No Frivolous Parts!

They couldn’t have been designed better for their environment than if they’d been drawn up by modeling software, these northern breeds of ours. The bushy tail of Malamutes, Elkhounds, Samoyeds, etc., are long enough to reach their faces and curl around their noses when they lie down to sleep. This protects their faces and provides additional warmth by trapping their breath around those face. When upright, some tails are carried over the back and to the side to provide extra protection to the kidney area. Meanwhile, the gradual changes in the skull of a Alaskan Malamute eliminates indentations or depressions to collect snow. Staying with the Malamute for a moment, those big paws serve to distribute the dog’s weight across a greater surface area, and keep the dog’s feet from sinking into the snow, and extra fat on the foot pads (also found on the Norwegian Elkhound and Chow Chow) prevents freezing because fat doesn’t freeze as quickly as other living tissue. Combined with the tough skin covering the toe pads, frostbite leading to dead tissue can be averted.

Almond-shaped eyes (think Samoyed), enable the dog to squint and expose less of their eyeball to wind and frigid air while still being able to see.

There isn’t much that’s frivolous on a nordic breed.

Image: Alaskan Malamute in ink and watercolor on Saunders Waterford 300gsm cotton paper by Soo Beng Lim is available for purchase here.  You may also see more of his work here. 

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