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American Husky

The History of the American Husky

The American husky, or Canadian Eskimo Dog, is a very old breed originating nearly 1,000 years ago where the breed was raised by the natives of Thule. Unfortunately, this breed is almost at the point of extinction. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the American husky was in high demand for expeditions into the polar areas. This breed was developed in the bitter colds of north Canada, and had a reputation for being excellent sled dogs.

With the advent of the snowmobile, the American husky lost its popularity. The snowmobiles could travel faster and required far less upkeep than the sledding dogs of the region. By 1950, the American Kennel club had a recorded number of American huskies totaling just 20,000, the majority of which lived in the Canadian tundra. By 1959, the American Kennel Club removed the breed from its registries as the numbers were so low and few births recorded to keep the American husky breed thriving.

The Canadian Kennel Club had just one single American husky on its record books by 1963. Fearing total extinction, William Carpenter and John McGrath set off on a government funded expedition to the northern Inuit tribes. The goal of this journey was to gather living members of this breed for a specialized breeding program. Approximately 200 dogs were purchased, and the Eskimo Dog Research Foundation began its breeding program.

Today the American husky has future that is uncertain. Mixed breeding with the Greenland dog has resulted in difficulties maintaining pure breeding lines, but the Eskimo Dog Research Foundation is doing its part with full blooded adults in its breeding program. The dogs are gaining popularity with tourists that come to the region to participate in American husky dog sled rides into the Canadian Arctic. More awareness for the breed came in 2001 when the American husky became the official dog of the providence Nunavut.

The American husky is a large dog that is well muscled and somewhat imposing in its general appearance. The face is shaped similar to a Siberian husky, and the American husky has triangular shaped ears that stand up from the top of the head. Their fur is very thick and has an undercoat layer with stiff guarding hairs. A ruff of fur around the neck often causes confusion between the American husky and other husky breeds. The most common colors of the American husky are solid white and white patched with a secondary color around the face.

These dogs have made excellent working companions to men, as they have a fiercely loyal disposition. They tend to be very vocal dogs, and are recommended for adults rather than children due to their high levels of energy and excitability.  Unlike many of the other large breeds of dogs, the American husky cannot maintain its energy levels and health with daily walks alone. They require hard work and running to maintain their metabolism. They only do well in areas of extreme cold and are highly susceptible to heat stroke.

The American husky is a breed that has served man for nearly a thousand years. The American husky nearing extinction brought awareness to the breed, but they are far from being out of danger. While not ideal pets for every household, those that can meet their needs will find that owning an American husky is a great choice of a breed as there are few breeds that are so loyal, easy to train and willing to work  as the true American husky. It is the responsibility of all to ensure their future has a positive outlook so generations to come can enjoy these magnificent creatures in their natural Canadian settings.

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