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Brief Introduction to the Siberian Husky

Siberian Huskies are born pack dogs and thus enjoy family life and get on well with other dogs. Their friendliness renders them indifferent watchdogs. The breed is energetic, can't resist chasing small animals, and loves digging. A secure running room, like a fenced backyard, is a must. Siberians are naturally clean, with little doggy odor. What is most attractive about Siberian Huskies is their history as family companion dogs as well as endurance sled dogs. The breed's ancestors were originally bred in northeastern Asia by the Chukchi people.

Siberians did not become popular in the eye of the public until they began winning sled races in the early 1900s. In 1925 the legendary musher Leonhard Seppala led a relay of Siberian Huskies 658 miles in only five and a half days to rush a lifesaving serum to Nome, Alaska, where an epidemic of diphtheria had broken out. A relay of 20 sled dog teams was assembled. The thrilling Great Race of Mercy was world-famous and won Siberians global popularity. It was Seppala and his Siberian Husky lead dog, Togo, who were the saviors. The 12-year-old Togo and Seppala traversed an astounding 264 miles (424 km), compared to an average of 31 miles each for the other teams. Togo and Seppala's role in covering the most distance of any lead dogs on the run, over some of the most dangerous parts of the trail, is largely left out of contemporary news at the time. In 2001, Togo received his own statue in NYC's Seward Park. In 2019, his story was retold in the Disney+ movie Togo, starring Togo's own descendant Diesel as the namesake Siberian. If it were not for Togo's heroic navigation of 264 miles through blizzard blinding weather, the serum may have not made it to Nome, Alaska in time to save lives.

Balto, from Seppala's kennel and lead dog to musher, Kassen, finished the 53-mile final leg of the journey and remains one of the most honored hero dogs in canine history. A statue of him stands in New York City's Central Park and Universal Studios created the movie Balto, after the famous lead dog.

Siberian Huskies also served valiantly in the Army's Arctic Search & Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command during WWII and in the Byrd Antarctic expeditions.

The Siberian Husky was recognized by the AKC in 1930. It is the 87th breed to join the American Kennel Club.

Mushers still keep packs of sledding Siberians for fun and sport throughout North America. Many devotees of the breed simply enjoy the company of this sociable, gentle companion.

Togo (L) and Balto (R)-- Two of Leonhard Seppala's famous dogs.

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