Alaskan Eskimo Dog

Illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Alaskan Eskimo Dog

There is no set standard for Eskimo dogs, and nowadays one must go very far into the Arctic to find the packs pure and uncontaminated with the blood of the white man’s dogs; for the best huskie is the strongest, most willing, and obedient dog, whatever his lineage, and these qualities have undoubtedly been increased through the introduction of such strains as the Newfoundland, Dane, shepherd dog, and others of less pure but equally civilized blood.

There are a good many names for the Eskimo dogs and a good many types, as their rage covers a stretch of country some 4,000 miles long and 1,500 miles wide. It is therefore easily understandable that the dog of the Aleutians and Alaska should present quite a different appearance from that of Hudson Bay or Greenland.

The typical Alaskan “huskie” is generally black or dark, with white and buff markings, distributed as shown in the plate. The brown leader is the famous dog Napoleon, from Nome, who went as a leader to France in 1915. The white-faced dogs are “huskies;” the “masked” dog in the middle is a “malamute,” and the pale dogs are of the North Greenland type.

All Eskimos are strong, wolfy, self-reliant dogs, with straight, strong legs, solid body, and massive head; even of jaw, keen of eye and ear, and well equipped by nature for the semiferal life they lead among their nomadic masters. They have the pricked ears, deep-furred neck, dense waterproof coat, well-furred feet, and gaily carried tail of all the Arctic and northern Asiatic dogs, and are represented by similar dogs across northern Lapland, Russia, and Siberia.

A good average weight for these dogs is about 70 pounds, though they often scale much more. They share with the Asiatic dogs the peculiar horizontal width of jaw so marked in the Chow. They are used by the Eskimos for pulling sledges and for hunting musk-ox and Polar bear which are overtaken and held at bay until the hunters arrive.

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