A sled dog is a dog that has been trained to pull a harnessed land vehicle, most frequently a sled over snow. Aside from the Iditarod sled dog, there are a lot of sled dogs that you need to know.
Before the invention of semi-trailer trucks, snowmobiles, and airplanes in the 20th century, sled dogs and watercraft were the only modes of transportation in Arctic regions, hauling supplies in regions that were inaccessible by other means. Sled dogs have been used in the Arctic for at least 8,000 years. They were employed during the Alaskan gold rush as well as the exploration of both polar regions, with varying degrees of success. Rural communities in Alaska, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut received mail from sled dog teams. Some rural communities still use sled dogs today, particularly in parts of Russia, Canada, Alaska, and much of Greenland. They are utilized for sporting activities and competitions like the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod Trail.
Sled Dog Breeds
1. Siberian Husky
Of all the sled dogs, the Siberian Husky is the most well-known and is probably what most people picture first. This medium-sized dog has a ton of endurance and is incredibly strong. In just five and a half days, this breed was able to travel more than 650 miles through Alaskan snow to deliver medicine. These dogs are also sociable and enjoy spending time with kids.
Breeders in New Hampshire, where it is the state dog, developed the Chinook, an American sled dog. It is a muscular, well-balanced dog that frequently has a honey or gold color. It will go out of its way to be with the kids and is adoring and playful. Additionally, it gets along well with other animals and enjoys picking up new skills. Even though it is reserved around strangers, it won’t become hostile.
3. Labrador Husky
A medium to large dog with a recognizable wolf appearance is the Labrador Husky. It has no connection to Labrador retrievers. Instead, breeders in Labrador, Canada, are responsible for giving it its name. It’s an energetic dog that will do best in large families with lots of people to keep it occupied. It is a fun breed to own because it enjoys playing and dressing up.
4. Canadian Eskimo Dog
A medium-sized dog, the Canadian Eskimo Dog weighs about the same as a Siberian husky. It can pull sleds with ease thanks to its strong double coat and ample energy. It is a pack-oriented dog that is well-suited for sledding, hiking, or backpacking through colder climates. It has a moderate tendency to bark. It gets along with people well, but when you go for a walk, it might become aggressive towards other dogs.
5. Kugsha Dog
It can be challenging to locate the Kugsha because no official kennel clubs recognize it. It is a large dog that resembles a wolf and is extremely intelligent. Due to their potential for being challenging to train, the majority of experts only advise this breed for experienced owners. Although it is only mildly sociable, it develops close relationships with family members and makes a wonderful pet for the right owner.
6. Alaskan Malamute
Most people find it difficult to distinguish between the Siberian husky and the Alaskan Malamute, especially when they’re young. There are also interesting facts about Alaskan sled dogs that you need to know. Since a Malamute weighs roughly 20 pounds more than a Husky at full maturity, the difference is a little clearer. These dogs are powerful and quick and tend to chase small animals, including cats, but if they receive the right socialization, they get along well with people and other animals. Due to this breed’s size and stubbornness, most experts only advise experienced owners to own one.
Another extremely rare breed that is closely related to the greyhound and shares many characteristics of its appearance and temperament is the greysther. These dogs rarely show aggression and tend to be very calm. They enjoy watching television with family members and lounging around because they have plenty of energy for pulling sleds.
8. Scandinavian Hound
The smallest breed of dog on this list, weighing only 20 to 35 pounds, is the Scandinavian Hound. Although they might not be as good at pulling people as the larger breeds, they make excellent farm helpers when pulling smaller sleds of supplies and goods. It enjoys a long workday and has an abundance of strength and energy. It’s a wonderful pet, but you’ll need to dedicate at least an hour a day to help it get the exercise it needs to prevent mischief.
9. Alaskan Husky
The Alaskan Husky is a cross between Nordic breeds that enjoys working as a team and is excellent at sled pulling and other team sports. It is one of the few breeds that is exclusively bred for work because the majority of breeders don’t think it is attractive and don’t frequently sell it as a pet. A breeder who is willing to breed one for you may be able to be found at a shelter. To get the exercise it needs to stay healthy, it will need to run around freely for at least an hour each day.
10. Sakhalin Husky
There were only seven Sakhalin Huskies left as of 2015, making this ancient breed of sled dog almost extinct. The last breeder passed away in 2012 after declaring that breeding was no longer possible due to a lack of dogs to maintain the required genetic diversity. This breed, which has a peculiar bear-shaped head, once assisted Japanese explorers in their exploration of Antarctica.
11. Greenland Dog
Another breed that resembles the Siberian Husky but is larger—many Greenlands can weigh up to 100 pounds—is the Greenland Dog. Due to its importance to Greenland both nationally and culturally, efforts are made to preserve the purity of the breed. Strong, with small tears, a wide head, and a double, thick coat. It is primarily a working dog and is usually solitary, but it can make a wonderful pet for someone who works hard and has a large yard.
12. Mackenzie River Husky
The region of the Arctic where the Mackenzie River Husky was first discovered gave rise to its name. It can grow to be quite large, with some specimens weighing more than 100 pounds. Due to its long fur, it makes a fantastic sled dog and can withstand the cold with ease. Even in deep snow, its muscular body, which is made for heavy freighting, has excellent traction.