The Utonagan is a new breed, emerging only in 1987 in the UK and marking up an intriguing history. Edwina “Eddie” Harrison bred 5 mixed-breed rescue canines from Northern America with the Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Alaskan Malamute to develop the Utonagan. Its name was inspired by an ancient Chinook Indian story that means “spirit of the wolf.”. Although this breed looks very much like a wolf, it has no wolf DNA.
This dog was originally called “Wolf-Dogs,”, being bred to look like wolves whilst retaining domestic dog attributes. It was later renamed to the Northern Inuit Dog as the first name did not catch on. Further down the line, it was renamed to Utonagan.
Down the Utonagan line, the breed was developed in a certain way which later made it different from the Northern Inuit. More lines were added to the Utonagan breed whilst the Northern Inuit breeders continued to use “pure” breeds. Utonagan clubs also emerged which further encouraged the split from the Northern Inuit.
Although there was an effort towards prudent breeding of the said dog type, differences amongst various Utonagan breeders created further splits. As such, there are 2 types of Utonagans, the other one being referred to as British Utonagans. This line still has its links to the original. Its development involved crossing the Utonagan with a Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, or Northern Inuit.
Today, this breed is still not recognised by The Kennel Club. However, there are efforts towards establishing it for future recognition by international breed organisations.