General conversation about dogs will have people making their comparisons between dogs and wolves. The Utonagan is actually a breed of dog that looks a lot like the domesticated dog’s ancestor, and for good reason. They are one of a few dog breeds that comes closer to their ancestors than most. Read on for the 10 things you didn’t know about the Utonagan – but want to.
1. They are loyal companions.
This trait may seem odd given that they look more like wolves than a dog, but the breeding has been such as to make them just as loyal as any other domesticated breed. It may be that their evolutionary pattern would have wolves naturally becoming domesticated over time, as some people are known to raise actual wolves. But there is no shortage of loyalty with this breed.
2. They are among the most intelligent of dog breeds.
While you may not see a Utonagan sniffing for drugs (more on this later) they are highly intelligent. This makes them easy to train when done properly. The combination of loyalty and intelligence makes them very good family dogs, if you can convince your children you didn’t actually bring a wolf home who is going to eat them.
3. An active, outdoor life is essential to keep this breed happy.
You may find similarities between the Utonagan, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and other large breeds when it comes to the need for plenty of space and activity. They are, by nature, animals who love to roam as they are more genetically connected to their wolf ancestry. So if you are considering getting one, be sure to be the outdoorsy type, come rain or snow.
4. First time dog owners should select a different breed.
This has more to do with the inexperience of the dog owner than the Utonagan itself. Some dogs are just not right for first time dogs owners because the owners has to know how to achieve mastery over the animal to let them know who is the leader of the pack. Without this experience, the dog can become the leader, resulting in training and behavior problems that will be almost impossible to change as they get older.
5. They love the sound of their own voices.
You should immediately know the problem with this trait – they can be very noisy. Whether this can be trained out of them depends on a number of things, including the trainer and the amount of patience the owner can muster up. But even with proper training, there are likely to be occasions when they will love to hear themselves talk.
6. They are prone to separation anxiety.
Though this seems somewhat unusual given their tendency to be like wolves, their loyalty comes at a price. They don’t like to be left alone, and their penchant to want to hear their own voice is the perfect brew to have a dog that will continually make noise, either to satisfy their own natural desire to hear themselves, or to get the attention of anyone nearby so they don’t feel so lonely.
7. Potential owners need to under the meaning of prey drive.
Because Utonagans lean more towards the independent side of their nature, they are known to leave the owner’s side and become the leader when out and about. The prey drive is their natural desire to pursue and hunt prey when outdoors. This is another reason it is not good for new owners or be commonly seen as a service animal.
8. They love being around people.
It’s just not the family environment, but this breed loves people in general. This can be a positive or a negative, so if you are looking for a watchdog you may want to move on to another breed. They may be more likely to lick an intruder’s face than howl at their intrusion (though this might be a bit of an exaggeration).
10. Their coats and general health are low maintenance issues.
It might not be obvious when first looking at a Utonagan, but their coats are really quite easy to manage. The summer months will be a bit more challenging, as their coats need to be brushed about twice a week to get rid of the dead hair. Cooler climes and cooler months will be the best times to take a break from the grooming routine.
As for its health, because the Utonagan is a relatively new breed, the complete array of potential health issues is not known. However, as with any newer breed of dog you need to make sure you are dealing with a reputable breeder who is aware of the genetic lines and the associated health problems within those lines. If you get a Utonagan from a responsible breeder, the number of potential health problems is very small.