Other names: Norrbottenspets


The compact yet agile Norrbottenspitz is a small spitz-type Nordic breed which was originally used as a working farm dog. However, once word got around about this lovely pup’s warm temperament, friendliness towards children and tolerance of other animals, it grew in popularity as a family companion pup. Devoted to its owners and protective by nature, the Norrbottenspitz could be a great match for active families.


Key facts about the Norrbottenspitz

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Playful, Hunter
  • Size : Small
  • Type of coat : Short

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 5 - Spitz and primitive types


Section 2 : Nordic Hunting Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Norrbottenspitz

Adult size

Female dog Between 16 and 17 in
Male dog Between 17 and 19 in


Female dog Between 20 and 22 lb
Male dog Between 20 and 22 lb

Coat colour

White with coloured patches, which are often cream, brown, red or black.

Type of coat

The coat is short, straight, hard, dense, and weather-proof.

Eye colour

Amber to dark brown.


The Norrbottenspitz is a small, light spitz-type dog with a compact yet powerful body. Slightly taller than it is long, the body is visibly muscular, especially considering its small size. The legs are strong, sturdy and powerful, owing to the breed’s agile appearance. The head is wedge-like, with triangular, high-set prick ears, a wide black nose and dark, almond-shaped eyes. And, of course, we can’t forget that gorgeous, Spitz-type curly tail!



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This breed is a good companion for the whole family, but independent enough to not demand a fuss.


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The Norrbottenspitz is bubbly, lively and playful, especially around children! This is a fantastically cheerful, jolly family companion.


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In general, this dog is full of beans, but when the Norrbottenspitz is finished playing for the day, it is capable of chilling out. It is calm and easygoing within a relaxed family home.


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This is an intelligent breed which is eager to please its family.


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Despite it working past, the Norrbottenspitz has a much lower prey-drive than most other working breeds. With thorough socialization and training, prey-drive shouldn’t be any problem!

Fearful / wary of strangers

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Most dogs of this breed are wary or aloof towards strangers, but rarely aggressive.


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As a working dog, the Norrbottenspitz was bred to be able to make decisions independently of its master. Therefore, the breed does have a free-thinking, independent and sometimes stubborn streak. However, with persistent training, this isn’t usually problematic.

Behaviour of the Norrbottenspitz

Tolerates solitude

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This loving breed can be attached to its family, but this dog’s independent nature means that it will bear their absence if its needs have otherwise been met.

Easy to train / obedience

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Although the Norbottenspitz has the intelligence to pick up tricks and commands with ease, the breed can be a little free-thinking during training sessions. Plenty of rewards and positive reinforcement works best, with lots of patience and dedication thrown in for good measure. Truthfully, the Norbottenspitz can make a very obedient pooch - it just may take some time to get there!


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This charming breed may have come across as the perfect dog so far, but there has to be a weakness somewhere - yep, it’s barking! The Norrbottenspitz is known to be a particularly vocal breed.

Tendency to run away

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The Norbottenspitz is a skilled jumper, so you’ll need a secure, high fence in your garden if you plan to allow it to roam unsupervised.


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This dog might do silly things if its needs haven’t been met.

Greedy / Gluttony

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While the Norrbottenspitz loves its food, it’s not known to be excessively greedy. Treats are a useful motivator to get it to cooperate.

Guard dog

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The Norbottenspitz is sure to alert its family of any suspicious intruders, making it an efficient watchdog. This breed isn’t a guard dog though - aggression is rare!

First dog

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This little dog can be adopted by novices but they must really be aware of the characteristics of this primitive breed, and seek advice in case of difficulties.


Norrbottenspitz in a flat

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While the Norrbottenspitz might cope in a flat if it receives plenty of exercise, it’s best suited to countryside living, or at least a house with a garden in which it can roam.

Need for exercise / Sporty

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The Norrbottenspitz might not need as much exercise as other, larger working breeds, but it’s still an active and energetic little pup. Ideally, you’ll walk this breed for at least an hour per day, as well as getting in plenty of active playtime. Agility and obedience training are also great options for this breed, as they’ll stimulate it both physically and mentally.

Travelling / easy to transport

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If well-socialized, this is a small, easy-going and chilled-out breed, making travelling and transportation a breeze.


Norrbottenspitz and cats

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In comparison to other working breeds, the Norrbottenspitz is capable of being gentle and docile around felines. Early socialization can ensure that these fantastic qualities come to light!

Norrbottenspitz and dogs

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Generally, a well-socialized Norrbottenspitz gets along famously with other dogs.

Norrbottenspitz and children

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This small breed tends to be affectionate, gentle and playful with children, especially if well-socialized.

Norrbottenspitz and the elderly

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While the Norrbottenspitz might make a good pet for a very active elderly person, it generally might require too much activity for most.


We do not have enough data to set an average price. However, looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £70 to £100 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.


The Norrbottenspitz is rather low-maintenance in terms of grooming, requiring a normal weekly brush and an occasional bath when needed. Remember to check and clean the ears, trim nails if necessary and brush the teeth daily.


This breed is a significant shedder.

Nutrition of the Norrbottenspitz

A traditional diet of home-cooked meals consisting of meat, vegetables, and starchy foods is preferred. 

Health of the Norrbottenspitz

Life expectancy

This is generally a healthy breed with an above average life expectancy of 13 years and a strong immune system.

Strong / robust

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The Norrbottenspitz is known to be hardy, agile and healthy.

Withstand heat

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This breed can tolerate warm weather, but may struggle in extremes of heat.

Withstand cold

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Thanks to its thick double coat, the Norrbottenspitz is extremely tolerant of cold weather.

Tendency to put on weight

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If under-exercised, the Norrbottenspitz may end up gaining weight. It’s important to remember that while this is a small breed, it still requires plenty of activity.

Common illnesses

  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye problems

Good to know

There’s an ongoing debate about whether the Norrbottenspitz originates from Sweden or Finland - and we’ll probably never know for sure!

Origins and history

The Norrbottenspitz originates from Sweden or Finland (who knows?), with written documentation of the breed found from the 1600s. While some believe the breed descends from Dingos, it’s true origins are unknown. However, it has classically been used as a working dog, a guard dog and even in search and rescue jobs. The breed came shockingly close to extinction after WWI, but thanks to a dedicated breeding programme, the population now manages to flourish.


Aalto, Otso, Inka, Taika

Find out more dog name ideas here


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