Greenland Dog

Greenland Dog

Infobox Dogbreed
altname = Grønlandshund
Esquimaux Dog
ckcgroup = Group 3 - Working Dogs
ckcstd =
country = Greenland (Denmark)
fcigroup = 5
fcinum = 274
fcisection = 1
fcistd =

image_caption = Greenland Dog
kcukgroup = Working
kcukstd =
name = Greenland Dog
ukcgroup = Northern Breeds
ukcstd =
note = The UKC currently recognizes the FCI breed standard for the Greenland Dog.
The Greenland Dog or "Grønlandshunden" ("The Greenland's Dog" Danish) is a large breed of husky-type dog kept as a sled dog and for hunting polar bear and seal. [ [ Dog Breed Info] ] This is an ancient breed, thought to be directly descended from dogs brought to Greenland by the first Inuit settlers. [ [ Dog Breed Info] ]



The Greenland Dog is a powerful, heavy-built dog. It has a broad, wedge-shaped head, slightly tilted eyes and small, triangular ears covered with thick fur that prevents frostbite. It has strong, muscular, short-haired legs. The tail is usually rolled along/across its back, but it may also hang down in a wolf like manner. When it lies down and curls up to rest, the tail often covers the nose. Its coat is of medium length and consists of two layers. The inner layer consists of short wool like fur, the outer layer of longer, coarser, water-repellent fur.

A characteristic of most Greenland Dogs is the "úlo", a triangular shaped area on the shoulders. It is named after a common woman’s-knife from Greenland which is of the same shape.

Male are significantly larger than females at between 58 and 68 cm (23-27 in) at the withers; females are between 51 and 61 cm (20-24 in).


In Greenland this breed exists in much the same condition as it had when originally arriving there, and are kept as chiefly as a working dog valued for its strength and speed rather than a malleable temperament. [ [ National Geographic "Arctic Hunters"] ] As a result of living in a pack structure very much similar to their wolf forebears, the Greenland dog takes a very firm and confident owner to make a good pet. [ [ National Geographic "Arctic Hunters"] ]


The Greenland Dog originates from the coastal area of the Arctic regions of Northern Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland [ [ The Greenland Dog Club of Great Britain] ] . Archaeological evidence has proven the dog first reached Greenland with the Sarqaq people between 4000 and 5000 years ago [ [ The Greenland Dog Club of Great Britain] ] . Sundry artifacts found within the Eskimo people's areas confirm that the Eskimo people, along with their sledges and dogs originated from Siberia. Remains have been found in the New Siberian Islands that have been carbon dated to around 7000 BC. This makes the Greenland dog one of the oldest breeds in the world.

The Vikings were the first Europeans to settle in Greenland and subsequently became aware of these dogs. Then others like the early European whalers, explorers and fur traders in Canada and North America trained dog-sledding skills from the natives of the Arctic region, (Eskimos),and used with great success the Greenland dog when hunting, exploring and traveling across the Arctic regions.

Greenland dogs belong to the Spitz breeds, a group of dogs characterized by their prick ears, curly tails and thick coats and are among the oldest known dog breeds in the world today. The Greenland dog has been a draught animal in the Arctic regions for centuries and consequently they have developed a powerful body and heavy coats, with a natural capacity for load pulling and endurance in a harsh working environment.

It is thought that the first dogs were brought to Britain around 1750; an Esquimaux bitch was exhibited at one of the earliest dog shows held in Darlington on 29th of July 1875, which was reported in the Live Stock Journal and Franciers Gazette published on the 6th of August 1875. They were recognized by the Kennel Club at its foundation in 1880. [ [ The Greenland Dog Club of Great Britain] ]

Greenland dogs have been used on many expeditions by explorers, the most famous being Roald Amundsen. Roald Amundsen recorded the earliest known data for Greenland dogs being used as working dogs. He was a successful polar explorer and had a natural gift with dogs. He carefully chose 97 Greenland dogs to accompany him and his team on his expedition to the Antarctic and the subsequent capture of the South Pole. [ [ The Greenland Dog Club of Great Britain] ] .

ee also

*Canadian Eskimo Dog


External links

* [ Greenland Dog Club of the UK]
* [ National Geographic gallery of the breed in Greenland]

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