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Breed -

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Argentine polar dog


Breed History

Argentine polar dog - extinct

Was created by the Argentine Army in order to facilitate transportation around its bases in Antarctica. The breed emerged through the crossing of spitz traditionally used as sled dogs. These include the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky, the Greenland Dog and the Samoyed dog. The breeding practice of the Argentine polar dog came to an end in 1991, when Article 4 of the Antarctic Treaty forced the removal of all non-native species from the continent.

The origins of the Argentine polar dog can be traced back to 1949, when the then colonel Hernán Pujato approached president Juan Perón with a project that sought to bring Argentina closer to its Antarctic territorial claims through the creation of a scientific institute and the establishment of more science-oriented bases with a year-round population. Perón's interest led to Pujato visiting North America and taking a "Polar Survival Course", dictated by the United States Army in both Alaskan and Greenlandic territory.[3] There, he came to learn about efficient methods of survival, construction and transportation. From that trip, he brought 40 dogs with himself, which, through selective breeding in the southernmost continent, ended up giving origin to an entirely new breed. On 21 March, 1951, the San Martín Base, the first Antarctic base below the Antarctic Circle, was established and, thus, the Argentine polar dog became a key piece in the logistics of the Argentinian presence on the continent.

A wide spectrum of temperaments have been reported on the breed; while some specimens have shown a great tolerance and compassion towards their kind, others have been prone to fighting and turning to aggression with ease. Generally speaking, Argentine polar dogs were loyal and tender when it came to their human masters, but rather the opposite in regards to other dogs. Fights were not rare to ensue whenever a dog or more freed themselves from their harnesses. Such fights were reported to be particularly violent, usually culminating in the death or severe injury of one or both dogs involved. The moment a dog went down, most of the pack would surround it and attack it, with a tendency to bite the lower abdomen and the genital area with powerful jaws.

Hauling heavy freight was their strength and they frequently expressed eagerness to do it, as well as showing a tamer and more collaborative side while performing their intended labor. Explorers and personnel who have worked side by side with the dogs have reported them having an innate intuition that allowed them to see or sense obstacles that were invisible for the human eye, such as cracks and holes in the ground that were covered by thin ice or frost. The canids would, without being commanded to, stray from the previously planned path and get back in track once the unnoticed obstacle was left behind.

Vocal-wise, the Argentine polar dog made mostly use of a prolonged and high-pitched howl that reached great distances. One dog would usually howl once, to which its companions would initiate a "choir" of sorts, howling in return and stopping all at once with a remarkable sense of timing.

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