Breeds of Sled Dogs: Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Samoyed

November 16, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

Several breeds of dogs have been used as sled dogs with three of the most common types being the Alaskan Malamute, the Siberian Husky, and the Samoyed. These powerful dogs are very athletic and love to run. Sled dogs are intelligent, independent dogs who are generally friendly with people and do well living in the cold.

Sled Dog, the Alaskan Malamute

With its exact origins unknown, the Alaskan Malamute was first known to be living on Alaska's northwest coast with a group of native people called the Mahlemuts. At this point in time, Malamutes were used to help hunters by carrying the carcasses of big game. In more modern times, Alaskan Malamutes have been used to haul freight and as search and rescue dogs. Their main function today is sled pulling.

The Alaskan Malamute is a Nordic breed of dog with a thick, double coat of fur to keep it warm. As fun-loving as they are, Alaskan Malamutes are very strong-willed and can be challenging to train. Friendly with people, Alaskan Malamutes can be aggressive with other dogs. Professional training is highly recommended.

Alaskan Malamutes are happy as long as they get plenty of exercise, otherwise, they can become destructive. This breed of dog is great for people who enjoy jogging and hiking. They can also do well as a family pet, although because of their size, they are not recommended for families with small children.

Sled Dog, the Siberian Husky

Native to Siberia, the Siberian Husky was developed by the Chukchi for the purpose of sled pulling. Brought to Alaska for the purpose of racing, the Siberian Husky, (also known as the Arctic Husky,) proved to dominate the sport. Siberian Huskies became Alaskan heroes in 1925 when they carried life-saving serum for 340 miles to save people who were dying of diphtheria in Nome.


Siberian Huskies are very social dogs who are playful, adventurous, alert, and independent. Like the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Huskies love to run and need lots of exercise. Although not big barkers, Siberian Huskies can be known to howl. If bored, they have a tendency to dig and chew. During shedding season, their fur can fall out in handfuls.

Usually good with another dog in the house, the Siberian Husky can be aggressive with strange dogs. Even though it's known for its social ability, some Siberian Huskies do well with children, while others don't. With its intelligence, affection, and endurance, (particularly with sled pulling,) the Siberian Husky stands out as one of the most popular of the Arctic breeds.

Samoyed, a Sled Dog

The Samoyed originated in ancient times and was named for the Samoyed people who came from Central Asia to Siberia. The Samoyed's function was to help herd reindeer and guard them against predators. In the late 1800s, Samoyeds came to England and later arrived in the United States in 1906 when the first Samoyed was presented as a gift from Russia's Grand Duke Nicholas.

Samoyeds are happy, gentle, and playful dogs who love people. Because of their friendly nature, Samoyeds make great friendly pets. Its Nordic origins causes it to have the tendency to bark and dig. This can be avoided by proper training and exercise. Samoyeds are sensitive dogs who can have a stubborn streak.

Affectionately known as Sammies, Samoyeds love cold weather and keep warm with their double coat of weather resistant fur. They can be heavy shedders, so it's best to keep up with grooming during shedding season. The reputation of being a good companion continues to help the Samoyed's popularity to grow.

Sled dogs are hard-working dogs who are happiest when they're free to run. As long as they get lots of exercise and some proper training, common problems associated with sled dogs can be avoided. Their strength and endurance make them excellent dogs for pulling sleds. Sled dogs are just one of the breeds of working dogs. Others include retrievers and rescue dogs.

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