The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 2, March 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Kudos and Cat Calls
F.I.D.O.: Barry Salovaara and Tina Portman
Barry of the Midnight Sun
The Fan Hitch Contributor Wins Maxwell Award
Ivakkak: Encouraging Purity in Nunavik ISDs
Games People Play:
Saving the Sled Dog or Saving the Show Dog
Coppinger Comments Prompts ISDI Rebuttal
News Briefs
Media Watch
Behaviour Notebook: Building a Team
IMHO: The Sernix, a Fable

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
Media Watch...

by Janice Dougherty

Here are some comments about recent dog-related items in the media, some of which mention the Inuit Sled Dog (ISD) specifically, some where the ISD was conspicuous by its absence, and some which discuss dog topics relevant to every owner.  Any reader with additional comments or observations is encouraged to voice these to The Fan Hitch editor. Discussion is ongoing.

* * * 
ICE DOGS  (National Geographic Ultimate Explorer)

A veteran British explorer-adventurer decides to try to cross the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska when it's frozen over. Many interesting shots of the native working dogs, some of which appear more toward the ISD/Malamute in overall type. Acknowledgment of varied personalities and combative nature of the dogs, the need to gain their respect. Amusing to see this world traveler, experienced with difficult camels, try to win the dogs over with a rubber fire hydrant and stuffed toy. They were much different from the dogs of his youth, his point of reference. But he did learn to love and respect them.

* * * 

 A 1hr.15min. film about the experiences of Sue Sternberg, author and self described expert in dog aggression behavior and shelter dog welfare, and her position on no-kill shelters versus euthanasia; the problems of finding suitable placements for dogs given up for adoption, her technique for evaluating dogs as placeable in a pet home.  Again, point of reference plays a large part in reaction to a dog’s behavior. What she considers one of the worst examples of food aggression, the ISD owner might not bat an eyelid.

* * * 
THE WOLF WITHIN  (BBC/Animal Planet)

This documentary does its best to illustrate the ideas of the source of domestic dog behaviors as fragments of those in the wild wolf. Scent, herding, pointing, licking around the mouth, etc. Should get novices starting to think in the right direction.

* * * 
DESIGNER DOGS  (National Geographic)

This production addressing Labradoodles, Alaskan Klee Kai, other new, intentional crosses to create breeds with reverse snob appeal. It also contained a short segment on a Caucasian Ovtcharka owned by a man who was so out-dogged it was almost funny, as he was dragged almost on his face across a street. He had totally underestimated this breed because he had previously owned what he thought were “tough” breeds. A lesson here for those considering ISD ownership.

* * * 
SEARCH FOR THE FIRST DOG  (National Geographic)

NG keeps to the tropics for this one. Breeds featured include the New Guinea Singing Dog, the Israeli Canaan, the Indian Santal/pariah, Carolina Dog. No mention of any northern breed, despite known archeological finds in Switzerland, Mongolia, etc. Criteria described for early dog types should have rated the inclusion of the ISD, at the very least.

* * * 
TOP DOGS (Smithsonian Magazine, January 2004)

This is written about Greenland dogs, a sub-population of ISDs, their ruggedness, etc. The author accompanied Paul Schurke and his children on their return to north Greenland. One for the collector of literature on aboriginal dogs.

* * * 

This special interviews Coppinger, Serpell, Overall, Wayne, etc. regarding the evolution/domestication process leading from Neolithic/Pleistocene to present. All theories addressed. Humans selected for performance/behavior and the physical/physiological changes came from there. Belyaev’s foxes are reviewed. Coppinger comes off as very bitter and angry. The premise was that if people today want mostly pets, and dogs bred for working are not good pets, then dogs should just be mixed breed pets, less likely to be rejected. Doesn’t say what to do with all the purebreds. Sounds like Peta-phile influence here. Mixed breeds are healthier? What happens if you mix breeds and get the poor genetics of both, like both pituitary and achondroplastic dwarfism? Why breed down to the lowest common denominator? Also not addressed is the connection between breeding for a dumber, slower, easier, softer dog and the ultimate effects on the endocrine/immune system. That would NOT be a healthy dog, by any criteria. I guess Coppinger wouldn’t have anymore livestock guard dogs for the sheep ranchers, or herding dogs for the livestock people, or terriers for the barn rats or any dog that had any spunk, brains, drive. A very provocative piece worth viewing to clarify position, but very disappointing and disheartening, if you’re looking for support from the Ph.D.s.

Return to top of page