Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Inuit Sled Dog

Teams of Inuit Sled Dogs, seen here in the traditional fan hitch, were and still are largely comprised of all males, with no more than one to three females. Photo: Corel Arctic

The traditional sled, a qamutiq, is now made of wood, lashed together with either bearded seal "rope" or the more modern nylon line. Before manmade materials, a qamutiq would be made of animal bones with runners of frozen fish rolled up in animal hides, and covered with mud, then built up and made smooth with frozen water or even urine. photo: Corel Dogsledding

Learn more of the history of mushing by reading about the oldest and most primitive of sled dog breeds, whose descendents still exist, largely unchanged, in the land of their origin. The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History by Ian Kenneth (“Ken”) MacRury is the most comprehensive and scholarly publication of its kind on this 4000 year-old breed, “created and fine tuned” to its many tasks by Nature and the aboriginal peoples of the polar north who first crossed the Bering Bridge into North America and wandered all the way to Greenland.

It is well accepted that without the Inuit Sled Dog, the Inuit and their ancestors could not have survived in one of the harshest and most unforgiving climates on Earth. In recognition of its vital role, the Inuit Sled Dog was honored in May 2000 as Nunavut’s official mammal, chosen above such northern icons as the polar bear, caribou, musk ox and seal.

You can find even more about the Inuit Sled Dog within the pages of The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, where you will discover a wealth of information on health and science, behavior, adventure, history and much, much more!

Sue Hamilton
US Coordinator, Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI)
Editor, "The Fan Hitch", Journal of the ISDI

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