K did some googling, basically, I was right. They are a very old breed, isolated from other northern breeds, so were very pure for a long time. They are quite rare now, but there are breeders dedicated to making the breed a heritage dog of Labrador, and hopefully, in time the breed will prosper. Something I found quite interesting. they were commonly allowed to inter breed with Wolves, and carry some wolf-like characteristics.
My curiosity has been piqued, and now must know more!