side of the yard.

The one aspect of the breed that can be problematic for families is their barking. These dogs have been bred for centuries to bark, and a noisy dog that barks all the time does have the potential to generate neighborhood noise complaints.

Do Norrbottenspets Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As a hunting breed, the Norrbottenspets has quite a high prey drive. This means that their desire to chase after other small animals can be hard to suppress. Having said that, if socialized well when they are young and introduced to other dogs and a variety of other animals, they can get along with other family pets.

However, as they are not an aggressive breed and will likely bark at any pet they chase, getting your Norrbottenspets to get along with your other pets is something that you can work on over time.

huntingdog, stands in the river
Image By: Northsweden, Shutterstock

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Norrbottenspets

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Ensuring that your Norrbottenspets has a wholesome and nutritious diet is the single most important thing you can do to influence their health and wellbeing. So, it makes sense to give consideration to what you are feeding your pet.

Norrbottenspets are active dogs, and assuming that they are appropriately exercised, they will burn off a great deal of energy. As such, they will likely need more food than a more passive breed of a similar size. That said, Norrbottenspets, like all breeds, will put on weight if you feed them too much, and an overweight dog is not a healthy dog.

So, you need to consider not only what to feed your dog but also how much to feed them. Luckily, there is a large pet food industry that has spent many years and millions of dollars developing an enormous range of commercial pet foods that make caring for your pet and ensuring that they are well fed relatively easy.

When it comes to commercial pet foods, there are two basic types. Wet food, which usually comes in a can, and dry food or kibble, which is bought in large bags. In terms of convenience and value for money, it is hard not to pick dry food.

Exercise 🐕

The Norrbottenspets is an active dog with a high energy level. They require daily exercise, which can come in the form of a long walk or hike and should include outdoor playtime in a securely enclosed yard.

Norrbottenspets are not a dog that should be walked off-leash or allowed to run free in an unfenced dog park, as the breed has quite a high prey drive, and even the most highly trained Norrbottenspets is likely to chase after a small animal that they believe to be prey.

Nordic Spitz used to hunt capercaillie
Image By: Northsweden, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

These smart little dogs learn quickly and should have no problem picking up basic obedience training. However, you may find that your Norrbottenspets gets bored quite quickly with repetitive training, so it is best to mix things up, work on more than one thing during a session, and keep your training sessions fun and relatively short.

As with most dogs, Norrbottenspets will respond best to positive reinforcement, and how quickly they learn will be directly proportionate to how much time and effort you are willing to put in. For example, if you only give your dog one 20-minute training session each week, it will take much longer for them to learn things than if you did several reinforcement sessions throughout the week.

Grooming ✂️

The Norrbottenspets has a dense double coat, and they will shed their undercoat at least once a year. During that time, they will require a daily brush to help remove loose hair from their coat. However, apart from this, the bread requires little in the way of regular grooming.

They will benefit from a quick brush once a week to keep their coat looking its best, they may need the tufts of fur around their toes trimmed now and then, and they will also need their nails clipped from time to time. The Norrbottenspets does not have a strong “doggie smell” and as such, does not need regular baths and will likely get by with just a few a year.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Norrbottenspets is an extremely healthy breed that suffers from few genetic disorders or diseases. Like all dogs, they are susceptible to parasites and worms and need to be regularly vaccinated. However, provided that they are fed well and adequately exercised, they will likely live a long and healthy life well into old age.

Conditions they are susceptible to include:

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
Serious Conditions
  • Luxating patella
  • Epilepsy

Male vs. Female

When it comes to choosing a puppy there is little difference in temperament between male and female Norrbottenspets, and unless you have a particular preference for one sex over the other or you intend to breed from your dog, we recommend that you choose a pup based on their energy levels and individual character traits rather than by sex.

In this regard, we recommend spending time with your breeder and the puppies from which you can choose and be guided by your breeder’s recommendations, as they will have the best idea of the likely temperament and character of each puppy in the litter.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Norrbottenspets

1. There is debate over the true origin of the Norrbottenspets.

Officially, the Norrbottenspets is a Swedish dog. However, the official history of the dog is the subject of much debate, as Finland claims the dog is of Finnish origin.

The Finnish argument centers on the fact that the breed’s earliest ancestors came from Finland. The counterargument by the Swedes is that during the 17th century, the Norwegians rejected white blotched Spitz-type dogs because of their unusual markings. According to the Swedes, they took in these reject dogs and set about developing the Norrbottenspets.

Whatever the truth, the Swedes wrote the official history of the breed, so at least for the foreseeable future, the Norrbottenspets will remain officially of Swedish origin.

2. The Norrbottenspets was bred to bark excessively.

The Norrbottenspets is a barking hound, and according to the American Norrbottenspets Association, they were deliberately bred to have a rapid high pitch bark that they use when hunting. Many Norrbottenspets can bark at a rate of 120 times per minute.

The Norrbottenspets use these rapid barks in hunting to confuse and hold game that they have cornered and serves to conceal the sound of the hunter approaching through the undergrowth. Before the invention of GPS-tagged collars, the Norrbottenspets bark also allowed the hunter to easily follow their dog as they searched thickly wooded areas for game.

The tendency of the breed to bark excessively may have serious implications for anybody planning to keep a Norrbottenspets in a residential area. The advice from the American Norrbottenspets Association is that in a family home environment, these dogs will bark when excited, whenever they are playing, when they see other animals, and sometimes at passing cars. The only way to reduce their barking is to ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. However, nothing will eliminate a Norrbottenspet’s barking; after all, they have been bred to bark like this for hundreds of years.

3. The Norrbottenspets has an unusual hunting method.

Besides their ability to bark at an extremely high rate, the Norrbottenspets has a unique and special ability when it comes to hunting.

While most hunting dogs either specialize in using sight or scent for hunting, the Norrbottenspets uses a combination of sight, scent, and sound. This is a skill that is particularly useful when they are picking their way across and through the rough terrain and thickly wooded areas of Scandinavian forests in search of their quarry.

A dog is sitting and enjoying the sun, in the background forest and dark clouds
Image Credit: Northsweden, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts: Norrbottenspets

Although not a popular dog, the Norrbottenspets makes a great family pet or companion dog. They are quite easy to raise, train, and care for and could be a good dog for a first-time owner.

However, as there are so few of them in the United States, it is likely that all the breeders will be selective about whom they will allow to buy their dogs. Even if you are considered suitable, you will almost certainly need to wait a while, as most breeders have a waiting list for their puppies.

Featured Image Credit: Northsweden, Shutterstock

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