How Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs are
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.
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
"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