Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs

Two Rivers, Alaska

 

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How Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs are Selected

      Not all huskies are sled dogs.  The only way to determine if a dog is or is not a sled dog is to run the dog on a mushing team.  Those that want to work qualify.  Those that do not contribute to the team effort may be beautiful huskies, but they are NOT sled dogs.  The decision is always made by the dog rather than by humans.

   The Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs are of types commonly used by mushers of the past.  They are Alaskan freighting huskies or Alaskan husky mixes.  Most commonly this type of aboriginal husky is referred to as either a "village dog" or "trap line dog".  The adults on my team range in weight between 60 and 80 pounds, and in height between 22 and 27 inches measured at the withers.  Photographs and biographies of the Star Dancer dogs can be seen on the Meet the Stardancer Dogs page. 

    Two members of the Star Dancer team are of a specialized line of Native Alaskan village dogs called Hedlund huskies.  Hedlund Gray huskies are an historical line that descends from pure Siberian Huskies, village dogs from the interior of Alaska and selective "old wolf" from the interior and Illiamna Lakes area. The line has consistently produced working dogs with a good work ethic, are eager to please, have considerable endurance and exhibit a great deal of versatility.  The Hedlund Gray Husky line of freighting Alaskan huskies is also known for producing many excellent lead dogs. 

    Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs are selected based on their ability to perform the type of work I require while reenacting the day to day lifestyles of eighteenth and early 19th century frontiersmen.  In the Stardancer kennel, performance is not measured by speed.  While a competitive sprint racing team will easily average in excess of 20 miles per hour over flat terrain, my Stardancer freight dogs are expected to maintain a speed of only 6 and 8 miles per hour.  Instead, the Stardancer dogs are selected based on strength and endurance.  Those are the attirbutes needed for a small team of dogs pulling a load of camping equipment, supplies and a musher over all types of  terrain and trail conditions.  My dogs don't have to go fast, but they do have to work hard for as long as it takes to reach our next rest stop or destination. 

    Temperament is just as important as physical ability.  I prefer easy going dogs that do not require extra effort to harness, hook up and handle.  Whether waiting to go on a run, stopping for a break on the trail or camping overnight I want my dogs conserve their energy and to rest when they can.  Stardancer dogs are expected to tolerate handling by strangers as well as by people they know and to get along among themselves and with dogs from other teams.