'Pure' Inuit sled dogs need protection from strays, say Canadian mushers

Mushers in the northern Canadian city of Iqaluit have asked the government to build a pen where their "pure" Inuit sled dogs can be isolated from strays that would interbreed with them. CBC News reports that a pen big enough for up to 15 teams would also provide safety for children who might want to play with the dogs.

Isolation has made Inuit sled dogs the last indigenous breed in North America, and [musher Matty] McNair says Iqaluit is one of the few places in Canada with a healthy number of pure dogs.

She's had a team since 1988 and said years ago, on a trip around Baffin Islan,d she witnessed the true strength of the Inuit sled dog.

"The dogs ran, some of them, for up to eight days with no food, doing about 100 kilometres a day."

But with so many other breeds in Nunavut now, often on the loose, McNair is worried.

"Interbreeding is starting to happen, and they're dying out," she said.

Read more at CBC News: Inuit sled dogs need protection, say Iqaluit mushers