The Fan Hitch Volume 2, Number 1  November 1999

Table of Contents

Editorial:  Looking to the Year 2000
Report: The North Baffin Quest
Project: Impress Your Dog
Behavioral Notebook: Tiri's Magic Carpet
ISD News from Norway
Feeding Tips
In My Humble Opinion: Cause and Effect
Janice Howls: The Spitz Group
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Jim Ryder
Hudson's Bay Adventure
Book Review: Running North

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

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Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

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The Fan Hitch
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The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0;
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791,

Seasonal end of the Ingraham Trail, Yellowknife, NWT, late April 1999 © Hamilton photo

IMHO: Cause & Effect
by Mark Hamilton

We deal with this subject all our lives. Now, I don’t know about you but it seems to me, at this point in my life I should have gotten a lot better at dealing with it. Truth is though, I'm pleased with myself if I just manage to recognize the situations as they arise. Oh sure, sometimes these events are easy to spot, i.e. don't water your house plants, watch them die or never look at your gas gauge, run out of gas.....  a lot. 

Other times it's not so clear cut. At times we act like we're have a cause and effect situation when in fact we don't know. A few of years ago it became almost fashionable to change your dog food based on whether it contained ethoxiquine or not. A vocal few offered up anecdotal information about poor coats and "breeding" problems. Eventually, most of the affected dog food manufacturers were compelled to make changes in their formulation and processes that eliminated their use of the chemical and their need to list it in the table of contents. Believers felt vindicated. To this day I'm unaware of any scientific research that implicates the chemical in any canine health problem. 

This gets me to ISDI's database, registry if you must, of purebred Inuit Sled Dogs. Does this put us in "competition" with the all breed kennel clubs? Does this encourage the mixing of Greenlandic and Canadian bloodlines? Must it lead to the demise of the pure bred dogs? 

As to the issue of competition with all breed kennel clubs, I don"t see how it is be possible. The dogs we are actively seeking to put in the ISDI database are pure bred animals that are not now registered with any all breed club. Once these animals are in the database, the fact of their existence is available to all others in the network. Increasingly this is information that was previously unavailable to most of us. The result is increased possibilities for owners seeking to expand the diversity of their gene pool while maintaining pure bred dogs. 

Does the database encourage owners to mix Greenlandic and Canadian bloodlines? No, because the information is neutral. While it may facilitate the behavior of those seeking to mix these two major bloodlines, for those who desire to keep strictly within one bloodline, it facilitates their behavior as well. The net result is that each dog owner makes his/her own decisions on their behavior, just like real life. 

The answers to the first two questions provides us with the answer to the third question, the one about leading to the demise of pure bred dogs. No, of course it doesn't. The ISDI database is nothing but information, information centralized so that it can function as a tool for all ISDI participants. The database may ultimately even serve those people involved with all breed clubs. If they needed to, and successfully petitioned their all bred club(s) to open their registry to allow for additional dogs or to diversify their gene pools, the dogs identified in the ISDI database could be a prime resource for them. 

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