Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Around the Arctic October 25, 2012 - 11:30 am

Should Nunavut protect the Inuit dog breed?


Congratulations to Andrew Maher for this initiative and to all who support him. (Dog team owners ask Iqaluit city council to help protect Inuit sled dog breed, Nunatsiaq Online, October 10, 2012)

Could it be possible that a plan for Iqaluit will serve as a model for all Nunavut communities and elsewhere in Canada?

The Inuit dog is not a “cultured breed” like the Alaskan malamute and Siberian husky which have been bred to a artificial kennel club written standard as show dogs and pets and therefore lost their aboriginal roots.

The Inuit dog is an aboriginal land race because it has been bred for thousands of years based on its performance and ability to survive in its native habitat. The Government of Nunavut chose the Inuit dog over other iconic northern symbols as its official mammal to recognize that without it, Inuit could not have survived.

Sadly it appears nothing further has been set in place to assure that this once valued part of culture and tradition will not disappear forever.

At a minimum, veterinary proof of spay or castration of all non-indigenous, non-Inuit dogs should be required of all who wish to bring those dogs into Nunavut and elsewhere in Canada where Inuit dogs once thrived and are now are struggling to retain their identity.

No non-indigenous dogs should be “grandfathered” from such a law! Those dogs currently living in the North ought to be be neutered as well. The Inuit dog is a cultural treasure whose existence and future needs to be protected and encouraged!

Another suggestion would be to absolutely assure that all dogs have ready access to needed vaccinations all the time to prevent fatal disease epidemics.

Hopefully dog team owners and government leaders can work together to come up with a creative plan for Iqaluit.

Perhaps 2013 could be declared the “Year of the Inuit Dog” with a major gathering of owners and enthusiasts from all over Arctic Canada and perhaps Greenland as well to discuss issues and challenges facing the survival of traditional Inuit dogs and brainstorm creative solutions and programs to assure their future.

Please visit: The Fan Hitch.

Sue and Mark Hamilton
Harwinton, Connecticut

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