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Just the Facts: Alaskan Sled Dogs

Alaskan husky sled dogs

Alaskan Husky

Alaskan huskyThe most well-known thing about Alaska and sports is that it’s home to the Iditarod. Central to the Iditarod are the Husky breed of dog.

Alaskan Huskies have great endurance and speed, and are bred for racing and working (they’re good at hauling cargo on sleds when strapped into a harness). They are also leaner than their Siberian Husky cousins, and have brown eyes instead of blue.

As pets and companions, Huskies are loyal and energetic, and prefer life outdoors where they reap the full benefits of their impressive thick fur coats. Males weigh between 40-60 lbs and females weigh between 35-48 lbs.

Alaskan Husky breedings are planned. Although they are technically pedigreed, they’re not considered purebred because they’re sometimes crossed with other Northern and non-Northern breeds to produce the best working dogs possible.

Alaskan Malamute


The Alaskan Malamute belongs to the Spitz group of dogs, and can be traced some 2-3,000 years to an Inuit Tribe known as the Mahlemutes. The tribe was nomadic, and depended greatly on the companionship and work ethic of Malamutes. The dogs were also excellent hunters, capable of taking down bears and spotting seals via their blow holes.

Alaskan Malamutes are the larger, stronger but slower cousin of the Alaskan Husky, weighing up to 85-100 lbs for males and 75 lbs for females. They can pull heavier loads than Huskies (up to 3,000 lbs/ at optimal performance!) but tire out quicker.

These intelligent and kind dogs have a strong sense of independence, which makes training them a lesson in patience. As sled dogs, they’re experts at remembering trails thanks to their excellent memory.

Photo credits: John Joh, bibiweb, muratodentro