The Fan Hitch Volume 7, Number 1, December 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: New Faces, Old Passions
F.I.D.O.: Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen
A Conversation with Palle Norit
DNA Analysis of the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Inuit Dog
Pregnancy, Whelping and Pup Development in the ISD, Part 1
Product Review: Herculiner®
Tip for the Trail: Anti-fatigue Mats
In the News
Janice Howls: At the Heart of Greatness
 IMHO: Training or Interference

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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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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.....

New Faces, Old Passions

"If Inuit Dogs could talk, they'd say, 'If I can't eat it and I can't screw it, then piss on it!'" This is how Renee Wissink opened his presentation at the Snow Walkers' Rendezvous (Fairlee, Vermont, November 12-14, 2004). He had come to speak about his 1987 expedition when he and four companions and their forty-six pure Inuit Sled Dogs traveled 3,000 km (1,800 miles) in a little more than two-and-a-half months recreating Qitdlarssuaq's migration which began in the 1830s. The shaman and his followers journeyed from Igluliq, in what is now in Nunavut, Canada, to Qaanaaq in northwest Greenland. It took them thirty years. Mark and I were delighted to finally meet Renee in person. We had become intimately familiar with his story "The Qitdlarssuaq Chronicles", having divided it into four parts and transcribed it for publication in The Fan Hitch (Volume 5, Numbers 1-4) and had corresponded occasionally about the logistics of reproducing it, as well as keeping him up-to-date about our Qiniliq, a relative of some of the dogs on Renee's expedition. While chatting with him that weekend, we were delighted to know that he still feels strongly about the pure Inuit Dog and shares the ISDI's concerns for the breed's future in the North and is willing to advise us how to make inroads towards that effort. As someone whose field is endangered species, who knows the ins and outs of Canadian government, Renee offered to provide some valuable leads we will explore in 2005.

Earlier this month I met a writer who is doing research for a book on Shackleton. The dogs taken on that early 1900s South Pole expedition were of mixed background. They all died. The author is seeking details on what might have happened to them and why, using the Inuit Sled Dog as the gold standard of toughness and performance against which to compare.

Canine DNA research projects in Sweden and Texas are ongoing. Their principal investigators stay in touch with us and seem to be as interested as we are in any information that the Inuit Dog may yield. Two other genetics projects more specific to the Inuit Dog are in their early stages and we are especially excited about them (see "In the News" and Hanne Friis' DNA Analysis of the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Inuit Dog in this issue of The Fan Hitch). 

In this issue of The Fan Hitch we finally get to learn about Greenland's famous Sirius Patrol, a subject not previous covered in our journal. What a great way to start our seventh publishing year! And I am hopeful we will have more about the sled dogs of Greenland in future issues.

There is much to be encouraged about as 2004 draws to a close. But there is much work yet to be done. Progress so far in getting government officials of Canada, Nunavut and Nunavik into the "game" has not been encouraging. Without their active participation, the ISD's future in the North remains uncertain. Of course, governments alone will not ensure the breed's survival. But within the last couple of months Nunavik has seen the return of pure Inuit Dogs to its soil. And one musher in particular is now the proud owner of young bitches and an unrelated male, which he hopes will be the breeding nucleus of his developing team. Allen Gordon of Kuujjuaq is committed to maintaining a pure and healthy population and we hope his determination will encourage others in his community and elsewhere to do the same. 

Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Allen's example, his dedication, his success are a great boost to our spirits and to the future of the Inuit Sled Dog. We wish Allen and all who take steps towards our common goal smooth ice and narrow leads on their journeys.



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