Difference Between Canadian and Greenland Dogs?

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Difference Between Canadian and Greenland Dogs?

According to science there is not much difference between the traditional dogs from Canada and Greenland: http://homepage.mac.com/puggiq/V7N1/V7,N1Research.html

However in my totally laymen observations of old photographs, the dogs in Canada always seem bigger and stronger. I wander if there is something amiss?


Inuit Dog or Eskimo Dog? It's more than a fight over the name.
One of the more popular documentaries at last year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was called "The Last Dogs of Winter". It has since generated q good amount of feedback on the Internet. The film tells the story of a man in Churchill who keeps a large number of what he calls Eskimo Dogs, saying he's on a mission to save the race. He's a passionate character but particular in his ways, and totally dismissive of anyone else who keeps and uses Inuit dogs, including the Inuit of Canada, Greenland and Alaska. He's poorly informed, not even interested, in the
revival of the dog culture in Arctic Canada, and he appears to know nothing of the way Inuit in Greenland have protected the breed and continue to use the dogs for their sustenance. I've been struck by the interest in the film from people (in southern Canada) who know nothing of the Arctic or these particular dogs; they're just fascinated by what they see in the film, particularly the scenes where dogs play and otherwise interact with the polar bears that are hanging around Churchill waiting for the freeze-up. Looking at this response, I wonder: How can people in Nunavik and Nunavut take advantage of the revival of the dog culture to send a positive message to the outside world? The local response to the Nunavut Quest television series (still running on APTN; the Inuktitut version comes in the fall) has been so strong. It makes people proud. Pride is a source of energy and action. What can we do with all of this?

Pikatiq's picture
Negative and positive images

I contacted this film’s maker before it was finished to tell him he was making a HUGE mistake! At that point he either had too much financially invested in his project or he was seduced, just like National Geographic was, by the prospect of making big money humping those images of polar bears “playing” with dogs. Almost everyone is so enamored by those scenes. I’m sure they prefer this “Disney truth” to the real truth which includes a bear feasting on 20 of those dogs in one sitting! Dogs are kept in harm’s way so as to entertain paying photographers. And I could not even sell copies of Ken MacRury’s masters thesis: The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History to the Arctic Trading Post unless this copyrighted document was re-written to substitute the word “Eskimo” everywhere the word “Inuit” appeared! Trying to change the minds of people who want to preserve a fantasy like what was depicted in that horrible documentary is a waste of time, energy and resources.

“How can people in Nunavik and Nunavut take advantage of the revival of the dog culture to send a positive message to the outside world?” This is a difficult question to answer. But you are right when you say “the people in Nunavik and Nunavut” because only the people living in the North who are trying so hard to keep alive Inuit Dog culture are the ones who can really make change! I believe they have to go beyond their own immediate dog-related activities to affect a future for the dogs and a positive image to the outside world and, believe me, the outside world, or at least part of it, IS watching. Inuit Dogs in today’s Arctic are not working every day like the Inuit Dogs of the mid-20th century and before. Which Inuit today can afford to live the nomadic hunting lifestyle as part of the natural world? But it is important to learn and document from Elders who lived that life (and there are few of them still alive) what the dogs and their usefulness were like. The nunavutquest.com Knowledge Base is an invaluable asset in that regard and I hope it will continue to grow. And it has to be understood that while the Nunavut Quest dog team race does much to celebrate tradition, it cannot be relied on entirely as the sole means supporting the return of the “pure Inuit Husky”. But what will help with the positive image to the outside world is for the Nunavut Quest to adopt some rules that will make its running as similar to the style of travel and the historical dogs as possible. On the other end of the evolutionary scale, I believe that veterinary over site of the race is a modern adaptation that is essential, just as is year ‘round access to regional veterinary care. Dog team owners must embrace this new technology. I hope that convincing these men and women of the advantages of veterinary care is easier than trying to convince people who are ga-ga over polar bears and dogs “playing” that it is really a dangerous fantasy.

Just keeping dogs, even without using veterinary services, is expensive for today’s dog team owners. I am at a loss as how to address this. But it would seem that during the running of Nunavik’s Ivakkak and Nunavut’s Quest, the dog team owners should forge some kind of organization or alliance of their own to brainstorm ways of ensuring that the dog team tradition continues in a way that makes the outside world ever eager to know more and even go north for the ride of their lifetime!

charlotte dewolff
Nunavut Quest Race, changes to the Race

We are hearing that following the 2012 Nunavut Quest Race, the mushers and organizing committee discussed the possibility of proceeding with organizing a "race" that will resemble more the mode of Inuit traditional usage of their dogs - hunting, or pulling heavy loads while moving camp. We'll try to provide more details as these plans are finalized!

Difference between Canadian and Greenland dogs

They have the same DNA according to the studies the Inuit Sled Dog International participated in, the differences which can be observed on the size are due to nutrition. Canadian dogs are fed mostly on seal and cariboo whereas Greenland dogs are fed mostly on shark and fish. The differences are really small. The Greenland dogs are a little leaner and a little taller but not by much. The Canadian dogs are more compact.