The unique Greenland Dog has been a vital part of Inuit culture for centuries and continues to amaze dog lovers with its loyalty, intelligence, and striking physical and personality traits.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the Greenland Dog – from history to traits to health issues. Read on to learn more about this fascinating breed.
A Brief History of the Greenland Dog Breed
The history of the Greenland Dog breed is fascinating and dates back to ancient Arctic times when Inuit people relied on these dogs for transportation, hunting, and survival in harsh conditions.
Origins in the Arctic
The Greenland Dog breed originated in the Arctic regions of Greenland and Canada, where it was primarily used for pulling sleds. These dogs were well-suited to the harsh environments and could withstand extreme cold weather.
The Greenland Dog is considered to be the same as the Canadian Eskimo Dog. The two breeds are geographically separated but not genetically different enough to be labeled as separate dog breeds.
The Role of Greenland Dogs in Inuit Culture
The Greenland Dog breed has been a crucial part of Inuit culture for centuries. Inuit people have relied heavily on these dogs for transportation, hunting, and companionship.
The dogs were used to pull sleds across long distances, carrying supplies and people to different locations. They were also used for hunting and tracking, and their keen sense of smell made them excellent at detecting prey.
These dogs were treated with great respect. Inuit people would often feed their dogs a diet of raw meat and fish, which provided them with the necessary nutrients to thrive in the harsh Arctic environment.
Evolution of the Breed
Over time, the Greenland Dog breed has evolved to adapt to the changing Arctic conditions. The breed was crossed with other Arctic breeds to optimize its strength, speed, and temperament.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the breed was used in Arctic expeditions, where it suffered from poor treatment and lack of proper care. However, today, it is protected, and efforts are made to increase its population.
Physical Characteristics of the Greenland Dog
The Greenland Dog breed has unique physical traits that make it an ideal working dog. Here are some characteristics that set it apart from other breeds.
Size and Build
The Greenland Dog is a large breed, weighing 66 to 70 pounds. Male breed members stand at least 23.6 inches tall at the withers, and females are slightly smaller standing 21.6 inches tall.
The Greenland Dog has a muscular build, with a broad chest, strong legs, and a thick tail that curls over its back. The dog is built for endurance rather than speed.
Coat and Color Variations
The Greenland Dog’s coat is thick and double-layered, with a dense undercoat and an outer coat that repels water and snow. The coat comes in all colors. Some breed members may have markings on their faces, chests, and legs.
The Greenland Dog’s thick, double coat requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. They shed heavily twice a year, so frequent brushing is necessary to keep their coat from becoming matted.
Distinctive Facial Features
The Greenland Dog has a unique facial structure, with a wide, square head, triangular ears, and small, almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes are often brown but can also be blue or parti-colored. Their face has a natural scowl-like expression, giving them a distinctive look.
Temperament and Personality Traits
Working Dog Mentality
The Greenland Dog is a breed that enjoys working and has a strong work ethic. It thrives when it has a purpose and a task to complete, making it ideal for jobs such as sledding, carting, or search and rescue.
Breed members are happiest when they have a job to do and can be seen wagging their tails and barking excitedly when given a task. They are also highly trainable and can learn a variety of tasks quickly.
Loyalty and Bonding
The Greenland Dog is a loyal breed that bonds deeply with its humans. It has an unwavering loyalty and will always put its family first. It is very protective and will go to great lengths to keep all family members safe.
Greenland Dogs are also excellent with children and make great family pets. They enjoy being around their owners and will often follow them around the house just to be near them.
Independence and Stubbornness
The Greenland Dog is an independent breed that can be stubborn at times. It likes to do things on its terms and may not always obey commands unless it sees a good reason to do so.
This trait can make it challenging to train, but with patience and consistency, it can learn to follow commands effectively. Breed members require firm but gentle training with a lot of positive reinforcement to learn effectively.
Health and Lifespan of the Breed
Common health problems reported in the Greenland Dog include:
- Bloat: A life-threatening accumulation of gas & liquid in the stomach that makes it bloat and twist on itself
- Working Injuries: As a working dog, the breed is prone to injuries occurring while they perform tasks in harsh conditions
- Eye Conditions: The breed is susceptible to eye problems, with the most widespread issue being glaucoma
The average lifespan of the Greenland dog is around 13 years. Breed members with excellent genetics, and dogs that are well cared for, can live longer and deep into their senior years.
The Greenland Dog is a fascinating breed with a rich history and admirable qualities. If you’re looking for a working dog that can thrive in cold weather and loves to work, this dog may be an excellent choice for you.
The Greenland Dog is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of dogs. The breed’s ability to survive and thrive in the harshest of conditions speaks a lot about its strength and loyalty.