The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 4, September 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Looking for Inuit Dogs Past and Present
F.I.D.O.: Jan Erik and Barbro  Engebretsen
First Camping Adventure with Greenland Dogs
The Breeding and Maintenance of Sledge Dogs, Part II
A Cut Above the Rest
In the News
Book Reviews:
Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia
Primitive Breeds - Perfect Dogs
 IMHO: Waiting for Godot?
Index to Volume 6

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:

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.
From the Editor.....

Looking for Inuit Sled Dogs Past and Present

I dream that one day I will receive a pot o' money which will allow me to visit every community and outpost camp across the circumpolar North, so I can physically survey the number of pure Inuit Sled Dogs, determine the population of contaminated dogs, take some measurements, do physical exams, collect hair, fecal and DNA samples from them, and interview team owners to learn their attitude about keeping and plans for the future of the pure dog in its native environment.

Then I wake up and realize the likelihood of this happening (unless both the governments and the will of the people in those polar regions see the urgent need for a comprehensive survey of the status of the Inuit Dog) is somewhere between slim and none.

It is really frustrating, and so hard for me to just sit here and do nothing about it. Well, not exactly nothing. After all, the Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) and The Fan Hitch, were conceived and exist not merely as a place for enthusiasts to network and as a resource for information about the breed. We hope that our group and our journal serve as a presence and a reminder to those in a position to take the necessary action that there is much important work to be done if the breed is to survive in the land where it was born forty centuries ago.

Until that money appears, there is something that can be done. The idea came to me as I was putting together this issue of The Fan Hitch. Thanks to an enthusiast in Nunavik, I received this wonderful old photo and the name and contact information of the photographer. 

In 1956 Luc Boyer was a 23 year old engineer working for a mining company
when he snapped this photo in Aupaluk, Nunavik                     Boyer photo

Also, there was a story about a recent mushing adventure in northwest Greenland (see "In the News") with a wonderful photograph of a fan hitch comprised of many fine looking examples of pure dogs. "Hey," I said to myself, "What if The Fan Hitch readers, who either live in the circumpolar north or travel there and who have some really old and/or current photographs of dogs, would be willing to share them with the ISDI?" This pictorial information would add greatly to our body of knowledge about the Inuit Dog past and present, and perhaps would even offer us a glimpse into what the breed's future holds. 

So this is my official request for your assistance. What I would like to receive are images that include Inuit Dogs in at least fairly good detail. It is important to include the date the photo was taken as well as where it was taken and, if possible, who owns or owned the dogs. Also important would be the name of the photographer and if possible contact information for that person as it might be nice to publish from time to time some of these photos in The Fan Hitch, for which I need permission. I can receive images by email as high resolution scans or by conventional mail if they are well packaged, which I absolutely promise to promptly return, well packaged. You can find my contact information in the Editor's/Publisher's Statement of The Fan Hitch.

On a related subject, I am delighted to take this opportunity to welcome to our ever-expanding journal readership the students of the Nunavik and Nunavut school systems who are now receiving subscriptions to The Fan Hitch. And while I am in an asking-for-help frame of mind, I would like to encourage our young polar residents to write their own stories about working and living with Inuit Dogs and also to ask their elders for their recollections as well. Others have much to learn from you and we are all eager to hear what you have to tell us.

That imaginary pot o' money may never appear, but I can see and hope that a wealth of information in the form of images and stories about the past, present and perhaps the future of the Inuit Sled Dog might be the treasure that can be reasonably expected to come this way. I eagerly look forward to hearing from all of you.

Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads.


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