Siberian husky dog development & history
The Siberian Husky belongs to the so-called Spitz Group of dogs and has variously been known at one time or another under the following names:
• Artic Husky Dog • Siberian Chukchi • Chukchi Sled Dog • Chukchi or Chuchi
The Siberian Husky developed as a purebred dog breed through its isolated existence with the native people known as the Chukchi that existed in the extreme north-eastern region of Siberia around Yakutsk located north of Stanovoi Mountains. Some legends in fact narrate how the word husky arose as a corruption in the pronunciation of the word “Chukchi” by European migrants to the region.
Some dog authorities are of the opinion that the Siberian Husky had developed as a purebred dog breed as far back as 3000 years ago through its isolated existence with the Chukchi. Unquestionably there is Northern Wolf blood in the Siberian Husky dog breed mix and for centuries from generation through generation it was customary for the Chukchi people to only breed the very best of lead dogs while neutering the rest to eliminate the reproduction of undesired traits. In this manner the Chukchi not only vastly improved the genetic lineage of the Siberian Husky dog breed but also consolidated its genetic purity as a thoroughbred dog breed.Husky Dogs
When the Siberian Husky dogs of the village were not working there were cared for by the women of the tribe which meant that the dogs had to be in close proximity with them and their children. Thus another trait which the Chukchi people bred for in their husky dogs was a sound and balanced temperament, since naturally they would not want aggressive and ill-tempered dogs hanging around their children. Ironically enough it was this pleasant nature and temperament of character that moved many people to dismiss the Siberian Husky as an insignificant sled-racing dog contender; that is until the Siberian Husky “got on the ice and started performing!”
!b>Siberian Husky Dog Racing History
As earlier pointed out the Chukchi people of Siberia had bred the Siberian Husky dog to the pinnacle of work performance on the snow and for excellence of temperament. In essence they bred a superb sled dog perfected to carry light loads such as hunted game for extensive distances at remarkable speeds. The Chukchi’s unschooled dog breeding program was so successful that in effect they had bred the ultimate sled-pulling dog.
By the end of the 19th century news of these amazing sled dogs filtered to North America and in 1909 a team of imported Siberian Husky dogs debuted in a major sled race in Alaska. Although the Siberian Husky was dismissed by many as being far too small and docile to match competitively against their bigger and more powerful counterparts (the Alaskan Malamute and the Eskimo Dog both of which average around 100 lbs in weight as compared to the Siberian Husky dog’s relative featherweight of 60 pounds), as soon as the Husky started racing it quashed all doubt. Put simply, the Siberian Husky created quite the sensation by outperforming all the other dog breeds in the race.
One racer present was so impressed by the relatively “miniscule” Siberian Husky dogs’ performance he imported 70 of them to prepare and ready for the next race in 1910. He wasn’t disappointed. In 1910 his three dog teams comprised of Siberian Huskies dogs placed 1st, 2nd and 4th in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes Race, which covered a distance of 408 miles between the towns of Nome and Candle. The stage was set and from then onwards the Siberian Husky was recognized far and wide as the ultimate sled-racing dog.
Siberian Husky Dog: Perfection of Form to Function
Once it made its stunning debut in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes Race, the Siberian Husky dog breed literally became an overnight sensation in sled dog-racing circles. Even so its phenomenal success baffled both spectator and racer alike. How could such a comparatively lightweight and small sled dog drastically outperform and outrace the bigger dog breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute and Eskimo dog; both of which were more powerful and boasted a longer stride.
The secret to the husky dog’s superior sled-racing skills lay in its inherent form that was beautifully adapted for speed sled pulling. At a maximum weight of sixty pounds, the Siberian Husky dog had attained the ideal pull- weight ratio for sled racing. An excess of 60 pounds in weight would result in a proportionally decreased surface area for heat loss or conversely a disproportionate increase in heat storage. Dogs are notoriously inefficient at losing heat, most especially big dogs, and such an issue would constitute a very big problem in long distance races such as those like the four-day 25 mile marathon race that sled dogs have to endure.
In short, selective centuries of breeding by the Chukchi people of particular dogs with their most desired traits for loaded-sled pulling on slippery surfaces at high speed resulted in a dog breed perfectly formed and designed for just such a pursuit. The Siberian Husky was that dog, the perfect balance of weight to optimal sled-pulling ratio at high and sustained speed.
Siberian Husky Makes Its Mark In History
In the winter of 1925 a very serious diphtheria endemic struck the city of Nome in Alaska. Being deep winter the only routes accessible at the time were dog trails that spanned across hundreds of miles of snowy plains. In an unprecedented feat of speed and endurance a number of teams of Siberian Husky dogs led by legendary Norwegian Champion Dog driver Leonhard Seppala streaked across 340 miles of unforgiving snow and harsh winter in a race against time to save the city. In what came to be known in history as the fabled ” Serum Run” Seppala and his team of Siberian Husky dogs saved the city of Nome!
Following their amazing rescue mission Leonhard Seppala and a team of huskies went on a tour across the United States forever cementing this dog breed in the hearts and minds of the American public. In Commemoration of the “Serum Run” to this day a statue of one of those heroic Siberian Husky dogs resides in New York’s Central Park. Later thanks to the significant role that the Siberian Husky dog played in military search & rescue operations in the Artic during World war II as well as Seppala’s State-wide tour people’s admiration for this dog breed was further consolidated. The Siberian Husky was officially recognized by the AKC in 1930.