Sled dog breeds

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Do you ever watch old movies where people ride wooden cart with beautiful sturdy beautiful dogs pulling it. These are sled dog breeds. In the old days, especially in harshly cold climates, people could not just use bicycle or coaches like those uses in England, they had to use a means of transportation that is fast, strong, cold resistant, and can find its way among the deep snow. All these elements made sled dogs eligible for the task. And truth be said, they showed marvelous loyalty, commitment and strength.

Nowadays in honor of these vigorous sled dogs breeds, sled races are still in business pretty much like dog shows and contests. But if other dog breeds are judges on the standards of beauty, hairstyle and overall external appearances, Sled dog breeds are judged according to their stamina and endurance.

Origin of Sled dog breeds

-Dog experts don’t know exactly where sled dog breeds originated all they know is that these Sled dog breeds did exist in the harshest coldest environments, like Siberia, Nordic region, Poland, Norway…etc. Some sled dog breeds are still in full function in Canada, Greenland and Alaska.

-The American Kennel club states a quite favorable theory that these sled dog breeds originated in Magnolia 35000 years ago, and there was an immigration wave from Magnolia to the arctic region using them.  Some historical evidence even support the theory that sled dog breeds were even used in North America by native Americans. However, the sled dog breeds in the Northern American region differ completely from those in North European region. In North America two sled dog breeds existed; one was domesticated by the coastal tribes while the other sled dog breed was domesticated by the tribes living in the interior part of the continent. The main purpose for sled dog breeds in American especially in Alaska for delivering mail. And they were used too in exploring too. The sled dog breeds reached its height in the period between 1800s  and 1900s, which is called “the Sled Dog breeds Era”. The business of raising them and selling them was at its heights too. Every family needed and owned their own herd of sled dog breeds.

-What defines sled dog breeds is their stamina, and vigorous sturdy physicality. They have to be able to pull a wooden cart with human passengers on it. That requires them to be quite tall and with strong well-built muscles. The second characteristic is endurance, most sled dog breeds won’t have access to good nutrition or food during the whole travel or trip, they are also can bear well the unbearable coldness and snow. They keep running the whole journey. The passenger give them break, food, and water for sure. But they are not the dandified type, if not taken good care of, would not collapse. They can go and go in very hard environment and living conditions. Simply these sled dog breeds are survivors and warriors. Third and last physical characteristic of sled dog breeds is speed of course. With the well-built muscles and sturdy body, the endurance help with weathering the coldness and environmental conditions, yet speed is crucial attribution here. If the sled dog breeds are not speedy enough, the passenger would simply and understandably freeze and die. Notice that in the old days the passengers also traveled with their supply of food and water. And because they have to feed their team of sled dog breeds in addition to feeding themselves; they would bring huge amounts of food and water supply. Yet they can not have so much of this supply because these sled dog breeds are still dogs with limited endurance, lifting and pulling capabilities.

Sled Dog breeds Race

-Sled dog breeds held the status of powerful Hercules in these regions; that till this very day sled dog races are still prevailing in many parts around the world. They were not put aside or went under the radar simply because cars, trains and planes were invented. This marvelous beauty of power and endurance can’t be dismissed. In Alaska on the first Saturday of March, the sled dog breeds race takes place, where the mushers and the sled dogs go on a race of 20 miles for 10 or 11 days that goes typically according to the weather at that time. The prize is 50,000 $.

-This race testes the sled dog breeds endurance and strength. However it is not as simple as hooking couple of sled dog breeds to wooden carts and let’s go on a ride. As of all things that is characterized with beauty, it takes much more thought, practice and order than you would imagine.

-Historically speaking, this race is done in honor of the famous black Husky sled dog named Balto who saved the village of Nome by delivering the curing diphtheria serum during the diphtheria epidemic in 1925. The curing serum was in a village called Nenana which was located 700 miles away from Nome. Not to mention that the road between the two villages was inaccessible by humans. So a team of sled dog breeds was the only possible answer, with the leader Balto. Who managed to fulfill his heroic labor in 6 days.

-Balto is honored by a movie with his name “Balto” and a statue in central park with the words “Endurance. Fidelity. Intelligence” engraved under his name.

The modern sled dog breeds team up

-Before you ask is there a difference between old sled dog breeds and modern sled dog breeds? The answer is yes, but not a huge one. Modern sled dog breeds are still the same old sled dog breeds but now they could be a bit smaller in size, and mix. In the old days hybridization was not preferable neither encouraged by dog breeders, sled dog breeds bloodline stayed untainted and pure. But now as we domesticated these sled dog breeds, they are exposed to hybridization more and more. Less pure sled dog breeds actually exist whereas the mix breeds are on the rise.

-As a result of being genetic mutts, these sled dog breeds come in different sizes. They were the same size approximately as cousins of the wolf family. But now in the modern days they are in various sizes from 45 to 70 pounds.

-To create a well pulling sled dog team, the dogs must be the same size relatively. Not only same size, but in equal strength, gait (trotting and running pace), feet strength, to harmonize their movement, a huge differences in size, gait and power may lead to disrupted and unfit team.

-The team of sled dogs consists of four groups of dogs, each groups has its own distinct features that qualify them to fulfill a certain role. We will start from the leader group which is the furthest from the musher.

  • The lead sled dog breeds: Those are the leaders, direction makers and pace setters for the whole team. They are the fastest, best in shape and muscle mass, and of course as the name suggest the leaders of the pack with the strongest personalities. The musher conveys to them the order or the command to where to turn and they follow it by conveying to the other groups the next step. Best description for this group is the vice president of the sled dog team. However, those are not blind followers of the mushers, they are true leaders if the musher commanded a step that they perceive as dangerous for the whole team, they won’t follow the order. Leader sled dog breeders are even more important in that context than the mushers themselves. Leader sled dog breeders take care of the all members in the team, and help them stay focused and vigilant. In addition to help not very skillful mushers be in full control all over the team, and help them in guiding and navigating the team., not to mention disobey if the decision is not right like jumping a cliff or a dangerous slope. Because if that type of behavior most sled dog breeds have the reputation of companions not followers. Don’t expect by adopting any dog that belongs to sled dog breeds that you will have a nice obedient and approval seeker dog in the house. You could wish for that but it is not going to happen. Your best chance would be sled dog breeds that work well with your family members, and loyal intelligent companion. Zebras never change their stripes, even if they left the zoo.
  • The swing group: They come in second rank after the leader group; they are as strong as the leader group in physicality but not as much in character. If the leader dog group’s function is to translate the mushers’ command to the whole team of sled dogs, the swing dogs group’s function is to pass on the order to the other members, and ensure that they all work in harmonized and coherent pace and speed as a team. And also direct pass on the directions and turning in direction changes as fast as the leader group initiate the movement.
  • Team dogs: Those sled dog breeds are the salt of the earth workers in today’s metaphors. They combine both the intelligence of the leaders and the hard working muscles of the wheel dogs (the next sled dog group). Their task is simply pulling the sled and keeping up with leader of the sled groups’ commands and speed. The focus here in the selection of these dogs shift from understanding the order to pulling the sled. Basically they do more pulling than getting commands. The closer the sled dogs breed to the sled, the more labor they have to exert in pulling.
  • The wheel sled dog group: As the name suggests they are basically the wheel, those sled dog breeds do most of the pulling and on them rests the weight of the sled. They just follow they don’t care much about direction, their role is exclusively pulling the sled and being a facilitator of movement.

At the end of this segment, you should know that each and every member of those sled dog breeds have a significant role in the success of the team, each movement, change of pace, speed, trot and direction must be in harmony and balance. The dogs do the work but the musher has another role to fulfill.

The difference between a skillful musher and not very skillful musher is shown in the handling the team of sled dog. A good musher

  • Will know how to take good care of sled dog breeds.
  • Have a good experience with how to divide the road into well thought of distances.
  • Does not wait till the leader dog group turns back to him to convey the need for rest. He should know when and where he should let his team take a break.
  • Know how to feed them well on the road, how much sled dog breeds need, and the difference between each breed’s needs and requirements.
  • Finally he should know how to pick good adequate sled dog breeds for his team, and how to assign each dog for which group. Which sled dog breeds are leaders and which are wheel dogs. How to alternate the roles and functions between them to maintain a balanced level of energy and harmonized movement.

The sled dog breeds

-You might think that sled dog breeds are not in demand as they used to. Part of this statement is true, however, sled dog races are still a thing as much as dog shows and dog beauty contests. These shows are now more of a tradition than a necessity, some cultures still hold horse races, and others preserve their sled dog breeds race tradition. Some of these traditional shows are the Yukon Quest which is 1000 miles sled dog race. The Iditarod sled dog race is also named as the greatest race on Earth. This race takes place in Alaska to test the abilities of both the sled dog breeds and the musher, on one of the hardest conditions human and animal skill, endurance and intelligence are put in a hard test against nature’s ruthless face with harsh slopes, rocky mountains and frozen rivers which the participants have to overcome with grace and speed to get the ultimate prize. The international pedigree stage stop which is a race for sled dog breeds across states only the contestants stop at a different town each night.

-Despite of the popularity of Siberian Huskies as the one of the best sled dog breeds in Europe, in North America this spot is held by Alaskan Huskies, which is not a purebred but rather a specifically hybrid created deliberately for the purpose of racing.

-From this point you should know that most mushers don’t really care about the physical appearance or their shape or form. When it comes to sled dog breeds other factors are taken into consideration, physical appearance could be the aesthetics for judging regular dogs in dog shows but not sled dog breeds, in this realm other factors are considered.

Important factors in Sled dog breeds

  • Healthy appetite is a very decisive factor when it comes to judging sled dog breeds.

Any dog breed that is known for being picky eaters will be pickier when they are tired on the road. In other words they would starve themselves to death if they ever went on sled dog race. Mushers look for sled dog breeds which would devour food and won’t be prone to digestive problems. Tough dogs with sensitive digestive system simply won’t be good or fit as sled dog breeds for that reason.

  • Good feet:

Feet are the most distinctive and most important feature in sled dog breeds. When choosing good sled dog breeds you should pick the toughest feet that are not prone to injuries and can handle direct contact with cold snow. Also their paws should be able to trot and jump in deep snow too. In addition to the robust of the feet, good sled dog breeds should have closed toes, meaning that their toes are not spread out or away from each other to provide support and strength to their trot and help against wearing out. Of course good strong feet are one of the features that good sled dog breeds should be born with, however some measures and responsibilities should be laid on the mushers too. Mushers should take good care of their sled dog breeds overall well-being in general and their feet in particular. Perfect fit sized booties should be provided to the sled dogs to protect them against the snow and help the sled slide easily. Any bruise or feet injury should be cared for immediately and without delay. Their feet should be inspected regularly even during the race.

  • Sled dog breeds sweat

A noteworthy observation is that dogs breath through their feet, not through their bodily skin like human s do. This way their sweat keeps them warm during those horribly cold conditions. So a good musher should take balance putting on the booties and taking them off with no fuzz with the sled dog breeds.

  • Wanderlust:

You have read this word in many tumbler photos and post but it is originally a description for sled dog breeds who are just obsessed with travelling. These dogs have to go, they don’t stand playing, cuddling and eating every day. That is not what they are made of, like birds that must fly, sled dog breeds must just go. They have an urge to run fast and in full capacity. And from that they draw their satisfaction and fulfilment.

  • Task oriented:

Building up on the previous feature of sled dog breeds, these type of dogs don’t only have an urge t go, but also and urge to do something whether it is delivering the mail, or pulling a sled in a race, they need a task to fulfill and commit to. That is how their minds are built; they are too much precious and important to waste their lives doing idle dog stuff.

  • Not socially aggressive;

Contrary to common belief tough sled dog breeds are not monsters, they are just tough dogs. Most of these dogs are very sociable, and in fact having a social demeanor adds to the quality of these sled dog breeds. As you know these dog races are created in a festive traditional way, that is by time in many spots have turned into a tourist attraction. Having wild and aggressive sled dog breeds rebuke completely the idea of festivity and tourist attraction. Who would bet on a wild, untamed, aggressive sled dog breed that they won’t even be able to snap a picture with to add to their facebook page later in the day? Social aggression or the inability to communicate well with strangers historically is the reason behind the decline of Alaskan malamute’s popularity as one of the best sled dog breeds. These sled dogs are not friendly or socially popular; consequently they fell out of favor with people, fans and mushers. Despite their physical capacity and undeniable fitness as one of the best sled dog breeds.

  • Sled dog breeds always in shape

Due to the weight they have to carry and pull to long distances, any bit of extra weight on their limbs would a problem. This extra weight would weaken their limb even in the break and relaxation times, anyone who is not familiar with sled dog breeds would think they are underweight, but reality of the matter is that they are really fit and have less fat than other dogs. Also their light weight help with their trot and gait,  make it faster and easier.

  • Good thick fur:

Good fur is essential to sled dog breeds to keep them warm in those unbearably cold weather conditions and environment. Also if it is raining heavily or snowing which is normal in the native regions where these sled dog breeds live, the thick fur coat would help with keeping the snow away from their skin and prevent ice bites. On the other hands, sled dog breeds require extra care in hot weather or warm summers, because they are not fit for these environment conditions, mushers should always trim the outer coat and keep these sled dog breeds in neat state.

  • Team work

Sled dog breeds all have big personalities and attitudes, but those who participate in the race must work well with other sled dogs. One sled dog could have a very close relationship with the musher, but to keep control over a whole team of different sled dog breeds is tricky and requires special skills and attitude.

  • Harness

This may come as logic thing but some wonderfully strong sled dog breeds may have some dogs that hate running with harnesses not to mention to pull and travel with them. So good sled dog breeds should be trained well to running and travelling for long distances and times with harnesses without fussing.

  What are the most important sled dog breeds?

-Well, that is a very controversial question for in the old days people used pure sled dog breeds, all the old sled dogs came from a pure blood line not tainted by any hybridization or mating. Nowadays all the sled dog breeds are mixed, or have two or three pure generation. In fact many dog experts consider all sled dog breeds as descendants from the same line but diverted in accordance to their geographical and environmental changes. From the physical appearance the resemblance to wolves clan is absolutely uncanny. So many dog experts consider these sled dog breeds a member in the wolves family. By adhering to this concept, dog experts would exclude any sled dog breeds which underwent physical changes like the famous Pomeranian dog breed.

-Pomeranian dog breed famously underwent a huge physical reduction and transformation. In ancient drawings on the wall, a much bigger Pomeranian dog breed is drawn as a sled dog breed dragging and pulling carts. This happened in Northern Europe in Pomeranian in particular its origin home. And before these Pomeranian get introduced to England on the hands of Queen Charlotte and again her granddaughter Queen Victoria and getting labeled as the royal pet. During this time, dogs business flourished due to the boom in dog shows and competitions. For some reason, the smaller the Pomeranian was the higher it was judged. Consequently, most dog breeders tried to impregnate their Pomeranian dogs at early age which would only result in smaller and smaller Pomeranian in size. This transformation turned the size of one of the sled dog breeds from 30 pounds to under 7 pounds.

-Nowadays Pomeranian dog breeds are excluded from any sled dog breeds information guide or even history. The only confirmed sled dog breeds are Alaskan Malamute, the Eskimo dog, and of course the Husky dog breed.

Siberian husky

-Siberian husky dog breed is one of the most popular sled dog breeds that are naturally associated with the idea of pulling sleds and fulfilling tasks. In fact Siberian huskies are the first dogs to be used as sled dog breeds helping Eastern Siberian tribes in travelling. The term “Husky” which is now used to describe chubby people was originally created to describe all sled dog breeds, and as we mentioned all sled dog breeds is considered the same family descendants of wolves. A fun fact to know; is that the word “Husky” is actually a mispronunciation for the Chucky tribe who first domesticated husky dogs as sled dog breeds. Their uncanny resemblance to the wolves’ physical characteristics and attributes as both have amazingly strong leg muscles that help them keep a steady running pace for days if not weeks, perfect light weight and small chest that fir perfectly with their function as runners (bigger size would be unfit for running for they would require more oxygen for their bodies and brain). The Siberian husky is the fastest one of all sled dog breeds. It is undocumented historically how husky dogs made their way from Siberia in Eastern Europe to Alaska in North America, but all that dog experts know is that Siberian tribes who firs utilized sled dog breeds were true travelers and explorers so may be one of those travelers brought some husky dogs and sled dog breeds were introduced to north America like that.

Alaskan Malamute

-Alaskan Malamute is also one of the most important sled dog breeds. They are bigger in size than Husky dogs, yet this comes at a cost that they are the slowest sled dog breeds. They are too descendants of the arctic wolf family, and were named after Mahlemut tribe who domesticated these dogs as sled dog breeds to help them in their tasks. The big size of these sled dog breeds has an advantage of making the most powerful sled dog breeds of all their cousins. They can endure longer travels with heavier weight, but they are not famous for speedy trot.

The Eskimo dog

-This sled dog breeds are the best in both worlds. They are have moderately big size, less than the Alaskan Malamute and bigger than the Siberian Hsuky. So by product their speed falls somewhere in the middle between these sled dog breeds. Unfortunately Eskimo dog’s reputation and popularity are decreasing; they are not as common as Siberian huskies or Alaskan Malamute which lower the chances of their breeding.

-Eskimo dog may be in a middle spot between Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky when it comes to size and speed, they are superior in other traits. Eskimo dog are the friendliest and most playful of all three sled dog breeds. They are more submissive and easier to train than rebellious Siberian Husky dogs. Don’t be fooled by their domicile attitude, these sled dog breeds can pull and bear twice the weight of their size, they were even used to protect the sheep against bears and other wild animals. They are not loud barkers; however they have a howling sound almost like a wolf.

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