Canadian Eskimo Dog

Also known as the Esquimaux or the Canadian Eskimo Bog, this ancient sled-pulling breed is sometimes called the American Husky, apparently as a way of distinguishing it from the Siberian Husky. In modern times, those who wish to rewrite history refer to it as the Inuit Sled Dog. The northern people themselves call it the Qimmiq, or Kingmik.


The term Eskimo Dog has been applied in both a general and a special sense. In the general sense it has been employed to refer to almost any sled dog ever used by the Eskimo people of the Arctic. In the special sense, it has come to mean one particular breed that is now recognized as a separate entity by major canine authorities. It is in the latter sense that it is discussed here. This is the ancient sled dog of the Canadian Arctic. It was once common and widespread, but its numbers have been drastically reduced in recent times. There have been two reasons for this. First, the introduction of the Siberian Husky to North America did it no favours. The Siberian animal was smaller and faster, and when sledracing became a major sport in the north, the Eskimo Dog could not compete. Second, the introduction of the snowmobile in the late 1960s removed a great deal of the need for the Eskimo Dog as a working animal. The northern dream now was not for a magnificent team of hard-working dogs, but for a shiny new machine.

It is estimated that in the 1920s there were 20,000 Eskimo Dogs working in the north. By the 1970s this impressive figure had shrunk to a dangerously low level of a mere 200. But then the Canadian Kennel Club and other interested parties came to the rescue and initiated a project that ensured the survival of this historic breed. It also has its supporters in the United States where one kennel alone, the Wintergreen, maintains a large group of 50 dogs.


In overall appearance, the Canadian Eskimo Dog resembles other northern breeds. With its wedge-shaped head and erect ears. Oblique eyes give it a serious expression. The coat should consist of a dense undercoat with thick straight guard hairs.

This is a powerful dog with the typical spitz configuration of strong body, dense coat, pricked ears and up-curled tail. In colour it may be white, buff, red, grey, brown or black, with or without white markings. In height it is 20-27 in (51-69 cm) and its weight is 60-105 lb (27-48 kg). Described as the "Sherman Tank of the mushing world", it has amazing stamina and strength, but is built for long-distance work rather than fast running.


Although extremely friendly and non-aggressive with people, it is intensely hierarchical and each team of dogs has been carefully selected to allow for internal dominance relationships.

The origin and purpose of the breed should be remembered when assessing its temperament. Current breeders stress its evident affection and responsiveness but also recognize that it is not suitable for all homes and individuals. It is a breed which responds enthusiastically to any stimulus, be it food, play or work.

Health Matters

The breed is relatively free of major health problems, considering the way that the breed was re-established and the relatively small gene pool which was used. Dedicated breeders must be relied on to address any problems as they occur.


As a breed dependent for survival on strength, independence and a pack psychology, it is most suited to homes that can provide sufficient exercise and control. Although primarily a sled dog with an ability to pull heavy loads for long distances on minimum food, the Canadian Eskimo Dog also fits into the show ring where its natural inquisitiveness carries it through. Natural intelligence coupled with independence of nature make it an interesting challenge for Obedience work.

Gallery of Canadian Eskimo Dog