By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Greenland Dog


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Greenland Dog is a robust and sturdy, heavy-built dog with wolfish looks that originated in Greenland thousands of years back. This dog is a very rare breed of huskies that are known for their speed and had primarily been used for drawing sleds and hunting. They have a typically broad, wedge-shaped head with slightly tilted eyes and small, triangular ears. The legs are muscular, strong, and covered with short hair, as opposed to the rest of the body, with the tail often rolling across the back. Today, this breed exists in Greenland much in the same condition as it had while it originated there, and are still brought up as working.

Greenland Dog Pictures

Quick Description

Other Names/Nick NamesKalaallit Qimmiat (Qimmeq), Grønlandshund, Grünlandshund, Esquimaux Dog, Canis Lupus Familiaris Borealis, Gr
CoatDouble, dense, average
ColorsGray (Black, White)
TypeSled Dog, Working Dog, Hunting Dog, Husky
Group (of Breed)Purebred
Type of BreedNorthern
UsesHiking, Hunting, Sled driving, Wagon pulling, Racing
Lifespan11 to 15 years
Weight66-71 pounds (both male and female)
Height (size)Large;
Males: 23-27 inches;
Females: 20-24 inches
Personality TraitsAlert, friendly, energetic, independent, loyal, intelligent
Litter Size4-6 puppies
Good with ChildrenYes
Good with PetsYes
Good for New/First-time OwnersNo
IntelligenceHigh (80% approx.)
Country of OriginGreenland
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationACA, ACR, APRI, DRA, FCI, SPK
UKC Dogs (Breed Club)
Breed Standard

Video: Greenland Dog Puppies Playing

History and Origin

The ancestry and development of these canids date back to 12,000 years ago when the ancient dogs came to Siberian accompanying primitive tribes, eventually developing into today’s Eskimo people of the region. These early inhabitants might have implemented the local wolves to act as the fathers in the process of breeding.

As one of the world’s oldest breeds, the Greenland Dog had been used by the Inuits since time immemorial. The native breed began as a dog of transportation, especially for drawing sled, as well as for hunting local animals like polar bears and seals, though never as a guard dog. The breeding herds were selected based on their endurance capacity, vigor, and firmness so as to procreate healthy and good looking offspring.

With the advent of the 1900s, there was a growing popularity of the other breeds like the Siberian Huskies, the Samoyeds, and the Alaskan Malamutes. However, many explorers continued to stick to using Greenland dogs, with especially the Arctic explorers and surveyors having a special favor for this breed because of their qualities.

Roald Amundsen recorded the earliest known data. He also used these canids as working dogs during his expedition to the South Pole, and it was this very breed that has been credited in the latter years for supporting him over Scott in conquering the Antarctica.

It was around 1750 that this dog was brought for the first time in the UK. Gradually becoming popular for its versatile working skills, they participated at the Darlington dog show in 1875.

In 1880, the breed was recognized by the Kennel Club at its foundation, and more than after a century by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1996.

Temperament and Behavior

These dogs are one-man dogs, immensely dedicated to a particular owner. However, those animals that work in a group do not have the opportunity to make that special bonding with their masters. The Greenland dogs do not have any guarding or protective instincts and are good with people. They are equally good with kids, other pets (including other dogs), and strangers.

Till date, these primitive dogs bear a close similarity in structure and temperament to the wolves also having a high alpha pack instinct. The Greenland dogs are not pets that would sit in a corner all day, enjoying sleep. They are self-willing and independent-natured, loving to roam and run around, playing quite boisterously. Hence, they are not suitable for apartments.



Needless to say how much of vigorous exercise they need daily. Let them go out for brisk jogging or walking sessions twice a day, and play in enclosed dog parks, though with the leash on. Credit goes to you if you have a house with a lawn or garden, preferably a large one.


They do not need heavy grooming. Their coat is of medium length and has two layers, with the inner layer consisting of short wool-like fur, and the outer being longer, coarser, and water-repellent. Brush them occasionally, maybe once a week or so.

Health Problems

These are extremely healthy and adaptable dogs not suffering from much ailments common to them.


Note: There is something to know before you start training these large dogs. Initially, in Greenland, these dogs are set free to roam around and grow up, until they are almost adults. As they grow up, they are chained and then trained to learn their respective types of work. However, if you decide to get one of these, training should begin at an early stage like most of the other domesticated dog breeds.

  • All-round behavioral training is essential with strict rules to follow. Make it clear what is unacceptable behavior, and stick to them. Train your Greenlander to accept the leash, and the ‘stop,’ ‘come back,’ ‘sit’ commands at a young age (younger the better). Arrange for lots of rewards at every stage.
  • Try to keep your dog’s extra energy under control. For that, keep your dog busy and tired, so that, it loses most of its energy. Try to utilize and convert its boisterousness into something creative by teaching it ways to play with you. Find out new and exciting tricks, which your dog finds appealing.
  • Impart socialization training to your pet by allowing it to mix with other dogs in the park or on its way to the mall or pet store with you (but of course on a leash). Because this breed is a bit rampant by nature, they need to watch other typical crossbreds you have in your neighborhood that are obedient and have the inborn instinct to sit cozily, to follow and to play with their owners. This habit should influence their mind by and by in learning to obey you more quickly.
  • Utilize their desire for work by teaching them a variety of household jobs. Begin with smaller ones like fetching your glasses or the writing pad, to opening the door lock, or carrying small buckets to your garden.


Regular good quality dry dog diet is good for them. Feed them with 2½ to 3 cups of kibbles on a daily basis. Divide into equal halves – a brunch/lunch and a supper.

Interesting Facts

  • The ears are covered with thick fur so as to protect them from frost bites.
  • When they curl up to sleep or rest, their tails almost cover the nose, which is probably a behavioral adaptation to prevent heat loss.

One response to “Greenland Dog”

  1. Debra Bushie says:

    We were in Greenland in 1987 for 3 months. In sismuit and Nuuk. The week before we arrived in Sisimuit a 5 year old boy was mauled to death by these dogs. The town’s sled dogs were all kept in a valley staked up in pairs. There probably were a hundred or so. They were fed once per week with raw meat (seal usually) being thrown to them as the owners knew not to come so close while They ravished their food. Only (only the lead dog) was tied up outside the owners houses. They were kept mostly wild as they were believed to retain the instinct for survival if on a hunting expedition they were met with inclement weather which is often the case. One sunny 3 am in the dead of night when the sun was so high in the sky it was above mountains There were men walking in orange overalls shooting older puppies who were found loose in the streets and pocketing the tails (for bounty tally). This was in a town with 5,000 people. Is this happening now? I do NOT know. But 12,00 years of breeding for does not make these “kid friendly”. Avoid this breed.

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