Sled dogs are incredible animals capable of pulling significant weight in cold weather. Their strength and endurance are the stuff of folklore. Many people would not have survived in the Arctic without the help of these furry and hardworking dogs.
But what are the most popular sled dog breeds?
We’ll start with a list of famous sled dogs, and then we’ll run through the unique traits that make these breeds such loyal and reliable workers.
Here are the top breeds we’ll be focusing on:
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Canadian Eskimo Dog
- Kugsha Dog
- Alaskan Husky
- Sakhalin Husky
- Greenland Dog
- Mackenzie River Husky
Let’s look at what sled dogs are used for, what makes a good sled dog, and the characteristics of the twelve most popular breeds.
- What Are Sled Dogs Used For?
- What Makes A Good Sled Dog
- The 12 Most Popular Sled Dog Breeds
- Why We Love Sled Dog Breeds
What Are Sled Dogs Used For?
In North America, sled dogs are used to carry people and supplies. The dogs are usually put in a team of eight, double file and side by side. Historically, their primary role was communication and transportation in harsh arctic weather.
Nowadays, owners partake in mushing for recreational purposes. Mushing is a sport and mode of transportation powered by dogs.
Sled dogs should have a specific build. These dogs need to be athletic, lean, and strong to transport people and supplies over long distances. To do this, these dogs also need high endurance and the ability to survive the harsh and cold Arctic weather.
Their mixed heritage gives sled dogs their love for working and running. Mushers choose their sled dogs for their stature, weight, fur, and how well the dog work with others. The sled dog also needs to follow a healthy diet.
The 12 Most Popular Sled Dog Breeds
Sled dogs are known for their heroism, hard work ethic, and athleticism. Before they were used in sled dog racing, they helped people survive in cold weather by transporting them and other materials in the Arctic regions. Let’s look at the 12 most popular sled dog breeds.
1. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are the most popular sled dog breed, along with the Alaskan Malamute. This husky was bred in Siberia to transport people and supplies, as well as for hunting. In the 1900’s they were brought to Alaska to participate in dog racing.
Their thick fur, well-padded feet, and strong legs make them the ideal dog to run over ice. Siberian huskies can also pull heavy loads.
2. Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan malamutes are known for their strength, endurance, and ability to pull heavy freight. They are one of the most ancient dog breeds. These dogs can work and thrive in harsh weather conditions.
Unlike the Siberian Husky, Alaskan malamutes are not racing dogs. They are known for being to pull heavy loads at a slower pace. The Inuit would not have been able to survive without the help of Alaskan Malamute.
An ancient dog breed, the Laika, originated in Yakutia, an Arctic seashore where they worked as sled and herd dogs. Natives in Yakutia used them as assistants.
This breed is gentle and considerate. Due to Laika’s friendly nature, they do not make good guard dogs but are impressive sled dogs.
The Samoyedic people in Siberia bred the Samoyed. They are fluffy and can withstand cold weather due to their dense undercoat. They are not as fast as other sled dogs but are very reliable.
These dogs were bred to herd reindeer and pull sleds as they moved. The Samoyed is very friendly, making them poor guard dogs.
Chinooks are pretty new to sledding and one of the world’s rarest dog breeds. Bred in the early 20th century in New Hampshire for sled dog racing and drafting, these dogs are athletic and strong, with a friendly temperament.
6. Canadian Eskimo Dog
Canadian Eskimo dogs are hunting and sledding dogs found in the Arctic Circle. Originally bred by the Aboriginal pro-Inuit in Arctic Canada, these rare dogs are big-boned and powerful. They resemble the Siberian husky and Alaskan Malamute.
7. Kugsha Dog
The Kugsha is a mixed breed, resembling a wolf. This dog was developed in Pennsylvania and is extremely hardworking. However, these dogs are aggressive and very difficult to train. Despite this, the Kugsha makes a mighty sled dog and is energetic.
8. Alaskan Husky
The Alaskan Husky shares a lineage with the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky. They are one of the most commonly used dogs for sled racing and were bred explicitly for competitive sled racing. The Alaskan Husky works excellent in a team and is eager to learn.
9. Sakhalin Husky
The Russian Sakhalin Husky is extremely rare and close to extinct. These pack dogs were used in the Second World War by the Red Army as sled dogs, and there were only seven left in 2015.
10. Greenland Dog
A famous sledding dog, the Greenland dog, is an ancient breed related to the Canadian Eskimo dog in the Arctic. Greenland dogs are powerful sledding dogs known for their endurance and speed over ice and snow.
Roald Amundsen famously used Greenland dogs on his 1912 Antarctic expedition when he became the first person to reach the South Pole. These dogs are protected through several government projects in Greenland to ensure their survival.
11. Mackenzie River Husky
The Mackenzie River Husky is a result of mixed breeding in the Arctic. They can pull heavy freight through deep snow. These dogs are large and long-coated and thus able to withstand cold weather.
A cross between an Alaskan husky and German Shorthaired Pointer, the Eurohound is famous for sled racing in Scandinavia. They have lean and muscular bodies. Eurohounds are extremely intelligent, work hard in cold weather, and are good at hunting. They are also loyal and friendly.
Why We Love Sled Dog Breeds
Sled dogs helped people conquer the cold and spread into the Arctic regions. Without sled dogs pulling heavy loads and transporting people, people would not have survived. They are famous for their athleticism, hard work ethic, and teamwork.
Some of the most popular breeds today are also family-friendly, which is why many people keep them as pets. However, these dogs have a lot of energy and need to be kept busy!