Dashing through the snow, in a five-dog open sled ... OK, we may have the lyrics to this classic Christmas song confused, but we think that sled dogs definitely deserve their own tune, too! Through sleet and snow, these energetic and athletic canines have endured the coldest of temperatures while hauling a sled at super fast speeds since 2000 B.C. Although sled dogs are no longer used as working dogs, they are still bred for companionship and recreational dog sled racing. Here are 12 of the most popular sled dog breeds who love to jingle all the way.
Breed: Alaskan Husky
Stats: Alaskan Huskies can weigh between 40 to 60 pounds.
Fun Fact: Although similar in look and size, Alaskan Huskies are much calmer and gentler than the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute. Siberian Huskies used to be the primary dog used in sled races, but most sled dogs today are Alaskan Huskies. They can run up to 19 miles per hour on average.
Breed: Alaskan Malamute
Stats: Alaskan Malamutes can weigh between 75 and 85 pounds.
Fun Facts: Because they are much larger in size than the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamutes can haul substantial amounts of weight over long distances at a steady, but swift speed.
Breed: Canadian Inuit Dog
Stats: These powerful and athletic dogs can weigh up to 88 pounds.
Fun Facts: The Canadian Inuit or Eskimo Dog is one of the continent's oldest and rarest remaining purebred indigenous canines. It is speculated that this breed of dog has been around for at least 4,000 years. Sadly, due to a mass slaughter of sled dogs between 1950 and 1970, this rare breed has been on the decline.
Stats: This top sled dog racer can weigh up to 53 pounds.
Fun Facts: The Eurohound is a cross between an Alaskan Husky and a Pointer. This magical combination makes for a super competitive and strong sled dog racer. They possess the Husky's ability to sled and the Pointer's athleticism and energy.
Breed: Greenland Dog
Stats: This large breed of Husky can weigh up to 70 pounds.
Fun Facts: The Greenland is a more slender and tall sled dog with triangular ears and a large bushy tail. They are an ancient breed of dog that directly descended from those brought to Greenland by the early Inuit.
Breed: Sakhalin Husky
Stats: This large sled dog can weigh up to 80 pounds.
Fun Facts: This multi-colored sled dog hails from Japan and is of the Spitz dog family. Sakhalins became famous in 1958 when two of 15 sled dogs survived one year in the wild after an expedition in Antarctica had to make an emergency evacuation, leaving the dogs behind. Taro and Jiro became heroes of their breed and their taxidermied bodies are on display at Hokkaido University.
Breed: Tamaskan Dog
Stats: This rare dog breed from Finland can grow up to 95 pounds.
Fun Facts: Tamaskans may have inherited their sled-pulling capabilities from the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute, but they were bred to look like wolves. They are far bigger than their sled dog ancestors.
Next: National Dog Show's New Breeds 2012
Stats: This slender but muscular dog can weigh up to 90 pounds.
Fun Facts: The Utonagan breed began in 1987 when 5 rescue dogs were imported from America into the U.K. This unknown breed of rescue dog was crossbred with the Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and Siberian Husky. They are highly obedient and can also make great family pets.
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