Let's talk Greenland Dogs

It’s all about a healthy work/life balance for the Greenland Dog, who displays remarkable stamina and comes with a limitless energy supply. Their heavy coat can more than handle colder climes and with a history of sled-pulling and polar-bear hunting, this powerful dog has serious zest for any type of outdoor life. The Greenland Dog can sometimes be wary of newcomers – for all of five minutes – but towards their owners they are playful and devoted in temperament. Especially if they’re the only canine of your affection.

Official name: Greenland Dog

Other names: Kalaallit qimmiat (Qimmeq), Grønlandshund, Grünlandshund, Esquimaux Dog

Origins: Greenland

Greenland Dog sitting in black and white


 Drooling tendencies  Medium  Warm weather?  
 Shedding level  Medium  Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  High  Family pet? *  High
 Compatibility with other pets  High  Can stay alone? *  Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.


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Illustration of Greenland Dog
58 - 64 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
30 - 32 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
53 - 58 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
30 - 32 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2-15 months
 Adult age:  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age:  5-8 years
 Senior age:  From 8 years


Greenland Dog standing in dried grass


Get to know the Greenland Dog

All you need to know about the breed

With a work ethic that would put most of us to shame, the Greenland Dog is a high energy dog that needs a lot of space to run around. Sorry to all the apartment dwellers out there but this is not the breed for you. In addition to their impressive endurance, one look into the bold eyes of the Greenland Dog will confirm their independent spirit. This, along with their sturdy build, makes them best suited to experienced, confident owners who lead a very active lifestyle.

While this spitz-type breed bears more than a passing resemblance to the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the Siberian Husky, it is actually quite rare to spot them outside of their native Greenland, where they are much loved for their affectionate temperament and patience.

Let’s take a second to admire that gorgeous fur ... having evolved in such a cold climate, the Greenland Dog has developed a thick double coat, which requires minimal grooming despite its voluminous presence.

If your Greenland Dog is getting enough exercise they will be content to stay busy indoors with one toy or another, reassured by their owner's nearby presence. But in case it wasn’t clear enough, the Greenland Dog needs a ton of exercise on a daily basis.

The breed can get on well with children—with the right training and socialisation, a Greenland Dog will eagerly insert themselves into play sessions. Supervision around small children is essential however, due to the breed’s size and high-spirited nature.

The Greenland Dog of today is not so different from his ancestors in terms of character and appearance. In their native country, the breed continues to be equally appreciated for their working skills and loyal companionship.

Greenland Dog walking towards camera over grass and snow


2 facts about Greenland Dogs

1. I’m still standing

The Greenland Dog is the only breed from their homeland to have made it this far, even surviving a canine epidemic. The Greenland Dog is also currently seeing a decrease in their numbers, due to climate change and an increase in motorised vehicles. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this beautiful dog sticks around for much longer!

2. Leader of the pack

Greenland Dogs are close relatives to wolves, which makes them an assertive and strong-willed breed. This is why they need an experienced and confident owner who can take the lead. Once this is established, the Greenland Dog respects the hierarchy and settles into their role of faithful companion. With other dogs and animals, the Greenland Dog will benefit from early socialisation, to prevent them being bossy or territorial.


History of the breed

The history of the Greenland Dog goes way back to … the land before time? Not quite, but its earliest origins do date back as far as 12,000 years so the Greenland Dog is an antique breed. Historical records strongly suggest that a dog closely resembling the breed was brought to Greenland from Siberia by the Sarqaq people. Again, the facts are a little hazy, but it is believed that the Vikings were the first to discover the breed in Greenland, and trained them to hunt (polar bears, seals) and pull sleighs.

Rarely seen outside of their native country, the Greenland Dog has still not been recognised by the American Kennel Club. They first appeared in England around 1750 but were not showcased until 1875, and only recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1996 as a spitz-type breedSpitz-type dog.

At the end of the day, the Greenland Dog is not a show dog. They much prefer to accompany explorers, like they did with Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amunsen, on ambitious arctic adventures. The colder the better for this adventurous canine!

Greenland Dog lying in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Greenland Dogs

1. Ears

Small, triangular-shaped ears that sit high on the head.

2. Head

A broad head and strong jaw with thin lips.

3. Eyes

Eyes correspond to coat color, and slant slightly.

4. Body

Body is muscular and compact, with a sturdy appearance.

5. Tail

Fluffy tail sits high and curls delicately over the back.

Side view close-up of Greenland Dog head


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Greenland Dog
Side view of Greenland Dog walking with tongue out


Caring for your Greenland Dog

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Greenland Dog’s thick double coat needs weekly grooming to keep it gleaming with health. Trim their nails regularly to prevent cracking and give those canine teeth a brush at least once a week, more if they will let you. The exercise needs of the Greenland Dog are not for the faint-hearted; daily walks at a speedy space is the starter package. Their endurance makes them great for long hikes, as well as moderate runs—the colder the better! They will also require play sessions in the garden or nearby woods or forests, and respond well to games that get their brain working. Their stubborn streak can make training the Greenland Dog a bit of a challenge, but it’s not impossible.  A consistent approach with firm rules and positive training methods will show them who's boss (that’s you) and then they’ll follow your rules. Their strong work ethic means they prefer to stay busy most of the time.


All about Greenland Dogs

That’s a good question. The honest answer is that the Greenland Dog knows how to use their bark, but they don’t go overboard. They mostly use it to alert their owners to sudden noises, which is actually pretty useful. If you notice your Greenland Dog barking more than usual, it may signify that they’re bored or need more exercise.

Because of their pack mentality, and independent nature, Greenland Dogs tend to bond particularly well with one member of the household. But their spirited nature can make them a good playmate for children who know how to behave towards dogs, i.e. no poking please. It’s all in the training of your Greenland Dog: Socialising them from the get-go will help them to feel as comfortable as possible around family members, friends, and strangers, resulting in an affectionate and loyal dog.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/