Which Dog Breeds Originated in Canada?
If you know anything about Canada, you’ll understand that it is an extremely chilly country. So when we think about dog breeds that originated from Canada, you’ll see a pattern: they all tend to be quite fluffy and large so they can brave the cold conditions. Historically, many of the Canadian-bred dogs served the Indigenous people and settlers for centuries, while providing protection, assisting with tasks and companionship. The domestication of dogs occurred around the world dating back 20,000 years ago. While some of the Canada originating dogs have since gone extinct, many still roam the earth today. Which dog breeds originated in Canada? Continue reading to find out.
Labrador Retrievers are one of the most common dog breeds that are actually from Canada! Despite their name, they came from Newfoundland, not Labrador. And while they did originate in Canada, their development into a known breed happened in Europe. Historically they helped with duck hunting and became a familiar sight by the 1870s. First bred with a dark coat, it is believed the first yellow Lab was established in 1899. Today, they are friendly pets who are also commonly trained as therapy dogs.
Canadian Inuit Dog
The Canadian Inuit Dog is also commonly referred to as the Canadian Eskimo Dog. Originally from the Arctic, this breed has been facing extinction for many years. Historically they were used for transportation by the Inuit peoples but once snowmobiles became popular in the 1960s, the need for Canadian Inuit Dog teams became rare.
During times of famine they also provided food to the Inuit peoples and their fur was also valued many years ago. Efforts recently have been underway to preserve the breed which is recognized for its usefulness in hunting and sledding. On May 1, 2000, Nunavut named the Canadian Inuit Dog as their territory’s animal symbol.
Unlike the Labrador Retriever surprisingly originating in Newfoundland, the Newfoundland breed is indeed from Newfoundland. They were originally bred by fishermen in the 1880s to assist with pulling fishnets and hauling equipment. Newfoundland’s are typically very large and fluffy and are known for their smarts, strength, calmness and ability to interact well with children. Thanks to their muscles and webbed paws, they are great swimmers which is why they are great at water rescues. It’s not for certain exactly when the dogs originated as some traces point back to 1,000 AD during the time of the Vikings. Other evidence points to Indigenous peoples.
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Originating in Nova Scotia at the start of the 19th century, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has since grown to be one of the most expensive dogs you can own. They were utilized in the 19th century for bird hunting and are often referred to as Tollers. By 1995, this breed became Nova Scotia’s provincial dog and today they are energetic and loving family pets.
Extinct Breeds from Canada
There are two recorded breeds from Canada that have since gone extinct. This includes the Salish Woolly Dogs which went extinct around 1900 and the Tahltan Bear Dogs that became extinct around 1980. Salish Woolly Dogs were cherished for their wool-like coats because the Coast Salish women made blankets with it. They were smaller dogs with long white hair and curly tails which thrived in large packs. They lived in the wilderness around Vancouver Island but when used for their fur, they were fed salmon to ensure their coats were healthy.
As machines were introduced to make blankets, the need for the Salish Woolly Dog declined which caused their population to decrease substantially. Lastly, the Tahltan Bear Dogs were utilized for hunting by Indigenous groups because in packs they would tackle bears! It is believed this smaller breed originated in northwestern B.C. and the Yukon.
As European settlers arrived and guns became predominantly used, this beautiful breed went into extinction. They were cherished by the Tahltan people who opened their homes to them and were seen as brave and affectionate dogs. The last Tahltan Bear Dog died in 1979.