Canada – around the world on four legs

Canada - around the world on four legs

Canada is a country that loves dogs. One Sunday night in May 2001, police arrived at Keldon McMillan’s house suspected of having a gun. The man threatened to hurt his ex-wife, and if someone tries to stop him, shoot him. The suspect was not at home, only after some time he returned from work and began to run away at the sight of the policemen. His car was stopped over 100 km further around the town of Wakaw in the Saskatchewan province. Officer Cyr was on duty there.

When the fugitive did not heed the calls to put down his arms and surrender, Cyra was sent to incapacitate him. Without hesitation, he went into the dark. Although the bandit shot him twice, he got him and knocked him down. Then the third shot was fired. Cyr fell on duty. Over 300 Canadian police officers appeared at the hero’s funeral. Almost all of Canada was shocked by this tragedy.

It was remembered how fallen he was liked, especially by young cadets and children from nearby schools, which he often visited. Canada boasted a great dog. An ordinary story of courage and sacrifice, which many – many readers will tell. Almost ordinary, because it must be added that Cyr was … a five-year German Shepherd Dog – one of hundreds of brave dogs serving in the Canadian police.

Many Canadian dogs work. They are employed in emergency medical services, police and army, as guides for the blind and deaf people. Their guardians have created an amazing website for those working in the police You can find on it, among others list of distinguished dog officers who fell in service. As you can see Canada can boast of great dogs.

With a dog to Canada

First you need to get a passport for your dog, which requires rabies vaccination and a tattoo or chip. After 21 days, visit your vet with your dog and passport, who will issue a valid veterinary certificate for 48 hours.

You must go to the Poviat Veterinary Inspectorate for an export certificate with him and your dog’s passport. To cross the border, you must also have your own chip reader.

Canada likes poodles

In 2008, 4 million dogs lived in the second largest country in the world. Half of Canadians have at least one animal, for which they spent an average of $ 360 in 2009. According to the Canadian Kennel Club, currently the most popular breeds are: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, underrated Poodle and Shetland Sheepdog. Only behind them are so popular in Poland Yorkshire Terriers, miniature schnauzers and boxers.

Three poodles are sitting on the wall
photo: Shutterstock

Canada – most dogs live here in prosperity and security, for the most exciting adventures having a trip to the nearest park and the pursuit of sparrows. The monthly „Dogs in Canada”, very well known and read by all dog makers, organizes a photo contest every year, where readers sometimes send hundreds of thousands of photos of their pets! In the last edition, photos of dogs playing with the owner against the sunset won, basking in a spot of light and looking at the lake …

A dog that advised the prime minister

Dogs are present in the lives of Canadians as well as in their culture, including mass culture. There are several dog names that old and young know from sea to sea. One of them is Pat, described as the strangest dog hero in world history. William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canadian Prime Minister three times.

Until now, he remained the best-educated politician in the history of the whole continent, for he obtained diplomas from as many as five universities. For 17 years of adult life he had a devoted friend, an Irish terrier named Pat. Half a century after the death of the popular prime minister, his diaries were discovered and published. It turned out that King was a practicing spiritualist.

He made important political decisions many times, guided by the advice obtained during the screenings. He reached, among others advice of his late wife and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as … Pat. The dog’s spirit was to accompany him throughout the years of his political career. Hardly anyone makes jokes in Canada from the prime minister’s double life.

William Lyon Mackenzie King with dog Pat
photo: Library Archives Canada PA-174052

His political achievements were assessed positively and to this day, when a politician makes a big mistake, it is said that he should go to his head and listen to the dog’s advice.

Newfoundland Tang is another very famous Canadian dog. In December 1919, a snowstorm and hurricane threatened Ethie. 92 people died in the eye when they settled on the rocks. The captain was to entrust an extraordinary mission to his beloved dog. He gave him a rope that had to be pulled ashore for people to get out of the trap. Thanks to the help of rescuers, we managed to bring the survivors ashore. Everything was described first by local newspapers and then by world newspapers.

However, it has recently been discovered that many details in this story do not match. The remains of „Ethie” can still be seen next to the Gros Morne National Park, but according to Tang he was not a Newfoundland, but a collie sheep, he did not belong to the captain, only to the lifeguard, he did not sail from the ship to the shore, but in the opposite direction. Who is interested in it though? In Canada – no one. It’s important that Tang is a great hero, that’s all!

Parks without a leash

Animal regulations vary by province. Canada insists on the obligatory registration, labeling and vaccination of dogs and cats. For example, in Edmonton, a dog license can be bought and renewed online. Failure to register requires a $ 250 fine. Each household can have up to six cats and three dogs. Canada is one of those countries where animals must always wear an identifier (chip, tattoo or special tag).

Authorities urge dog lovers to buy a license and meet the renewal deadlines, explaining what they spend the money they get. A dozen dollars a year from each owner allows you to maintain shelters, provide free emergency veterinary care and return lost animals to carers. They are also allocated to education in the field of responsible animal care.

In Edmonton, city authorities have designated 40 parks where dogs can move without a leash. Their map is on the city’s website. Also encouraged:

If there is no Park without a Leash in your area, turn to local residents and take action to create it „- we read on the website.

The city authorities show how to apply step by step to create a new park where dogs can run freely. This is important because in Edmonton they cannot walk without a leash outside the places mentioned.

Responsible owners are fighting

Canada is dog-friendly – it fights among others the Responsible Dog Owners Association of Canada. He organizes courses and is involved in actions promoting animal rights. Thanks to the volunteers of this association, there are already thousands of dog friendly parks in Canadian cities, and even a dozen or so dog … swimming pools.

„Responsible owners” at lectures talk about how much joy can bring life with a dog, whose breed and disposition best match the expectations of the owner. Quote Gene Hill:

Whoever said that luck could not be bought has forgotten the existence of pooches.

Breeds from Canada

It is not easy to determine the exact number of Canadian races, and this is because some of them originated in Canada, but the development and final shape are due to other countries. The International Kennel Club (FCI) attributes Canada to two breeds.


One of them is the well-known Newfoundland – a large, strong dog (height: dogs approx. 71 cm, bitches approx. 66 cm, weight: dogs approx. 68 kg, bitches approx. 54 kg), whose task was once to help fishermen from Newfoundland in pulling the nets, towing the boat, and sometimes also saving a man overboard.

This breed, known for its strength, friendly and balanced disposition and love of water, was based on Native Canadian dogs and a large bear dog brought here by Vikings after 1100.

Newfoundland poses for a photo
photo: Shutterstock

Modern Newfoundland is bigger and more hairy than its ancestor. FCI recognizes nufs with black (also white markings), black and white and brown (chocolate) colors.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) also accepts brown and white and blue nipples, while Canada only accepts black and black and white.


In addition to spotted Newfoundland FCI – as the only one – also distinguishes a separate breed: landseer. They are black and white dogs representing the former Newfoundland type, and the breed is recognized as German-Swiss, but its roots are in Canada.

In other organizations, the black and white coat of the nuves is simply called the Landseer. The term comes from the name of an English painter who often painted such dogs.

Landseer poses for a photo among the trees
photo: Shutterstock

Canadian roots are recognized as a British breed Labrador Retriever, whose name indicates the origin of the Labrador Peninsula. This dog has common ancestors also with Newfoundland, but its main ancestor is considered to be a guard dog from St. John’s (St. John’s Water Dog).

These dogs were very similar to Labradors, they had a black coat with slight white markings. Unfortunately, in the 1980s the breed became extinct, although in Newfoundland you can still find its hybrids.

Nova scotia duck tolling retriever

The second Canadian breed recognized by the FCI is nova scotia duck tolling retriever – attracting duck retriever from Nova Scotia. This is the smallest of retrievers (height: dogs 48-50 cm, bitches 45-48 cm, weight: dogs 20-23 kg, bitches 17-20 kg), bred at the beginning of the 19th century in the province of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever looks sideways
photo: Shutterstock

In his veins flows the blood of European retrievers, Irish cocker and setter, as well as collie type dogs. The work of this retriever was quite specific: the hunter threw him a stick on the edge of the stick, which attracted ducks, who swam curiously to him. After the shot, he retrieved the prey from the water. Tollers are nice and lively dogs, who love playing and working with people. They appear in red, often with white markings.

Canadian Eskimo Dog

The Canadian eskimo dog is a breed not recognized by the FCI or AKC, but recognized in Canada and the United Kingdom. He is a typical sled dog, used for centuries by Eskimos. This breed probably already existed 4 thousand. years ago. Interestingly, her pattern was first approved by the Canadian Kennel Club.

These are growing dogs, stronger than Siberian husky, but usually lighter than malamutes (height: males 58-70 cm, bitches 50-60 cm, weight: dogs 30-40 kg, bitches 18-30 kg). They are covered with a thick, two-layered coat, usually semi-long (coat hair 8-15 cm long), forming an abundant flange in males.

All colors are allowed, the most common are white, black, chocolate, red, gray, silver and cinnamon. White dogs with a colorful head or plain dogs with white markings are common.

Various eye colors are allowed, except blue. The ears are set apart quite broadly, as in the case of the Malamute, the tail usually worn curled on the back. They are gentle, curious, alert and intelligent dogs. They are relatively easy to lay, they have good memory. They need a lot of traffic. In addition to pulling sleds, they sometimes helped seal hunting, which is why they have strong hunting instincts.

Labrador Husky

Another team race from Canada is the Labrador Husky. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this is not a mix of Labrador and Husky, but a sled dog bred on the Labrador Peninsula. These dogs probably came here around 1300 together with the Inuit (Eskimo people). Although closely related to other northern breeds, including the Siberian Husky, the breed developed in isolation and therefore developed individual characteristics.

These dogs are strong, quite large (height 50-70 cm, weight 27-45 kg), stronger than Siberian Husky, but not as fast as he was bred for both speed and endurance. They come in various colors, most often black with white, gray with white, black or white. This is one of the rarest northern breeds. No cynological association or club recognizes her.

Siberian sled dog Seppali

Another Canadian sled breed is Seppala Siberian Sleddog (Siberian Seppali Sled Dog). In fact, this is a purely sled line of the Siberian Husky. Leonhard Seppala was a famous marcher who imported dogs from Eastern Siberia. The quadrupeds imported and bred by him became one of the precursors of the Siberian Husky. Seppala and other sled breeders selected their dogs for work predisposition, which is why at some point the Seppali line diverged from the exhibition lines, becoming a separate breed.

She is not recognized by any cynological association, but in the late 1990s she was recognized by the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture as an evolving breed. Compared to the exhibition siberians, seppale are lighter and have longer paws. Their coat is dense, but relatively short. They are characterized by a greater diversity of colors, they are often white or fawn, as well as spotted. Known for their strength and speed, they are perfect for medium distance runs.

A dog on bears of the Tahltan tribe

It is also worth mentioning about extinct indigenous breeds of dogs kept by Indian tribes living in Canada. One of them was the tahltan bear dog, found in western Canada. We know the breed from the descriptions. It was a small, short-haired dog between a spitz and a pariah. He had different colors, but most often – black with white markings.

Its characteristic feature was a relatively short, profusely hairy and upright tail. The Indians carried two dogs in panniers until they encountered a fresh bear trail – then they released them. Their task was to stop the animal until hunters arrived. With the arrival of white settlers and their dogs, some of these animals became extinct as a result of diseases, some became mixed with their kinsmen, but you can still find quadrupeds in this type.

Hare indian dog

On the other hand, the tribes living in the eastern areas kept hare indian dogs (the name is not derived from a hare, but from an Indian tribe). They were small, slightly built quadrupeds, which were used, among others, for hunting, hauling loads, and herding animals. The Indians believed that they came from the polar fox.

Today it is believed that they came from tahltan dogs mixed with Spitz dogs brought here by Vikings. A characteristic feature of these quadrupeds was the delicate muzzle. They had a half-long coat, usually white with gray-brown patches. They were very friendly towards strangers. Like the sled breeds, they rarely barked. In the nineteenth century, the breed mixed with other dogs.

Authors: Sylwia Skorstad, Urszula Charytonik


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