A dog of the Canadian Arctic, the Canadian Eskimo Dog is called ‘Qimmiq’ by the Inuit. The breed proved popular with Arctic explorers and earned a reputation as a sled dog that could pull the heaviest loads over the greatest distances on the least amount of food. As snowmobiles gained favour, the number of Eskimo Dogs declined dramatically. In the 1970s, a project headed by William Carpenter and funded by The Canadian Kennel Club, the Canada Council and private individuals saved the breed from extinction.
The Canadian Eskimo dog dates back as far as 4,000 years ago to the Inuit or Eskimo people. These dogs were bred for pulling sleds and helping the Inuits hunt. Explorers to both the North and South poles, including both Peary and Amundson, used Canadian Eskimo dogs extensively. Until 1992, the dogs were used at an Australian Antarctic station. These dogs, descendants of the original exploration dogs, now reside in Minnesota. The Canadian Eskimo dog is a recognized United Kennel Club breed. Some dogs still live with their native people, but with the advent of the snowmobile, the dog began to decline. In the late 1960s, the breed almost disappeared. The breed is making a comeback in Greenland and other areas because of the Inuits’ renewed interest in their cultural heritage.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog’s temperament reflects its original work and environment. It is loyal, tough, brave, intelligent, and alert. It is affectionate and gentle, and develops a deep bond with its owner and is intensely loyal. When used as sled dogs, they were often required to forage and hunt for their own food. Consequently, many Canadian Eskimo Dogs have stronger prey drive than some other breeds. Owing to their original environment, they take pure delight in cold weather, often preferring to sleep outside in cold climates. Like most spitz breeds they can be very vocal.
Canadian Eskimo Dogs need a very large amount of exercise. They cannot just be walked, they need higher intensity work, requiring more exercise than many dog owners can give. This need for work and stimulation makes them well-suited for dog sports, such ascarting, mushing, and skijoring. They are very trainable and submissive, unlike many spitz breeds, as well as intelligent. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is best kept in a cold climate, and is prone to heatstroke. Its coat is fairly easy to care for most times of the year, needing brushing only one or two times a week. However, when it sheds (which happens once a year) it will need grooming every day.