Littell's Living Age/Volume 138/Issue 1784/Miscellany

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Eskimo Dogs. — The horrible savagery of these poor wretches can hardly be wondered at; they live in a country where there is hardly a chance for them in any independent foraging expedition; they are half starved by their masters, being fed chiefly on frozen walrus hides in the winter, and allowed to shift for themselves in the summer when their services are not required, and are in so perennial and acute a state of hunger that they are ready at any time to eat their own harness if allowed to do so. It is generally stated that they are perfectly insensible to kindness, and only to be kept in order by a liberal application of the lash, or even of a more formidable weapon; for the Eskimo, if their dogs are refractory, do not scruple to beat them about the head with a hammer, or anything else of sufficient hardness which happens to be at hand. They will even beat the poor brutes in this horrible manner until they are actually stunned. Notwithstanding the absolute dependence of the Eskimo on their dogs, little or no care is taken of them; they receive nothing in any degree approaching petting, and spend all their time in the open air. The chief use of the Eskimo dog is to draw the sledges, which are the only possible conveyance in that frozen land. In all the Arctic expeditions which have been sent out at various times, a good supply of sledge dogs has been one of the greatest desiderata, as without them it would be absolutely impossible to proceed far. No other animal would answer the purpose, both horses and cattle being quite useless in journeys over ice and snow, amongst which the pack of light, active dogs make their way with wonderful ease and safety. Cassell's Natural History.