Aklaq, which means “black bear” in Inuktitut, was one of our first dogs. We got her from a sled dog owner in our community who said that we could take any of the females. We first saw her when she was 6 weeks old and thought she was the cutest little thing. She had a big, round, bear-like head with a short nose. She looked like a tiny fur ball. A couple weeks later, we went back and brought her home.
From very early on, it became apparent that Aklaq was a very dominant dog! She would always try to control her sister and was always eagerly waiting to pounce on her! It always shocked me to see that, only seconds, after a vicious fight with her sister, she would be her best friend again. When it came to meeting other, older dogs, Aklaq knew exactly what she had to do to win them over. She had her flirting perfected!
When we started adding new dogs to the team, Aklaq took it upon herself to show them the ropes. As long as the new dogs did not challenge her position, she was very affectionate and playful with them. There have been countless occasions when I’ve watched Aklaq mount and hump one of the puppies, as a show of dominance. Once I realized that the puppy was okay, it was quite a funny sight to watch. Here was this big dog, squishing a little puppy with every thrust! She is always the first dog that the puppies greet, and she indulges all there playful nips and pounces.
Even though all the puppies are full grown now and the males tower over her, Aklaq still tries to keep them all in line. It’s quite a sight to watch this relatively small, 55 lbs female cause a 80 – 100 lbs male to back away with just one glance. She seems to take great pleasure in this power. She will often leave a piece of food behind at the edge of her area, where it is within reach of another dog, and dare the other dog to try and take it from her. It takes quite a while for the males to realize that they are now a lot bigger than her and when she mounts them they don’t really seem to notice her any more. The sight of her mounting a huge male is almost funnier than her mounting the little puppies. One of the males is so large that she can barely reach his back, but regardless of that she still tries her best to mount him on occasion. To accomplish this she has to jump up and try to grasp his back hips. He just turns his head and looks at her as if to say, “here we go again!” When he’s had enough of the charade and tries to shake her off, she lets out this squeal as if to say, “don’t hurt me; I’m just little” but this is followed promptly by a growl to get him to stop moving. So she alternates between squealing and growling as she jumps up, desperately trying to mount a dog twice her size, as he tries to shake free of her. I have spoken with many other sled dog owners and they have not encountered another female quite like Aklaq! My husband and I joke that she thinks she’s really a male and doesn’t understand why the other males don’t take her seriously!
Aklaq is an extremely social dog that loves nothing more than to have the “humans” all to herself. She would sit for hours and have you scratch her arm pit or roll around in the snow with you. Like all of our sled dogs, she has such a strong, amazing, and unique personality. While I try not to have favourites, she has a special place in my heart, along with her sister, because they were our first dogs.