The modern day “Husky” (a general term for all sled-pulling dogs, including the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute and the Samoyed breed) is a direct descendent of the ancient sled dog, a tough but loyal breed of dog used almost exclusively by the Inuit people. With a steadfast devotion, an eagerness to learn, and a remarkable adaptability to harsh living conditions, the husky has served humans in a variety of roles - as hunter, companion, guardian and worker. Survival for the Inuit in the harsh Arctic environment depends heavily on the year round service of the huskies. In the past they have helped with daily activities such as pulling heavy sleds for great distances over frozen tundra; dragging umiaks (boats made from animal skins); assisting with the hunts; and in the summer as pack dogs to carry heavy loads.
There are many stories of the heroic accomplishments of husky dogs throughout history. One such incident, “the great serum run” of 1925, had dog sled teams relaying medicine to prevent an epidemic across 620 miles of frozen tundra to Nome, Alaska. The lead dog Balto, who arrived first in Nome, acquired the distinction of being Alaska’s best lead dog. A bronze statue of Balto stands in New York’s Central Park to honor this Arctic adventure.