Defining the Inuit Dog
Canis familiaris borealis

by Sue Hamilton
© December 2011, The Fan Hitch, all rights reserved
revised: January 2014

I. Introduction
A. The Inuit Dog’s place in the natural world
B. The Inuit Dog is not a wolf!
C. Dangerous confusion

A. The Name Controversy
B. Defining 'Purity'
C. Mistaken Identity: Promoting a breed vs. avoiding
D. The Belyaev Experiment
E. Summary

A.  Ancient history
B. Recent history: The Inuit Dog in service to nations          
1. Exploration
2. War
3. Sovereignty
C. Population decline
A. In the North
B. Below the tree line

A. Inherited diseases
B. Disease prevention and access to veterinary services

A. Appearance
B. Behavior
C. Performance
D. The big picture

VII. The Inuit Dog in Scientific Research, Films and in

VIII. Acknowledgements

Appendix 1: Partial list of scientific publications about the
                     Inuit Dog

Appendix 2: Selected (alphabetical) list of other resources
                     with a focus on Inuit Dogs

Appendix 3: A small sampling of other resources of

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Defining the Inuit Dog

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

About The Fan Hitch

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or

This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.

                                     Photo: Nadine Gerth
                    reproduced with permission of
                        The Company of Biologists

Appendix 1: Partial list of scientific publications about the Inuit Dog

The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History
Ian Kenneth MacRury, 1991; published by the Inuit Sled Dog International, US Division

A bibliography of scientific papers about the Inuit Dog taken from references in Ken MacRury’s masters thesis can be found here.

Originally appearing in the British Antarctic Survey Bulletins as well as Polar Record many of these papers (some of which are listed in the MacRury masters thesis), have appeared in The Fan Hitch:

Veterinary Studies on the British Antarctic Survey's Sledge Dogs: 
I. Survey of Diseases and Accidents
A.R.M. Bellars, British Antarctic Survey Bulletin, Number 21, 1969

Veterinary Studies on the British Antarctic Survey's Sledge Dogs: 
II. Occupational Osteoarthritis
A.R.M. Bellars and M. F. Godsal
British Antarctic Survey Bulletin, Number 22, 1969, pp. 15-38

Ancient DNA evidence for genetic continuity in arctic dogs

Sarah K. Brown et. al.

Pre-Columbian origins for Native  American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis
Peter Savolainen et. al.

The Physiology Of Sledge Dogs

Polar Record 8 (55): 317-321, January 1957 

The Breeding and Maintenance of Sledge Dogs: Part I
The Polar Record, Vol. 8, No. 56. (1957)

The Breeding and Maintenance of Sledge Dogs: Part II

by R. J. F. TAYLOR
The Polar Record, Vol. 8, No. 56 (1957).

Further Experiments on the nutrition of sledge dogs

H. T. Wyatt (British Journal of Nutrition (1963), 17, 273)
Avl ved slaedepatruljen SIRIUS
Tobias Daugaard-Petersen, Daniel Haraldsson; Institut for Basal Husdyr- og Veterinarvidnskab Det Biovidenskabelige (LIFE); Kobenhavns Universitet;  September 2009

Control Of Disease In Dogs in the Canadian North
L. P. E. Choquettet and W. A. Moynihani; Can. Vet. Jour., vol. 5, no. 10, October, 1964

Population Genetic Analyses of the Greenland dog and Canadian Inuit Dog
Hanne Friis; Veterinary Master Thesis, Hanne Friis Andersen V8650; May 2005

Hunde im Hochgebirge: Wie bleiben sie gesund?
Tony Glaus, Hunde, 5/2005

Muscle plasticity of Inuit sled dogs in Greenland
Nadine Gerth, Steffen Sum, Sue Jackson and J. Matthias Starck; The Journal of Experimental Biology 212, 1131-1139, 2009

Impairment of Cellular Immunity in West Greenland Sledge Dogs (Canis familiaris) Dietary Exposed to Polluted Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Blubber
C. Sonne, R. Dietz, H.J.S. Larsen, K.E. Loft, M. Kirkegaard, R.J. Letcher, S. Shahmiri, P. Moller; Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 2056-2062

Non-invasive measurement of the cardiovascular effects of chronic hypoxaemia on dogs living at moderately high altitude
T. M. Glaus DipACVIM, DipECVIM-CA, K. Hauser , M. Hässig MPH, C. E. Reusch DipECVIM-CA, and B. Lipp; The Veterinary Record, Vol 152, Issue 26, 800-803
Copyright © 2003 by British Veterinary Association

Possible evidence of domestic dog in a Paleoeskimo context
Arnold, C.D.; Arctic, v. 32, no. 3, Sept. 1979, p. 263-265, figure 
ASTIS record 2810 (citation only)

Using multiple markers to elucidate the ancient, historical and modernArctic dog breeds
S K Brown, C M Darwent, E J Wictum and B N Sacks. 2015. Heredity 24 June 2015; doi: 10.1038/hdy.2015.49