Canadian Eskimo Dog

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a breed of working sled dog native to the far north of Canada.  This ancient breed is famous for its ability to survive and work in some of the most difficult and challenging environments on the planet.  Quite numerous as late as the 1950’s, the breed is now thought to be one of the rarest dog breeds in the world, and on the very brink of total extinction.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a very close relative of the Greenland Dog, though the latter breed is considered to be less pure.  Despite the similarities in names, the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the American Eskimo Dog are not closely related, nor are they especially similar.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is also known as the Gronlandshund, Eskimo Dog, Eskimo Husky, Esquimaux Dog, Esquimaux Husky, Canadian Inuit Dog, Inuit Dog, Inuit Husky, Inuit Sled Dog, Qimmit, and Qimmiq.

Breed Information

Breed Basics

Country of Origin: 
Size: 
Large 35-55 lb
X-Large 55-90 lb
LifeSpan: 
10 to 12 Years
Trainability: 
Moderate Effort Required
Energy Level: 
High Energy
Grooming: 
A Couple Times a Week
Protective Ability: 
Very Protective
Hypoallergenic Breed: 
No
Space Requirements: 
Needs Alot of Space
Compatibility With Other Pets: 
Generally Good With Other Dogs
Likely To Chase Or Injure Non-Canine Pets
May Have Issues With Other Dogs
May Injure or Kill Other Animals
Not Recommended For Homes With Small Animals
Litter Size: 
3-8 Puppies
Names: 
Gronlandshund, Eskimo Dog, Eskimo Husky, Esquimaux Dog, Esquimaux Husky, Canadian Inuit Dog, Inuit Dog, Inuit Husky, Inuit Sled Dog, Qimmit, Qimmiq

Height/Weight

Males: 
66-88 lbs, 23-27½ inches
Females: 
40-66 lbs, 19½-23½ inches

Kennel Clubs and Recognition

ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): 
CKC(Canadian Kennel Club): 
KC (The Kennel Club): 
NZKC (New Zealand Kennel Club): 
UKC (United Kennel Club): 
History: 

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a truly ancient breed, and along with the Alaskan Malamute and Carolina Dog is probably the oldest breed native to North America.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog was developed thousands of years ago by a people who did not possess a written language.  That means that very little is known for sure about its ancestry, and most of what is said is little more than conjecture and speculation.  What is clear is that this breed was developed in the most northerly parts of what is now Canada and Alaska and that it was primarily kept by the Thule People and their descendants the Inuit.  The Inuit were once known as the Esquimaux or Eskimo, which was the situation at the time that the Canadian Eskimo Dog was named.  However, those terms are now considered antiquated and somewhat offensive.

 

At one point, it was believed that dogs were domesticated several times throughout history and that the Native Americans domesticated their dogs from the North American Wolf or possibly the Red Wolf or Coyotes.  Recent genetic evidence seems to confirm that all dogs around the world are primarily descended from a very small group of individual wolves (Canis lupus) that lived somewhere in Asia, most likely India, Tibet, the Middle East, or China.  The dog was domesticated many thousands of years before any other species, at a time when permanent settlements did not exist.  The earliest dogs were very similar to the wolf and accompanied nomadic bands of hunter-gathers, serving as hunting aides, camp guardians, sources of food and hides, and companions.  Direct descendants of the small, short-haired, tannish brown wolves of Southern Asia, these early dogs were probably identical in appearance to the Australian Dingo and New Guinea Singing Dog.  Dogs proved to be extremely valuable to early humans and also extraordinarily adaptable.  Dogs quickly spread across the world, eventually coming to reside everywhere that humans did with the exceptions of a few remote islands.  Some dogs spread north to what is now Siberia, where they encountered a climate very different than that of India and Tibet.  The freezing winters of the region would quickly kill animals adapted to tropical climates.  This problem was solved by crossing the domestic dog with the larger, longer-furred, and more aggressive northern wolves.  These matings were possible because all dogs and all wolves are the same species and can freely interbreed.

 

The result of these northern wolf/domestic dog crosses was a new type of dog, known in the West as a Spitz.  Spitz-type dogs became very prevalent in East Asia and Siberia and have remained the most common dogs in the region right down to the present day.  The Spitzen became masters of survival in the coldest climates found on earth, armed with long, thick hair, keen senses, and excellent instincts.  Spitzen proved absolutely essential to life in the far north, helping their masters find food, defend against predators, and travel across vast stretches of ice and snow.  Spitzen became so essential that it is widely believed that human survival in most of the arctic would have been impossible without them prior to the 20th Century.  During the time that Spitzen were first developed, the earth was much colder.  Massive amounts of water were trapped in the polar ice caps, meaning that coastlines were drastically different than they are in modern times.  At various points, the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia was much smaller than it is today, and for long periods was entirely absent leaving Asia and North America connected.  Although there is a massive amount of dispute when, sometime between 7,000 and 25,000 years ago a number of Siberian hunter-gatherers migrated from Asia to North America using either their feet or primitive canoes.  These mysterious colonists were accompanied by their dogs, which were certainly Spitzen.

 

Archaeological and historical evidence is very hard to come by in the Alaskan and Canadian arctic, so it is impossible to say much about the early history of the region or its dogs.  The evidence that has been compiled suggests that a people known as the Dorset inhabited the region until about 1000 A.D.  Not much is known about the Dorset, but they were apparently quite different from the modern day Inuit.  Sometime before 1000 A.D., a new culture known as the Thule appeared in what is now coastal Alaska.  The Thule way of life proved to be immensely successful for the region.  The Thule people quickly migrated across Canada and Greenland, almost entirely replacing the Dorset in the process.  The Thule people used sled dogs to travel and transport their goods across the vast expanses of snow and ice.  It is unclear how the Thule developed this technology and the dogs used to do it.  The technology and/or dogs could have been developed by the Thule themselves, acquired from other Native American peoples, or introduced from Siberia.  No matter how they were developed, the dogs of the Thule became the direct ancestors of the modern day Greenland and Canadian Eskimo Dogs.  Because of the near total lack of evidence, it is impossible to say exactly when the Canadian Eskimo Dog was first developed.  Some claim that the breed is essentially unchanged from the first Spitzen, which would place the breed’s origin sometime between 14,000 and 35,000 years ago, while others claim that it was first developed by the Thule around 1,000 years ago.  Virtually every date in between the two extremes is possible and has been claimed, however.

 

Whenever the Canadian Eskimo Dog was developed, it became a necessary feature of Inuit life.  The Qimmiq, as the Inuit called the breed was not considered to be a member of the animal kingdom, but rather as a unique tool and possession of man.  This breed was necessary to the Inuit, who probably would not have been able to survive the harsh landscape without it.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog’s primary purpose was to pull sleds.  These sleds carried the Inuit and all their possessions from one place to another and were the only means of transport other than walking.  Dog sleds allowed the Inuit to travel longer distances faster, as well as enabling them to reach places that they would not have been able to otherwise.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog also acted as a camp guardian, alerting the Inuit to the approach of predators such as polar bears and wolves.  Some tribes used the Canadian Eskimo Dog to help them hunt.  The dogs were used both to track and attack creatures such as seals and polar bears, which the breed is said to have an instinctive hatred for.  Most who have worked with the breed note that it is extraordinarily aggressive towards polar bears and seems to actually enjoy hunting them.  The Canadian Eskimo Dogs consumed the same diet as their Inuit masters, a diet comprised almost entirely of meat.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog remained considerably more wolf-like that most modern breeds.  Part of this is because the wolf is so well-adapted to life in the Arctic that few changes were necessary to its form.  Another reason is that only the strongest and fiercest breed members were capable of surviving the environmental pressures, which usually meant the most wolf-like ones.  Many claim that the breed’s appearance is the result of recent and repeated crosses to the wolf.  Recent genetic evidence has suggested that this breed is not closely related to the wolf, and has probably not been extensively crossed with it (although such crosses have almost certainly happened throughout history).  Behavioral studies of the interaction between the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the wolf also suggest that such crosses are very unlikely.  Canadian Eskimo Dogs and wolves seem to have a very strong mutual dislike for each other.  Wolves that come upon tied Canadian Eskimo Dogs regularly kill them and leave the bodies uneaten, and Canadian Eskimo Dogs seem genuinely terrified whenever a wolf is present.

 

Because of the breed’s endurance, speed, and strength, as well as its incredible ability to survive the coldest climates on earth, the Canadian Eskimo Dog was a very popular choice with Arctic and Antarctic explorers.  This breed has made multiple trips to both poles, and was especially favored by American, Canadian, and British explorers who had easy access to the breed.  Unlike other sled dog breeds that became popular pets after the fame earned by accompanying polar explorers, the Canadian Eskimo Dog was never popularized with the general public.  These expeditions did at least introduce the breed to the outside world and by the end of the 1920’s both the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) had granted full recognition to the breed.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog remained very important to Inuit life long after Canada’s settlement by Europeans.  Until the 1950’s, the breed was essentially the only means of transportation over much of the Canadian Arctic.  The breed was quite numerous until the early 1950’s; with most population estimates claiming that at least 20,000 of these dogs were alive and working.  However, change eventually came to the region.  The introduction of the snowmobile completely changed life in the region.  Travel was now faster and easier than ever before.  The Canadian Arctic was opened up to the outside world in a manner that had never been seen before.  Change did come at a cost, as the sled dog was now largely obsolete.  Fewer and fewer Inuit kept the breed that had been a part of their lives for untold centuries.  The ease of transportation also enabled other Canadians to enter the region easily.  Many of these newcomers brought dogs from other regions along with them.  Many of these dogs interbred with the Canadian Eskimo Dogs, destroying their purity.  Of greater concern were the canine diseases such as distemper, parvo virus, and rabies that many of these dogs carried.  The Canadian Eskimo Dogs had been almost entirely isolated from other breeds for centuries and had no natural immunity.  Many perished as a result of exposure to canine disease.  All agree that these two causes made the Canadian Eskimo Dog increasingly scarce.  By 1959, the AKC had already ceased recognizing the breed due to lack of interest, and very few animals were ever registered with the CKC.

 

For the past sixty years, there has been a great dispute as to how involved the Canadian Government was in the disappearance of the Canadian Eskimo Dog.  Many Inuit and Inuit activist groups claim that the Canadian Government actively sought to exterminate the Canadian Eskimo Dog.  These groups claim that the breed was deliberately hunted down and killed by the Canadian Government (specifically the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) in an attempt to disrupt the traditional Inuit lifestyle and to force them to enter mainstream Canadian society.  Although all parties agree that the snowmobile and disease were also involved in the breed’s decline, those that support these theories believed that the Government was primarily responsible.  The Canadian Government has largely denied these claims, and they have not yet achieved mainstream acceptance.  The debate was the centerpiece of the 2010 Canadian film Qimmit: The Clash of Two Truths.

 

No matter the cause, the Canadian Eskimo Dog rapidly approached extinction by the 1970’s.  By 1963, there was only one registered breed member with the CKC, and after that specimen passed no others were registered.  By 1970, it was estimated that fewer than 200 pureblooded Canadian Eskimo Dogs remained, and only in the remotest regions.  This total does not include the several thousand mixed breed dogs that probably had a large amount of Canadian Eskimo Dog ancestry, including a large percentage of Alaskan Huskies.  It was feared that the breed would entire disappear as a purebred.  In 1972, the Canadian Eskimo Dog’s future extinction was put on pause by John McGrath and William Carpenter.  The two men worked with the Canadian Government and the CKC to found the Canadian Eskimo Dog Research Foundation (CEDRF).  The CEDRF’s goal was to collect the last surviving pureblooded Canadian Eskimo Dogs and establish a breeding kennel.  Dogs that were considered purebred were collected from across the Canadian Arctic and brought to the CEDRF’s kennel in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.  Most of the dogs used came from the Boothia Peninsula, Melville Peninsula, and parts of Baffin Island.  The CEDRF began breeding and registering the dog for the first time in over a decade.

 

At around the same time that the CEDRF was beginning its work, a dog breeder and musher named Brian Ladoon also began working to save the breed.  He had been given the task of saving the breed by Bishop Robideaux, giving up his previous work with Huskies and Malamutes.  Brian Ladoon acquired his own dogs from across the region and founded the Canadian Eskimo Dog Foundation (CEDF).  For more than 40 years Brian Ladoon has continued to preserve the breed, work that was the subject of the documentary The Last Dogs of Winter.

 

By the late 1980’s the Canadian Eskimo Dog had once against achieved sufficient pedigree status to be granted full recognition with the CKC.  In 1986, the first breed members were registered with the CKC in more than 20 years.  A small number of other breeders have begun to work with the Canadian Eskimo Dog, a group that later founded the Canadian Eskimo Dog Club (CEDC).  Despite decades of work by the breed’s devoted fanciers, the Canadian Eskimo Dog has remained incredibly rare, especially as a purebred animal.  At last count, there were only 279 registered breed members with the CKC.  Recent years have seen increased interest in the breed as a tourist attraction.  The possibility of riding in a dog sled is a major factor in the region’s growing tourism industry, and the Canadian Eskimo Dog provides the most authentic possible experience.  The breed has also been commemorated with a stamp in 1988 and a fifty-cent piece in 1997.  In 1996, the Canadian Eskimo Dog attracted the attention of the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the United States, which granted the breed full recognition as a member of the Northern Breed Group in that year.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is very closely related to the Greenland Dog, and certainly descends from the same ancestors.  Some experts claim that there is no basis for separating the two breeds and treat them as one.  However, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is generally considered to be of purer blood that the Greenland Dog, meaning that it has been less impacted by foreign breeds.  In any case, the registries of the two dogs have been kept separate for at least 90 years, considerably longer than many other better known breeds.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is often confused with the American Eskimo Dogs.  Although the two breeds have similar names and are both types of Spitzen, they are not closely related or even very similar.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a medium-to-large working sled dog that is bred for athleticism and physical ability.  The breed exhibits also exhibits great variation in coat coloration.  Perhaps most importantly, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is the descendant of Native American dogs.  Conversely, the American Eskimo Dog is small medium size companion dog that is primarily bred for temperament and appearance conformation.  This breed is essentially only found in pure white, cream, and biscuit.  The American Eskimo Dog has not actual connection to the Eskimo people and their dogs, and is entirely of German origin.  Originally known as the German Spitz, the breed was renamed the American Eskimo Dog in the 1940’s as a result of anti-German sentiment in World War II.

 

The Last Dogs of Winter and Qimmit: The Clash of Two Truths did noticeably increase the visibility of the Canadian Eskimo Dog and its plight in Canada and around the world.  However, the breed did not experience nearly as large of a jump as other breeds which have starred in the movies.  The CEDRF, CEDF, and CEDC are continuously working to increase the breed’s popularity and numbers.  Virtually every possible opportunity is taken to promote the breed such as dog shows, sled dog races, and local fairs and exhibitions.  There is a great sense of urgency to do so because of the breed’s extremely precarious position.  The dog’s population is so low that a single epidemic at one kennel could wipe out between 1/5 and 1/3 of the breed’s entire population.  Luckily, the CKC and the breed’s fanciers have made the breed’s continuing survival a matter of great importance, but unless more owners and breeders become interested the breed is still at a high risk of extinction.  Increasing the breed’s popularity is somewhat challenging as these dogs have a very limited pool of potential owners.  Breed members essentially must be kept as working sled dogs and they adapt extraordinarily poorly to life as companion animals.  Although the breed is somewhat stable at the moment, its future is highly at risk.

 

Appearance: 

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is very similar in appearance to other sled dog breeds, especially the Greenland Dog.  This breed retains perhaps the most natural and wolf-like appearance of any domestic dog breed, and is one of the most primitive-looking of all dogs.  Much like the wolf, the Canadian Eskimo Dog exhibits a very high degree of sexual dimorphism, meaning that the males and females look substantially different.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is medium to large in size, although it should never be massive.  Like most sled dogs, the Canadian Eskimo Dog exhibits a significantly greater size difference between the sexes than is found in most breeds.  Most males stand between 23 and 27 ½ inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 66 and 88 pounds.  The smaller females typically stand between 19 ½ and 23½ inches tall at the shoulder and weight between 40 and 66 pounds.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is usually squarely proportioned, although some breed members are somewhat longer from chest to rump than they are tall from floor to shoulder.  Most of this breed’s body is disguised by its long and incredibly dense coat.  Underneath is an incredibly athletically built breed that is among the most muscular in the canine world.  This breed is very sturdily constructed but would never be described as thick or stocky.  Females are usually considerably less strongly built than males, although they are also powerful athletes.  The tail of the Canadian Eskimo Dog is large and bushy.  Most breed members carry their tails either upright or curled over their backs.  Some females and an occasional male will also carry their tails low.  One of the breed’s defining characteristics is its feet.  The feet are very large, allowing them to act like snow shoes, and entirely covered in fur (even the bottoms), providing protection from the cold.

 

The head and face of the Canadian Eskimo Dog are very wolf-like, but with a more elevated forehead.  Females, especially immature females, usually have significantly narrower faces than the males.  The skull is massive but well proportioned, being of both significant length and width.  The muzzle and head are not entirely distinct from each other, and combine to form a blunt wedge.  The muzzle itself is of moderate length and significantly tapers towards the end.  The jaws are both quite wide and immensely powerful.  The lips are either black or brown and pink.  The nose of the Canadian Eskimo ranges in color from light brown to black depending on the dog’s coat coloration.  Sometimes butterfly noses are seen in the breed.  The ears of the Canadian Eskimo Dog are short, thick, and slightly rounded.  These ears stand straight erect, although they are incredibly expressive like those of the wolf.  The eyes of this breed are small, spaced far apart, and set obliquely.  The eyes are usually dark brown, but hazel and light brown are also acceptable.  Blue eyes like those of the Siberian Husky are sometimes seen but are considered a disqualification in the show ring.  The overall expression of the Canadian Eskimo Dog is wild, untamed, and cunning.

 

The coat of the Canadian Eskimo Dog is perhaps the breed’s most important feature, and is the reason that the breed is able to survive in some of the coldest climates on earth.  According to the UKC standard, The coat is thick and dense, with a harsh, stiff outer coat that varies in length from 3 to 6 inches. Males grow a mane over the neck and shoulders which makes them appear taller than they actually are. Females usually have a shorter coat overall. The undercoat is very dense. The coat is subject to an annual molt, usually in August or September.”  In winter, the coat grows to completely cover the feet, even the bottoms.  The tail of this breed is also generally very thickly coated with somewhat longer hair than what is found over most of the body.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has been bred almost entirely for function, and most breeders completely ignored coloration and coat pattern.  As a result this breed exhibits immense coat variety.  The following colors and patterns are considered acceptable: 

  • Solid white.
  • White with colored markings.  The markings may either be red, buff, cinnamon, grey, or black.  These markings may be found exclusively on the ears, on the eyes, or in small patches over the body or some combination of the three.
  • Parti-color.  White and another color appear over the body in a roughly 50-50 split.  The accepted colors are red, buff, cinnamon, grey, and black.
  • Red, buff, or cinnamon with white markings on the chest, belly, and/or legs.
  • Sable, black or dark grey with white markings on chest, belly, legs, and/or collar.
  • Silver grey or grayish white.
  • Buff or brown with black guard hairs.

Dogs with heads that are mostly colored heads often have a white shaded mask over the muzzle and/or eyes, and also frequently have white spots over the eyes. Occasionally tri-color markings appear on the faces of otherwise two colored dogs.

 

Occasionally a Canadian Eskimo Dog is born with an alternate coloration such as solid black or solid brown.  Such dogs are disqualified in the show ring and should not be bred but otherwise make just as acceptable working dogs and companions as any other breed members.

 

Temperament: 

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has a very primitive temperament that is largely unchanged from those of the earliest breeds.  This dog is said to be among the most wolf-like of all domestic dogs, and also one of the fiercest survivors.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a very driven worker, a dedicated guardian, and a talented hunter.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog forms an intensely close bond to its master, to whom the dog is extremely devoted.  There are numerous accounts of this breed sacrificing its life in defense of its family and other acts of heroism.  This is a dog that has a very strong tendency to become a one-person dog, and many breed members do not welcome the attentions of anyone other than their master.  Breed members raised in a family setting will usually form bonds with all family members, but still have a tendency to strongly favor a single individual.  Although intensely devoted, this breed is usually not particularly affectionate.  Most breed members are quite aloof and these dogs are rarely face lickers or cuddlers.  Canadian Eskimo Dogs that have been raised with children are usually fine around those specific children.  Breed members that have not been properly trained and socialized with children often react to them as either a potential threat or a potential prey item to be chased.  This breed tends to be extraordinarily dominant and requires an experienced owner, ideally one with sled dog experience.

 

This breed has served as a camp guardian for centuries, and probably millennia.  As a result, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is naturally very suspicious of strangers.  Socialization is absolutely necessary for Canadian Eskimo Dogs to prevent their natural suspicion from becoming aggression or fear.  Breed members that have been properly socialized are usually tolerant of strangers, but most are only begrudgingly so.  This breed is not only highly protective but constantly on high alert, making it an excellent watchdog whose loud threats will intimidate most potential intruders.  Although this is not an exceptionally aggressive breed, Canadian Eskimo Dogs makes very dedicated guard dogs that will not allow a stranger to enter their territory unchallenged.  Although this breed probably could not be successfully trained for personal protection work, they will absolutely not tolerate harm coming to a member of their pack.

 

In the Arctic, the Canadian Eskimo Dog and its human masters essentially saw all other species as a potential threat or a potential meal.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog was extensively used to hunt virtually all species found in the region, and most dogs were required to provide a substantial portion of their food.  As a result this breed tends to be extremely aggressive towards non-canine animals, and will chase, attack, and potentially kill any that it comes across.  Training and socialization can help reduce problems, but many of these dogs are never trustworthy around other species.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog was bred to work in a tightly knit pack.  This breed truly craves the company of other dogs, and does much better in a large group.  However, these dogs also exhibit high levels of dog aggression.  Dominance struggles were commonplace, as were fights over the very limited food resources.  Sometimes these struggles would lead to an entire pack turning on one of its members, often killing the ostracized animal.  This breed also often is highly aggressive towards strange dogs, especially the males.

 

Like most sled dogs, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is very challenging to train.  These dogs are usually not interested in pleasing their owner, and many show very little interest in training.  Some breed members simply ignore training, while others seem to be openly defiant.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog also seems to be considerably less responsive to commands than many other breeds.  This breed’s trainability is greatly impacted by its master’s dominance.  This is not a dog that will accept the commands of someone it considers below itself in the pack hierarchy, and owners that are unable to maintain a constant position of dominance will probably not be able to maintain control.  This does not mean that the Canadian Eskimo Dog is untrainable or unintelligent (the breed is actually thought to be highly intelligent), but it does mean that training one of these dogs will take a substantially longer amount of time a significantly greater amount of effort than is the case with most breeds.  The end-training result is often also not what would be desired.  In particular, this breed often completely ignores calls to return and should always be kept on a leash outside of safely enclosed areas.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog can pull a sled more than 70 miles a day over perhaps the most challenging terrain on earth and then wake up again the next day and do it all over again.  This breed consequently has an extreme exercise requirement.  These dogs require at least an hour or two of intensely vigorous activity every day, and would ideally receive several more.  A long walk will simply not be enough for this breed, which truly wants to run.  This breed especially loves exercising in the snow and makes an excellent skijoring, sledding, and carting companion.  Most families could simply never hope to meet this breeds intense needs, and this breed does much better as a working dog than a companion animal.  Unless provided the proper amount of exercise, this breed will absolutely develop behavioral problems and almost certainly severe ones.  This dog can and will destroy all the furniture in a home, bark and howl non-stop for hours, become extremely hyper active and overly excitable, and develop nervousness and aggression issues.  Because of the breed’s very high activity requirements, it would be essentially impossible to keep one in an urban environment, and the Canadian Eskimo Dog does best when provided a very large yard.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is very driven to wander and explore.  This breed is an infamous escape artist, and once gone will rarely return.  This dog could easily cover 20 or 30 miles in a matter of hours, making them very challenging to find.  In the Arctic it is assumed that any untied dogs will run away.  Any enclosure which holds a Canadian Eskimo Dog must be very secure as this breed is athletic enough to jump over most fences, smart enough to find an escape route, and powerful enough to force its way out if none are available.

 

Like most Spitzen, the Canadian Eskimo Dog tends to be extremely vocal.  This dog usually barks with great frequency and very loudly.  Many breed members have an incredibly high pitched bark that is made repeatedly in quick succession.  This breed is also famous for howling like a wolf, a howl that can be so loud and high pitched that it is nearly ear splitting.  Many breed members vocalize nearly constantly.  Training and proper exercise can greatly reduce any issues, but will far from eliminate them.

 

Grooming Requirements: 

 

This is a very low maintenance breed that should never require professional grooming.  Ideally, breed members should receive a weekly brushing for most of the year and a daily brushing when the dog is blowing its coat.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog is an extremely heavy shedder.  This is a dog that will shed a great deal all year long, covering carpets, furniture, and clothing with hair.  Twice a year when the seasons change, this breed replaces essentially its entire coat.  During this period, the breed becomes an incredibly intense shedder that essentially leaves a visible trail of hair when it walks.

 

Health Issues: 

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is considered to be a healthy breed.  Only the absolute strongest and fittest breed members can survive in the Arctic, and even mild health defects would have been quickly eliminated by natural selection.  However, the breed has an exceedingly small population and is therefore thought to be at high risk for several genetically inherited conditions.  Breeder of these dogs are currently making every attempt to keep the breed is as good health as possible.

 

This dog was bred to withstand temperature of well-below freezing.  This breed is incredibly well-adapted to life in a cold climate.  That also means that it is incredibly poorly adapted to warm climates.  This breed is very sensitive to heat.  Canadian Eskimo Dogs develop and die from heat stroke rapidly in temperatures that would be totally safe, albeit uncomfortable, for most breeds.  Owners must be very careful with this dog when the temperature rises, and their outdoor active should be carefully monitored.

 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has different dietary requirements than most breeds.  Most modern breeds are accustomed to consuming dog food that is primarily composed of grains and vegetables.  The Canadian Eskimo Dog comes from an environment that contains almost no edible plants, so the breed never developed the capability to digest them.  This breed requires a diet that is heavily based on meat.  Most owners choose to feed their dogs homemade meals, although certain high quality commercial dog foods have also proven acceptable if some meat is provided with them.

 

Although skeletal and visual problems are not thought to occur at high rates in this breed it is highly advisable for owners to have their pets tested by both the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF).  The OFA and CERF perform genetic and other tests to identify potential health defects before they show up.  This is especially valuable in the detection of conditions that do not show up until the dog has reached an advanced age, making it especially important for anyone considering breeding their dog to have them tested to prevent the spread of potential genetic conditions to its offspring.

 

Even though health studies have not been conducted on the Canadian Eskimo Dog, they have been for similar and closely related breeds.  Among the problems of greatest concern that have been discovered include:

 

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