40 Super Spitz Dog Breeds

More than a curly tail unites this unique set of dogs

Spitz type dog breed walking in field

Mirza Graphy / 500px

Have you ever heard someone call their dog a “spitz?" If so, you may have wondered exactly what is a spitz dog breed. A spitz dog isn’t actually a breed at all, but a classification of many dog breeds with similar features. These include a wolf-like or foxy appearance with pointy ears, curled tails, almond-shaped eyes, and thick coats.

This description may be blurred between different breeds, making the exact amount of spitz breeds impossible to nail down. However, according to breeds registered with the AKC, there are somewhere around 50 to 70 spitz dog breeds. Including large and small breeds, some of these dogs are bred for hard work and others are bred for hardly working—instead they prefer to snuggle up as a companion dog.

With their thick coats and curled tails, many are bred to be able to handle cold weather conditions and often originate in regions that experience harsh winters.

Read on to learn about 40 spitz dog breeds that range from recognizable to very rare.

  • 01 of 40

    Keeshond

    Keeshound dog portrait


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    The Keeshond is a kind, friendly, people-loving dog known for its beautifully unique “spectacle” facial markings. These glasses-wearing pups are native to Holland and were kept as guard dogs and companions on the barges that sailed through the waterways.

    Like the Pomeranian, the Keeshond also sports a thick frill of fur that covers the shoulders and chest. Their thick coats can be found in varying shades of gray, black, cream, or a combination of these.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 18 inches

    Weight: 35 to 45 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized breed with sturdy build and a fluffy, curled tail; famous “spectacle” markings around the eyes.

  • 02 of 40

    Siberian Husky

    Siberian husky spitz dog breed


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    The Siberian husky may be among one of the most famously known spitz dog breeds. Its wolf-like appearance runs strong and seeing this working dog running through the frozen wilderness of its home certainly brings to mind its wild canine cousins.

    The Siberian Husky was bred for both companionship and work, making them a great family dog for those who are up to their intense exercise requirements.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 20 to 24 inches

    Weight: 35 to 50 pounds (females), 45 to 60 pounds (males)

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized dog with lean yet muscular build; eye color is typically blue or brown and the double-layered coat can be black, gray, red, brown, tan, or white.

  • 03 of 40

    Icelandic Sheepdog

    Icelandic sheepdog standing on snowy hill


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    The Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland’s only native dog breed, making it a well-loved favorite. These happy, playful dogs are on the smaller end, topping out at 18 inches tall. Their ancestors traveled to Iceland with Norse settlers. Bred for herding sheep and ponies, these dogs were the forefathers of the modern Iceland Sheepdog we know now.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 to 18 inches

    Weight: 25 to 30 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Fox-like face with kind, friendly expression and medium-sized, upright ears; thick coat can be a wide variety of colors or patterns, all of which include white.

  • 04 of 40

    Pomeranian

    Pomeranian dog outside walking


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    Not all spitz dog breeds are big and wolf-like. The Pomeranian is a toy dog breed that is no larger than 7 pounds! Though these tiny fluff balls lack wolf-like sizing, they still sport the famous pointed ears, long snout, and curled tail. Don’t let these tiny pups fool you. They may be small, but they have big personalities! They are playful, bold, and intelligent, making great family dogs and watchdogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 7 inches

    Weight: 3 to 7 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small stature with short, upright ears and a thick coat with an abundant frill of fur that covers the shoulders and chest.

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  • 05 of 40

    Samoyed

    Samoyed dog portrait


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    The Samoyed’s arctic roots clearly show in its dense, white fur and its history of sled-pulling, hunting, and herding. These gorgeous white dogs are very pack-oriented and form close bonds with their people. They are kind, hard-working, social, and loyal. Famous for their permanent smile, these pups have the friendly personality to match!

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 24 inches

    Weight: 35 to 50 pounds (females), 45 to 65 pounds (males)

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized dog with strong build and very dense, white fur for keeping warm; mouths are upturned in a permanent “smile."

  • 06 of 40

    Shiba Inu

    Shiba Inu standing outside

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    The famous Shiba Inu originated in Japan as a hunting dog. Now, this spitz breed is Japan’s most popular companion dog. They are loyal, bold, and confident. Though they are independent and strong-willed, they can form very close bonds with their people. The Shiba Inu boasts a very fox-like appearance, red color and all! They may also be seen with black and tan colored coats.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 13 to 17 inches

    Weight: 17 to 23 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Smaller size with strong build and thick, dense coat can be red, black, or tan with white markings; strong fox-like features.

  • 07 of 40

    Chow Chow

    Chow chow spitz dog breed lying on floor


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    This ancient Chinese dog breed has been bred for hundreds of years, and may even date back as early as 206 B.C. They were kept as companions, guards, hunters, and haulers. These distinct dogs are famous for their blue-black colored tongue and wrinkled face and neck ruff. Though they are serious-mannered and aloof with strangers, the Chow Chow can form extremely loyal bonds with the humans they love.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 20 inches

    Weight: 45 to 70 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, hefty build with prominent neck ruff and wrinkled face; famous for its blue-black tongue.

  • 08 of 40

    American Eskimo Dog

    American Eskimo dog portrait


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    These stunning white dogs actually have nothing to do with the people known as “Eskimos." In fact, the American Eskimo Dog has German roots and the German Spitz is its ancestor.

    These dogs made it to America in the 1800s and quickly became loved for their smarts, their good looks, and their eager-to-please attitude. They make wonderful, loving companions for anyone searching for an adventure buddy.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 15 to 19 inches for standard, 12 to 15 inches for miniature, 9 to 12 inches for toy

    Weight: 25 to 35 pounds for standard, 10 to 20 pounds for miniature, 6 to 10 pounds for toy

    Physical Characteristics: Black nose, lips, and eye-rims with thick ruff around the neck and shoulders; the thick, white coat may also be seen in cream, known as “biscuit cream."

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  • 09 of 40

    Alaskan Malamute

    Alaskan Malamute standing outside


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    The Malamute is a strong, active spitz dog breed that originated in Alaska for hauling and hunting. Despite its large size, these dogs are big softies and love to play an active part in the family unit. They make gentle, affectionate companions and generally do not make good watchdogs because of how friendly they are.

    Their active way of life in Alaska means they need plenty of exercise. Anyone looking to add a lovable malamute to the family will need to give them the exercise and loving attention these pups require to thrive.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 23 to 25 inches

    Weight: 75 to 85 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Wolf-like features and large frame with a dense coat that can be white, gray, black, brown, or red.

  • 10 of 40

    Norwegian Buhund

    Norwegian buhund puppy chewing on stick


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    These dogs may be among some of the original spitz dog breeds, traveling centuries ago with the Vikings. They were used on farms as herders, guards, and all-around farmhands. Today, the Buhund is still used for active farm work in Norway. They are confident, smart, and very loving, making this spitz dog breed a wonderful working companion.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 to 19 inches

    Weight: 26 to 40 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Smaller, athletic dog with very prominent spitz qualities; the thick coat can be wheaten or black.

  • 11 of 40

    Norwegian Elkhound

    Norwegian elkhound portrait


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    The Norwegian Elkhound is another companion of the Vikings. These dogs were highly valued and loved, and some are even found in the tombs of their owners, alongside their sword and shield. The Elkhound can be found throughout Norse history and mythology.

    As with the Norwegian Buhund, the Elkhound was used around the farm for herding and guarding. As their name suggests, the Elkhound was also used for hunting elk. These brave, loyal, kind-hearted dogs make delightfully devoted companions to the adventurous type.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 21 inches

    Weight: 48 to 55 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized dog with strong northern features. Thick coat is a well-known silver-gray.

  • 12 of 40

    Norwegian Lundehund

    Norwegian lundehund standing on grass


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    The Norwegian Lundehund is a truly unique spitz dog. Bred to hunt puffins among rocky cliffs, these dogs have six working toes on each paw instead of dewclaws. Their necks are very flexible and can bend backward so far that their heads touch their spines. They have the ability to fold their pointed, upright ears closed, forward, or backward. And their front legs are so flexible that they can extend them completely to their sides. A dog with such unique attributes may be among the most interesting spitz dog breeds!

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 15 inches

    Weight: 20 to 30 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small frame with extremely flexible neck, shoulders, ears, and six working toes; coat may be black, white, sable, gray, or red.

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  • 13 of 40

    Finnish Lapphund

    Finnish lapphund in snow

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    These extra furry Arctic dogs were used by the Sami people to hunt and herd reindeer. This dangerous job requires bravery, intelligence, and quick action. In fact, a trademark trait of the Finnish Lapphund is their strong “startle response”. This trait helps the Finnish Lapphund to react quickly and avoid danger from angry reindeer.

    Though they are quick, brave hunters and herders, the Finnish Lapphund is extremely loving and affectionate. They are among the many Arctic dogs that huddled with their owners to keep warm during cold weather, contributing to a close bond between dog and human.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 to 21 inches

    Weight: 33 to 53 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Very thick, long coat and muscular body built for working in the Arctic; dense coat can be black, white, sable, brown, or red.

  • 14 of 40

    Swedish Vallhund

    Swedish vallhund in field


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    The Swedish Vallhund is another spitz dog that originated as a result of the widespread conquests of the Vikings. It is thought that the breed came about as a cross between the Scandinavian spitz dog and the Welsh Corgi. These features are plainly seen in the breed's distinctive spitz look and low, long profile. These dogs made perfect cattle dogs since their short stature helped them avoid the hooves of kicking cattle.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 11 to 14 inches

    Weight: 20 to 35 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Characteristic spitz features with long, low profile; may be born with a long, curled tail, stubbed tail, or bobtail.

  • 15 of 40

    Swedish Lapphund

    Swedish lapphund sitting with leash

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    This intelligent, active breed is one of the oldest dog breeds and is thought to come from the ancient arctic wolf. They worked with the Sami people to hunt, guard, and herd. They love to be an active part of the family and always want to be included.

    Though loyal, these dogs think for themselves and can sometimes be stubborn. However, they love working alongside their humans and excel at agility, scent work, and other cooperative activities.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 to 20 inches

    Weight: 30 to 45 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sturdy frame with long, thick coat that can be black or brown and may have small white markings; alert, attentive gaze.

  • 16 of 40

    Finnish Spitz

    Finnish spitz dog breed


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    The Finnish Spitz, or Finkie, is a very foxy spitz breed, complete with a sharp face and red coloring. These dogs were bred for hunting and found their niche in bird hunting. In fact, they are sometimes called the “Barking Bird Dog” for their unique array of barks and “yodels." They also have a very distinct style of hunting. Once they find their prey, they mesmerize it with slow tail wagging and “yodeling." This also alerts their huntsman to the catch.

    These happy, active dogs are great companions, even if they aren’t used for hunting birds.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 15 to 20 inches

    Weight: 20 to 33 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Fox-like features and agile body; known for multi-shaded golden-red coat.

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  • 17 of 40

    Kai Ken

    Kai ken dog standing


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    The Kai Ken was bred for hunting a wide range of game in Japan. One of the six native breeds of Japan, the Kai Ken is highly regarded and loved by many. They are extremely loyal to their people and are willing to go to great lengths to guard them. On top of this, they are very intelligent and learn new things extremely quickly.

    Known for their naturally camouflaged coat of brindle, these dogs may be seen with black or red in their coats as well.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 15 to 20 inches

    Weight: 20 to 40 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized, strong build with a short but thick coat; born with a black coat that may develop a brindle pattern over the first five years of life.

  • 18 of 40

    Alaskan Klee Kai

    Alaskan klee kai puppy sitting in grass


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    Though the Alaskan Klee Kai looks like a tiny husky, these dogs were bred for companionship rather than work. Still a relatively new dog breed, the Klee Kai is less than 50 years old and was only recently recognized as its own breed in 1997 by the United Kennel Club.

    Full of spunk and playfulness, the Alaskan Klee Kai makes a great companion dog for the active family. Though they are loving to their families, they are wary of strangers, making them excellent watchdogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 13 to 17 inches

    Weight: 10 to 20 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small frame with dense fur outlining the dog; coat may be black, gray, or red on the back and around the eyes with white on the belly, legs, and lower half of the face.

  • 19 of 40

    Karelian Bear Dog

    Karelian bear dog running in grass


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    As suggested by its name, the Karelian Bear Dog was bred to hunt large game. Very independent and confident, these dogs work well alone and often only bark to alert their hunter once their prey is treed or stopped.

    The innate fighting spirit of this spitz dog breed can make them territorial with other dogs, but not with humans. These courageous dogs have also been used for search and rescue, sledding, and obedience trials.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 24 inches

    Weight: 44 to 50 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hefty, strong, athletic build with thick black and white coat.

  • 20 of 40

    Yakutian Laika

    Yakutian lakia dog


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    The Yakutian Laika was developed by the Yakute people for hunting, herding, sledding, and companionship. Because of this, they make very loyal, gentle dogs that love to play an active part in the family unit. This also makes them good with children and other dogs. Their friendly nature makes them wonderful companions, but not great guard dogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21 to 23 inches

    Weight: 40 to 55 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Muscular, medium-sized dog with prominent spitz features; the thick coat can be black, white, brown, red, or gray.

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  • 21 of 40

    Kintamani

    Kintamani puppy sitting on grass

    Imk0278 / Wikimedia Commons

    The Kintamani is a wild dog found on the island of Bali. Though feral, they adapt very well to home living and are often kept as companions. These dogs were just recognized as their own breed by the FCI in 2019.

    Because of their wild origins, they are quite territorial and do not usually get along well with other dogs. They make great watchdogs and are very loving towards the members of its family. These dogs are known to be good at climbing, so always be sure to keep an eye on them, even in fenced-in yards.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 23 inches

    Weight: 28 to 40 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Agile, medium-sized build with pointed snout; coat may be white, black, fawn, red, or brindle.

  • 22 of 40

    Thai Bangkaew Dog

    Though the Thai Bangkaew Dog is not registered by any major organizations, it is a prominent breed in the Phitsanulok Province of Thailand. Thought to have come about from a cross between an Asiatic jackal, the domestic Thai dog, and the shepherding dogs of the Song people, the Thai Bangkaew emerged from selective breeding starting in 1957.

    These dogs were kept as watchdogs and guardians for their protective and alert nature. Though wary of strangers, they make devoted, loving members of the family. Like the Kintamani, they can be aggressive towards other dogs, so proper socialization and training are very important.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 21 inches

    Weight: 35 to 60 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hefty, sturdy build with deep chest and thick fur ruff at the neck that is generally thicker on males; coat colors can be black, white, gray, chocolate, tan, or red.

  • 23 of 40

    Danish Spitz

    Danish spitz dog portrait

    Jozef / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Known as the “children’s dog” the Danish Spitz is a loyal, playful, patient family companion. These pups have had many names including Greenland Spitz, Samoyed Spitz, Wolfspitz, and White Spitz. They are popular farm dogs and for many years they were used to help watch and entertain the children. The Danish Spitz has a gentle, kind nature that makes them an endearing dog to have around.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 15 to 19 inches

    Weight: 26 to 40 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small frame with feathery coat around the neck and back of the legs; coat is commonly white, but may also be biscuit in color.

  • 24 of 40

    Eurasier

    Eurasier dog lying down

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    The Eurasier may look like a tough, burly breed, but they are sensitive souls with a loving, calm nature. They need to be with their people to be happy. As suggested by their name, the Eurasier has both European and Asian descent. Its ancestors include the Chow Chow, the Wolfspitz, and the Samoyed. Their coat comes in a wide variety of colors and even their tongues can be a mix of purple or pink.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 24 inches

    Weight: 40 to 70 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hefty, strong build with coats in a variety of colors that may have dark or light face masks; tongues can be pink, purple, or a mix.

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  • 25 of 40

    Schipperke

    Schipperke dog standing in grass

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    These unique little barge dogs were bred as watchdogs and were used to hunt rats aboard ships. Their strong jaws and necks made them perfect for the job. The Schipperke is a confident, lively protector, earning them the name “little captain."

    They are known for their fox-like face, their thick ruff of fur around the neck, and their bold personalities. They make active, fearless watchdogs and companions and are known for their affinity for water.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Weight: 10 to 16 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short, compact, muscular frame; fox-like face with thick ruff around the neck and a dense coat that may be black, chocolate, or cream.

  • 26 of 40

    Volpino Italiano

    Volpino Italiano dog portrait

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    Though this Italian dog breed is closely related to the Pomeranian and the German Spitz, they have their own unique characteristics and history. These dogs have been around for hundreds of years and can be seen in paintings as early as the 1500s. They make fun-loving, active companions and alert watchdogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 9 to 12 inches

    Weight: 9 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small, compact, square frame; the thick coat stands off of the body and creates thick ruff around the neck.

  • 27 of 40

    Japanese Spitz

    Japanese spitz puppy

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    Another small spitz breed, these little white dogs are known for their happy-go-lucky, comedian-like personalities and loving attachments to their people. They are smart, eager to learn, and are up for any adventure, as long as it is with the person they love.

    This spitz dog breed makes a great watchdog since they have a large bark for a small dog. They adapt to apartment living quite well as long as you still meet their daily exercise needs with a daily walk.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 15 inches

    Weight: 10 to 25 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small, sturdy frame with a thick, upstanding coat and ruff around the neck; coat is pure white in color.

  • 28 of 40

    Indian Spitz

    Indian spitz portrait


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    Thought to have originated from the German Spitz, the Indian Spitz is known for its intelligence and friendliness. Their warm nature makes them great with kids and other pets. One noticeable feature of the Indian Spitz is their expressive faces. Many have green or blue eyes that accentuate this quality.

    Their size varies, and they are categorized into two groups; the Lesser Indian Spitz and the Greater Indian Spitz.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 10 inches for the Lesser; 14 to 18 inches for the Greater

    Weight: 11 to 15 pounds for the Lesser; 26 to 44 pounds for the Greater

    Physical Characteristics: Small, compact frame with thick, upstanding fur; coat may be white, black, or brown and many have blue or green eyes.

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  • 29 of 40

    Western Siberian Laika

    West Siberian Laika

    Pro2sound / Getty Images

    These born hunters are considered to be among some of the dog breeds that hunted alongside humans in prehistoric times. With such an ancient history, it is no wonder that these dogs retain some of the looks and traits of the wolf. They have a strong prey drive and a protective, territorial attitude, but are very loving towards members of their “pack.” With proper training, they make devoted, protective companions.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 20 to 24 inches 

    Weight: 40 to 55 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Wolf-like features and strong build with a medium-length coat that may be white, gray, black, or red.

  • 30 of 40

    Shikoku

    Shikoku dog portrait


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    These Japanese dogs originated in the Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, which is where their name came from. Bred for hunting wild boar in mountainous regions, these dogs have a strong, agile build and plenty of energy. Coupled with intelligence and loyalty, these dogs make great companions for those able to give them the exercise and attention they need.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 22 inches

    Weight: 35 to 55 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Lean, yet well-muscled body with a short to medium-length coat that can be black and tan, red, or sesame.

  • 31 of 40

    Akita

    Akita dog standing outside


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    The spitz family’s usual wolf to fox-like face takes on a more bear-like appearance in the Akita. These larger, hefty Japanese dogs are known for their courage and loyalty and are highly regarded in Japan.

    One of the most famous Akita dogs was named Hachiko, who waited for 9 years at a train station for his owner, who had unexpectedly died, to return home. These dogs are fiercely loyal and protective of their loved ones, and make incredible companions for those who can properly train and care for them.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 24 to 28 inches

    Weight: 70 to 100 pounds (females); 100 to 130 pounds (males)

    Physical Characteristics: Hefty, muscular build with bear-like face; the dense coat can be white, black, brindle, sesame, or red.

  • 32 of 40

    Russo-European Laika

    Russo-European Laika Standing Outside


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    The Russo-European Laika is closely related to the Karelian Bear Dog. Though these tough hunting dogs can hunt large game like bear, its prey typically consists of squirrels or other smaller game. As suggested by its name, this breed was developed in the northern regions of Russia and Europe.

    This smaller Laika breed is full of energy, smarts, courage, and is very affectionate to its family, including children. Its bold personality and protective nature make it territorial towards other dogs, so proper training is very important.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 23 inches

    Weight: 40 to 50 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized with strong, agile build; the dense coat is black or gray with white markings.

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  • 33 of 40

    Pungsan Dog

    Two pungsan dogs outside

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    Though their exact history is not known, the Pungsan Dog has earned its place among the spitz dog breeds. Bred in North Korea for hunting, these dogs love to be outside and are known for their courage. In fact, the Pungsan Dog was even used to hunt tigers and boar!

    These dogs are highly regarded in their homeland, and in 2000 the president of North Korea gifted two Pungsan Dogs to the president of South Korea. They make loving family dogs and protective watchdogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21 to 24 inches

    Weight: 45 to 65 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Strong, sturdy body with distinct spitz features; short to medium length dense coat is either white or cream-white in color.

  • 34 of 40

    Norrbottenspets

    Norrbottenspets dog on leash

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    Despite its small size, the Norrbottenspets is as tough as they come. These agile, rugged dogs were used for hunting in the frigid Scandinavian peninsula. For a while, it was thought that this breed had gone extinct, but they survived as watchdogs and companions in the area of North Bothnia. They are still a rare dog breed today. Though a fearless hunter, they make kind, loving companions at home.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 16 to 18 inches

    Weight: 20 to 30 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small, compact, and well-balanced; the short, dense coat is white with red, brown, or tan patches.

  • 35 of 40

    Kishu Ken

    Kishu Ken dog standing outside


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    The Kishu Ken is extremely loyal and dignified. Bred to be a bold hunter in Japan, these dogs are very active, but can easily be calm and loving when at home. They are very attached to their loved ones but distant with strangers. Their strong prey drive may not make them the best choice for homes with other small animals.

    Viewed as a national treasure in Japan, these noble dogs are rarely exported outside their homeland.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 17 to 22 inches

    Weight: 30 to 60 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Strong, muscular build with a dignified air; the short, dense coat can be white, brindle, red, black, or sesame.

  • 36 of 40

    Korean Jindo

    Korean Jindo dog outside


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    These famous Korean dogs are known for the strong loyalty they show to their masters. Once they choose their person, they remain forever loyal to them.

    Coming from the island of Jindo, these dogs were used for hunting for thousands of years. They are considered a national treasure in Korea, and the president of South Korea gifted the president of North Korea with two Jindo dogs in return for his gift of two Pungsan Dogs.

    The Korean Jindo is agile, intelligent, and devoted, needing plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 18 to 22 inches

    Weight: 30 to 50 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Strong, solid build with a dignified, alert appearance; the thick coat can be white, black, brindle, black and tan, wolf gray, and red fawn.

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  • 37 of 40

    Hokkaido

    Hokkaido dog sitting


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    These hardy Japanese dogs are thought to have come to the island of Hokkaido with the Ainu people where they adapted to the cold conditions of the area.

    They are devoted companions and brave hunters, being used to hunt large game like deer and bear. Their smarts and high energy levels make them excel at problem-solving. They are also very protective of their loved ones and wary of strangers, so proper socialization is essential.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 18 to 20 inches

    Weight: 44 to 66 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-sized dog with muscular, sturdy body; the dense coat can be red, black, black and tan, sesame, brindle, or white.

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    Greenland Dog

    Greenland dog standing outside

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    The Greenland dog worked alongside the Eskimos for hunting and pulling sleds. They are valued for their stamina, strength, and work ethic. Because of this, they have bold personalities and do not get overly attached to a person. They require clear boundaries and training, and once established in a “pack” they can be quite loving. Though they are independent, they are friendly towards people and do not make good watchdogs.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 21 to 25 inches

    Weight: 60 to 75 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Hefty, muscular build featuring a strong chest without being barrel-like; medium-length coat can be black, white, gray, or brown.

  • 39 of 40

    Caanan Dog

    Two Canaan dogs on leash

    Samorodokhanaana / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    As the national dog of Israel, these dogs have been around herding and guarding for thousands of years in the area of what used to be Caanan. For some time, these dogs have been wild in the deserts of Israel and were again domesticated in the 20th century. They were even used as service dogs during WWII.

    The Caanan Dog is confident, agile, and tireless, but they make great companions for those able to give them the proper training and exercise.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 19 to 24 inches

    Weight: 35 to 55 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Agile, lithe frame and strong neck; the short, dense coat can be white, black, brown, red, tan, or a mix of these colors.

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    German Spitz

    German spitz dog portrait


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    Though they are sometimes confused with Pomeranians, the German Spitz is its larger cousin. Closely related to both the Pomeranian and the Keeshond, this spitz dog breed shares much of the same history and features of both of these German breeds, including the famous neck ruff. Their alertness and tendency to be vocal makes them perfect watchdogs. They are lively, loyal to their family, and wary of strangers.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 15 inches

    Weight: 24 to 26 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Small, compact breed with distinct spitz features and iconic ruff around the neck; thick, upstanding coat can be white, black, black and tan, cream, brown, orange, or gray.

Any dog classified as a spitz breed has eye-catching wolf-like qualities. Though they make beautiful companions, more than looks should be considered before adding a furry friend into the family. Many spitz breeds require a lot of physical and mental activity and, therefore, may not be suited for every home. With careful thought and research, you can find the right breed to suit your lifestyle and family situation.