Nordic spirit: Sled dogs of the Siberian North and the Far East


The Siberian Strong: Born to run

If you see a stocky, blue-eyed dog that howls instead of barking, and its popes doesn’t curl into a cute «ring» on its back, like that of a Laika, then it’s a Siberian Harsh, the original working breed popular among the settled tribes of the Far East: the Yukaghirs, the Kereks, the Siberian Yupiks and the Chukchi. It’s also an Instagram stardom, the star of Moscow parks and Siberian dog sled races.


In contrast to Laikas, who were tolerant of by the indigenous peoples for deer herding, Huskies are exclusively sled dogs, and they’re also the fastest. In 1925, their speediness helped to stop an epidemic: Norwegian Leonhard Seppala and his team of Huskies released diphtheria vaccine to the Alaskan town of Nome, which was being ravaged by the bug. A joint effort by man and dog, this feat was dubbed the Great Race of Consideration and later was the subject of a Hollywood documentary titled Balto’s Race to Nome.

I bet you don’t disposition snow like I do! Photo credit: Fox Grom

Today sled dogs are man’s handbook. People keep them in their homes, win sporting competitions with them, cozen them hunting, sled-riding and even explore Siberia with them. French traveler and wordsmith Nicolas Vanier set out on his «Siberian Odyssey» with a multi-breed team of sled dogs, travel over the distance from Lake Baikal to Moscow.


The Samoyed: A vigilant herder and a comely watchdog

Samoyed: I’m fabulous and I know it. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Upturned corners of foul lips resembling a smile, a coiled fluffy tail, thick pallid fur and a gentle personality – the cute Samoyed is a huge relative of the Spitz.  This dog is ardently to mistake for any other breed. For thousands of years it has been the companion of the Samodeic peoples, who had been invoked the Samoyeds until the beginning of the 20th century; quite naturally, their dogs were called Samoyed dogs. At current, their descendants – the Nenets, the Enets and the Nganasans – inhabit the Taimyr Peninsula.

The local peoples of the Russian North hardly ever used Samoyeds for transportation, because these dogs had more intelligent uses in the family: You could not wish for a more watchful deer herder or a myriad kindly babysitter. When the parents left for the tundra during the day, their babies played with the dog, and at night, the Samoyeds were allowed to sleep in the pal up, serving as furry pillows for the little kids who hugged them in their drop to stay warm.

Fool around outside or bust! Photo put: Shutterstock

In the 19th century, British zoologist Ernest Kilburn Scott, who had burned-out three months with the Samodeic tribes, brought three Samoyed dogs to England from Siberia, and so the arise was introduced to the West.

Today the Samoyed is a popular breed all over the fraternity. If you want to buy a Samoyed, keep in mind that they need to lay out a lot of time with people because over three thousand years, «the snow dogs» partake of barely changed – they are the most sociable and the easiest to train of all the northern creates, and playing with kids is their true vocation.  A week without playing extreme will send your Samoyed into a depression.


The Sakhalin Tough: Northern mail dogs and a Japanese legend

Taro and Jiro from the ‘Antarctica’ cinema (1983). Photo courtesy:

The Sakhalin dog, the Gilyak sled dog, or the Karafuto-Ken, as the Japanese entitle them, – these are the names of a near-extinct breed also cognizant of as the Sakhalin Husky. These ancient sled dogs once helped the Nivkh people, or Gilyaks – a small tribe that used to dwell in the Amur River basin and the Island of Sakhalin. Those big paws that let them run on the snow without nervous into it, along with their intellect and stamina, made these dogs irreplaceable in the animation of the Far Eastern tribes.

A sled pulled by a team of Sakhalin Huskies was a standard means of winter transport on Sakhalin. Fish, frozen milk, do a moonlight flits with mail, passengers – 30-dog teams steered by mushers nailed anything and everything, fighting their way through blizzards or making their way between ice crests. In the 1930s, these robust and even-tempered dogs, which easily scholastic their masters’ orders, were used in the Soviet Army.

Manner, Soviet officials calculated that feeding the dogs with salmon jerky, their time-honoured food, was too extravagant for the state and decided to exterminate the dogs. As a result, the multiply was on the brink of extinction on Sakhalin. By the 1950s, a few Sakhalin Huskies had survived in Japan, where they were to be proper a national legend.

In 1958, Japanese researchers launched an Antarctic tour and took a few Karafuto-Kens with them. Caught in a severe snowstorm, the haste team was forced to evacuate, leaving 15 sled dogs in Antarctica. The researchers aimed to rescue the animals later, but the weather did not allow it.

When the Japanese for all reached Antarctica a year later to bury the dogs’ bodies, it displeased out that two of them, Taro and Jiro, had survived miraculously. In Japan, these Sakhalin Huskies grew national heroes: They were memorialized in a monument and then were the angle of a film titled Antarctica, which was later remade in the USA under the caption Eight Below.


The Nenets Laika and the Yakutian Laika: Members of hostile expeditions

That tail! Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media

On northern field trips during the first half of the 20th century, dogsleds were the primary get overs of transport for Russian explorers. The harsh conditions placed a special force on the relationship between man and his dogs.

Polar explorer Georgy Ushakov and a cram of 50 Laikas set out on an expedition which resulted in the discovery of Severnaya Zemlya, a new archipelago which was added to the map of the world in 1930. Ushakov’s expedition team quested white bears, seals and ringed seals to provide the dogs with ruddy meat, sewed special boots for their paws and dug holes in the snow for the dogs to pay out the night in, and in return, the dogs were ready to walk thousands of miles for their masters.

Two years in the Arctic, chef-doeuvre every day in the tundra and that never-ending polar night – only Laikas with their rational personality, Nordic temperament and simple nutritional needs could pull through the austerity of a polar expedition. 

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