• Feature

5 Superb Sled Dog Portraits

Feb 02, 2022
by Jessica MacDonald

For thousands of years, Inuit have bred dogs as an efficient way to travel and haul goods across snow-covered terrain. Today we’re taking a moment to honour the furry companions whose efforts made Arctic survival possible.


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Agnes Nanogak Goose
Puppies (1970) Stonecut
Courtesy Courtesy Northern Expressions © the Artist

Why do they call it a litter of puppies? Because they mess up the whole house! This nursing momma dog is shown with her own puppies and her human. Agnes Nanogak Goose has enlarged the size of the dog and put the Inuk figure amongst the puppies, suggesting that the panting canine is the one taking care of them all.


Jimmy Arnamissak
Family Travelling Around the World by Dog Team (1987) Stone and sinew
Courtesy Art Gallery of Ontario © the Artist

I’m pawsitive I don’t want to go any further. If dogs could talk, that’s definitely what the central canine in Jimmy Arnamissak’s carving would say.  Placing his team on a curving plane, Arnamissak suggests a journey spanning the globe itself, which would exhaust both human and animal alike. The eye contact between dog and driver reveals the wordless conversation—how much longer can we go on?


Bibi Chemnitz
Sled Dog Hoodie (unisex) Cotton and polyester
© the Artist

Where should a sled dog never go shopping? A flea market! Feel free to bring your dogs to Bibi Chemnitz’s sportswear, though. The sporty silhouettes of her crisp garments have swept them from small town Nuuk in remote Greenland to the cobbled streets of Copenhagen and beyond. Her hoodie shows a modern take on the traditional sled dog, with fur stippled in high-contrast black on a red background. 


Tony Anguhalluq Two inuit are Going Fishing And caribou hunting (2006) Coloured pencil on paper 26.7 x 34.9 cmCourtesy Marion Scott Gallery © the Artist

Just fur the fun of it, Tony Anguhalluq’s dogs have rainbow harnesses that make them pop off an Arctic ice rendered in pastels. Although the piece is named Two inuit are Going Fishing And hunting, the canines are centre-stage, refusing to mush into the background.


Holly Andersen
Untitled (2018) Digital Photograph
© the Artist

Who’s the best doggone puppy in the whole world? It’s definitely this little black and white one Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL, photographer Holly Andersen captured in this tender moment of motherly love. One thing for sure is that life would be ruff without puppy kisses.

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