03 October 2011

Happy Huskies

Not a post about the U. Washington, Seattle teams, who I'm sure do fine.  Instead Alaskan Huskies I visited on my vacation:

This was at the Chena River Village, which I'll be talking more about later.  The huskies are, of course, adorable in their own way.  That's sufficient, of course, but there's also some science involved.

These are Alaskan Huskies, of course.  The major distinction between Alaskan and Siberian, to borrow a description from an Alaskan musher (not the one above with her lead dog) is that the Siberians are 'Disney Dogs' -- selected for prettyness.  There might be some regional bias involved.
The Alaskan Huskies are selected for their ability to run for long periods in Alaskan winter.  To that end, they're not uniform in size or appearance.  In size, they're from 35-85 pounds (16-40 kg).  Surprisingly to me, a 35 pound dog can be hitched with an 85 and both pull well.

A different thing they're selected for is enjoying running.  The two dogs in front of the lower photo are absolutely thrilled -- they're about to get to run!  The white dog in the foreground is now retired.  I didn't catch it in this photo, but both he and the dogs in the pen are very excited.  Even though they're not the ones getting to run, they're all excited.  Running will be happening!

The downside for the dogs was that the day we visited, it was about 50 F (10 C).  The dogs are happiest running at about -10 F (-23 C).  So the dogs were only allowed to run a little and then released to the river.  Here's a video of the tail end of their run:


L. Hamilton said...

Did you catch the Aurora? I hear it was spectacular in some places last week. I was in Yellowknife just the week before that, and got some nice photos, but apparently missed the real show.

Robert Grumbine said...

That was the one thing I had been looking forward to but didn't see. We had very warm weather, never got below freezing and I was fairly often taking off layers. But it was cloudy the whole time from Vancouver to Fairbanks.

I did see my first real glaciers, so that was good. Pictures to come.