People in the arctic wilderness have travelled on dog sleds for centuries. The dogs would pull the sleds as the village men went fishing and hunting, and helped to chase the prey. People trusted the instincts and intelligence of the sled dogs. One would make it home, no matter what the weather, terrain or distance was like. In a snow storm people trusted their lives to their sled dogs.
Originals of north-eastern Siberia
The Siberian Husky was bred in the USA of the north-eastern Siberian peoples’− mainly the Chukchi’s−dogs. The first Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska in 1908. They were used in sled races and to carry people and post.
Sacred animal of the Chukchi
According to the Chukchi, dogs were put on earth to see how good a person was. If a dog liked a person, that person could not be bad. The Chukchi also believed that dogs guarded the gates leading to afterlife and paradise. There was no point trying to get in if one had treated their sled dogs poorly.
Member of a Chukchi family
The Chukchi really looked after their dogs. A legend tells that husky puppies were even breastfed by the Chukchi women. These gentle dogs were also great playmates for the children.
Huskies saved the village of Nome from diphtheria
The whole world learnt about the Siberian Huskies after the events in winter 1925. A diphtheria epidemic threatened the villagers of Nome in Alaska. They were saved by 20 dog sleds driving in a relay that delivered an antitoxin to the village. The gruelling trip was more 960km long and a tremendous effort from the dogs and their drivers. There is a statue in honour of these brave dogs in New York’s Central Park.
Strong and versatile working dog
Above all the Siberian Huskies are known for their endurance. They are the fastest of the pure-bred arctic sled dogs. On a short distance huskies can pull twice their own weight, and on a longer one they can pull a weight equal to their own.
Adjusted to the cold
The Siberian Husky is used to the arctic temperatures. They have a thick, weather-proof fur. Their eyes are small and almond-shaped allowing them to squint to keep the wind and snow away. If a winter’s night was freezing, the Chukchis took their dogs inside–to keep the people warm!
Dog that loves people–with a headstrong character
The Siberian Husky loves his nearest people, but he is not too obedient. If needed, he will do his own thing and disobey people. He is, for example, even able to change his route, if his paws tell him that there is brittle ice under the snow.