Amazing breed of dogs with the most beautiful eyes: the history of the Siberian Husky
Scientists ranked them among the 14 oldest breeds of dogs, whose genotype is the least different from the wild wolf
Siberian Huskies, which are particularly popular today, have an interesting history.
These amazing dogs with blue eyes became famous all over the world when they rescued the city of Nome in Alaska from diphtheria, and one of them, Balto’s dog, was even immortalized in bronze and cinema.
Having studied the DNA of Siberian Huskies, scientists ranked them among the 14 oldest breeds of dogs, whose genotype differs least of all from the wild wolf.
Breed, which is now called “Siberian Husky” was bred in ancient times by the Chukchi. This semi-nomadic person needed a dog capable of moving quickly over long distances in order to transport cargo from commercial hunting places to permanent settlements and back. In addition to speed and endurance, dogs were required to be friendly to people, because they were directly in the houses.
At the same time, the Huskies are completely unsuitable for the role of a watchdog, since with sufficient physical activity they are absolutely non-aggressive, but they are ideally suited for the role of a pet, safe even for very young children.
The speed and endurance of the Siberian Huskies were seen by residents of Alaska, among whom dog sledding races were popular. Siberian Huskies began to en masse in Alaska in the early 20th century. One of the most popular Siberian husky popularizers was the musher (dog driver) Leonard Seppala, who with his husky consistently won the race for several years in a row.
In January 1925, a diphtheria epidemic broke out in the small town of Nome. To combat the disease urgently needed a batch of vaccine. It was impossible to get to Nome either by water since the navigation season was over due to the freezing of the waters, or by air – there was a snowstorm raging, or an iron storm because it simply did not exist.
The only way to deliver the vaccine was dog sledding. Therefore, the expedition-relay race was equipped, consisting of 20 drivers and about 150 dogs. Leonard Seppala with his dogs, hardened in races, led by an experienced dog named Togo, took up the baton 300 kilometers from Nome. To save time, Seppala made the brave decision to ride on the fragile ice of Norton Bay. 80 kilometers the team went at night in a 40-degree frost and a strong storm. The ice cracked under the sleds and in the end, the ice around them broke off, and they circled for hours on the ice in the open sea, until they were nailed to the ice.
The Dog of Togo, apart from his courage and endurance, was able to find his way, anticipating danger. He forced tired and frozen dogs to work, chose the right direction in the dark, warned Kayura about ice holes and cracks. In general, Seppala’s team has overcome 146 kilometers on the way to Nom – most of the participants in the relay race. The general path, which began to the relay sites from Nome, was 420 km. When they reached the city of Golovin, they passed the baton to the next team.
Therefore, all the glory of the savior of the city Nome got not one, but another dog – Balto, who, having overcome the last part of the journey, delivered the saving serum to Nome. The driver of the last team was Gunnar Kaas. Weather conditions during the Kaas sled race worsened even more: the temperature dropped to -51 ° C, and the wind gusts reached a speed of 110 km / h. Such a snowstorm raged, Kaas could barely see his hands in front of his face and he decided to trust the dog. The leader of the team Balto justified the trust and did not stray from the path. The city was saved.
Balto became a star in the USA: a monument was erected to him, and later several cartoons were made about him.
Leonard Seppala, who passed the very difficult part of the journey with his dog, was very upset that the fame did not go to the racing dog, which was the same, but to the simple sled dog of Balto. However, the story put everything in its place: currently, the genes are still visible in many lines of the best racing dogs of Alaska, but the genes of Balto have sunk into oblivion.
Surprisingly, the Siberian Husky survived as a breed only due to the interest of Americans to these dogs. Even this breed got its name thanks to the Americans. Huskies – distorted English “Eski”, i.e. Eskimo.