Sled dogs were important for transportation in arctic areas, hauling supplies in areas that were inaccessible by other methods. They were used with varying success in the explorations of both poles, as well as during the Alaskan gold rush. Sled dog teams delivered mail to rural communities in Alaska and northern Canada. Sled dogs today are still used by some rural communities, especially in areas of Alaska and Canada and throughout Greenland. They are used for recreational purposes and racing events, such as the Iditarod Trail and the Yukon Quest.
The original sled dogs were chosen for size, strength and stamina, but modern dogs are bred for speed and endurance Most sled dogs weigh around 25 kilograms (55 lb), but they can weigh as little as 16 kilograms (35 lb), and can exceed 32 kilograms (71 lb). Sled dogs have a very efficient gait,and "mushers strive for a well balanced dog team that matches all dogs for both size (approximately the same) and gait (the walking, trotting or running speeds of the dogs as well as the 'transition speed' where a dog will switch from one gait to another) so that the entire dog team moves in similar a fashion which increases overall team efficiency." They can run up to 45 km/h (28 mph). Because of this, sled dogs have very tough, webbed feet with closely spaced toes. Their webbed feet act as snow shoes.
A dog's fur depends on its use. Freight dogs should have dense, warm coats to hold heat in, and sprint dogs have short coats that let heat out. Most sled dogs have a double coat, with the outer coat keeping snow away from the body, and a waterproof inner coat for insulation. In warm weather, dogs may have problems regulating their body temperature and may overheat.Their tails serve to protect their nose and feet from freezing when the dog is curled up to sleep. They also have a unique arrangement of blood vessels in their legs to help protect against frostbite.
Sled dogs have been used in Canada, Lapland, Greenland, Siberia, Chukotka, Norway, Finland, and Alaska
The most commonly used dog in dog sled racing, the Alaskan Husky is a mongrel bred specifically for its performance as a sled dog.They first came into existence in the late 1800s. Occasionally, Alaskan Huskies are referred to as Indian Dogs, because the best ones supposedly come from Native American villages in the Alaskan and Canadian interiors. They weigh between 18 and 34 kilograms (40 and 75 lb) and may have dense or sleek fur.Alaskan Huskies bear little resemblance to the typical husky breeds they originated from, or to each other.
There are two genetically distinct varieties of Alaskan Husky: A sprinting group and a long-distance group. Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies contributed the most genetically to the long-distance group, while Pointers and Salukis contributed the most to the sprinting group. Anatolian Shepherd Dogs contributed a strong work ethic to both varieties.There are many Alaskan Huskies that are partially Greyhound, which improves their speed.Although some Alaskan Huskies are known to be part wolf, which increases their endurance, these wolfdogs are generally disliked since they have a reputation of being difficult to control.
Malamutes are large, strong freight-type dogs. They weigh between 36 and 54 kilograms (80 and 120 lb) and have round faces with soft features. Freight dogs are a class of dogs that includes both pedigree and non-pedigree dogs. Malamutes are thought to be one of the first domesticated breeds of dogs, originating in the Kotzebue Sound region of Alaska. These dogs are known for their broad chests, thick coats, and tough feet. Speed has little to no value for these dogs - instead, the emphasis is on pulling strength. They are used in expedition and long adventure trips, and for hauling heavy loads. Malamutes were the dog of choice for hauling and messenger work in World War II.
Also known as the Exquimaux Husky, Esquimaux Dog, and Qimmiq, the Canadian Eskimo Dog has its origins in the aboriginal sled dogs used by the Thule people of Arctic Canada.The breed as it exists today was primarily developed through the work of the Canadian government. It is capable of pulling between 45 and 80 kilograms (99 and 176 lb) per dog for distances between 24 and 113 kilometres (15 and 70 mi).The Canadian Eskimo Dog was also used as a hunting dog, helping Inuit hunters to catch seals, musk ox, and polar bears.
The Chinook is a drafting and sled dog developed in New Hampshire in the early 1900s, and is a blend of Mastiff, Greenland Husky, German Shepherd, and Belgian Shepherd. It is the state dog of New Hampshire and was recognized by the AKC as a Working breed in 2013.They are described as athletic and "hard bodied" with a "tireless gait".
Eskimo dogs that originated in Greenland, Greenland Dogs are heavy dogs with high endurance but little speed. They are frequently used by people offering dog sled adventures and long expeditions. There are more than 30,000 Greenland Dogs living in Greenland. In the winter, they are a primary mode of transportation.Most hunters in Greenland favor dog sled teams over snowmobiles as the dog sled teams are more reliable.
The Samoyed was developed by the Samoyede people of Siberia, who used them to herd reindeer and hunt in addition to hauling sleds.These dogs were so prized, and the people who owned them so dependent upon them for survival, that the dogs were allowed to sleep in the tents with their owners.
Spitz-type dogs are the primary dog type of the Arctic and northern parts of the world, and the Shiba Inu, Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and Samoyed are being shown by genetic research to be descendant of the oldest dog types known. The Spitz or Northern-type dogs of today developed from antiquity along with humans, and in modern times have been selectively bred and documented as a wide variety of purebred modern breeds, including those listed here.
Smaller than the similar-appearing Malamute, the Siberian Husky pulls more, pound for pound, than a malamute, but cannot pull as long.They weigh between 18 and 27 kilograms (40 and 60 lb), and have been selectively bred for both appearance and pulling ability.
Numerous non-sled dog breeds have been used as sled dogs. Poodles, Irish setters,German shorthaired pointers,Labrador retrievers,Newfoundlands,and St. Bernards have all been used to pull sleds in the past. .
The Akita is a large breed of dog originating from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. There are two separate varieties of Akita: a Japanese strain, commonly called "Akita Ken" in Japan, "Akita Inu" ("inu" means "dog" in Japanese), or "Japanese Akita"; and an American strain, known as the "Akita" or "American Akita". The Japanese strain called the Akita Inu comes in a narrow palette of colors, with all other colors considered atypical of the breed, while the American strain known simply as the Akita comes in all dog colors. The Akita has a short double-coat similar to that of many other northern spitz breeds such as the Siberian Husky, but long-coated dogs can be found in many litters due to a recessive gene.
The Akita is a powerful, independent and dominant breed, commonly aloof with strangers but affectionate with family members. As a breed, Akitas are generally hardy, but they have been known to suffer from various genetic conditions and can be sensitive to certain drugs.
In all countries (except the United States and Canada) the Japanese and American strains of Akita are considered two separate breeds. In the United States and Canada, however, the two strains are considered a single breed with differences in type. For a while, the American strain of Akita was known in some countries as the "Great Japanese Dog". Both forms of Akita are probably best known worldwide from the true story of Hachikō, a loyal Akita who lived in Japan before World War II.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a spitz type breed of dog, developed in the 1970s to create a companion sized dog resembling the Alaskan Husky (a mixed breed of dog used for sled racing). It is an energetic, intelligent, dog with an appearance that reflects its northern heritage.
The breed was developed in Wasilla, Alaska, from the early 1970s to 1988 by Linda S. Spurlin and her family. The breed was developed with Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, using Schipperke and American Eskimo Dog to bring down the size without dwarfism. She bred these dogs in private until she released them to the general public in 1988. Originally called the Klee Kai, the breed split into Alaskan Klee Kai and Klee Kai for political reasons in 1995. The breed consolidated as its current name in 2002. Though a relatively new breed the Alaskan Klee Kai has a rich history. They are extremely energetic and intelligent, and their northern heritage is evident in their appearance. In contrast to Siberian Huskies, which were originally bred as sled dogs, the Alaskan Klee Kai were bred as companion dogs. The Alaskan Klee Kai was officially recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) in 1995 and by the United Kennel Club (UKC) on January 1, 1997.
The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of companion dog, originating in Germany. The American Eskimo is a member of the Spitz family. The breed's progenitors were German Spitz, but due to anti-German prejudice during the First World War, it was renamed "American Eskimo Dog". Although modern American Eskimos have been exported as German Spitz Gross (or Mittel, depending on the dog's height), the breeds have diverged and the standards are significantly different. In addition to serving as a watchdog and companion, the American Eskimo Dog also achieved a high degree of popularity in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s as a circus performer.
There are three size varieties of the American Eskimo breed, the toy, the miniature and the standard. They share a common resemblance with Japanese Spitz, Danish Spitz, Volpino Italiano, German Spitz and Samoyed.
The American Eskimo Dog was originally bred to guard people and property and, therefore, is territorial by nature and a valiant watchdog. It is not considered an aggressive breed but, due to its watchdog history, American Eskimo dogs are generally quite vocal, barking at any stranger who comes in proximity to their owners' territory.
In Northern Europe, smaller Spitz were eventually developed into the various German Spitz breeds. European immigrants brought their Spitz pets with them to the United States, especially New York, in the early 1900s, "all of them descended from the larger German Spitz, the Keeshond, the white Pomeranian, and the Italian Spitz, the Volpino Italiano.
Although white was not always a recognized color in the various German Spitz breeds, it was generally the preferred color in the US. In a display of patriotism in the era around World War I, dog owners began referring to their pets as American Spitz rather than German Spitz.
After World War I, the small Spitz dogs came to the attention of the American public when the dogs became popular entertainers in the American circus. In 1917, the Cooper Brothers’ Railroad Circus featured the dogs. A dog named Stout's Pal Pierre was famous for walking a tightrope with the Barnum and Bailey Circus in the 1930s, and also contributing to their popularity, they sold puppies after the show. Due to the popularity of the circus dogs, many of today's American Eskimo Dogs can trace their lineage back to these circus dogs.
American Eskimo Dog portrait.
After World War II, the dogs continued to be popular pets. Postwar contact with Japan led to importation into the United States of the Japanese Spitz, which may have been crossed into the breed at this time.The breed was first officially recognized as the "American Eskimo" as early as 1919 by the American United Kennel Club (UKC), and the first written record and history of the breed was printed in 1958 by the UKC.At that time there was no official breed club and no breed standard, and dogs were accepted for registration as single dogs, based on appearance. In 1970 the National American Eskimo Dog Association (NAEDA) was founded, and single dog registrations ceased. In 1985 the American Eskimo Dog Club of America (AEDCA) was formed by fanciers who wished to register the breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC). Following the AKC's requirements for breed recognition, the AEDCA collected the pedigree information from 1,750 dogs that now form the basis of the AKC recognized breed, which is called the American Eskimo Dog. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995. The stud book was opened from 2000 to 2003 in an attempt to register more of the original UKC registered lines, and today many American Eskimo Dogs are dual-registered with both American kennel clubs. The breed is also recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club as of 2006, but is not recognized elsewhere in the world
The American Eskimo Dog is not entirely an internationally recognized breed, and since neither of the American kennel clubs are affiliated with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, fanciers wishing to participate in certain international dog shows will register their American Eskimo Dogs as the very similar German Spitz. This is done only by individuals wishing to participate in dog sports in international shows, and does not mean that the American Eskimo Dog and the German Spitz are the same. Although the American Eskimo is known as the German Spitz in several countries outside of the United States, the two breeds have actually developed somewhat differently since the American Eskimo was relocated to North America, over a century ago. It is not uncommon for German Spitz breeders to incorporate imported American Eskimo bloodlines into their breeding program to broaden the gene pool, and vice versa.
The Chow Chow is a dog breed originally from northern China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (Pinyin: sōngshī quǎn 鬆獅犬), which means "puffy-lion dog". The breed has also been called the Tang Quan, "Dog of the Tang Empire." It is believed that the Chow Chow is one of the native dogs used as the model for the Foo dog, the traditional stone guardians found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces. It is one of the few ancient dog breeds still in existence in the world today.
One writer has proposed that the Chow Chow originated in China 2,000 years ago or originated in Arctic Asia 3,000 years ago and then migrated to Mongolia, Siberia and then to China.:11DNA analysis indicates that the Chow Chow is one of the ancient dog breeds.
The Chow Chow probably originated in the high steppe regions of Siberia or Mongolia, and much later used as temple guards in China, Mongolia and Tibet. A bas-relief from 150 BC (during the Han Dynasty) includes a hunting dog similar in appearance to the Chow. Later Chow Chows were bred as a general-purpose working dog for herding, hunting, pulling and guarding. From what records survive, some historians believe that the Chow was the dog described as accompanying the Mongolian armies as they invaded southward into China as well as west into Europe and southwest into the Middle East in the 13th century AD.
One Chinese legend mentions large war dogs from Central Asia that resembled black-tongued lions. One Chinese ruler was said to own 5,000 Chows. The Chinese also used Chows to pull dog sleds, and this was remarked upon by Marco Polo. The Chow Chow was also bred for human consumption.
A legend says that the original teddy bears were modeled after Queen Victoria's Chow Chow puppy. It's said that she carried the dog everywhere she went. Her friends disapproved, claiming that it did not befit a Queen to be seen everywhere with a dog, so they paid a dressmaker to make a stuffed version of the animal for her.
Today, the AKC registers approximately 10,000 Chow Chows a year. The Canadian Kennel Club registers approximately 350.
Jindo is a breed of hunting dog that originated on Jindo Island in Korea. Brought to the United States with South Korean expatriates, it is celebrated in its native land for its fierce loyalty and brave nature. The Jindo breed became recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1998 and by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 2005.
Jindos are double-coated spitz-type dogs. The Jindo Gae is the National Breed of Korea. Distinguishing the Jindo breed from mixes and other breeds is often done by close examination of cranial and facial features and by analyzing the proportion of the head to the body. In addition, the breed exhibits sexual dimorphism with females having more angular heads than males. The keen and alert appearance of the Jindo gives the impression of intelligence, strength, and agility. Other features include forward-pointing upright ears and a double coat.
Shiba Inu is the smallest of the six original and distinct spitz breeds of dog from Japan.
a small, agile dog that copes very well with mountainous terrain, the Shiba Inu was originally bred for hunting. It looks similar to and is often mistaken for other Japanese dog breeds like the Akita Inu or Hokkaido, but the Shiba Inu is a different breed with a distinct blood line, temperament and smaller size than other Japanese dog breeds.
nu is the Japanese word for dog, but the origin of the prefix "Shiba" is less clear. The word shiba means "brushwood" in Japanese, and refers to a type of tree or shrub whose leaves turn red in the fall. This leads some to believe that the Shiba was named with this in mind, either because the dogs were used to hunt in wild shrubs, or because the most common color of the Shiba Inu is a red color similar to that of the shrubs. However, in an old Nagano dialect, the word shiba also had the meaning of "small", thus this might be a reference to the dog's diminutive stature.Therefore, the Shiba Inu is sometimes translated as "Little Brushwood Dog".