The Greenland Dog, rarely seen outside Greenland, is a very strong polar spitz, built for endurance and strenuous work of pulling sleds and hunting seal and polar bear. The Inuit peoples valued this dog for its energy, mental strength and boldness. One dog can pull a weight of 80 pounds. With a light sledge on hard ice, he is said to be able to gallop at 25 miles an hour for a short distance, for example, when he scents a polar bear.
Greenland Dogs stand 20 – 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 – 104 pounds. The average life span of the Greenland Dog is 12 to 14 years. The Greenland Dogs have an excellent sence of smell. Downwind, they can scent a man, a bear, or a hut that is lived in, two or three miles away, and they will always make toward the scent unless the driver can stop them.
Greenland dogs do not bark quite like other dogs; they howl when they are pleased. This is a working breed who needs a job to do to realize its full potential, otherwise, it turns into a destructive digger and chewer. Because he is an independent thinker, training can be a challenge. Socialization with other animals should start from puppyhood. Although the Greenland Dogs are friendly to people, they can be aggressive to other dogs.
The coat consists of dense, straight and coarse hair and a soft, thick undercoat. On head and legs the hair is rather short, while on the rest of the body it is longer and more abundant. The undercoat resembles the down found in parkas and is shed during the summer. The long hair on the tail gives it a bushy appearance. The tail is carried in a curve or lightly curled over back. The tail also protects the dog’s groin area, the one place on a husky, where there is little fur.
Minimizing Heat Loss
The Greenland Dog’s ability to retain heat is remarkable. Because dogs in general sweat through the pads of their feet, the chance of heat radiating through their skin and two thick coats is virtually nil. The eyes are almond-shaped, so there is less exposure to the wind and snow, and the ears are pricked and covered with soft fur on the inside to minimize heat loss. The paws are slightly oval and the pads tough and compact to minimize the buildup of ice which can lacerate and cripple the dog. The Greenland Dogs can withstand temperatures minus 80 degrees.
- FCI-Standard # 274/05.05.2003/GB
- Dominique De Vito – World Atlas of Dog Breeds
- Gay Salisbury, Laney Salisbury – The Cruelest Miles
- Margaret H. Bonham – Northern Breeds
- David Howarth – The Sledge Patrol: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Victory