The Eskimo Dog

Courtesy of Bert-Jan Elfrink

Published: Dog World (America) September 1976 from an article by Thomas M Gately

In 1974 I judged for the first time in Canada.

My assignment included all Working breeds, and listed among these is the Eskimo Dog. In my 1935 copy of AKC’s official book “Pure-Bred Dogs,” there is a picture of this breed and a standard listed as (By courtesy of The Eskimo Dog Club of America), but as AKC discontinued recognition of the breed in 1959, I thought that a new standard might have been published by Canadian authorities.

Accordingly I inquiried about this and a reply to my letter stated that it would be unnecessary for me to have a standard as there wouldn’t be any. Of the exhibitions at the Montreal shows, the most fascinating from my point of view was the one on this wonderful breed that has so closely approached the point of extinction.

Bill Carpenter had a wonderful display of this sled dog breed (including puppies), paraphernalia, equipment, literature and maps of the vast arctic area where the breed prevailed in its purity for a long time, until some of the lighter northern breeds became crossed into it. Along with a few others who had the foresight and interst to uncover and prserve this most useful member of Thule-Inuit culture, Mr Carpenter made trips into some of the remote arctic areas in order to procure pure-bred specimens as a foundation for a plan to re-establish the breed. The interview with Bill Carpenter was a most absorbing one, and one to which I would have liked to devote a great deal more time. He divulged many interesting statistics and experiences including how a seven dog team pulling 120 lbs per dog, travelled 50 to 70 miles per day over Great Slave Lake. He showed of many trips on his large size maps of the North West Territory. I felt a sense of pride in being made an honorary member of the Eskimo Dog Society of the North West Territory along with Walter Fletcher of “The New York Time”.

The Eskimo Dog Project is by no means a commercial venture. Canis familiaris borealis or Kingmik as he was known to the Inuit of Northern Canada is an indigenous breed of Canada, first recognised by the CKC at the time of its inception some 85 years ago. Operation of the project is carried on with the aid of a grant from the Canada Counsel, an agency of the Federal Government; by grants and donations from airlines, trading companies, dog food manufactures, medical and veterinary laboratories, business houses, local, national and territorial governments, Canadian Kennel Club, radio and television interests, civic institutions, many corporations and individuals.

When third and fourth generations have been developed and registered, they will be placed – in Inuit camps, settlements, or cultural societies who will continue to use Eskimo dogs, and perhaps some will be placed in the hands of top breeders .

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