Defining the Inuit Dog
Canis familiaris borealis

by Sue Hamilton

© December 2011, The Fan Hitch, all rights reserved
revised: December 2020

I. Introduction
A. The Inuit Dog’s place in the natural world
B. The Inuit Dog is not a wolf!
C. Dangerous confusion

A. The Name Controversy
B. Defining 'Purity'
C. Mistaken Identity: Promoting a breed vs. avoiding
D. The Belyaev Experiment
E. Summary

A.  Ancient history
B. Recent history: The Inuit Dog in service to nations          
1. Exploration
2. War
3. Sovereignty
C. Population decline
A. In the North
B. Below the tree line

A. Inherited diseases
B. Disease prevention and access to veterinary services

A. Appearance
B. Behavior
C. Performance
D. The big picture

VII. The Inuit Dog in Scientific Research, Films and
        in Print

VIII. Acknowledgements

Appendix 1: Partial list of scientific publications about
                     the Inuit Dog

Appendix 2: Selected (alphabetical) list of other resources
                    with a focus on Inuit Dogs

Appendix 3: A small sampling of other resources of

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Editor-in-Chief: 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.

                                                        Illustration by Nunga Echalook

Appendix 2: Partial list of other Media Resources with a focus on Inuit Dogs
(Some have been reviewed in The Fan Hitch Journal and PostScript.
Some may be available on the secondary market only.)

Huskies/My Friends, the Huskies

Robert Dovers, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd, 1957

Snow Dogs

Neville Peat, Whitcoulls Publishers, 1978 ISBN 0 7233 0555 2

Oscar: The True Story of A Husky

Commander Nils Lied, John Kerr Pty Ltd, 1987, ISBN 0 9588161 1 5

Huskies: Polar Sledge Dogs

Jonathan Chester; Margaret Hamilton Books Pty, 1994, ISBN0 947241 63 9

Huskies in Harness 

Shelagh Robinson; Kangaroo Press PTY, 1995; ISBN 086417 726 7

Of Dogs and Men: Fifty Years in the Antarctic

Kevin Walton and Rick Atkinson, Images Publishing, 1996, ISBN 1 897817 55 X

The Book That Wasn’t
Kevin Walton, Editor; 1996, The Knell Press

One Thousand Days with Sirius

Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen (2005, The Steading Workshop, ISBN 0-9950773-0-3)

The Doggy Men

Hwfa Jones, privately published, 2006

Dog Days on Ice: Antarctic Exploration in a Golden Era

Peter Noble, Reardon Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1 873877 89 7

Across the Top of the World
Sir Wally Herbert; 1 Nov. 1969, Prentice Hall Press, ISBN-13 : 978-0582108011

How to Raise a Dog Team
Adamie Inukpuk; 2009, Avataq Cultural Institute, ISBN 2-921644-77-0

Harnessed to the Pole: Sledge Dogs in Service to American Explorers of the Arctic, 1853-1909
Sheila Nickerson; 2014, The University of Alaska Press; ISBN 978-60223-5

The Canadian Inuit Dog: Icon of Canada’s North
Kim Han; 2018, Revodana Publishing, ISBN 978-1-943824-42-7

Roald Amundsen’s Sled Dogs
Mary R. Tahan; 2019, Springer, ISBN-13: 978-3030026912

QIMMEQ – The Greenland Sled Dog
Carsten Egevang, Editor; 2020, A2 Alle Alle Publishing

                                        From Equinox, Nov/Dec 1987; pgs 36/37                                       
                                                                        Photo by Mike Beedell

Canada’s Own Eskimo Dog on the Brink of Extinction
William J. Carpenter; February 1976, north nord , pgs 2-7.

The North No More
George W. Bauer; February 1976, north nord , pgs 30-36.

An Epic Arctic Journey (The recreation of the ‘Qitdlak’ expedition)
Bruce Wallace; May 11, 1987; Maclean’s

The Qitdlarssuaq Chronicles
Renee Wissink; November/December 1987, Equinox, pgs 36-55.

Top Dogs
John F. Ross; January 2004, Smithsonian, pgs 34-43.

The Inuit Sled Dog
Jonathan Hanson; Winter 2007, Overland Journal, pgs 98-99.

Screen shot from PBS Nature, Dogs that Changed the World Part 1, Rise of the Dog

Arctic Dog Team
From In Celebration of Nunavut: Life on the Land Volume 5
National Film Board of Canada, 1949, 10 minutes

Tuktu and His Eskimo Dogs
National Film Board of Canada, 1966, 14 minutes

Qimmiq: Canada’s Arctic Dog
From In Celebration of Nunavut - Life in the Settlements - Volume 9
National Film Board of Canada, 1999, 25 minutes

The Last Husky: The final journey of Antarctica’s sledge dogs
Aurora Films (Australia), 1993, 34 minutes

Qimuksik (Dogteam)
From Nunavut (Our Land); Episode 1: (Canada), 1995

Dog of the Midnight Sun
Summerhill Entertainment (Canada), 1999, 46 minutes

The Return of the Qimutsiit
Chinook Communications (Canada), 2006, 52 minutes

Dogs that Changed the World, Part 1, Rise of the Dog
Nature (Public Broadcasting), 53 minutes

Qimmiit: A Clash of Two Truths
Piksuk Media (Canada), 2010

The Quest (La quête de Philippe)
Piksuk Media (Canada), 2011

The Nunavut Quest: Race Across Baffin
Piksuk Media (Canada), 2012, six 22 minute episodes

Okpik’s Dream
Catbird Productions, 2014, 73 minutes

Qimmeerukkaluarpat: When the Dogs are Gone
Natural History Museum of Denmark as a part of QIMMEQ Project, 2019, 5 episodes 7.5 to 9 minutes each