The Siberian Husky, Samoyed, and Alaskan Malamute are all breeds directly descended from the original sled dog, which 2004 DNA analysis confirms is one of the
oldest breeds of dog. It is thought that the term “husky” is a corruption of the nickname “Esky” once applied to the Eskimo and later to their dogs.
Breeds descending from the Eskimo dog or Qimmiq were once found throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Siberia to Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Labrador, and
Baffin Island.With the help of Siberian Huskies, entire ethnic groups of people were able not only to survive, but to push forth into terra incognita. Admiral Robert Peary
of theUnited States Navy was aided by this breed during his expeditions in search of the North Pole.
Dogs from the Anadyr River and surrounding regions were imported into Alaska from 1908 (and for the next two decades) during the gold rush for use as sled dogs,
especially in the “All-Alaska Sweepstakes,” a 408-mile (657-km) distance dog sled race from Nome, to Candle, and back. Smaller, faster and more enduring than the
100- to 120-pound (45- to 54-kg) freighting dogs then in general use, they immediately dominated the Nome Sweepstakes. Leonhard Seppala, the foremost breeder of
Siberian Huskies of the time, participated in competitions from 1909 to the mid-1920s
On February 3, 1925, Gunnar Kaasen was first in the 1925 serum run to Nome to deliver diphtheria serum from Nenana, over 600 miles to Nome. This was a group
effort by several sled-dog teams and mushers, with the longest (91 miles or 146 km) and most dangerous segment of the run covered by Leonhard Seppala. The Iditarod
Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates this famous delivery. The event is also loosely depicted in the 1995 animated film Balto, as the name of Gunnar Kaasen’s lead dog in
his sled team was Balto, although unlike the real dog, Balto the character was portrayed as half wolf in the film. In honor of this lead dog, a bronze statue was erected at
Central Park in New York City. The plaque upon it 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”
In 1930, exportation of the dogs from Siberia was halted. The same year saw recognition of the Siberian Husky by the American Kennel Club. Nine years later, the
breed was first registered in Canada. The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1938 as the “Arctic Husky,” changing the name to Siberian Husky in 1991.
Seppala owned a kennel in Nenana before moving to New England, where he became partners with Elizabeth Ricker. The two co-owned the Poland Springs kennel and
began to race and show their dogs all over the Northeast.
As the breed was beginning to come to prominence, in 1933 Navy Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd brought about 50 Siberian Huskies with him on an expedition in which
he hoped to journey around the 16,000-mile coast of Antarctica. Many of the dogs were trained at Chinook Kennels in New Hampshire. Called Operation High jump, the
historic trek proved the worth of the Siberian Husky due to its compact size and greater speeds. Siberian Huskies also served in the United States Army’s Arctic Search
and Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command during World War II. Their popularity was sustained into the 21st century. They were ranked 16th among American
Kennel Club registrants in 2012, rising to 14th place in 2013.
The original sled dogs bred and kept by the Chukchi were thought to have gone extinct, but Benedict Allen, writing for Geographical magazine in 2006 after visiting the
region, reported their survival. His description of the breeding practiced by the Chukchi mentions selection for obedience, endurance, amiable disposition, and sizing that
enabled families to support them without undue difficulty
They are an extremely friendly breed; The Siberian Husky is a versatile dog of great beauty and are quick and light on their feet, which are slightly webbed. He has a
moderately compact body, which is well-furred, erect ears and brush tail all suggest their Northern heritage. His gait is smooth and seemingly effortless. His tail is well
feathered, or fox brush shaped and carried in a graceful sickle curve. The Siberian has a double coat coming in all colours, including white, are acceptable.
IMPORTANT. A Siberian Husky with exaggerated features is the result of bad breeding. Credit; The Breed Club Connection.
( Source; Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain );
HEALTH TESTS EXPLAINED;
Even if you are only looking for a Siberian as a pet, and have no intention of working or showing him or her, you should make sure you buy a puppy from hip scored and
eye tested parents. Not only for the future health of your dog, but the health of your bank balance too! ALL responsible breeders test their breeding stock. The only
reason not to do so is either that it cuts (a tiny bit) into their profits, or that they already know they have a problem in their lines, and care so little for the puppies they
produce and their new owners, that they continue to breed from dogs with genetic problems.
HIP DYSPLASIA (HD); Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a condition where the ball joint at the top of the femur doesn’t fit properly into its socket in the pelvis. As the puppy
grows up, it will begin to have problems walking, which will become more and more painful. Depending on the degree of the problem, an expensive operation may be
required, but many dogs with HD end up being put to sleep at a shockingly young age. The hips of Siberians are still generally pretty good, due to the fact that, until the
recent explosion in popularity, the majority of them in this country were working dogs, where soundness is hugely important. Even if they don’t work their dogs, every
responsible breeder will have their dogs hip scored before they are first bred from. In the event of an “accidental” mating, both parents should be hip scored and eye
tested before the puppies are sold, to give buyers the chance to make an informed choice, and insure the puppies if they still want to risk buying one.
Hip scoring is done by sending an x-ray off to the British Veterinary Association, for examination by a panel of experts. Points are given to 9 features of the hip, and
these are added up to give a score – the lower the better. The average hip score for Siberians is 7, and this is the total for BOTH hips. The score is written as two
figures – one for each hip – to be added together, such as 0/1 or 3/4 for example. If the parents hip scores are significantly higher than this, it is not a particularly good
sign and you may want to look elsewhere for a puppy.Environmental factors can worsen the condition but never cause it. Dogs that seem to have perfectly normal hips
can still carry the genes for HD, but strict scoring of all dogs before breeding, and consistently using those who are below the breed average gives the best chance of
avoiding this crippling and heartbreaking condition.
It is essential that all Siberians are tested for several inherited eye diseases. Breeders should retest every year, or at least before each litter, as cataracts can sometimes
develop later in life, after previously clear tests. If a breeder cannot show you a BVA or Club Scheme certificate showing a clear result from a recent test, for your own
good, please walk away from that litter. Pets should also be eye tested – a failed test will allow you to be alert to the symptoms of whichever condition your dog is at risk
of, and to get early treatment. The test is done by a BVA ophthalmologist, who will put drops into the dog’s eyes and examine them using a special scope or contact
lens.Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure of the fluid inside the eyeball becomes too high. There are drainage channels within the eye and if these are too
narrow, or blocked, it means that it is much more likely that the fluid will be unable to circulate and the dog will develop glaucoma. A dog with abnormal drainage
channels is said to be “predisposed” to glaucoma. An attack of glaucoma may start with the pupil in the affected eye dilating – becoming much larger than the one in the
other eye. The dog will be in great pain, crying and pawing at his eye. You need to get to a vet immediately, as the longer it takes to get treatment, the worse the
outcome usually is. Eventually the eyeball may have to be removed. Hereditary Cataract Siberians can carry a gene which causes cataracts, a clouding of the lens which
prevents light entering and seriously affects the eyesight, causing blindness in severe cases.