You are never given the dog you want, but the dog you need.

Breed All About It!

Breed All About It- The Utonagan

Happy Thursday, everyone!

We are back on track this week with our ‘Breed All About It’ post that I missed from two weeks ago! We had a couple good guesses and one that was would be right on the nose if it wasn’t for a separation of breeds in the last few years. This is a breed that had originally fallen under the name of Northern Inuit Dog, but has since been classified as its own breed. So, to my wonderful reader who had guessed that, I am giving you virtual cookies- kudo’s to you for knowing your obscure and beautiful dog breeds! The breed for this week is a split off of the previously mentioned breed here, and is now known as the Utonagan, so, without further ado, I introduce this gorgeous breed of dog to you.


The Utonagans were entirely developed in Englandby Edwina Harrison in 1987. They were originally advertised as wolf hybrid by him. Edwina Harrison used 5 rescued dogs or unknown origin and added German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute to the list. The Utonagan Society further developed its lines by returning to stock from the conceptual breeder.

The Utonagans are quite unique dogs. This breed is the only large breed dog, bred to look like a wolf and with no working use in mind. Utonagans are essentially a companion dog breed. These dogs have excellent temperament with children and they also love the company of people plus they get along well with cats and smaller dogs.

Though there were no reasons for breeding Utonagans, other than the looks, they have been selectively bred from three extremely high energy working dogs, which are, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and German Shepherd and hence they can be trained for anything if desired however, one must understand the natural drive before selecting the dog for specific training purpose.

Despite its German Shepherd ancestry, the Utonagan is not a guard dog. In fact, they would rather lick a stranger than attack or bark at them. Utonagans will howl, from time to time, if they are bored or if they wish to attract their owner’s attention.


A perfect specimen of this breed should resemble a Timber Wolf. Large, strong and powerful presence but not too heavy in build with longer legs compared to build of body. A powerful and adaptable dog that is built for travel. Agile, ability for endurance and fast work, alert and intelligent with the temperament being friendly and intelligent, with no hint of aggression

Eye color has been seen to range from brown to amber or yellow (preferred). Good pigment, almond in shape, coat accentuating the eye so that they look larger. Blue eyes will be considered a fault. The tail should be bushy and thick not feathered, and should hang straight to the hock. It is carried straight and high when excited or at a trot, but any type of curling round on itself is not acceptable, with a straight tail being preferred. Spitz tails are to be considered a fault. Their gait should be effortless, with a good reach and ground cover, powerful drive from the hindquarters.

This breed has a dense double coat, with a waterproof, harsh top coat and soft, thick undercoat that is thicker  and longer around neck and tail areas. There should be no feathering on legs, excess feathering in comparison to coat on ears, and feathering of the tail and pants is undesirable. Colors allowable: grizzled combination of timber grey, silver, black, white and buff single colors of black, white. Pied or ink marked colors undesirable. Weight is approximately 55-90 lbs and should be in proportion to height, age and frame should be well covered and fit.


The Utonagan temperament is exemplary, if purebred. They are a gentle giant and love to please everyone. If allowed to get over-excited they can become boisterous and clumsy and may knock small children over, so over-excitement of Utonagan should be avoided in enclosed areas. They are extremely intelligent and can work out how to open doors, crates and windows, so be warned. They can be trained very easily and from a very young age, so they have the potential to excel in obedience and other types of competition.

They are very affectionate and require alot of love, attention and company, and as a result of this people-bound type of personality, they do not do well left alone for long periods and can become destructive if this happens.


Medium to high, depending on the drive. The owners must be careful not to over exercise these dogs as some lines may have problems cooling down.

Health and Life Expectancy

This breed can live between 10-15 years of age. As with all large breeds, the Utonagan can be susceptible to developing Hip Dysplasia and it is advisable that all Utonagan are BVA hip scored at 12 months of age.

There has been possible cases of Multi Retinal Dyspalsia, (this is currently undergoing research with the British Utonagan Association in conjunction with the genetecists at the Animal Health Trust) and also some history of cataracts, this is why all dogs should be regularly eye screened to build up a history of the lines being used.

Potential Problems 

  • Because the Breed is fairly new and has a very small population of few hundred dogs there are lesser known diseases in this breed.
  • Some dogs get heavy thick coat and that created problems in remaining cool is summers, owners must be careful not to over heat the dogs while playing or exercising.
  • Over exercised dogs may develop joint and developmental problems relating to bones.
  • May howl if bored or wants to attract attention.
  • The Utonagans can be effected to diseases such as Addison’s Disease, Anal Furunculosis, Cataracts, Cerebellar Hypoplasia, Cryptorchidism, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia and Von Willibrand’s Disease

This breed was a toughie to find information on, with them being a relatively new breed and all, but my sources are found at these two wonderful websites, here and here. Thanks for dropping by and learning about this beautiful breed of dog! Miss Xeva and I hope that you’ll drop by again next week to learn about our upcoming breed of the week pick 🙂 Don’t forget to scroll over to that sidebar and click the FreeKibble banner – right or wrong, your answer helps to donate food to shelter animals, so click on over!