The Canadian Eskimo Dog looks very much like a Husky being a Spitz-type breed that hails from the Arctic regions of the world. These handsome dogs are recognised by The Kennel Club and over the years, although their numbers still remain low here in the UK, they are becoming a popular choice with people who are familiar with the breed and who enjoy competing with dog teams. Often called Qimmiqs, the Canadian Eskimo Dog boasts a lot of stamina having been bred to pull sleds over vast distances in challenging conditions and arctic terrains. They are true working dogs rather than pets and are highly prized in Greenland where a renewed interest in cultural heritage saved the breed from extinction.
Canadian Eskimo Dogs greatly resemble medium-sized American wolves. However, the dogs have shorter and curvier tails than their wild counterparts. They also lack the black wrist markings that are characteristic of European wolf breeds. Canadian Eskimo Dogs are part of the Spitz family of dogs. Therefore, they have the typical curly tails and thick coats that their kin do. These dogs also have strong, muscular bodies that are well-suited for working in harsh Arctic environments. Canadian Eskimo dogs typically have dark colored, yellow or hazel eyes.
Blue eyes are considered by the United Kennel Club to be a disqualifying flaw. These dogs also have wedge-shaped heads, broad skulls, short necks, and tapered muzzles. Their teeth should meet in a scissors bite. Erect ears with rounded tips are yet another breed feature. Canadian Eskimo dogs also have round feet and muscular limbs. These dogs should move at a brisk trot.
AKC group: Utility
UKC group: Northern Breed
Average lifespan: 10-15 years
Average size: 40-88 pounds
Coat appearance: Long, dense, double, thick
Coloration: Black, Black & White, Grey, Liver, Red, White
Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles, houses with yards
Temperament: Affectionate, hard-working, gentle, brave
Comparable Breeds: Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky
Canadian Eskimo Dogs are thought to date as far back as 1100 A.D. when the Inuit people and their pets arrived in the area that was to later become Canada. Members of this breed are very closely related to the Greenland dog. Eskimo dogs are among the oldest indigenous breeds in North America. They are also one of the few native Canadian dog varieties.
Early members of this multi-purpose breed were used to pull sleds, hunt game, and carry goods. Canadian Eskimo Dogs became especially popular during the arctic explorations that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries, but demand for these dogs began to wane once snowmobiles became prevalent in the region. This breed was eventually recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1996.
Unsurprisingly, Eskimo Dogs are incredibly tough, stoical characters. They are also, in some ways, “softer” than other Spitzes, especially the Arctic breeds, with many people describing them as being naturally submissive, readily deferring to human authority rather than being inclined to challenge it. These hard workers are intensely loyal, and are gregarious with their own kind; indeed, Canadian Eskimo Dogs should be kept in groups, rather than as individuals.
It is difficult to imagine that many homes can provide the right environment for this breed; it has colossal energy reserves, and is highly motivated by work. Owners involved in sledding or skijoring may be an exception, although they are likely to choose another more racy breed if they have any competitive inclinations.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is generally a healthy breed not troubled by the consequences of inbreeding due to a large foundation stock. Like all breeds, however, the breed is prone to several minor health issues including hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, entropion, cataracts, heat intolerance, and arthritis.
They are not usually recommended for apartments, however they can live in apartments if well trained and properly exercised. Canadian Eskimo Dogs are very active indoors and do best with a fenced-in large yard. Because of their heavy coats, these dogs prefer cool climates. One has to use common sense with respect to maintaining them in the heat by providing adequate shade and air conditioning. This breed prefers to live in packs.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a smart dog and a fast learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up lots of bad habits as they are the good. They need to be well socialised from a young age and their training has to begin early too. It also has to be very consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what their owner expects of them. They are a good choice for people who want to take part in sledding-type competitions and other pulling activities because these dogs like nothing more than to work.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like dry land mushing because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact when they are competing with their handlers. The key to successfully training a Qimmiq is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It’s also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps dogs stay more focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored and Qimmiqs are extremely smart.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved bearing in mind that Qimmiqs find it hard to digest anything that contains grains.
Canadian Eskimo Dogs need a fair amount of exercise, including a daily walk or jog, but should not be excessively exercised in warm weather. They need a large yard with a high fence, but bury the wire at the base of the fence because they are likely to dig their way out and go off hunting.
The CED’s coat should be brushed at least a couple of times a week to keep in good condition. It does shed so some hair will be around the home at any time of the year, but then it has heavy shedding during seasonal times so then it needs daily brushing and clean up is quite a chore. When it is having its blow outs use a rake on its coat to stop clumps of hair forming mats. Bathe only when it needs one to avoid drying out its coat.
Over needs will include trimming its nails of its activity does not wear them down, cleaning and checking its ears for infection and brushing its teeth. The latter should be done at least twice a week, the ears can be done weekly, but do not insert anything into them, and the nails done as needed taking care not to cut too far down. There are blood vessels and nerves in the lower half of the nail that if nicked or cut will cause pain to the dog and bleeding.
Children and Other Pets
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is not the best choice as a family pet because these dogs thrive on being in a work environment rather than in a home. As such, they are not a suitable choice for families with children either and care has to be taken when they are around other pets and animals because they boast such a high prey drive. As such any contact is best avoided.
They can be a little “off” with other dogs which is why it’s so important for a Canadian Eskimo Dog to be well socialised from a young age and even then, they have a tendency to want to dominate other dogs they encounter or live with in a household because Qimmiqs like to establish a hierarchy which often leads to fights breaking out.
Is this breed right for you?
The Canadian Eskimo Dog is a breed of working sled dog native to the far north of Canada. This ancient breed is famous for its ability to survive and work in some of the most difficult and challenging environments on the planet. This dogs are incredibly loyal to their owners and often bond with one person or family, they are usually not aggressive towards unfamiliar people.
Canadian Eskimo dogs can be domineering and stubborn, which means that they require an owner with plenty of experience, preferably one that has handled sled dog breeds in the past. These dogs will also need to be heavily socialized with children from a young age to prevent them from regarding youngsters as a threat to their own well-being.
Famous Canadian Eskimo Dogs
An unnamed Canadian Eskimo Dog became a viral celebrity in 2016, when it was filmed being “petted” by a polar bear that approached the chained dog. However, the incident was misinterpreted by the public as the bear striking up a friendship with the animal; in fact, the same polar bear went on to kill and eat another dog belonging to the pack later the same day.