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.


                             Image: Doug Wilkinson

Appendix 3:A Sampling of other Print and Film Resources with a focus on Inuit Culture

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

An enormous repository of historical aboriginal films as well as the creator of current aboriginal films of social significance.

A collaborative multimedia platform for indigenous filmmakers and media organizations. The collective platform currently carries over 6000 videos, and thousands of other images and audio files, in more than 80 different languages, on 800+ user-controlled channels, representing cultures and media organizations from Canada, U.S.A., Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and all over Latin America.

Across Arctic America: Narrative of the Fifth Thule  Expedition  (book)
Knud Rasmussen, 1927; G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1999, University of Alaska Press, ISBN- 10:0-912-006-94-3

The Face of the Arctic  (book)
Richard Harrington, Henry Schuman, Inc., 1952, ASIN B0007DNDHW

Land of the Long Day (video); 1952, 37 minutes

Land of the Long Day (book)

Douglas Wilkinson, Clarke, Irwin and Company, Ltd., 1955

A History of the Original Peoples of Northern Canada (book)
Keith J. Crowe, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991 (revised edition), ISBN 0-7735-0880-5

Relocating Eden: The Image and Politics of Inuit Exile in the Canadian Arctic (book)
Alan Rudolph Marcus, University Press of New England,1995, ISBN 0-87451-659-5

Nunavut: Our Land (videos)
This 13-part dramatic television series brings to life the people, setting and continuing story of how Inuit in the Igloolik region of the Canadian Arctic lived on the land in the 1940s. Based on true stories of present-day Elders, who still remember their early days growing up just before government and settlement life begun, Nunavut recreates a nomadic lifestyle that no longer exists today., 1995.

In Celebration of Nunavut (videos)
National Film board of Canada
The most comprehensive collection of films ever produced on Canada's Arctic - to honour the new territory of Nunavut. Over 100 films on the North made between 1942 and 1996, and organized them by theme into 60 videos; 1999

Unikkausivut – Sharing our Stories (videos)
National Film Board of Canada;  A collection representing a unique audiovisual account of the life of the Inuit. More than 60 films from its collection, the most important worldwide, that represent all 4 Canadian Inuit regions (Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and Inuvialuit), some available in Inuktitut.

Padlei Diary (book)
Richard Harrington, edited by Edmund Carpenter for the Rock Foundation, 2000, ASIN B0006E8ZE8

Min Hvide Verden (My Wide White World) (book)
Ivars Silis, Aschehoug (Denmark), 2000, ISBN 87-11-16700-9

Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner (video)
Igloolik Isuma Productions; 161 minutes, 2001

The Inuit Way: A Guide to Inuit Culture (book)
The Pauktuutit Women of Canada, 2006

Martha of the North (video)
Virage Production in association with the NFB, 2008, 83 minutes

Inuk (video)
90 minutes, 2010

Vanishing Point (video)
National Film Board of Canada
82 minutes 2012,

                                          Cover photo: Gretchen Freund

The Meaning of Ice People and sea ice in three Arctic communities (book)
Shari Fox Gearheard et. al. editors, International Polar Institute Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9821703-9-7

Angry Inuk (video)
Unikkaat Studios  and the NFB; 2016, 82 minutes

Hunting with my Ancestors (video)
Zacharias Kunuk; Kingulliit Productions, 2018, seven part documentary

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (video)
Zacharias Kunuk; Kingulliit Production (Isuma); 2019, 113 minutes


…be sure to explore the various resources described on The Fan Hitch Resource Page.

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