Husky: Breed History & Characteristics

Siberian Huskies, which are so popular in the world today, have an amazing history. These dogs became famous all over the world when they saved the city of Nome in Alaska from diphtheria, and one of the Husky (Balto the dog) was even immortalized in bronze and cinema.

After examining the DNA of Siberian Huskies, scientists ranked them among the 14 oldest dog breeds, whose genotype differs least of all from the wild wolf. The breed, now called “Siberian Husky”, was bred in time immemorial by the Chukchi. This semi-nomadic person needed a dog that could move quickly over long distances in order to transport cargo from hunting grounds to permanent settlements and back.

In addition to speed and endurance, dogs were required to be friendly to people, because they were kept directly in dwellings. Huskies are completely unsuitable for the role of a guard dog because, with sufficient physical activity, they are completely non-aggressive, but they are ideal for the role of a pet, safe even for the smallest children.

The speed and endurance of the Siberian Huskies were noticed by the Alaskans, among whom dog sled racing was popular. Siberian Huskies began to be massively imported into Alaska in the early 20th century. One of the most famous popularizers of the Siberian Husky was the musher (dog driver) Leonard Seppala, who, with his Huskies, invariably won races for several years in a row.

However, all the glory of the savior of the city of Nome went not to Togo, but to another dog – Balto, who, having overcome the last section of the way, delivered the saving serum to Nome. Gunnar Kaasen was the driver of the last team. Weather conditions during the Kaasen sled race worsened even more: the temperature dropped to -51 ° C, and the wind gusts reached a speed of 110 km / h. Such a blizzard was raging that Kaasen could hardly make out the hands in front of his face and the man decided to trust the dog. The leader of the team, Balto, justified the trust and did not go astray. The city was saved.

Balto became a real star in the United States: a monument was erected to him, and later several cartoons were shot about him. Leonard Seppala, who had done the most difficult part of the path with his dog Togo, was very upset that the glory went not to the racing dog, which was Togo, but to the simple sled dog Balto. However, history has put everything in its place: at present, Togo’s genes are still visible in many lines of the best racing dogs in Alaska, but Balto’s genes have sunk into oblivion.

In memory of the 1925 Relay, Alaska hosts the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Willow to Nome. The length of the distance is 1868 km. One of the participants in this race, Brian Mills, who once broke his leg on the track, but did not leave the race, says: “This race is like a drug. if you only wish to get to the place alive, and when you finally find yourself in Nome, you think, “I will probably try again next year.”

Race participants sometimes sacrifice everything for their dogs: in 2007, the dog of one of the race participants fled into the forest when, during a severe blizzard, the team got stuck deep in the snow. The driver retired and for 11 days, with frostbitten legs, was looking for a dog. His efforts were not in vain – the dog was found.
By the way, the tendency to run away is one of the features of the Siberian Husky. There is a known case when a dog closed in a rural house with its muzzle in a jump knocked out the glass and jumped out the window.

If earlier racing dogs were purebred Siberian Huskies, now the drivers, by crossing Siberian Huskies with aboriginal sled breeds, and hounds, have created practically a separate breed, conventionally called “Alaskan Huskies”.

The Siberian Husky is now mostly a domestic dog, not a working or racing dog. Surprisingly, Siberian Huskies survived as a breed only due to the interest of Americans in these dogs. Even this breed got its name thanks to the Americans. Husky is a distorted English “Eski”, i.e. Eskimo.

In addition to being friendly to people, the Husky has another indisputable advantage: dogs of this breed are very clean, not slobbering, the coat and skin are odorless. Cosmetics for dogs in relation to this breed may be needed only for show Huskies, whose job is to show them in the ring (in the USA and Europe, show Huskies are not uncommon, and they’re even have developed special standards of beauty of this breed). An ordinary domestic Husky needs only combing once a week (during molting – every day) and physical activity, because this breed was created for hard work. If the owner can provide his Siberian Husky with long walks, jogging next to the owner or a bicycle, swimming, and in winter towing a skier or sleigh, then this dog will be a loyal and devoted friend.

Lovers of hunting with a dog should take into account that the Husky will gladly take part in the hunt, but will not bring prey. From spring to autumn, the Chukchi Huskies lived exclusively on pasture, so the hunter’s instinct is strong even in well-timed domestic Huskies. Owners of dogs of this breed should take into account that their pet can suddenly rush on a cat in the city or on chickens in the village.

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