The Canadian Eskimo Dog: Discovering the Breed

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a working breed that is incredibly important to the Eskimo culture. Historically, it played a crucial role in helping the Inuit people survive in the harsh Arctic climate.

At one point, the Canadian Eskimo Dog almost disappeared, but recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in this breed. Keep reading to learn more about the unique and fascinating Canadian Eskimo Dog. 

The History of the Canadian Eskimo Dog

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a remarkable breed with a rich history that can be traced back over 4000 years. Developed in a harsh environment and to fulfill strenuous tasks, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is a symbol of resilience and perseverance.

Origins and Ancestry

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is thought to have descended from wolves that were domesticated by the Inuits. The Inuit people relied on dogs for pulling sleds and hunting in the harsh Arctic climate.

Evidence of the breed’s ancestry can be found in ancient Inuit artwork, which depicts sled dogs that closely resemble the modern Canadian Eskimo Dog.

The Role of the Canadian Eskimo Dog in Inuit Culture

The Canadian Eskimo Dog was an integral part of Inuit culture for thousands of years. This dog was highly valued for its strength and loyalty and was often treated as a member of the family.

The Inuit people had a deep understanding of the behavior and needs of the Canadian Eskimo Dog. They knew how to train and care for these dogs, and they respected their intelligence and independence.

The bond between the Eskimo people and these resilient and devoted dogs was incredibly strong, and it was based on deep mutual respect and understanding.

Near Extinction and Revival Efforts

In the mid-20th century, the Canadian Eskimo Dog faced a serious threat of extinction. As modern forms of transportation, such as snowmobiles, became more popular, the need for sled dogs declined.

Many people began to view the breed as outdated and unnecessary, and the population dwindled to just a few hundred dogs. However, a dedicated group of breed enthusiasts and Inuit people refused to let the Canadian Eskimo Dog disappear.

They worked tirelessly to preserve the breed, establishing breeding programs and conservation efforts to ensure its survival. Through their efforts, the breed has slowly been making a comeback in recent years.

Physical Characteristics of the Canadian Eskimo Dog

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a fascinating breed that has adapted to the harsh Arctic climate over thousands of years. Their physical characteristics are well-suited for the challenging environment they call home.

Size and Build

As mentioned, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is a large breed. Males weigh 66 to 88 pounds, and females 40 to 66 pounds. In terms of height, males stand 23 to 28 inches tall, and females around 20 to 24 inches tall at the shoulders. 

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has a muscular, sturdy build and is well-suited for tasks such as pulling sleds and hunting, which are essential for survival in the Arctic.

It has a broad chest, powerful legs, and a thick tail that helps it maintain balance while running on ice and snow. The breed is incredibly strong and has impressive endurance, which allows them to work long hours in extreme conditions.

Coat and Colors

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has a thick, double-layered coat that withstands temperatures as low as -50°C. The outer layer is made up of long, stiff guard hairs, while the inner layer consists of a soft, dense undercoat.

The Canadian Eskimo Dog’s coat can come in a range of colors, including white, black, gray, and brown. Some dogs may have markings or patterns on their coats as well, which can make them even more striking to look at.

Facial Features and Expression

The Canadian Eskimo Dog’s facial features are essential for its survival in the Arctic. The broad, powerful head and thick neck help pull heavy sleds, while the strong jaws allow them to bite through frozen meat and fish.

The round, dark eyes give an intelligent and alert expression, which is necessary for hunting and navigating through the wilderness. They also have small, erect ears that help to keep them warm and alert to any potential danger.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Intelligence and Trainability

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is an intelligent and highly trainable breed. It has a strong desire to please its owners and is eager to learn new things. Breed members are known for their problem-solving skills and their ability to quickly learn complex tasks.

Canadian Eskimo Dogs respond best to positive reinforcement training methods, such as praise and treats. They may become stubborn if they feel that they are being treated unfairly or if they are not given enough attention.

Loyalty and Affection

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a loyal and affectionate breed that is deeply devoted to its family. These dogs form strong bonds with their owners and will often go to great lengths to protect them.

While they can be wary of strangers, Canadian Eskimo Dogs are generally sociable and enjoy spending time with people. They may become anxious or destructive if left alone for long periods of time.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a highly active and energetic breed that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. These dogs are well-suited for tasks such as running, hiking, and playing catch, and they enjoy being outside in all kinds of weather.

Without enough exercise, Canadian Eskimo Dogs may become bored and destructive. It is important to note the members of the breed are very vocal and prone to howling. Excess howling is a sign of boredom and lack of physical and mental stimulation. 

Health and Lifespan of the Canadian Eskimo Dog

Common Health Issues

Like all breeds, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is susceptible to certain health issues. These can include: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic orthopedic condition in which there is a misfit between the two bones forming the hip, causing pain and mobility issues  
  • Heat Intolerance: Adapted to living in harsh and freezing conditions, the breed is very sensitive to heat and prone to heat stress and even stroke 
  • Eye Problems: The breed is prone to eye conditions such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can escalate into blindness 

Diet and Nutrition

The Canadian Eskimo Dog has a high metabolism and requires a diet that is rich in protein and fat. High-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for active breeds is usually the best option.

It is important to monitor your dog’s weight and adjust its diet as needed to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy weight.

Life Expectancy

The Canadian Eskimo Dog generally has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, though some dogs may live longer with proper care and attention.


Today, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is a rare breed, but it is respected for its incredible strength, loyalty, and versatility. Its long history is a testament to the resilience and perseverance of both the breed and the Inuit people who have relied on these dogs for thousands of years.

If you are considering a Canadian Eskimo Dog, ensure to do your research and work with a reputable breeder. With the right care and attention, these dogs can make wonderful companions and faithful friends for years to come.

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