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Working Wednesday: The Siberian Husky


Siberian Huskies were bred in South East Asia to pull sleds over vast distances. These dogs are devoted companions and hang on every word you say, so an active home is a must for the Husky, as they aren't just a "curl up on the couch and go for short evening strolls" kind of dog! They are recognised by the UK Kennel Club and fit under the 'Working Breed' group, which over centuries were selectively bred to become pulling, guard and search and rescue dogs.



"Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work." - UK Kennel Club.


History

Siberian Huskies are thought to be descendants from the Canadian Eskimo Dog (or Qimmiq), which were once found throughout the Northern Hemisphere; from Siberia to Baffin Island. DNA found on an ancient bone of an Arctic wolf suggests that Huskies are one of the oldest dog breeds and could possibly date back to 27,000 years ago! It is thought that the name 'Husky' comes from their older breed name as an Eskimo Dog - 'Eski'.


In 1925, Gunnar Kaasen came first in a treacherous, 600 mile run to deliver a life saving 'Diptheria Serum' across Alaska after serious illness was beginning to break through and the only treatment was the antitoxin. The run consisted of several teams that all took on different parts of the run and faced blizzards in -31 degrees. On February 2nd Kaasen drove his team, which was led by Balto, into the final destination - Nome. This event is loosely shown in Disney Film's "Balto" although the lead dog is portrayed as half wolf in the movie. In honour of Kaasen's lead dog, there is now a statue at Central Park in New York City, the plaque is inscribed;


"Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925. Endurance · Fidelity · Intelligence"



Siberian Husky Fun Facts:

  • They can have blue eyes, brown eyes, one that is blue and brown, or one of each!

  • They can get 'snow nose' which is a pink marking on the nose that can disappear in the summer and reappear in winter

  • Usually, their nose dries up at night to protect it from freezing in cold temperatures

  • Huskies can reach speeds of up to 28mph

  • They can work in -59 degrees Celsius due to their extremely thick double coat



Working Huskies

Siberian Huskies are well known for their incredible sled pulling abilities across arctic tundras or through frozen forests. However, most people don't know that this extreme sport is not only for transporting across frozen landscape, there are also very competitive races that happen once a year, including the Iditarod which has a winning time of 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds! The longest recorded time that it has taken someone to complete the Iditarod is 20 days, 15 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds.


During races like this, a dog burns around 12,000 calories per day on average, so the musher has pre-prepared food sent to their different check points ready to give straight to their dogs. The food is usually a meat that is very high in fat with some biscuits and is soaked in water to re-hydrate the dogs as they don't tend to drink as much in cold temperatures.




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