This is an ancient breed of sled dog that originated in the Canadian Arctic. It is a powerful breed with an impeccable strength and stamina, built for long distance travel rather than swiftness. It became popular with Arctic explorers as a sled dog that could pull the greatest amount of loads over long distances with a minimum amount of food. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is also known by the name Qimmiq to the Inuit. This primal dog is gentle and affectionate. Its physical appearance is that of a typical spitz dog, having a broad and muscular neck, broad chest, strong and well-boned legs and powerful build built for hard, long distance work. It has a large skull, a tapered muzzle, and obliquely set, dark eyes. It has short and triangular ears with slightly rounded tips that are carried erect and facing forward. The ears are covered with dense short hair that acts as protection against snow. The body of the Canadian Eskimo Dog emphasizes a breed with a lot of power and endurance. It also has large, round feet with thick pads and hair in between the toes as added protection when running in and out of the snow. The tail is large and bushy, set moderately high and carried up or over the back. The double coat is made of thick and dense undercoat with hard and stiff guard hairs for double protection and can be almost any colour. The outer guard hairs are between 8-15 cm in length. Males sport a mane over their shoulders and neck. An adult dog is between 58-70 cm and can weigh between 30-40 kg while an adult female is around 50-60 cm in height with a typical weight of 18-30 kg.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog (or Canadian Inuit Dog) is a primitive breed and is in fact considered to be one of North America’s oldest remaining indigenous purebred. This breed came from Siberia with the Thule people some one thousand years ago. It was used by the Canadian Inuit to hunt seals, bears and other Arctic game as well as a working sled dog to pull supplies and people. It was once assumed that the Canadian Eskimo Dog was a tamed wolf-dog hybrid by explorers but genetic testing proved that this dog has no modern wolf lineage. There were an estimated 20,000 of these dogs in the Canadian Arctic during the 1920s but their numbers dwindled when the popularity of sled dogs diminished due to the introduction of snowmobiles as a means of transportation. Selective and continuous breeding programs since the 1970s have kept the breed from extinction but it still remains one of the rare breeds of dogs we have in existence today, with just an estimated 300 remaining, although the number is steadily rising. A genetic study of dogs done in 2015 revealed that the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the Greenland Dog are genetically identical.
Although it is an ancient breed, the Canadian Eskimo Dog has been a part of the everyday lives of humans for well over a thousand years. Its temperament reflects the characteristics of a true working dog – tough, courageous, intelligent, loyal, and alert. It is so tough that it can survive in extremely cold temperatures outside the house, although it will suffer in temperate climates and may suffer heat stroke. It is a brave animal and will stand guard against intruders and can be vocal at times. This intelligent dog is easily trainable and can recognize commands with just a few repetitions. It is highly affectionate and loyal that it forms a deep bond with its owner.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a powerful breed, born to pull heavy loads and will gladly go all day in harness. This intense need for work makes the Canadian Eskimo Dog excellent to train for dog sports such as canicross, bikejoring, weight pulling, rallies, treks, mushing or skijoring. In the United Kingdom, CEDs are trained to join in many events organised within forestry commission lands which gives the owner/trainer and the dog miles of trails to run. Backpacking is also a popular activity to train the CED for. The owner/trainer can train the dog to carry his own water or food and supplies during longer walks or camping trips in the wild. Dog agility is also a sport where the Canadian Eskimo Dog can excel.
The CED has a hard, wiry outer coat and a dense inner coat that helps protect the breed in extremely cold weather. Caring for the breed requires a moderate amount of time. Regular brushing will help reduce shedding and will keep the coat healthy as well as help remove matting from the undercoat. This breed only requires bathing a few times a year. If kept as a pet, dry shampoo is recommended to keep the coat smelling fresh and clean.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog has no known serious genetic disorder to date, but some health issues and diseases have been observed in some dogs. These include:
There are also other reported health concerns that affected some dogs including detatched retina, Addison’s disease, allergies, fertility problems and cancer. This hardy breed has a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.
In a true northern fashion, the Canadian Eskimo Dog loves to work and will not do well if it does not get proper and adequate physical and mental stimulation. This breed needs a very large amount of exercise time and is well-suited to an active owner who loves the outdoors. Walking will not satisfy this hard-working dog because it needs high-intensity physical workouts. It is not a dog that will live comfortably in an apartment or condominium life. A perfect home for this breed is a large house with a large yard where it can play and run all day without getting restricted.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is an affectionate and loyal breed but it is not generally suited for younger kids. It will generally do well to a home with older kids who knows how to handle a dog properly. This breed works in a pack when pulling a sled so it will go along quite well with other canines in the house.