Canadian Eskimo Dog
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is an Arctic breed of working dog, which id often considered to be one of North America’s oldest and rarest remaining purebred indigenous domestic canines. Other names for this breed are qimmiq and qimmit. This breed is threatened to extinction with an estimate of only 300 purebred dogs in the year 2008. Once used as the method of transportation, their decline was caused due to the increase in number of snowmobiles for transportation and the spread of infectious canine diseases.
Origin of the Breed
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is known to have been resident in the Arctic for at least 4,000 years. These were first bred by the Thule people, while the research shows that they have high resemblance with the Greenland dog. Having very little genetic difference, they are often treated same as the Greenland dog breed. Inuit never considered this dog as a part of the animal kingdom, but merely as a tool for human existence. It was, and still is used by the Canadian Inuit as multipurpose dogs, often put to work hunting seals and other Arctic game, and hauling supplies and people. Explorers noted that the dogs were capable of tracking a seal hole from a great distance and were occasionally used to hunt polar bears. The dogs were too enthusiastic at hunting bears but would not pursue wolves, instead would howl fearfully at their approach. Frozen dog urine was used as medicine and their fur was more prized as compared to that of the wolves due to its greater resistance to wear.
The breed is currently threatened to extinction. This breed was in demand in early 20th century for polar expeditions, and around 20,000 dogs lived in Canadian Arctic in the 1920s. However, the breed saw a great decline significantly by the 1960s. This breed was once accepted by the AKC(American Kennel Club) and CKC(Canadian Kennel Club), but in 1959 the AKC dropped the breed because of its extremely low numbers. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is currently used in sled dog teams that are used to entertain the tourists and also for commercial polar bear hunting. By law, polar bear hunting in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut must be carried by the dog teams. The reason is that the working dog can sense when a polar bear is around, whereas the sound of a snowmobile masks the presence of any polar bear.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog should always be powerfully built, athletic and imposing in appearance. It should be of powerful physique giving the impression that he is not for the speed but for the hard work. It has erect, triangular ears, and a heavily feathered tail that is carried over its back. Males should be distinctly more masculine than the females, who are finer boned, smaller and have a slightly shorter coat.
The explorers noted that these Eskimo dogs were similar to the wolves; their ears were like those of American wolves and the forelegs lacked the black mark above the wrist which was similar to the European wolves.
Coat and Colour
The coat is very thick and dense, with soft undercoat and stiff, coarse guard hair. They have a mane of thick fur around the neck in male which quite impressive and gives an illusion of additional size. This mane is smaller in females. These dogs can be found in any colour, no particular colour is defined for them. Solid white dogs are often seen, with or without patches on the head or the body. Solid silver or black coloured dogs are common as well.
The size of Canadian Eskimo Dogs depends on their sex. Males weigh 30-40 kg (66-88 lb) and stand 58-70 cm (23-28 in) at the shoulder. Females weigh 18-30 kg (40-66 lb) and stand 50-60 cm (20-24 in).
Their temperament reflects their work and environment. They are loyal, tough, brave, intelligent and alert. They are affectionate and gentle, and develop a deep bond with their owners. Many Canadian Eskimo dogs have stronger prey drive than some other breeds. Owing to their environment, they take pure delight in cold weather, often preferring to sleep outside in cold climate.
Care and Training
Canadian Eskimo Dogs need a very large amount of exercise. They cannot just be walked; they need higher intensity work, requiring more exercise than many dog owners can give. This need for work and stimulation makes them well suited for the dog sports, such as carting, mushing and skijoring. They are trainable, submissive and intelligent. They are best kept in cold climate and are prone to heatstroke.
Its coat is fairly easy to care about and require brushing only one or two times a week. Only during the time of shedding, it requires grooming every day.