The Originals: Canadian Dogs

Can you guess which dog breeds are native to Canada?

By Justyne Yuen-Lee


Credit: Instagram / @canada150

It’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year! Yup, that’s right, Canada is 1.5 centuries old, and everyone’s excited. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia united on July 1, 1867 to make Canada! Then, the province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec to join New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


Credit: Instagram / @explorecanada

The rest is history. Now Canada comprises of the beautiful ten provinces and three territories. Who knows where they are on a map? We won’t judge you if you don’t! Since Confederation, the country of Canada has been known to be the friendly neighbor to the US, the creators of pasteurization, and even the inventors of basketball! (Thanks Canada Heritage Minutes!)

But what we think is most important are the dogs native to Canada. The Canadian Kennel Club recognizes five dog breeds who are uniquely Canadian. Before you start guessing, we’ll give you one: the Tahltan Bear Dog. Native to First Nations of northewestern British Columbia, these dogs hunted bears and lynx. Unfortunately, they are all extinct now.

We’ll start with an easy one!


Credit: Instagram / @moosiethenewfie

The Newfoundland

These fluffy, gentle giants are native to – you guessed it – Newfoundland! They were working dogs to the fisherman off the cost of Newfoundland. They’re strong, loyal, and amazing swimmers. Usually their coats are black or brown. There are black and white Newfies, but these are called Landseers!


Credit: Instagram / @rex_the_newfie

Newfoundlands may have originated from Aboriginal dogs or even Viking dogs. These dogs then bred with Basque and Portuguese dogs that were brought with fishing fleets. British people loved these big black dogs and brought them back to England.

And on to the next few – we’ll keep them easy!


Credit: Instagram / @bbflabradors

The Labrador Retriever

Labradors, one of the most popular dog breeds, is innately Canadian. They were probably bred from the same dogs as the Newfoundlands, but English nobility shaped them into the dogs that they are today. They are known for their short fur and smaller size.


Credit: Instagram / @linnnaa_

They come in three different colours: yellow, chocolate and black! They’re like ice cream. They are known for their capabilities in being gundogs and seeing-eye dogs! These cuddly beans are good pets, therapy dogs, and professional dogs!

This next breed has a silly name that it seems made up, but we promise you, it’s real!


Credit: Instagram / @loki_and_styx

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

This breed is not very familiar to Canadians, and it is almost unknown to other countries! This retriever tolls game by approaching them with curiosity. Then the game comes within gun range and hunters shoot them for the dogs to retreive!


Credit: Instagram / @loki_and_styx

Tollers are medium-sized breeds and are the smallest of retrievers. People usually think they’re small Golden Retrievers. They have fox-colored fur and kind of look like a mix of spaniels and retrievers!

The last breed comes from the North and is good with snow instead of water!


Credit: Instagram / @meowlissa902

The Canadian Inuit Dog

The official animal for Nunavut is the Canadian Inuit Dog or in Inukitut, the Qimmiq. These dogs are one of the oldest and rarest dog breeds that are connected to the purebred breeds of the Canadian Indigenous peoples.


Credit: Instagram / @akna_sled_dogs

Thule people brought their dogs from Siberia and bred them with the Aboriginal dogs. The Canadian Inuit dogs pulled sleds, but since the introduction of snowmobiles, these dogs are close to extinction. There are attempts to save this breed disappearing altogether.


Credit: Instagram / @canada150

And there you have it! All five dogs breeds that the Canadian Kennel Club recognizes as purely Canadian. These dogs prove to be rather useful in surviving and hunting. It’s fitting in such a vast country that is half covered in ice and has two ends surrounded by vast bodies of water!

canada150.2Credit: Instagram / @canada150

As a Canadian magazine, we at GetLeashed are proud of our heritage and the dogs that share it! We hope that these breeds continue to thrive and not go in the way of the Tahltan Bear Dog! Happy 150th, Canada!