Greenland dogs are one of the arctic breeds that originally came from northern Asia and from there spread to the Americas and Greenland via the Bering Strait. In its homeland, the strong sled dog only works in winter and saves energy in the summer months – if you get a puppy, you will inevitably become a winter sports enthusiast.
The Appearance of the Nordic Spitz Dog
The Greenland Dog comes in all colors and is slightly smaller than the Alaskan Malamute and slightly larger and stockier than the Siberian Husky, with an average height at the withers of 60 cm for males and 55 cm for females. In the American breed standard, a variety of 58 to 68 cm for males and 51 to 61 cm for females is specified. A specific weight is not specified in the breed standard as weight can vary greatly depending on gender and level of training.
Differences to other arctic dogs at a glance
- It can hardly be distinguished externally from the Canadian Eskimo Dog, which is why Greenland takes great care to ensure that the breed remains pure-blooded.
- The Greenland Dog is heavier and more muscular than sled dogs, which were bred for speed.
- In comparison, Siberian huskies are significantly smaller and narrower.
- The Alaskan Malamute always has dark eyes and a friendlier expression than the Greenlander.
- The Yakutskaya Laika (Yakut dog) is smaller and more agile than the American, Canadian, and Greenlandic huskies.
The Greenland Dog from head to tail
- The head is not as powerful as in the Malamute but is broad and deep with a pronounced stop.
- The muzzle tapers slightly towards the nose but does not taper to a point. The color of the large, wide-open nose should always match the coat color in summer and may lighten in winter (winter nose).
- An open, bold expression should be read from the eyes. They are slightly slanted and the eyelids fit well.
- The triangular erect ears are rather small and rounded at the tips, they are very mobile and clearly indicate the dog’s posture.
- The neck and body are particularly strong and rather short, the body is hardly longer than high.
- The croup slopes slightly over the broad loins and the chest is deep but not barrel-shaped.
- Strong front and hind legs stand perfectly straight. The hock joint on the hind legs is only moderately angulated.
- The tail is set high and has very bushy hair. It is always carried across the back, either arched or rolled up.
Stick hair for cold winters
The two-layer coat consists of a coarsely structured, smooth topcoat and a dense, soft undercoat. It should never belong but grows slightly longer on the body, especially around the neck than on the legs and face. An exception is the very bushy hairy tail.
These colors are common
All colors are allowed in the breed standard, both single and multicolored. Excluded are albino colorings and merle colorings, as these are due to genetic defects and entail health restrictions. Dilute colors are less common but are allowed.
- Red to light brown
- Gray from dark gray to light gray
- Brown, from chocolate to cream
- gold or yellow
- sable (grey/brown)
- All colors can be one color or combined, usually with darker shades on the head, tail, and back
- Sharply demarcated piebalds come in all sizes (coat, saddle or colored with light markings on the paws, face, the underside of the body, or on the tip of the tail
- A dark mask on the face is also allowed
- Typical of the breed is the so-called úlo spot on the neck, which is striking due to its triangular shape (not present in all colors).
The Story of the Greenland Dogs – Expedition Helpers in the Untouched Ice
Dogs are indispensable companions in the Innuit culture, ensuring the survival of the family and serving as a means of transport. The arctic four-legged friends made the settlement of the American continent possible in the first place: around 4000 years ago, the first settlers from Siberia brought the ancestors of today’s Greenland Dogs, Canadian Eskimo Dogs, and Alaskan Malamutes to the new continent. Since then, the breeds have lived almost in isolation and have hardly changed genetically in hundreds of years.
Breed Genetic Facts
- The Greenland Dog and the Canadian Eskimo Dog are genetically identical, but they must not be bred to each other.
- The Malamute originated in Alaska around the same time. All three breeds share the same ancestors (Yakut dogs).
- Siberian huskies are not directly related to Greenland dogs and only emerged after modern breed breeding began.
- All arctic races go back to an extinct wolf population in Asia that is not directly related to today’s wolves.
Faithful companion in harsh environments
- The Greenland Dogs have always lived in close connection with humans. In the tent camps and igloo villages of the Inuit in Russia and America, they roamed freely and hunted independently.
- They were mainly used to pull loads.
- Polar bears and sea lions were hunted and killed independently.
- On long voyages, more dogs were taken than necessary for drafting, to be used en route as a source of food for man and beast, as was done in the exploration of the South Pole.