In the early 1900s, the Chukchi dog was used as a sled-hauling dog. When food was scarce, the Chukchis would join their dogs to sleds when it became necessary to pull their belongings from one village to another. The friendly, hard-working Siberian Husky was greatly valued in heavy snow and grueling weather.
Like wolves, Siberian Huskies endured climates in frozen areas of the far north. In winter, a wolf’s thick fur keeps the wolfwarm during brutal cold. And a wolf can sleep snugly at below-zero temperatures; it just takes one tuck of the head betweentheir paws and covering their muzzles with their tails. However, wild wolves don’t have the temperament required to be goodsled dogs. So while dogs have descended from the wolf, the Chukchis (and others) discovered the Siberian Husky was thebest bet for combining form and function.
The Siberian Huskies did well and continued to excel in other cold weather feats. They were used as sled dogs on the ByrdAntarctic Expeditions and also in the U. S. Army’s Search and Rescue Unit during World War II. That’s by no means the end of their Arctic activities.
The Siberian Husky has been bred to work and survive in cold climates. And the best part is that it’s worked. They are pre-packaged for the chill, from head-to-paw.
The Siberian’s almond-shaped eyes help protect its eyeballs from cold air. It allows the dog to squint and have its eyes less exposed to wind and snow.
There’s hair inside of the Siberian Husky ears. It is an adaptation that allows them to keep warmer. Most of the breeds don’t have hair inside their ears, but the Siberian does. That means built-in ear muffs all over the flap of the ear.
The Siberian’s coat is rich and thick. They have an undercoat that is very short, almost likedown. (They shed it in spring and fall.) And they have an outer coat, the guard hairs, which are twice the length of theundercoat and water-resistant. Note, however, that it’s the undercoat that provides insulation and keeps the Siberian Husky warm. Other breeds require blankets because they have the type of hair that attracts moisture rather than repels it. No extra padding is required for the Siberians.
However, there’s more to being suitable for cold weather than just having the right fur. The long, fox-brushy tail can curl around the Siberian’s nose to warm the air around the face while itsleeps. The history is that the bushy tail was used to prewarm the dog’s breath in its own tail. It keeps its nose and the front of its face warm. The dog will curl up in a tight little ball.
Siberians have thick foot pads that keep their feet insulated in cold weather. Also, these dogs boast furryfeet—another warming plus. They can gather painful ice balls, which call for nylon or leather dog booties.