North Greenland Eskimo Dog
From paintings by Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Polaris was chosen as our model of this type because he has been considered
the most perfect North Greenland Eskimo dog known. He shows the
light color so prevalent among the dogs of the extreme north on both
continents, and the marked depth and breadth of muzzle.
This seems to be a characteristic of many Asiatic dogs,
the Chow and Tibetan mastiff notably, and may point to an
Asiatic connection with Greenland via the Polar ice or across Arctic America.
There is a heavy, pale buff, deep-jawed dog found along the Arctic coast of
America from the eastern to the western extent of land.
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Admiral Robert E. Peary and his role
No white man living has had more experience with this breed than Admiral Robert E. Peary,
who frankly admits that if it had not been for the sledge dogs he never
would have discovered the North Pole. He is a firm believer in the
pure-bred North Greenland Eskimo, which is practically a domesticated wolf,
and most of the dogs which went to the Pole were of this type.
A puppy from these famous animals, secured by one of the coauthors of this
article from Admiral Peary, was named “Polaris,” and he developed into
what Captain “Bob” Bartlett declared to be the finest living specimen of the breed.
Eskimo Dog Makeup
Polaris weighed about 100 pounds, but looked much larger, owing to his wonderful coat,
which at its best measured nine inches long on the shoulder.
The hair of the tail was 12 inches long. He took to the sledge and to the pack-saddle
without any training whatever, and pulled a sledge three miles through
deep snow the first time he was put in harness.
He was extremely gentle and affectionate with people and with a little
Scotch terrier of ours, but a devil incarnate toward everything else that walked, flew, or swam.
From grasshoppers and wild mice, through cats and pigs to sheep and cattle,
there was nothing he could not or did not kill.
Yet such was the magic of his smile, the twinkle of his eye, and the
wheedling wave of his tail, that no one would believe anything against
him unless he was caught in the act, which he usually wasn’t.
He was finally presented to Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, and celebrated
his arrival in Labrador by whipping every other dog in sight.