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Dog Breeds that Start with N | Dog Breeds A-Z

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Neapolitan Mastiff

One of the most wrinkled breeds in the dog world, the ancestors of this Italian giant faced gladiators in the Coliseum and fought in wars during the days of the Roman Empire, so the Napolean Mastiff (which is also known as the Mastino Napoletano) has earned every crease and fold that is etched on the faces of their descendants.  

Movie buffs will recognize this breed from the Harry Potter franchise.  Although described as a Boarhound in the books by author JK Rowling, on the big screen Hagrid’s dog Fang was portrayed by several Neapolitan Mastiffs, including Bella, Bully, Hugo, Luigi and Vito.

New Guinea singing dog

Also known by the decidedly less lyrical New Guinea Highland dog and Hallstrom’s dog, this breed’s haunting wolf-esque howl has been heard since ancient times on the island for which they are named.  

Related to the dingo, the New Guinea Singing Dog was considered extinct, but in recent years a small number have been spotted in the wild. 

Two US non-profits, New Guinea Singing Dog Society and New Guinea Singing Dog International are helping to save the breed.

New Zealand Heading Dog

Named in honor of the island country of their origin, this working dog– which is also known as the New Zealand Eye Dog– has been herding flocks of sheep since its debut in 1867. 

Sharing DNA with the Border Collie, the breed differs from their forefathers both in appearance (with the New Zealand Heading dog’s coat being markedly shorter than that of the Border Collie) and in their work method, with the New Zealand Heading Dog staying in an upright position, rather than crawling, when stalking sheep.    


The Newfoundland dog breed comes from the coast of, you guessed it, Newfoundland, Canada. Although dog historians agree on this point, the opposite is true in regard to its genetic ancestry. We do know that the Newfoundland dog can be traced back to the Tibetan Mastiff dog breed–although no records report Tibetan Mastiffs being brought to Newfoundland. Many experts agree that they came from Tibetan Mastiffs in part by Great Pyrenees dogs which were crossed with Black English retrievers. The Husky may have had a part to play in the mix as well. Whatever the mix, the result was a gentle bear of a dog who loves water, is resistant to cold temperatures, and comes in either black or black and white mixed.

Norfolk Terrier

There is a reason why the history of this tiny working terrier mirrors that of the Norwich Terrier.  The two breeds were considered one until 1979, when The American Kennel Club declared that those with folded ears be known as the Norfolk Terrier, and those with pricked ears retain the Norwich name.

Previously known as the Canab Terrier, the Trumpington Terrier and the Jones Terrier, in the 19th century these dogs were employed to rid stables of rats.  However, students at Cambridge University soon began keeping the lovable dogs in their dorm rooms, earning the Norfolk/Norwich terrier the title of the university’s mascot.     


Named in honor of a province in Sweden, in 1948 this beautiful breed was believed to have been lost to the world.  A resurgence in the 1960s, however, has led the Spitz-type dog to become a familiar sight again in its native country, although sightings are scarce elsewhere.

Once utilized for their hunting skills, today the Norrbottenspets (which is also known as the Nordic Spitz and the Norrbottenspitz) help to save lives as search and rescue dogs, and help to enrich people’s lives as pets.

Northern Inuit Dog

A relatively new breed in the dog world, this wolf-inspired dog made its debut in the UK in the 1980s. 

Their striking looks– which are a combination of a number of breeds, including Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd, Samoyed and Siberian Husky– captured the attention of television viewers when several Northern Inuit dogs starred as dire wolves in Game of Thrones.  

Norwegian Buhund

Also known as the Norsk Buhund and the Norwegian Sheepdog, this ancient breed once sailed the high seas alongside the Vikings. 

An intelligent Spitz-type canine, today the Buhund is often employed as a farm dog or watch dog.  

Norwegian Elkhound

Originating in ancient times from The Land of the Midnight Sun, this breed holds the title as the National Dog of Norway.

Also known as the Gray Norwegian Elkhound, the Norwegian Moose Dog and the Small Gray Elk Dog, the ancestors of this hunting dog is believed to have roamed along the fjords as long ago as 5000 BC.

Norwegian Lundehund

Also called the Norwegian Puffin Dog after the seabirds they hunted, this Spitz-type canine can climb along cliffs due to being polydactyl, with six toes on each foot. 

 A breed that has narrowly escaped extinction on several occasions since the turn of the 20th century, today there are an estimated 1,400 Norwegian Lundehund.

Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier has been deemed Best in Show twice in the history of the Westminster dog show.  In 1994 Chidley Wilum The Conqueror lived up to his name by nabbing the top dog title, and Fairwood Frolic followed closely behind, winning the award in 1998. However, the breed began winning the hearts of dog lovers as early as the late 19th century when the dog who would go on to become the “official breed of England” made its debut.

Originally bred to help hunters and keep rats at bay, the breed’s first claim to fame came when Cambridge students began keeping the compact cuties in their dorm rooms, prompting Cambridge to dub the dog the university’s mascot.    

If you find yourself confused between the Norwich Terrier and the Norfolk Terrier, you are not alone…even the American Kennel Club did not officially distinguish between the two until 1979. The Norwich Terrier can be identified by their pricked ears, while the Norfolk Terrier’s ears drop.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

A breed with a bevy of names, including the Tolling Retriever, the Little River Duck Dog, the Little Red Duck Dog and Yarmouth Toller, this hunting dog’s official moniker pays homage to the Canadian province where it originated in the 19th century.  

The smallest of the retrievers, the Toller is as smart as a fox, mimicking the animal’s movements to attract the attention of waterfowl, whose interest draws them even closer to the dog’s human hunting companion.  

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