Friday, 13 September 2013

Inuit Sled Dogs

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally got some real Inuit Sled Dogs that I can breed and start a team with.  It all started when I began skijoring with our mutt Buddy.  As a kayaker and canoeist I have always appreciated travelling slow without an engine.  Despite the royalex, gore-tex, polyethelene and naptha it could be referred to as a traditional way of travel.  Having had no previous experience with dog teaming it hadn't really crossed my mind as a potential pursuit, except for the fact that my friend Charlie has a team of pure bred Inuit dogs or Qimmituinnait (real dogs).  At the time my fiancee was in the second term of our pregnancy and it was pretty easy to convince myself that starting a team now was foolish.  After reading article upon article in The Fan Hitch Journal, I quickly turned those thoughts around and decided it would be great to raise a team with our child right from the get go.  After expressing this to Charlie he gave me one of his six month old pups, a perfect age to start pulling at.  There are other people with teams of pure bred Inuit Dogs in town, though I realized the work they had put in to acquiring the dogs they have and I chose to try to bring in some dogs from elsewhere to contribute to the local gene pool.  Perhaps I would be able to give back some day.  After being referred from one stranger to another in Iqaluit I found some one with qimmituinnait willing to help out.  The email exchanges began in February or March in anticipation of me passing through Iqaluit in the summer to guide sea kayak trips out of Pond Inlet.  Upon meeting this benevolent stranger I was immediately impressed by his knowledge, experience and devotion to the breed.  I was equally impressed with the dogs he had kept off island for me to chose from.  I ended up leaving with a 14 month old female and a very experienced 8 year old male, both great examples of potential Inuit dog phenotypes.  Even if a dog is phenotypically pure it may not perform if not from good breeding/working dog stock.  Thankfully these dogs have the performance background to boot.  Raised and living the same way I have and will continue to keep dogs.  Outdoors in an Arctic working environment, pulling loads.

                           Nassalik, from Iglulik & Disko Bay/Uummannaq Fiord Stock
                                                            Born in Kuujjuaq

                                    Rosebud, from original Iglulik/Hall Beach Stock
                                                           Born in Iqaluit

                                       Bear, from original Iglulik/Hall Beach Stock
                                                           Born in Pond Inlet

                                        Irniq Callum happy to be holding the Nitsik

So far the process has been slow but rewarding, despite the fact that we don't even have a working team yet.  As one can imagine I frequently dream of that day and the whole family is now enjoying pre season training and time spent with the dogs.  Our son has a book on typical Nunavik modes of transportation, he won't let us flip passed the qimutsitiit page with a dog team on it.  He stares at the dogs and says "Uuit, uit!"

I will post another update once there is either some sledding to show for a litter of puppies..... that's all for now.

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