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Siberian Husky: History and Appearance
The Siberian Husky is a particularly rugged and hardy breed of dog. The breed originated in Northeast Asia as sled dog with excellent endurance and tolerance for extremely cold conditions. Siberian Huskies were originally bred by the Chukchi people. This nomadic group needed a dog that could withstand the cold and travel great distances while pulling a light load. The Siberian Husky was able to do this, and the Chukchi people were able to keep the breed pure until the 19th century.
In the 1900’s, Americans began to hear of a particularly hardy breed of sled dog from Siberia. For those in Alaska, the breed became highly desirable. The first team of Siberian Huskies appeared in Alaska in 1909. The team appeared in the Alaska Sweepstakes Race, a difficult 400 mile run through rough terrain and freezing temperatures. The breed became prized for their ability in sled races, and in 1909, a great many Huskies were imported by a man named Charles Fox Maule Ramsay. His team and driver won the Sweepstakes in 1910. Siberian Huskies soon became the breed to win the most races.
Unfortunately for the Siberian Huskies in Siberia, the new Communist regime took its toll. The Chukchi people who bred and owned Siberian Huskies were considered to be of leadership position and somewhat wealthy. This did not fall in line with the new Communist government’s way of thinking, and those tribal leaders were either imprisoned or killed. As a result, the original Chukchi breed began to die out, and practically became extinct in its country of origin. Fortunately, the breed was about to gain a strong foothold in America, thereby ensuring its longevity.
The Siberian Husky wasn’t just valued for its racing ability. In fact, the breed became known for deeds much more noble. In 1925, Nome, Alaska experienced a horrible epidemic of diphtheria. The city was greatly in need of antitoxin medication. Leonard Seppala, a known breeder of Siberian huskies and many other sled dog drivers were called upon to get the serum to Nome. Because the breed was successful in getting the medication, word began to spread about the amazing Siberian Husky breed. Leonhard Seppala and his team of huskies came to the United States, where they were invited to race in New England. The Siberian Husky team impressed sportsmen around the country with their good nature and exceptional stamina.
Following those New England races, the breed became popular in parts of the United States other than Alaska. The breed became established in the U.S., and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. The breed gained even more fame when it was used on the Byrd Antarctic Expeditions. Its heroism was praised in World War II when the Siberian Husky became part of the Army’s Arctic Search and Rescue Unit.
The modern Siberian Husky is still prized as a sled dog and show dog. The breed has been featured in several television shows and movies, and is the mascot of two universities. It is still used as a search and rescue breed in snowy areas. The breed is also valued as a family companion.
Overall, the Siberian Husky should have the appearance of working dog. The breed is medium sized, agile, and light on its feet. The dog is considered to be strong, fast, graceful, and fluid in its movement. The Siberian Husky typically grows from 20 inches to 23 inches tall. Males can weigh up to 60 lbs. and females up to 50 lbs. The dog’s weight should always be in proportion to its height, and the dog should have a sturdy, balanced appearance.
The Siberian Husky’s head is medium sized and slightly rounded and tapered. The muzzle is both medium long and wide, with gradual tapering. The nose is either black or liver, depending on the dog’s coat color. On white dogs, the nose is flesh colored. The Siberian Husky is one of the few breeds allowed to have pink streaking on the nose. The eyes are almond shaped, and may be blue, brown, or parti colored. The breed is even known to have one brown eye and one blue eye. The ears are usually thick and covered in dense fur. They are set fairly high on the head.
The Siberian Husky has a medium length neck that extends when the dog is running. The dog has a deep chest that is not too broad, a straight, level back, and well developed muscles. The legs are also muscular, parallel, and straight. The feet are oval, medium sized, and heavily furred. The feet have very thick pads.
The Siberian Husky has a double coat that is medium in length. The outer coat is straight and smooth. The undercoat is dense and soft. The hairs do not stand out, nor are they harsh in texture. Trimming of whiskers or fur on the feet for a neater appearance is allowed. All colors are allowed. The Husky’s coat ranges from black pure white. The breed often features markings and unique patterns.
The Siberian Husky’s temperament should be friendly, gentle, and outgoing. The breed should be eager and willing to work.
Showing a Siberian Husky
In show, the Siberian Husky should conform to the standard of a working sled dog. The emphasis is on strength and athletic appearance. Any physical characteristics that are deemed weak, delicate, or fine will be penalized.
Eyes that are set too close together are considered a fault. Ears that are too large or set wide are also faulted. The Siberian Husky’s neck should not be too short, nor should the chest be overly broad. The back should be straight and strong. The back should never be roached, weak, or sloped. The dog’s legs and feet should not turn in or out. Dogs with long or shaggy coats, silky fur, or excessively trimmed fur will be penalized.
Dogs that do not meet the height requirements will be disqualified, as will dogs that show aggression.