The Greenland dog originates from the Arctic regions of Northern Europe & North America and archaeological evidence has proven that the dog first reached Greenland with the Sarqaq people around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
Furthermore, remains have been found in the New Siberian Islands that have been carbon dated to around 7,000 BC making the Greenland Dog one of the oldest of all breeds and the original sled dog from which all other varieties are derived.
They are the medium sized dog of the sled dog family being larger than the Siberian Husky and Samoyed but smaller than the Alaskan Malamute.
Strong in body and mind, Greenland Dogs require firm handling and are not for the novice dog owner. Owners Dog must be patient and determined when training, particularly in the early months of a dog’s life, but will find the rewards wholly worthwhile. The Greenland Dog does not make for a good guard dog, although their size and appearance could deter potential burglars. They are an independent, stubborn and dominant breed yet highly intelligent and will challenge their owner so training must be persistent, patient and consistent in correcting the dog. They are affectionate with people but as with all primitive Spitz breeds, they can be assertive with other dogs where their pack mentality is brought to the fore. A passionate and tireless sled dog who enjoys life to the full, a happy extrovert with a true sense of humour and are extremely inquisitive.
Dogs are primitive and have changed very little in hundreds, even thousands of years and have therefore stayed healthy with very few hereditary problems. Being a breed originally used for heavy sled work, good health has been an essential element in the breed’s make up and these traits continue in the dogs being bred today.
That said, as with every large breed hip dysplasia is something which can be seen and as such, it is recommended that anyone wishing to breed a litter should have the parents’ hips x-rayed before hand. Sensible mushers, even if they do not have any breeding aspirations, often have their dogs’ hips x-rayed before they start to train them in harness too so as to ensure they are fit and ready to undertake the rigours of sledding. ‘Fit for purpose’ is an essential aspect of breeding a good Greenland Dog.
As with hip dysplasia, hereditary cataracts are extremely rare in the Greenland Dog but it is strongly encouraged that all breeding stock is checked for their presence prior to breeding. This condition is seen in the other sled dog breeds and as they are believed to be descended from the Greenland Dog, it is inevitable that instances will occur in our breed too. These measures aim to keep the Greenland Dog exactly as they have been for thousands of years, a fit and healthy sled dog that should enjoy a long, happy and healthy life.