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Norrbottenspets Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Care

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

Norrbottenspets dog

Norrbottenspets Dog: Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Care

With a name like Norrbottenspets, this dog is bound to be unique! They aren’t that popular outside of Europe, but this spitz breed is well worth getting to know. So, if you’re interested in learning more about the Norrbottenspets, you’ve come to the right place!

Breed Overview


16.5–18 inches


20–30 pounds


14–17 years


White with fawn, orange, red, sable, tan, or cream markings

Suitable for:

Active families or singles, house with a yard


Kind, loyal, affectionate, active, fearless, attentive, gentle

The Norrbottenspets (pronounced Nor-bo-ten-spetz) is a spitz breed from Northern Sweden and Finland (there’s a bit of dissension among the Swedish and Finnish as to where this breed originated). They have been used primarily for hunting and are closely related to the Finnish Spitz, Norwegian Buhund, and the Karelo-Finnish Laika.

The Norrbottenspets was bred for harsh winter conditions like all spitz breeds, which means they have a dense double coat, pointed upright ears, and a tail that curls over their back. Their coat is white, and they can have fawn, orange, sable, tan, cream, or red markings. They can also have a black mask.

Norrbottenspets Characteristics

Norrbottenspets Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Norrbottenspets Puppies

Finding a Norrbottenspets outside of Sweden and Finland will be difficult, to say the least. If you live a plane flight away from the Scandinavian countries, you may find a puppy that a breeder is willing to fly to you.

If you decide that you truly want a Norrbottenspets, ensure that the breeder is a good one, and ask critical questions. This can help you determine if they are truly responsible. We usually recommend adopting dogs, but the rarity of the Norrbottenspets makes this nearly impossible.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Norrbottenspets 🧠

The Norrbottenspets is an intelligent and sweet dog that is loyal and attentive to their family. They are energetic and active dogs that enjoy playful activities and nice cuddle sessions. They are wary of strangers and enjoy a good barking session, so combine these traits with their confidence and alertness, and you’ve got an excellent guard dog and a loving companion.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Norrbottenspets can make an excellent family companion, but they will do better with older children. They aren’t untrustworthy around young children, but they won’t tolerate rough play or mistreatment.

Also, it’s up to you to teach your children how to treat dogs with respect and not allow any form of play that borders on abuse. Get your children involved in caring for the dog, which will instill a sense of responsibility and understanding.

Norrbottenspets dog in lure coursing training
Image Credit: Charlotte Lehman, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

These dogs get along best with other dogs when raised alongside them. Small pets are tricky because Norrbottenspets have a strong prey drive. But if they are socialized well, they will probably be fine. In general, however, it might be easier not to have smaller pets in the home alongside this breed.

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Things to Know When Owning a Norrbottenspets

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Norrbottenspets is a medium-sized dog with a great deal of energy, so their food must support these aspects and their current age. Aim for high-quality dog food, and talk to your vet about how much you should feed your dog.

Try to avoid feeding them table scraps, which might lead to obesity; also, several human foods are toxic to dogs. Always have clean, fresh water available for your dog at all times.

Norrbottenspets dog on a leash outdoor
Image Credit: Eleseus, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Norrbottenspets are highly energetic and require a fair amount of exercise. You’ll be looking at roughly 1 to 2 hours every day, which should include walks and playtime. You can take them for hikes, jogging, swimming, and even fetch. They will also do quite well in dog sports like rally and agility. Canines like Norrbottenspets can become destructive if they aren’t exercised both physically and mentally.

Due to their high prey drive, you should keep the Norrbottenspets on a leash and in a securely fenced yard.

Training 🦮

Training the Norrbottenspets isn’t too difficult because they are intelligent and love their people. As long as you use positive reinforcement and keep the sessions short and interesting, training can be enjoyable for you both.

Socialization will help their prey drive to a certain degree, along with their wariness of strangers. The more places, people, and animals they are introduced to, the more social and well-adjusted they will be.

Norrbottenspets dog running lure course sport in the dirt
Image Credit: Charlotte Lehman, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Grooming the Norrbottenspets is quite easy, but be forewarned that these dogs shed excessively! This is a problem with all double-coated breeds. The Norrbottenspets has a dense but short coat, so they only need brushing about once a week, but you’ll probably need to brush them daily during the spring and fall shedding seasons. They only need baths when necessary and with a good dog shampoo.

Also, just like with any dog, you’ll need to trim their nails every 3 to 4 weeks, clean their ears about once a month, and brush their teeth daily or a few times a week, at the very least.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The good news is that the Norrbottenspets is a healthy and robust breed and isn’t as prone to serious health conditions as some other purebred dogs. But there’s always the possibility, so never skip their yearly vet visit.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patella luxation
  • Cerebellar ataxia

Male vs. Female

Male dogs tend to be larger and slightly more muscular-looking than females. The female Norrbottenspets will look slightly smaller and slimmer than the male. It is widely believed that when it comes to temperament, female dogs pick up training faster because they tend to mature faster. Also, while they are affectionate, male dogs tend to be more so. That said, how a dog is trained, socialized, and treated over the course of their lifetime is what will have the most significant impact on their personality.

If you already have a male dog in the home, it’s usually best to go with a female and vice versa, as there’s the potential for aggression between same-sex dogs.  But beyond situations like this, you should always opt for the dog or puppy that you connect with the best. The energy level and the individual personality should be the deciding factors, not their sex.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Norrbottenspets

1. The Norrbottenspets’s Name Tells You Where They Are From

Norrbotten County (known as North Bothnia in English) is located in the northern part of Sweden, which is where the Norrbottenspets are from. The “spets” part of their name is Swedish for “spitz,” so their name means “spitz from Norrbotten.” They are also known as Pohjanpystykorva in Finland, Norrbottens-skollandehund by certain rural peoples, and simply the Nordic Spitz in English-speaking countries.

2. The Norrbottenspets Were Almost Extinct

The unfortunate outcome for many European breeds after World War II was that many almost went extinct. Since the Norrbottenspets were bred for hunting and the price of fur decreased drastically after the war, these dogs fell out of favor. The Swedish Kennel Club even declared the Norrbottenspets extinct.

Fortunately, a few of these dogs were discovered and reintroduced in 1967, and while they are no longer endangered, they are rare outside of Sweden and Finland.

3. The Norrbottenspets Are Known to Be Barkers

Since the Norrbottenspets were bred to be hunting dogs, they use barking as part of their work. They are known to have high-pitched and rapid barks, which help the hunters find their dogs and hold the prey at bay. This also means the Norrbottenspets is a barker, which is another reason that they aren’t the best breed for apartments.

Norrbottenspets dog running in the forest
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

If you live in Sweden or Finland, chances are that you’re familiar with the Norrbottenspets, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble locating one of these dogs. But it might not be in the cards if you aren’t anywhere near these Scandinavian countries. That said, bringing a Norrbottenspets into your home is worth any effort that you put into locating one.

As long as you’re willing to be just as active as your dog and can train them appropriately, the Norrbottenspets can make an excellent companion and family pet.

Featured Image Credit: Northsweden, Shutterstock

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