When you meet a Utonagan dog for the first time, you might think that you are face to face with a wolf.
The regal Utonagan hybrid was created to look like a wolf, but this breed is 100% domesticated. There is no actual wolf blood in its lineage.
What is a Utonagan?
The Utonagan is a hybrid dog breed that is a cross between a Siberian Husky, A German Shepherd Dog and an Alaskan Malamute.
The result is a large, furry, imposing dog with wolf-like physical characteristics.
Many people are attracted to the Utonagan’s striking appearance.
However, prospective owners should think long and hard about whether this breed will be a good match for them.
Utonagans are large and strong. They require a lot of training, exercise and mental stimulation. They are not well suited for apartment living and they do best in cooler climates. Their thick coats shed profusely.
In this article, we will explore Utonagan behaviors, training, grooming and care. We will also discuss common medical issues and temperament traits.
We hope that this article will give you a better understanding of the Utonagan breed and will help you decide if this majestic dog is the perfect pet for you.
Where did the Utonagan come from?
This mixed breed was created in 1987 by a woman named Edwina Harrison.
Ms. Harrison wanted to create a dog breed that closely resembled a wild wolf, but without the unpredictable temperament of an actual wolf-hybrid.
The name “Utonagan” means “spirit of the wolf” in the Chinook language.
The hybrid breed is also sometimes known as the Northern Inuit Dog or the Ute.
The Utonagan is a mixed breed, so it is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or any other major kennel clubs around the world.
The Utonagan is made up of three well-known purebred breeds: the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky and the German Shepherd Dog.
Let’s take a closer look at the three breeds that make up the Utonagan hybrid.
Alaskan Malamute Characteristics
The Alaskan Malamute is a large, muscular working dog.
The Alaskan Malamute dog breed was developed to work for long hours in freezing Northern climates.
Therefore, Alaskan Malamutes are hardy and determined.
They do best with experienced owners who can channel their boundless energy and their working drive.
They are energetic and vocal, so they are not recommended for apartment dwellers.
Check out this article for more information about the Alaskan Malamute temperament.
Siberian Husky Characteristics
The Siberian Husky is another Northern working breed.
However, the typical Siberian Husky is smaller and more agile than the Alaskan Malamute.
Siberian Huskies were bred to be sled dogs and work in some of the harshest environments in the world.
These dogs are crafty and energetic. If you own one, you must provide your Husky with tons of mental and physical stimulation.
Bored Siberian Huskies are known to howl, dig, escape the yard, and become destructive.
This article will tell you even more about the Siberian Husky temperament.
German Shepherd Dog Characteristics
The German Shepherd is a very recognizable breed in the United States.
In fact, the German Shepherd Dog (also known as the GSD) is the second most popular breed in America according to the American Kennel Club.
German Shepherds originally came from Germany where they were used to herd and guard livestock.
Today GSDs are used for a wide array of tasks including herding, guarding, police work, search and rescue, companionship, therapy work, drug sniffing, bomb detection, and as service dogs for people with disabilities!
These dogs are intelligent and trainable. They thrive when they have a job to do. Do not get one unless you have plenty of time to devote to training, enrichment and exercise.
You can learn more about the German Shepherd temperament by checking out this article.
As you can probably surmise based on its ancestry, the Utonagan dog breed is athletic, active, intelligent and driven.
The Utonagan is a perfect dog for an owner who enjoys lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and snowshoeing.
However, if you are looking for a couch potato, the Utonagan is not the dog for you.
Utonagan Size and Appearance
As we mentioned earlier, the Utonagan looks like a wolf.
The average Utonagan height is generally between 23 inches and 30 inches tall.
The typical Utonagan weight range is between 55 and 100 lbs.
Utonagans have long tails and erect ears.
The following are the most common Utonagan colors:
The Utonagan usually has a distinctive dark “face mask” and almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes are usually brown or yellow, although they can occasionally be blue.
The Utonagan coat is very heavy and thick.
We will talk more about Utonagan shedding and grooming in the next section.
How do you groom the Utonagan dog breed?
If you own one of these dogs, you will need to be comfortable doing a lot of brushing and combing.
Utonagans needs to be brushed on a daily basis.
You will also need to bring your Utonagan to a professional groomer a few times per year. Your Utonagan should get occasional hair trims around its face, feet, and sanitary region.
You might also want to bring your Utonagan to a groomer for “deshedding” treatments during shedding season. This will cut down on the amount of dog fur in your house and on your clothes.
Does the Utonagan shed?
Yes, unfortunately, the Utonagan is a massive shedder.
If you are not a fan of dog fur, you may need to reconsider this mix.
Is the Utonagan Hypoallergenic?
No, the Utonagan is not a hypoallergenic breed.
Check out this article for more information about hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Utonagan Training Advice
Should you train your Utonagan?
Yes, training your dog is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.
Start training your Utonagan as early as possible.
If you get your Utonagan as a puppy, sign up for a puppy socialization class. This will help your puppy learn important dog social cues.
After that, enroll in a basic obedience class with a local trainer. Being in a group setting will help your dog become more socialized and calmer around other dogs.
Do your research before signing up for an obedience class, though.
Make sure you find a trainer that uses only positive reinforcement methods. Avoid trainers that use painful “corrections,” force or dominance to make dogs obey.
If your trainer wants you to use a painful device such as a shock collar, pinch collar or choke chain on your dog, take your business elsewhere.
Such tactics are outdated and less effective than more modern, science-based training methods.
Training should be enjoyable for you and your Utonagan.
As long as you are using humane training methods, your Utonagan will love learning new things.
These dogs are very smart, and they love to use their brains.
After you finish basic obedience instruction, you can check out other cool canine activities such as agility or nosework. The possibilities are endless!
Helpful Online Dog Training Resource:
Staying Healthy: Utonagan Health Problems
Is the Utonagan a healthy breed?
In general, this hybrid is fairly healthy and robust.
All dogs are prone to certain genetic conditions, but luckily, mixed breed dogs are often healthier than their purebred counterparts.
This is because they come from a larger and more diverse gene pool.
Below are some of the conditions that are common in the parent breeds. Discuss these medical problems with your vet so that you can be prepared just in case one arises in your Utonagan:
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Utonagan Veterinary Care
As with all dogs, your Utonagan must visit a licensed veterinarian on a regular basis.
You should bring your Utonagan to the vet at least once per year for routine care such as annual vaccinations, heartworm test, and bloodwork.
It is a good idea to get your Utonagan spayed or neutered. Talk with your vet about the optimum time to schedule this procedure.
As your dog gets older, he or she will also need dental cleanings on a regular basis.
All of this veterinary care can get pricey, but it’s very important, so make sure you factor this into your budget before bringing home a new dog.
What should you feed your Utonagan?
There are many different options on the market.
Talk with your vet about the best nutrition for this active dog.
Your vet may recommend a high-calorie dog food that is geared towards dogs with high metabolisms.
Keep your Utonagan happy and healthy by providing plenty of daily exercise.
Some of the best activities for this dog include hiking, jogging, snowshoeing, tracking, and weight pull.
Utonagan Adoption and Rescue
If you think this might be the perfect pet for you, let’s take a look at how you can add one to your family.
A great way to get a pet is through adoption.
There are thousands of homeless animals looking for good homes in this country. It is very rewarding to adopt a pet and give it a second chance at life.
How to Find a Utonagan for Adoption
You can visit your local animal shelter to see if they might have what you are looking for.
Let the staff know that you are looking for a German Shepherd/ Husky/ Malamute mix (the staff might not be familiar with the Utonagan name).
Ask for them to give you a call if a dog comes in that fits the criteria of what you are searching for.
You can also search for adoptable Utonagans on websites such as Petfinder.com, Adoptapet.com and Getyourpet.com. However, you might have to search for “German Shepherd mix” or “Malamute mix,” or “Husky mix” to find what you are looking for.
There are also rescue groups that specialize in certain breeds or mixes. You can use Google or Facebook to search for German Shepherd Rescues, Malamute Rescues, and Husky Rescues in your region.
Finding a Utonagan For Sale from a Reputable Breeder
You could also search for a responsible Utonagan breeder but be cautious.
Do your due diligence to make sure you get a Utonagan puppy from an ethical source and not from a puppy mill or backyard breeder.
Never ever order Utonagan puppies over the internet. Do not buy Utonagan puppies from pet stores either.
Visit the Breeder
Set up an appointment to visit a breeder’s property before you commit to buying a puppy from them.
Make sure the breeding dogs are being kept as beloved members of the family. They should be up to date on vaccines and they should have clean bills of health.
Ask lots of questions about the health and temperament of the parents.
A good breeder will be happy to answer your questions and show you medical records. Another sign of a good breeder is that there will probably be a waiting list for their puppies.
This is because good breeders will not overbreed their dogs. It is worth a little extra time and patience to get your Utonagan puppy from a high-quality breeder.
Checkout our Complete Guide to Breeders:
The Utonagan Price
How much does a Utonagan cost?
The Utonagan cost depends on where you acquire your dog.
If you adopt your Utonagan from a rescue group or animal shelter, the fee will be substantially lower.
Adoption fees are usually between $75 and $300 depending on the organization. This fee usually covers spay/neuter and initial vaccines.
On the other hand, if you buy a Utonagan puppy from a breeder, be prepared to shell out at least $1000. Since these dogs are so rare, some Utonagan breeders charge even more.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about the Utonagan dog breed.
We hope that this article has given you a good introduction to this unique and interesting dog.
Allie has worked in the field of animal welfare for over ten years and as a freelance writer the space for many years. She has had many different kinds of dogs (and cats) throughout her life—all adopted. She currently shares her home with a lovable pit bull mix named Huckleberry.