– The WooFPAK’s Ancestors
You probably know that Huskies have a long history as sled dogs, but did you know that they are one of the oldest breeds of dog? A DNA analysis was actually conducted in 2004 to confirm this! No wonder they are so energetic and resilient – their ancestors came from the bitterly cold and unforgiving environment of the Siberian Arctic.
The Siberian Husky is of a pure and ancient lineage that dates back as far as 4,000 years. These beautiful creatures were used for hundreds of years by the Chukchi people of Eastern Siberia to herd reindeer, act as guard dogs, and of course, to pull sleds.
Chukchis had a great deal of respect for their Siberian Huskies, so much so that only the very young, old and sick were allowed to ride in the sleds as passengers. According to Chukchi beliefs, the gates of heaven were guarded by Huskies, and anyone who would dare to mistreat a dog wouldn’t be allowed into heaven.
During the gold rush in the early 1900’s, Siberian Huskies were brought to Alaska and used as sled dogs in the “All Alaska Sweepstakes” – a 408 mile long dogsled race. The Huskies gained instant popularity because they were (and still are) amazingly fast – much faster than the freighting dogs which had been used previously.
In 1925, about 150 sled dogs and 20 mushers became heroes in the “Great Race of Mercy”, when they transported a batch of diphtheria antitoxin to the small city of Nome, saving hundreds of lives. The journey was completed in relays, and the teams collectively managed to cover 674 miles in five and a half days. This event has been recounted in books and even a movie, named “Balto” after one of the lead dogs.
The export of Huskies from Siberia was halted in 1930, and in the same year the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
In 1933, 50 Siberian Huskies went on an historic expedition around the 16,000 mile coast of Antarctica with Navy Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Called Operation Highjump, it’s primary mission was to establish a research base in the Antarctic.
During the Second World War, Siberian Huskies served in the Arctic Search and Rescue Unit of the Air Transport Command – a perfect addition to Search and Rescue because of their ability to travel where machines couldn’t, and being able to withstand the coldest conditions.
Incredibly hardworking and loyal, the WooFPAK dogs aren’t just pretty faces…we owe them a debt of gratitude for their long history of service and devotion over the ages.