The Fan Hitch Volume 1, Number 2, October 1998

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

From the Editor
Major Announcement

IGE Expedition News

A Chat About Breeding

Honour & Glory

Behavioral Notebook

Janice Howls
IMHO: Pets, et al

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              Editor: Sue Hamilton
              Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

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A Chat About Breeding

Geneviève Montcombroux

The Inuit sled dog pup grows quickly. By the time he reaches six months, he is almost as tall as the adults. It is very easy to forget that under all that luxuriant fur, there isn't a big mass of muscle, and it is even easier to forget that he is really just an adolescent. I was reminded of this when the female I had selected for breeding came in heat a couple of months earlier than expected. Cousteau-Angayuk, the male, was just six months. I didn't expect him to even know what to do, but I put Tekoone in his pen in the hope something would happen. They loved each other at first sight. His interest was high, and she, being a three-year-old, showed him what to do. The eager student got an A+! Then the hopeful waiting began. After all, I've lost count of the number of people whose six-month-old males accidentally bred a female. Soon, it became obvious that there would be no puppies. Cousteau- Angayuk, for all his eagerness,was not mature enough. Are males really mature at six months? Personally, I doubt it.

As for the females, many of them have been bred on their first heat, which is regretable. The Inuit sled dog's skeleton takes three years to reach full maturity, i.e. when the bones and cartilages have finished growing and hardening. To breed a female before she is at least two years old is theequivalent of a thirteen-year-old teenager being pregnant. Whelping a litter takes a lot out of a female (as it does out of a human!). When the female is still growing herself, it takes even more out of her. A lot of calcium is leeched from her bones, leaving her prone to injuries and weakness later in life. Traditionally, Inuit people bred the females dogs young. There is no data on what damage was caused later in later life.

A female should not be bred until after two years, and everyone would agree that a female should not be bred at every heat, year after year. I would be interested to hear from Inuit sled dog owners on the subject of how often females come in heat, and if anybody is using the contraceptive pill.
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