There is hardly a better symbol for the traditional Greenlandic lifestyle than the sled dog and the culture connected to dog sledging!
Throughout history, the Greenland sled dog has been crucial for survival in the Arctic, and genetically, the breed of dog in Greenland is unique even today, the use of dog sledding is still prominent in Greenland. In order to preserve the sled dog culture, the Greenland Government has banned the use of snow mobiles for hunting. But things are still changing and in just two decades, the number of sled dogs in Greenland has more than halved.
The main explanation for the drastic decline is to be found in the absence of sea ice. The season where the ice is stable and sledding is possible will be shorter year on year in Greenland. At the same time, there is a lot of work involved to provide food for the dogs. Imported dog food plays an increasingly important role, rather than traditional food like seals obtained from hunting. This means that an increasing number of mushers today put the whip on the shelf and give up keeping dogs. The Greenland sled dog is becoming a threatened species.