"Do they need a lot of exercise?"
This is the question we get asked all the time and the answer, surprisingly is that they don't need as much exercise as you might think. If you fancy doing a 20 mile mountain hike then they will be quite happy to tag along with you...but in general 45 minutes to 1 hour twice a day is plenty.
"Do I need a big house and garden to own a Northern Inuit?"
Not at all. I live in a 3 bedroom semi-detached house with my husband and our pack. I know of a few people with Northern Inuits who live in flats, though ground floor is preferable as you have to be careful of putting too much pressure on a puppy's joints up to one year of age. It is all about how much time you have to spend with them and giving them an adequate amount of exercise. My lot, when they are at home are usually found lazing around on the sofas or on the floor, they are very rarely bouncing around the living room like idiots because they have two good walks every day without fail. Adequate exercise = relaxed dogs.
"How big will they grow?"
Northern Inuits vary in size and weight, however the normal height for an NI is 28" to 30" at the shoulder and weight between 30kg and 50kg. The size your puppy will grow to is often dependant on the size of the parents.
"Are they difficult to train?"
Another question we get asked quite a lot and the answer is usually: 'it depends on the dog.' If you have a puppy that is highly motivated by food then training becomes a fun time to get tasty treats. If you have a puppy who is not that interested in food then you as their owner will have to work a lot harder to keep their attention. When training a puppy you have to remember that the goal is to be the most interesting thing around! In general we say that this breed is easier to train than your average Siberian Husky as they do not have the ingrained work drive but not as easy as your average German Shepherd. Whilst they want to please you and get a reward there is only so many times they will perform the same command before they will look at you as if to say: 'but I've already done that, why should I do it again?'
"Are they destructive?"
As a rule no...they are not destructive. However if left for long periods they do tend to get bored, and boredom can lead to chewing which can in turn lead to you coming home to find a living room full of snow and no sofa. If you are planning on leaving your dog, even for short periods, many breeders will advise that you crate train your dog from a puppy so that you can leave them in a safe, secure environment whilst you are out to minimise destructive and anxious behaviour.
"What is teenage stage and what can I do to cope with it?"
Teenage stage can start anywhere between the ages of 6 months and 18 months depending on your puppy's mental maturity. It can last anything from a couple of months to over a year and the most basic way to describe it is all of your training goes out of the window and your dog will pretend to be deaf and dumb to all your commands, just when you thought your puppy was finally growing up and learning the ropes! It is them testing their boundaries to see what they can get away with. During this time you need to remain firm and go back to basics with training. For some dogs this will mean working on their recall and basic obedience (you may find your dog will run half a mile across a field just because he HAS to go and see that dog) you may need to invest in a long line and lots of tasty treats. For some it may even mean a trip back to training school! However, don't be scared! You and your dog CAN get through this stage, it takes time and dedication but at the end you will come out with a well-balanced, mature dog.
"Do they get on well with other dogs?"
Northern Inuits love the company of other dogs, they are happiest when in a pack. They do prefer their 'own kind' or similar breeds, watching Northern Inuits play together is quite amazing to watch, however they do adjust the roughness of their play with smaller dogs or different breeds. How well your dog gets on with other dogs will be solely dependant on how well you socialise them as a puppy. We cannot stress enough that the more dogs of different breeds your puppy meets when they are young, the better behaved they will be around other dogs as an adult.
"Do they get on well with children?"
Again we say that socialisation and training is the key to any dog being 'child friendly'. Both the dog and the children need proper training on how they are expected to behave around each other and the earlier this training starts the better. My oldest dog Kiba was afraid of children for the first 6 months of his life, the local children used to chase him trying to pat him which scared him as he didn't understand what they wanted. Now he will quite happily stand there whilst children mob him and throw their arms around his neck. However, it is also important to stress that no dog should be left unattended with a baby or young children no matter how well behaved they are.
"Can they live with cats and small animals?"
Yes, Northern Inuits can live quite happily with cats and small animals. It is always a good idea to have the small animals first and introduce a dog to the family second as it is much easier to train a young puppy to accept cats or small animals than it is to train an older dog to accept a cat or small animals on to what they would class as their home and territory. First meetings should always take place in a controlled environment under close supervision and consistent training will be required from day one. Our 8 week old Kiba met our house rabbits Yazmina and Jasper on the very first day he came home, we made sure to allow them to interact on a regular basis as Kiba was growing up (always under supervision) and he would quite happily lie on the floor in the 'bunny room' and let Yazmina and Jasper hop all over him. However you must also be aware that small animals and cats on 'home territory' are completely different to cats and small animals outside and the likelihood is that whilst your dog may accept your other animals they might not be so gentle interacting with them outside.
"How long can they be left?"
Any number I give here is going to be completely arbitrary. Instead I will say that I know of Northern Inuits who are unable to be left at all due to separation anxiety and I know other Northern Inuits who are quite happy being left for 6 hours a day although not on an everyday basis. They are usually better if they have another dog for company however double the dogs can lead to double the problems. It is important to train your puppy to be left from a young age, starting with very short periods (less than 5 minutes) and slowly building it up over time. I cannot really advise with separation training as my oldest NI cannot be left at all and at almost 4 years of age has just gotten used to being left for 10 minute period without howling constantly and making himself sick with anxiety.
"Do they shed?"
Yes, as a rule Northern Inuits go through a full moult twice a year where they lose their undercoat, this lasts anywhere between two and four weeks at a time. Some dogs may shed a small amount consistently through the year. During moults it is advisable to brush your dog daily to get rid of the loose hair from their coat (this can shorten the time of the moult) and to completely forget being any kind of house proud!