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Alaskan Husky Puppy

Alaskan Husky Puppy, The Alaskan husky is a breed of medium-sized working sled dog, developed specifically for its performance as such.[1][2][3]

Alaskan Husky Puppy
Puppy

Alaskan huskies are the most commonly used type of dog for competitive sled dog racing, both in short-distance sprint racing as well as long-distance expedition races such as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race,[4] the Yukon Quest,[5] and the Finnmarkslopet.

Description[edit]

Alaskan Husky Puppy, The Alaskan husky is not an officially recognized breed by any kennel club, nor does it have a formal breed standard.[citation needed] Unlike breeds developed for the show ring, the Alaskan husky is instead a product of careful selection for desirable sled dog traits from various other breeds, such as aptitude for pulling, endurance, speed, intelligence, appetite, and tolerance of extreme weather.[6][7] As a result of this specific and mindful performance-only based breeding, DNA studies show that Alaskan Huskies share a genetic signature and indeed can be identified accurately on DNA breed tests.[8]

Blue-eyed Alaskan husky, a common feature in the Siberian Husky contributor to the breed

Alaskan Husky Puppy, The Alaskan husky is an incredibly athletic dog variety, and as a dog crossbreed their appearance can vary markedly, although various lines have been bred for multiple generations and breed very true to that line’s type.[9] Some Alaskan husky lines have very traditional husky spitz-like features with pointed ears and curled tails, while other lines more closely resemble their hound or gundog heritage with tipped or floppy ears, straight tails and tucked up sighthound-like loins.[10][11] As they are not bred with conformation in mind, cosmetic features are not a consideration for breeding, and these features instead tend to follow the purpose of the dog’s intended style of sled work.

Generally Alaskan huskies are taller than Siberian Huskies and are lighter in build than Alaskan Malamutes, both of whom they share lineage with and are descended from.

History[edit]

Alaskan Husky Puppy, As European traders and settlers arrived in Alaska they sought local entertainment, and turned to racing the local means of transportation, sled dogs.[9] Indigenous dogs found throughout Alaska were renowned for their great strength and stamina, but lacked speed, so various outcrosses to fleeter Old World breeds were utilized to produce faster-running dogs, including Siberian imports who dominated local organized races in Alaska.[12] Since the beginning of the 20th century, various breeders have turned to various outcrosses to produce different lines of racing dogs. Most lines today contain some form of traditional husky heritage in their bloodlines, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies being the most common, although Mackenzie River huskiesGreenland Dogs, and Samoyeds have also been utilized.[9][11]

An Alaskan husky at Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Alaskan husky standing on his doghouse

In the latter half of the 20th century the primary use of sled dogs shifted from utility to sport, particularly career competitive sled dog racing. In order to facilitate greater speed for racing sport, various breeds of gundogs and sighthounds have now been bred into Alaskan husky lines, including PointersGreyhoundsGerman Shorthaired PointersSalukisBorzoisLabradors and Setters; some breeders have even used wolves at various points.[9][11][10]

Lineage[edit]

Alaskan Husky Puppy, Genetic studies indicate that the Alaskan Husky originates from pre-Colonial North American Arctic village dogs (including precursors to the Alaskan Malamute) and Siberian imports (precursors to the Siberian Husky), crossbred with European breeds such as PointersGerman Shepherd Dogs, and Salukis to improve its performance.[8][7]

In 2015, a DNA study indicated that the Alaskan husky, the Siberian Husky, and the Alaskan Malamute share a close genetic relationship between each other and were related to Chukotka sled-dogs from Siberia. They were separate to the two Inuit dogs: the Canadian Eskimo Dog and the Greenland Dog. The Siberian Husky and the Malamute both had maintained their Siberian lineage and had contributed significantly to the Alaskan husky, which was developed through crossing with European breeds.[7]

Health and physical capabilities[edit]

Alaskan Husky Puppy, The Alaskan husky has selectively been bred specifically for its athletic performance.[13][5] As such, its level of athletic ability, as well as anabolic efficiency are far greater than the average domesticated dog, especially in endurance feats. Distance-specialist Alaskan huskies out-speed most animals and all other types of sled dogs when running distances of 50 miles or greater, even while pulling moderately sized loads.[5] Studies on the metabolic capabilities in working Alaskan husky sled dogs reveal that their system transitions to utilization of low-glucose energy sources (from high-glycogen carbohydrates) early on during long periods of travel, and their reliance on these low-glucose fuels (such as those higher in fats and proteins) continue and even extend to become more pronounced after working for longer periods.[13] A good appetite is a highly desirable trait, and is emphasized in breeding choices.[14]

As specifically purposed working sled dogs, Alaskan huskies can be subject to climate or work-specific health conditions that any sled dogs may experience, such as temperature-related bronchitis or bronchopulmonary ailments, also known as “ski asthma”.[17]

Behavior[edit]

Alaskan Husky Puppy, The behaviors and temperament of the Alaskan husky can vary greatly due to the wide range of genetic backgrounds and bred-purposes within the breed. As with all sled dogs, a desire to pull and run are essential and are of high priority in decisions of breeding. Mental soundness is also important due to the need for dogs to be in close quarters with other dogs while hooked in the team, handled by people for proper care and transportation, and for dogs on racing teams to perform under environments which include trails crowded with spectators and other dog teams.[14]