Alaskan or Siberian?

Hi y’all!  Libby here! I’m an Alaskan Husky puppy and my Big Goal is to be a Sled Dog. I’ve learned a lot hanging around the Kennel.  Not just any dog can become a sled dog.  First of all, sled dogs have to love running and pulling sleds, and we need to be able to stay warm in the snow.  Huskies, like me, make great sled dogs because we love to pull and we have a double coat of thick, warm fur.  If you want a great sled dog, you can’t go wrong with a husky! 

Many people see dogs like me and say, “that isn’t a husky!”  Me? Not a husky?  It turns out, people often think that all huskies are fluffy,  white and black, with blue eyes (or one blue and one brown), pointy ears, and curly tails.  They are thinking about Siberian Huskies. They don’t realize that Siberian Huskies are just one kind of Husky. I am an Alaskan Husky!

Me: Alaskan Husky.

So, what is the difference between Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Huskies?

SIberians are a “Pure Breed.”   They belong to Kennel Clubs that have rules about what a Siberian Husky should look like.  Humans work hard to make sure their Siberian Huskies fit the rules, or standards.  One rule: If you want to be a Siberian Husky, your parents and grandparents and great great grandparents all had to be Siberian Huskies.  

Lisbett Norris’ Siberian Husky

We Alaskan Huskies are a mix of different BREEDs.  A dog breed is a kind of dog, like beagle, poodle, or pug.  Siberian Huskies have always been a great sled dog breed, but many mushers didn’t care so much about what we looked like, as long as we loved to run fast, pull sleds, work hard, keep going, eat a lot, and follow directions.  Those mushers took Siberians and made a new breed of racing dog.

Martin Buser’s Alaskan Husky, Fiddle

Mushers started to mix Siberians with dog breeds that have their own “super-powers.”  I may have some greyhound ancestors to thank for speed, labrador retrievers for friendliness, and border collies for intelligence and focus.  If we have moms or dads or grandparents who are not Siberian, we are no longer “pure”.  We are no longer Siberian Huskies. We are Alaskan Huskies!

Monica Zappa’s Alaskan Huskies

Some mushers believe we Alaskan Huskies are better than Siberians.  They say we are faster and work harder because we are more serious about our jobs. “Alaskan Huskies live to pull.”  That may be true for some of us, but Alaskan Huskies are also more VARIABLE than Siberians.  That means we have more differences between each other.  Some of us are smaller than Siberians, and some are much bigger. We each have our own unique personalities.  Siberians and Alaskans are all great sled dogs.  We each have our strengths and weaknesses.  I know I’m going to be a great sled dog some day. 

Alaskan or Siberian?

Alaskan or Siberian?

You can try your new Husky Identification Skills with my Husky Venn Game:    Google Slides Husky Venn