Source: CHCH (Extract)
Posted: May 18, 2023

Game of Thrones fans will be happy to know that the dire wolf dogs featured in the show are making their first Canadian appearance. The first Canadian-born litter of Northern Inuit dogs were born in Niagara Falls last month.

The dire wolves in Game of Thrones are portrayed by Northern Inuit dogs which is what prompted Michele Atkinson to add one to the family.

Atkinson says “Summer[dog] actually came from Scotland and the breeder that we got Summer from was the breeder who supplied Ghost, the dog that they used in the Game of Thrones so all of our puppies are actually relatives of the dog from Game of Thrones.”

Atkinson says the Northern Inuit dog is fairly rare and the dog society they’re a part of has branches all over the world, “There’s actually nine breeders within our association. They’re in the United Kingdom, in Switzerland, we have a new one in Germany that’s expecting another litter very soon, and then, of course, we’re here in Canada.”

The family adopted mom, Willow, during the pandemic, and after a lengthy three and half year process, they welcomed the puppies last month complete with names that represent the best of Canadian culture. The pups are named True North Gretsky, Snow, Maple, Gingerale, Timbit, Celine, and Poutine.

Despite their wolf-like appearance, Atkinson says the dogs are loyal, calm, loving pack-like dogs and make the perfect addition to the family. The female puppies are expected to be about 55 to 65 pounds fully grown and the males should grow to be about 90 to 110 pounds.

Atkinson says that she hopes these dogs will be recognized by kennel clubs worldwide but as of right now, that’s not the case. Ian Lynch of the Canadian Kennel Club says, “In order for a dog breed to be recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club, they have to be recognized usually in their country of origin.”

In this case, the country of origin is the United Kingdom. Lynch says a standard for the dog would have to be created that is essentially a blueprint for what the dog should look like, “It takes a lot of effort and a lot of time, and a lot of people have to be very dedicated to the breed and then, of course, our Canadian Kennel Club board members have to decide whether or not this dog goes from being unrecognized purebred dog to a listed breed.”

Atkinson says the puppies are being trained through a program to keep them stimulated and engaged from a young age which includes neurological stimulation that she says will improve the quality of life that the dog will have. This is all in an effort to get them ready to go to their forever homes when they’re about 10 to 12 weeks old.