Breed Spotlight: the Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky breed comes from a longstanding tradition of working dogs. The ancestors of the Siberian Husky breed are believed to have been developed by the nomadic Northeast Asian (Siberian) Chukchi tribes. While the heavy draft dogs were primarily used around the turn of the 19th century, the Chukchi people became known for their use of light-weight dogs. These dogs were used to routinely travel long-distances at a fairly quick pace, since the Chukchi people’s land-locked lives depended on this travel to the sea for food and supplies.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the “Siberian Chukchi” dogs were first introduced to Alaska via the Bering Strait. There, people quickly realized that the dogs’ talents were not those of sprinters or freight dogs. Instead, the dogs were recognized as endurance machines capable of pulling light loads over vast distances. From that point on, the Siberian Husky grew in popularity and number.

In 1925, ancestors of today’s Siberian Huskies and Seppala Siberian sled dogs played a critical role in saving the lives of thousands of Alaskan children and adults during a fatal diphtheria epidemic. Known as the “Great Race of Mercy,” three brave teams of mushers and sled dogs relayed back and forth from Nome to Anchorage, covering over 1200 miles round trip, bringing serum back to ailing children and saving many lives in the process.

Want to learn more about the Siberian Husky? Click here for the full breed standard.

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