quimmiq is the inuktituk word for the canadian eskimo dog (canis familiaris borealis), which after four thousand years in canada’s arctic faces imminent extinction, in large part due to a policy of eradication by the royal canadian mounted police meant to force the inuit into government settlement. brian ladoon, whose dogs we see here near churchill, manitoba, has been breeding quimmiq for over forty years and is largely responsible for maintaining the species.
so it was with much trepidation that brian noticed a group of polar bears, who eat quimmiq, approaching his dogs one day in 1992. though most of his dogs became quite defensive, one of them playfully ventured up to a polar bear and the two got on like old firends. every year since, the polar bears will stop by ladoon’s place to play with the dogs on their way to the newly iced over hudson bay.
these photos were taken by famed arctic photographer norbert rosing, who just happened to be with brian on that day in 1992. the canadian eskimo dog is still on the verge of extinction, with estimates of three hundred or less left. "the last dogs of winter" is a 2011 documentary on brian ladoon’s efforts