Are there indigenous dogs in Antarctica

Sled dogs:


The Alaskan Husky

Sled dogs - for many people, this immediately creates the image of a cuddly four-legged friend with black and white drawings and blue eyes. If you then visit a sled dog race, you will be amazed to see how diverse the appearance of sled dogs can be. In addition to Samoyed and Greenland dogs, the strong Alaskan Malamute is impressive, but the registered Siberian Husky also comes in many shades of color and body shapes. If you even visit a race of the race-open association DSSV, some supposed husky connoisseurs will only be able to shake their head. Black, red, white, piebald, slim, large, small, dainty, erect ears, floppy ears, they should all be huskies? What kind of dogs are they that at first glance resemble any street dog, on the second they reveal an athletic physique and, on top of that, are so clearly ahead of most registered sled dogs? It is the ALASKAN HUSKY. Demonized by fanatics of the pedigree dog scene as bastards, in fact not even allowed to start in many races (albeit increasingly tolerated), this breed is becoming more and more popular with athletes and with a lot of love and expertise according to their common characteristic, the irresistible will to run (Desire to go). Where does this dog come from, which is not registered by any association and cannot even be registered due to its diverse appearance. Its story begins with the history of the sled dog in general. It is necessary to look at the different "original sled dogs" because all of these together established the Alaskan Huskies. Sled dogs were used for locomotion in Siberia more than 4,000 years ago. The tribes of the Samoyed, Koryak and Chukchi, as well as some other nomadic peoples, used the frugal animals on their extensive hunting trips in the eternal expanse of the arctic regions. On their migrations, they also brought these animals to other parts of the northern hemisphere, but mainly via the Bering Strait to Alaska and the rest of North America. The history and mythology of the Eskimos and Indians is closely linked to the dog. Until the "discovery" of America by the Europeans and the associated importation of horses down to Mexico, only dogs were used as pack animals and draft animals. Of course, they were otherwise extremely useful animals. So they destroyed the food and slaughterhouse waste, licked up the children's faeces, were at the same time their playmates, guarded the villages (which some reporters of the time also denied) and, last but not least, also served as food. For some tribes, dog meat was considered a downright delicacy. A dog was also often sacrificed for spiritual activities. A family had an average of 10 dogs, some 'rich' even up to 100! Roughly one could distinguish 3 different dog types with many subspecies. In the north the big, strong polar dog type dominated, further south the slimmer Indian dogs and in the southwest and Mexico an even smaller dog, similar to the fox terrier. The first two species have probably flowed into the Alaskans. The polar dog type was widespread around the Arctic and is still remembered today by the Greenland dog, the Kamchatk and Chukotk sled dog breeds, as well as some Alaskan huskies bred especially for expeditions, such as the `Polar Husky´. The Indian dog, on the other hand, was very similar to the wolves, although there were some variations in terms of size, body structure and, above all, color. As a rule, they were long-legged, strong dogs in order to get ahead even in deep snow. The dogs lived largely 'free', but were strictly trained and followed extremely well. Dogs not used for breeding were almost always neutered, aggressive and 'lazy' dogs were eliminated. In this way, extremely compatible family dogs were created, which also had a high benefit due to their toughness, their willingness to work and their frugality. The Europeans came very late (around 1800) with the idea of ​​using sled dogs. In spite of this, animals were occasionally used for migratory purposes in Europe (e.g. by traders and farmers). The first were the polar explorers, who initially rented the teams with their guides. Only Nansen, MacClintock and Amundsen tried to steer the teams themselves, with initially modest but exhilarating attempts (at least for the audience), as can be read in Nansen 'In Nacht und Eis'. Her gigantic achievements were never repeated again without dogs. The white gold diggers on their way to the gold fields of the Yukon and Alaska brought a tremendous upheaval in the until then contemplative, traditional sled dog life. They used everything that could somehow carry or pull loads. In addition to horses and mules, sheep and goats, mainly all breeds of dogs, both European and native, were used. Only the toughest and most resilient dogs survived these tough times. In contrast to the Indian dogs, large and heavy dogs were popular, aggressive dogs were also tolerated and sometimes even bred. In addition, however, lighter, faster dogs were also used for mail purposes, the so-called 'bird dogs'. These were mostly Irish and Gordon Setters, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, among others .. Another inclination of whites was their penchant for competitions where money was at stake. It is probably thanks to this, at first glance, negative quality that the sled dogs still exist. Because trains, small planes and snowmobiles take over the tasks of the sled dogs on a massive scale. In 1908 the first professional sled dog race took place in Nome (Alaska). The `All Alaska Sweepstakes´ over 670 km led from there to Candle and back. Initially, the tried and tested cargo dogs were used for this. But human ambition immediately recognized that this type of dog was not the most suitable for this and as early as the next year dogs from Markowo (Chukotka) bought specially for this purpose were at the start. Malamute - setter mixed breeds and birddog teams also took part. Only a dog that had mastered this race was henceforth considered to be an 'Alaskan'. The starting shot for the broad breed of the Alaskan Husky was given. In 1925 the Alaskans were able to prove their capabilities. Diphtheria epedymics was rampant in the isolated city of Nome. The technology failed at temperatures of -50 ° C and blizzards. A number of sled dog handlers (mushers), including the famous Seppala, brought the life-saving serum over 1000km to Nome in just over 5 days. The 1,800 km long Iditaro race has been a reminder of this event since 1973. The dogs were now bred more and more specifically to the demands of the races. The imported Chukotk dogs as well as the existing Indian dogs were used as a basis, and birddogs and later also pointers and greyhounds were crossbred in a targeted manner. That a myriad of breeding lines were and is possible from this makes sense. They also remembered the old virtues of the sled dog, low aggressiveness and good social behavior, as well as important in racing, reduced or no hunting instinct! Today the Alaskans range from the 50 kg trapper dog to the 17 kg racing dog. However, they all have one thing in common: an irrepressible, hardly destructible will to run, hard, tough paws, perseverance, thick fur, frugality, compatibility with other dogs and above all with humans. Well-known breeding lines (or almost their own breeds) are the Aurora Huskies of the Wright family, the Huslia Huskies of the Attla family, the lines of the Streeper brothers, the Saundersons, Drake and Dunlap, to name just a few. Their pedigrees can often be traced back to 6, 7 generations and more, all with the same breeding goal: good and healthy dogs regardless of their appearance. Sled dog races have been taking place in Central Europe since the early 1960s, but it wasn't until the late 1970s that the Alaskan Husky gained a foothold, against the bitter resistance of some fanatical advocates of the purebred sled dogs. A distinction must be made between the Alaskan Huskies and the 'hounds' that have recently been seen more frequently, in which the hunting dog or greyhound predominate. These dogs are specialists especially in sprint races and miss some characteristics of the Nordic dogs (which also include the Alaskans), such as frugality and resistance to cold, but this is certainly not a problem in Central Europe. Hopefully the Alaskan Huskies will soon be allowed to run peaceably with their purebred colleagues and that they are spared the fate of a fashion dog.


"Sled dogs in ice and snow", Cellura, Blanckensteinverlag
"Dog Driver", J. and M. Collins, Alpin Publications
"Mush", B. Levorsen, Arner Publications
"The dog with the Plains Indians", W. Homann, Verlag für Amerikaistik