The Canadian Eskimo Dog is an aboriginal breed of dog that has gone through many name changes. As a breed, The Canadian Eskimo Club has, in the past, referred to the dog as the “Esikomo”, “Exquimaux Husky”, “Esquimaux Dog” and “Husky”.
The Inuit of Arctic Canada called this dog “Qimmiq”. The breed has an 1100 to 2000 year history of being interdependent with the Thule culture and Inuit who, following the Dorset culture, occupied the coastal and Archipelago area of what is now Arctic Canada.
Although within the spitz family of dogs, the Canadian Eskimo Dog’s origin prior to this is lost in the Inuit prehistory which includes the migration of the Mongolian race from the Asian continent to North America. The existing strain of Canadian Eskimo Dog originated from stock primarily bred by the Eskimo Dog Research Foundation in the Northwest Territories.
The foundation’s work over a six year period was mainly funded by the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories and involved the purchase of specimens from the remnant population of dogs kept by the Inuit of the Boothia Peninsula, Melville Peninsula and parts of Baffin Island.
The Canadian Eskimo Dog, as a primitive dog, is primarily a carnivorous breed, whose natural diet consisted of seal, walrus, fish or caribou. For centuries this breed was used as a draught animal and was capable of pulling between 45 and 80kg per dog, covering distances from 15 to 70 miles per day. He was also used as a hunting dog, to locate seal breathing holes for Inuit hunters. As a hunting dog he would also attack and hold at bay musk ox and polar bear for the Inuit hunters. In summer the dog was used as a pack dog carrying up to 15kg.