Why Utonagans are great
The Utonagan, although a relatively new breed, has captured the hearts of many people who always loved the idea of having a wolf as a pet. Their wolf-like appearance yet kind and friendly temperament make them everyone’s ideal fantasy. They are extremely unique dogs that were not bred for any specific purpose but were simply created for a companion. The name, Utonagan, can be translated to ‘Spirit of the Wolf’ in Chinook Indian, even though there are is no wolf ancestry in their bloodlines.
- Utonagans are loyal and devoted family companions, always wanting to please their owners
- This breed is highly intelligent, making them easily trainable and well behaved
- They do not need large amounts of grooming
- Utonagans thrive on human company, enjoying having a job instructed by their owner, for example, any canine sports such as agility and obedience.
Things to consider when looking at Utonagans for Sale
This breed, although perfect family pets, can be a bit of a handful. They require a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation in order to be calmer and more relaxing when inside the house. It is also important that they feel relaxed with the atmosphere inside the house and the family, as they can respond negatively towards raised voices and stress. Therefore, this breed is not recommended for first-time buyers, as experience and understanding is needed for these dogs to thrive.
Some downsides to the Utonagan:
- Although Utonagans are devoted family companions, this causes them to struggle with separation anxiety when they are left alone.
- They have a very high prey drive when around livestock or wildlife, and it is highly recommended that owners are wary of where these dogs are let off the lead.
- Much like a wolf, Utonagans love the sound of their own voices, often barking and howling whenever they feel like it.
History of the Utonagan
Utonagans are a new, Northern Inuit Dog that was first described as a ‘wolf hybrid’, even though they do not have any wolf descendants. They were simply bred to have the appearance of a wolf without the wild and dangerous temperament. These strong dogs with bushy tails and a lean physique closely resembles the statue of a German Shepherd, although their grey and striking coats are unique for their breed. Even though this breed was bred without a specific purpose in mind, they can often be found making excellent therapy dogs due to their kind and dependable character. They were often also used as trackers as they have an excellent sense of smell.
Interestingly, although they don’t instinctively have a job to complete, they adore having a job to do, and over time have been used in more fields of work. However, first and foremost, these dogs always have and always will make fantastic human companions.
How big is the Utonagan?
Typically, the males of this breed are slightly larger than the females, standing at 63-84cm at the shoulder, whilst the females only grow to about 61-71cm at the shoulder.
How heavy is a Utonagan?
Due to their sturdy build, these dogs are naturally heavy. Males can weigh around 32 – 50kg, whilst females only weigh around 25 – 41kg.
What Colour is the Utonagan?
These distinctive dogs have a thick and bushy coat that can be a grizzled combination of greys, blacks, whites and reds. These are usually single block colours, as it is undesirable to have mixed colours on a Utonagan.
Do Utonagans make good guard dogs?
Utonagans tend to bark a lot, but simply when the feeling takes them. They are not particularly directing their noise at something in order to alert their owner of an unfamiliar presence, but more to express themselves and make themselves known. They also tend to be laid back and friendly with strangers. Overall, this makes them a poor choice for a guard dog.
Are Utonagans easy to train?
The Utonagan is a clever breed, and therefore they are easy to train. However, the trick for getting them to learn quickly is making the training sessions exciting and interesting. Keeping them short and intertwined with positive feedback such as praise, treats and playing helps them keep mentally stimulated and therefore happy to obey commands. If these dogs lose interest or get frustrated at not understanding their owner, they may not learn as fast. Patience and understanding is a key part of training these dogs.
Are Utonagans playful?
This breed is extremely playful, loving to entertain others and be entertained themselves. When in full playing mode, they can be cheeky and often test their limits, however, they soon come to realise what is accepted and what isn’t allowed. They can sometimes be accidentally boisterous with smaller children simply due to their size and weight as there is the possibility of knocking the child over. Therefore, playtime should always be supervised by an adult that can intervene when it is needed.
Are Utonagans good with other pets?
Utonagans are good with other dogs and animals as they don’t naturally have a high prey drive, but early socialisation is important for this breed. Otherwise, they may be timid and overly cautious when they become an adult. However, overall, they are very friendly dogs to both strangers and animals.
Can I leave a Utonagan Alone?
Utonagans do form close bonds with their families and adores human company, which therefore creates difficulty leaving these dogs alone. They can suffer from separation anxiety and will usually display their opinion on being left by howling or barking. However, if these dogs do need to be left, they should have sufficient mental stimulation to keep their minds occupied, as well as enough physical exercise previously so that they can sleep whilst you are out.
Do Utonagans like water?
This breed loves to swim and will swim whenever they are given the chance to leap into some water. This can cause problems for some owners as they get very dirty with debris clinging to their long dense coats. Therefore, if you don’t want your Utonagan going into water, make sure you walk in the right places and put them on the lead when you feel it necessary. However, in warmer climates, they use water to help cool off, which is important and should be allowed.
How long do Utonagans live?
Usually, Utonagans usually live up until 10-25 years.
How much exercise does a Utonagan need?
The Utonagan breed requires a high level of exercise. This exercise can be found through playing, walking or running with their owners, but they need adequate amounts every day to keep them happy and stimulated. If they become agitated and bored, they are often destructive and can start chewing or howling out of impatience and frustration. It is recommended that these dogs get at least 1 hour a day of rigorous exercise off the lead.
What are Utonagans Common health issues?
Due to the Utonagan being a new breed, there are not many records about their general health and therefore what they can suffer from. However, so far they are known to have suffered from various diseases, including:
- Eye Diseases, such as Cataracts
- Addison’s Disease
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease ( a rare bleeding disorder)
How much space do I need for a Utonagan?
Although Utonagans enjoy cuddling up to their owners, they also require their own space. Due to their size, this is usually larger than what other breeds get, as their beds or crate will be larger. They are at their happiest when they have easy access to a secure outdoor area such as a backyard or garden, and therefore they are not the best apartment dogs.
How much grooming do Utonagans need?
Utonagans continually shed throughout the year, making regular grooming a necessity. Their close-lying straight coat puffs out more during the winter, making them more high maintenance during the colder months. They need brushing through a minimum of twice a week when the weather begins to heat up as their winter coats will begin to shed.
How much does it cost to keep a Utonagan?
As a rough guide in pricing:
Cost to buy: roughly £500 - £700 for a well-bred Utonagan puppy
Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £70 - £100 per month
Specific Buying Guide
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/
), with the most important thing being going to view your Utonagan Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.
More specifically, here is some Utonagan puppy buying advice:
- Due to the Utonagan’s popularity, they can be subjects of scams. These online scams can be spotted by watching the listing price, which is usually a lot lower than other adverts, which entices potential buyers in. It is very important that the breeders don’t get paid anything until you have seen the puppies yourself. This allows you to check the puppies are real, as well as see whether the breeder is legal or not.
- This breed is not yet registered with the Kennel Club, and therefore potential buyers must register an interest with breeders and be put on a waiting list. There are so few healthy, well-bred puppies born each year and it is important that they are from a good bloodline.
- Although these dogs look like wolves, they show absolutely no sign of aggression whatsoever, tending to behave in the complete opposite way. Therefore, there should be no concern surrounding these dogs and their behaviours, especially around children and small animals, as these dogs are more likely to try and make friends with them above anything else.
Other reading, Adopting Utonagan Puppies and Rescue Organisations