The Fan Hitch Volume 11, Number 4, September 2009

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog
In This Issue....

From the Editor 

Fan Mail

Sled Dogs in His Majesty's Service:
Clark's Eskimo Dogs in World War II

Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs:
The Broken Covenant of the Wild, Part 3

British Antarctic Survey Sledge Dog
Monument Final Report

Tusaalanga: Learning Inuktitut Online!

In the News 

Book Review: The Inuit Thought of It

Tip: Removing Mats

IMHO: The Learning Curve

Index: Volume 11, The Fan Hitch

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

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: 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:

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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.
Fan Mail....

9 weeks old and the beginning of the operatic lows
                                                                             M. Gray
Date: August 26, 2009 4:05:49 PM EDT
Subject: black and white CID

Hi Mark,
My wife, Courtney, and I have a beautiful black and white CID female, Atka, almost three years-old. I got her in Iqaluit and have had an interesting journey with her (to say the least). I noticed in the June edition of The Fan Hitch that your article has a picture of your dogs and you have a black and white one as well. I am interested in knowing how common the black coat and white "tie" in the front and white paws are in the breed? It’s a silly question but am curious. To me it is rare as of all of the pictures and dogs I have seen in Nunavut, the blacks are rare.
Needless to say, we love Atka and her amazing personality and, like you, we do not encounter any polar bears her in Alberta, but there are a few grizzlies who want nothing to do with her ability to growl and make her and our presence known in the mountains. We have been asked to breed her and decided that even though the breed needs help, we did not want to breed her as we were not at a place in our lives to do so – therefore we had her fixed. As some in the community of ISD may feel this is not fair, I am doing my part for the breed by informing many people who ask about our dog its history and how it is NOT a dog for domestic use. I have to explain that Atka is a sled dog and she is used for pulling (scooter, bike, skijoring and a small kick sled) and is in the outdoors 90% of her day. Well, I've rambled…. Just wanted to say "hi" and ask about the black and white in the dogs and if it's a rarity.
Yours Truly,
Michael Gray
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Greetings Michael,

As you know Inuit Dogs express a broad range of colors and patterns. Black and white dogs as well as white body/black or brown-headed dogs are classic coloration patterns. By our observations black and white dogs are somewhat more common than the brown or black-headed dogs. Nobody is actually recording or tabulating colors and patterns, so our observations and those of our friends are all we have to go on.

We are very happy that you have written to us and we especially want to say that for a relatively "new" ISD owner, you have much poise in choosing a path of selflessness in your decision to having your bitch spayed. We can imagine that with others encouraging you to breed Atka, it must have been a temptation for you, but we see you have made the very wise and mature choice at this point in the best interest of the breed.  Even we would not be so presumptuous to believe we could responsibly breed ISDs here in Connecticut and expect the progeny to be of the same necessary high quality that traditional keeping and use and Mother Nature's polar climate and challenges has created over the past four thousand years.

Thank you again for writing and for being a responsible ISD owner. Sue and I do look forward to hearing more about your adventures with Atka! Please keep in touch.


Canoeing with Atka has improved not only our core
 but also our canoe skills. Courtney Gray at the helm.
                                                                                M. Gray
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