The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 1, December 2003

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: What's in a Name?
Fan Mail
Breaking Away: The Liberation of Ove Nygaard
What is the ISDI and the ISD?
A Holiday Miracle
Of Sheep and Sled Dogs
News Briefs
Qamutiit and How They're Loaded
The Truth Behind the Madrid Protocol
Media Review: Globe Trekker - Iceland and Greenland
Product Review: Ryobi TrimmerPlus®
Tip for the Trail: Bitches in Season
IMHO: Super Cars and Inuit Dogs


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 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. 

PostScript is published intermittently as material becomes available. Online access is free at:  PostScript welcomes your letters, stories, comments and The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch Website and its publications  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

                                                                                       Corel photo

How I Came to be Liberated 
from Traditional Dog Club Organizations

by Ove Nygaard

It started back in the 1980s, with a wish for smaller dogs, faster dogs, more dogs and bigger kennels and teams. The old Nordic way of sledding was on its way out, and the "Nome Alaskan-style"  was coming to Norway.

Instead of using the smaller kinds of dogs and breeds we already had at that time, such as the Siberian Husky, some mushers wanted to transform the Greenland Dog into a racing dog from of the hard working breed for heavy loaded sleds it had been, and still shall be. Some breeders crossed Greenland Dogs with Siberian Huskies, but still registered them with the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKC) as purebred Greenland Dogs, as if both the sire and dam were purebred Greenland dogs.  There is some good proof that one breeder in particular signed a stud owner's name on the papers without having using that dog. That stud owner is still objecting to the fact that his dog was used only on paper, but the pups did get registered anyway.

When this happens, and when crossbred dogs are used with the breeder's own bloodlines, it's not surprising that the appearance of the resulting "Greenland dogs" have changed, including getting blue eyes.

Some years ago, a Norsk Polarhundklubb (NP) official breeding council member brought this up as a problem, and even sent it to the NKC since the leaders in NP did not want to do anything about it. The only result was that this person was fired from the position (which had been given by the NP leaders in the first place) in the breeding council. Because the member objected to the crossbreeding and changes within the breed, that individual "had to be removed". The official word from the NP leaders was that this member no longer had the necessary confidence of the leaders.

The new message from the NP leadership and the new council for the breed was that blue eyes and floppy ears were "natural and often seen in purebred Greenland Dogs in Greenland" and therefore was to be accepted by Norwegian breeders and the rest of the world.  But we, who had a wish for the breed to be kept as the original Inuit Sled Dog, would never accept that.

Denmark is the international homeland for the Greenland Dog since Greenland is a part of Denmark (under Danish sovereignty). So any changes to the breed's standard have to be done through the Danish national club, the Dansk Spidhundeklubb, accepted by the Danish Kennel Club (DKC) and then by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in Belgium. (The FCI makes sure that pedigrees and breed standards are mutually recognized by all seventy-nine FCI members.)

I brought the issue of Greenland Dog crossbreeding and changes in the breed from its origins to racing dog to Freddie Klindrup in Denmark who was the leader of the DKC at that time, and to NKC leader Eivind Mjærum. We all agreed that to avoid further development of faults and changes in character in the breed there should be a change in the international (FCI) standard addressing the problems in the section officially known as "disqualifying faults". Freddie Klindrup wrote up the changes and got them  accepted by the Dansk Spidhundeklubb, then recognized by the DKC, which were then sent to the FCI who recognized the changes in March 25, 2003. The new standard can be found on the internet at*

Because I have been standing up against those who have been mixing other breeds into Greenland Dogs, and because I strongly objected to what the leaders in NP had done to allow changes in the breed, I have been, several times over the years, subjected to trials in order to expel me from the club. Their efforts had not succeeded. This time, however, the leaders wished to suspend me for three years so they could make their smaller mixed breed so-called "Greenland dogs" in peace from my objections. This was proposed with the backing of people who the leaders desired as NP members for their support in this effort. I appealed to the NKC who understood my concern for the breed's future and could not understand why with my knowledge and experience I had not been placed on the breeding council rather than on suspension. But while NKC recognized my efforts as good and important, they nevertheless said that the internal system in NP gave those leaders right to do as they wanted anyhow, that NP had the authority to decide who they would have as members. NKC did feel that three years was too much, reducing my suspension to two years.

So despite the official change in the standard disqualifying blue eyes in Greenland dogs, NP leaders continue to allow their registration, saying that the text in the standard on that issue is wrong, and making the breed into a racing dog. Because they support this, the entire club has to go along. Because I did not, I was suspended. Not only that, many of my old personal friends - at least I believed they were - have been visited at their homes by leaders and others inside NP and were told that they view anyone who's having connection to me and my wife will not be accepted as good members of NP.

The  NKC accepts NP's sovereignty to decide what they feel is correct for the breed, and since NKC allows NPs leaders to suspend and expel members who do not accept their way of working, it means to me that they accept NP's work for making a "new kind of Greenland Dog" - and that continues with more strength now they have got me out of the club system. (Others who dare to openly protest know that NKC will accept their suspensions also.)  Because my work has always been for honoring the Greenland Dog's historical past while working for the best interest of its future, which is well shown by the successful inclusion of blue eyes as a disqualifying fault in the FCI breed standard, I have closed my membership in NKC and withdrawn my kennel name from their register which is officially recognized by the FCI as well. I have even asked for permission to remove my dogs from the NKC register, but got an answer that it cannot be done. This is too bad, because I do not want to have any relationship with organizations, which even indirectly (by agreeing to the suspension) permit the breed to be changed into a racing dog with blue eyes.

The dogs used in the Arctic and Antarctic were not racing dogs. They were bred and built to pull heavily laden sleds - and that's what the breed must be recognized for in the future.

Because of this, my official recommendation to all of you who believe the Inuit Sled Dog to be a true freighting breed is as follows: keep away from those dog clubs and organizations, and breed your dogs by their value as sled dogs true to their origins - not for money, ribbons or results at a show or a race.

*Editor's note: As of 12/16/03, the Norsk Polarhundklubb website still carried the now out of date 12/3/99 FCI (#274) standard, although they have updated their show results to as recently as 10/11/03.

Return to top of page