Huskies

Siberian Saturday: History of Huskies

Huskies are beautiful family dogs that live life with gusto. They are able to pull a moderate load further, faster and on less food than any other dog breed. They come from a long lineage and were bred with precision. Let’s learn more about this wonderful breed.

It is believed that the word “Husky” is derived from the term “Esky” as in Eskimo. Breeds from the same lineage of the Eskimo dog used to be found in Siberia, Canada, Greenland, Alaska and the Northern Hemisphere.

Huskies helped many people survive and cross parts of the Northern Hemisphere and even helped Admiral Robert Peary of the United States Navy on his voyages to seek the North Pole.

The Siberian Husky breed dates back to about 4000 years ago as they were first developed by the Chukchi People who lived in the region of North Eastern Asia. They are ancient Siberian hunting people, who developed these beautiful dogs to help them hunt and haul their loads across long distances of Tundra.

It is known that Siberia had a milder climate in those days than the Siberia we know today, but the climate changed about 3000 years ago to become the cold environment synonymous with Siberia. The animals had to travel further to find food and the Chukchi people had to adapt as well. They made sleds and used teams of Siberian Huskies to pull them across the ice. Huskies helped them find and hunt reindeer for food, until the Chukchis were able to rear reindeer domestically.

Siberian Huskies were more than just dogs to Chukchi people. They believed that the gates of heaven were guarded by a pair of Chukchi dogs (Siberian Huskies). Anyone who caused a dog any harm would be denied access to heaven.

Russians tried for forty years to seize the land of the Chukchis and declared war on them in 1742. In the 1930’s the Communists tried to destroy every trace of ‘non-soviet’ culture, which lead to their efforts to kill all native dog breeds. Sled dogs were old fashioned in their minds and should be replaced by cars, but when they tried to reach the Chukchi their cars got stuck in the ice.

They had to admit the usefulness of sled dogs, but didn’t leave the Chukchis to breed their dogs. They tried to organise the native breeds into four categories instead: sled dogs, reindeer herders, big game hunters and small game hunters.

The Siberian Husky wasn’t a part of any of these classifications, because the Communists believed that Huskies were too tiny to pull large loads across the frozen landscape.

Due to the disappearance of the Chukchis during the Stalinist Purges there may be no pure Siberian Huskies left in their home land today. Some Huskies were brought to North America and the breed took off.

Huskies were imported from Siberia to Alaska and surrounds after 1908 during the gold rush. Their small stature, speed and endurance made them perfect for freighting jobs.

In 1930, the exportation of Huskies from Siberia was ceased. They were also recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Their name changed from “Arctic Husky” to Siberian Husky in 1991.

Husky popularity continued well into the 21st century and their rank among the American Kennel Club registrants rise with every passing year.

 

Do you own a husky? Let me know by commenting below!

 

Love and Blessings,

Lindsay Sign Off

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