101.4. I’m not howling about a K9s average temperature (which is 101.0 – 102.5). 101.4 is the number of inches of snow in Anchorage as of January 29. After a few years of minimal snowfall this is great news in the mushing world. The snowfall isn’t the only weather news out of Alaska – it’s also been ffffffffffreeeeezing cold here. In some places, with windchill, it’s -55° F. The good news is that we K9s love lots of snow and we especially love to run in cold temperatures. We have adaptations that help us survive the cooler temperatures. This is from a post I wrote a few years ago:
“My K9 friends and I have a few adaptations that help keep us warm in the winter. The first is our 2 layers of fur. We have an undercoat of soft, fine fur that is kind of like wearing a down jacket. Over that is the outer layer, the longer more coarse hairs that help keep us dry. It’s kind of like wearing a raincoat over our down jackets. Another adaptation is the gel in the pads of our feet that doesn’t freeze. I know we wear booties when we race, but that’s not to keep our paws warm, it’s to keep them safe from getting cuts and having snow clump up. Now for the super science stuff. We have countercurrent circulation in our legs where the warm blood in the arteries warms the cool blood in our veins. I’m just a dog so it’s hard for me to explain, but you can find more information about it from past Teacher on the Trail, Kelly Villar, here. Finally, we have long tails so when we bed down at night we can curl up and tuck our noses into the fur of our tails.”
While the humans may be tired of the cold, snowy weather here in Alaska. We sled dogs LOVE it! How does this weather compare to where you live?