The Greenland Dog is a husky-type dog breed that was mostly kept as a sled dog. They belong to the Nordic family of dog breeds and the Greenland Dog is identical to the Canadian Eskimo Dog.
This is considered to be one of the purest and cleanest bloodlines in all dog breeds and mostly because Greenland has forbidden importing any dog breeds from anywhere in the world. The only exception they make is for service dogs and even they have to get a special permit to enter some regions of Greenland.
These dogs have not been crossbred with any other dog breeds for nearly a thousand years and Greenland is making great efforts to keep the breed’s purity. One of the biggest reasons for keeping this breed so pure is that it was primarily living in such an isolated place.
21,5-27 in (55-68 cm)
66-71 lb (30-32 kg)
Most of the modern-day dog breeds have traces of grey wolf DNA which indicates some sort of genetic proximity. An interesting thing is that the Greenland Dog shows more DNA similarities to the now extinct Taimyr wolf that was native to the Asian continent.
First dogs were brought to Greenland nearly 4.000 years ago but the Greenland Dog is associated with the Thule tribes that brought their dogs to Greenland more than a thousand years ago. Greenland is geographically very secluded and isolated so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this breed managed to keep their bloodlines with little to none outside interference. It is also considered to be one of the oldest living dog breeds and even the Inuit tribes were using them as their main sled dogs.
However, keeping a bloodline so pure makes breeding programs extremely important and the declining number of Greenland Dogs is starting to become a problem.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The Greenland Dog is a powerful dog breed that has a heavy built. They have pricked ears that are fully covered with fur that kept their ears safe from frostbite. They have a wedge-shaped head that is fairly broad and powerful. They also have a thick, double coat that was necessary for survival in the Arctic circle. Their tail is curled over the side of their backs.
The Greenland Dog is a fully registered member of the FCI. The FCI standard places these dogs in Group 5 (Spitz and primitive types), Section 1 (Nordic Sledge Dogs). This breed is not required to undergo a working trial.
According to their standard, male Greenland Dogs should have a minimum of 23,5 in (60 cm) and females should have a minimum of 21,5 in (55 cm). There are no specific mentions of their weight, but as a general rule, the dog’s weight should always be proportioned to their height.
This dog was accepted by the FCI on the 5th of May 1967.
This breed is not registered and accepted by the American Kennel Club.
Coat and grooming
The Greenland Dog has a thick, double coat that was developed as a survival tool to shield and insulate them from extremely low temperatures. Their outer, protective coat is a bit harsh, medium-long, and water-resistant. Their undercoat is thick and wooly and keeps them well insulated.
The Greenland Dog that spends most of its time outside in the Arctic circle will not shed much but pets that are kept at home will. They will need to be brushed at least once a week to keep their coat healthy and good-looking. The pet Greenland Dog will shed heavily and will blow their entire coat during the shedding season. At that time, brush your dog daily to help them get rid of loose hair and to keep the mess to a minimum.
Greenland Dog temperament
This is an ancient breed that hasn’t changed much since their first arrival to Greenland. They have a strong understanding of pack hierarchy and are generally kept as working dogs and in a pack. They are rather vocal and need an owner that will know how to handle these dogs. The most important thing is that these dogs respect you and view you as the only leader of their pack.
Some of these sled dogs can be considered aggressive, especially if they are primarily kept as working dogs. You should never approach these dogs without consulting their owner or handler first.
The Greenland Dog can be aloof and independent if it is kept as a pet. They are strong-willed and independent and that is exactly what you would expect from dogs whose closest relative is the wolf.
Training the Greenland Dog
The Greenland Dog is not a breed that is a good fit for new dog owners that are unsure about how to treat such dogs. You need to have a strong character and a firm hand when approaching the training process of the Greenland Dog. That doesn’t mean you should beat, or scare the dog, it only means that you need to correct their behavior when they are trying to take on a role that is not theirs to take or do something they are not supposed to do.
Controlling their food and keeping it out of their reach will ensure you the role of someone with valuable resources and the Greenland Dog will automatically respect you because of it. Try and include a lot of treats and food in their training process and you will achieve great results.
If the Greenland Dog is kept as a working dog, their daily tasks will be enough of an energy outlet to keep him healthy and happy, but if it is being kept as a pet, you will need to ensure they have enough of daily exercise that will help them spend their excess energy. This is a very active breed that is not going to be happy just laying around and doing nothing. They need to have a job or a hobby to be truly happy and satisfied.
They enjoy all sorts of different activities and will be a great running, jogging, cycling, or hiking partners and companions. They are also great for all types of scent work and tracking.
These dogs should be socialized as early and as much as possible. Even if they are properly socialized, they might not be too kind to people they don’t respect or be tolerable of other dogs that are not in their “pack”.
Expose your Greenland Dog puppy to different sights, sounds, situations, and people so they can learn the proper way of reacting to different situations they might find themselves in.
Greenland Dog and children
The Greenland Dog is not the best option for families with small children. They are pack animals and are the best fit for working living conditions. They can be aloof towards kids and will not tolerate harsh handling as they might perceive it as a challenge. They can get used to kids in their own family but should always be supervised when interacting with children.
Like any other dog breed, the Greenland Dog can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are:
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
The Greenland Dog is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 12-13 years.
To be sure that your dog will be healthy always buy him from a responsible dog breeder who regularly tests their breeding dogs to secure that their puppies will be healthy as well.
If this breed is a good fit for you and/or your family, make sure that you find a registered and reputable Greenland Dog breeder that can provide you with a great dog that will be physically and mentally healthy. Ask the breeder to show you the health certificates of his breeding dogs and if you can try and see what the puppy’s parents look like.
Greenland Dog is still a rare dog breed and if you are interested in getting one of these dogs you must be prepared that you will be put on the waiting list.
When you bring your new puppy home start with the training and socialization immediately. By doing so, you will end up with a well-behaved dog whom you can trust. Provide him with enough daily exercise for him to be happy.
World Dog Finder team