March 2010

Iditarod Race to the Finish - or Death?

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race started in Anchorage on March 6th, and the lead contenders are homing in on Nome.  This famous 1,000 mile sled dog race is as controversial as it is historic, and opinions and tempers run hot on both sides of the debate.

Although most people picture a Siberian husky or a Malamute when they think of sled dog racing, the dog which is bred and used by mushers is a landrace breed.  "Landrace" breeds arise naturally, out of the needs of their breeders.  You could call it a kind of "purpose-built mutt."  

The landrace used in mushing is called a "husky," although it is smaller and trimmer than most husky breeds.  It comes in a variety of coat and eye colors, and is bred for speed, endurance, and "easy keeping," meaning that it can go far on a minimum amount of food.