Fun Facts About Sled Dogs

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about Run Like a Sled Dog and Black Bear Goes to Washington by Denise Lawson.  (Run Like a Sled Dog and Black Bear Goes to Washington are two children's books inspired by a retired sled dog that Denise Lawson adopted.)  That particular post generated some interest in my readers to learn more about the lives of sled dogs.  What are sled dogs like?  What do sled dogs eat?  How do sled dogs manage in the Arctic cold?  Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and to learn more about these magnificent creatures!

Learn about types of sled dogs, what they eat, how they adapted to living in the Arctic and famous sled dogs. Free animal research printable included.

Not every dog can become a sled dog.

Sled dogs need to have strength, stamina, intelligence, and the ability to tolerate the cold.  Many people assume that sled dogs have to be large, but sled dogs actually vary in size.

Three sled dogs are pulling a racing sled across the snow.

There are different 'northern breeds' that can be used as sled dogs.

Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Huskies, Chinooks, Greenland Dogs, Canadian Inuit Dogs, and Northern Inuit Dogs are the most common breeds used in dog sledding.  

A team of sled dogs are pulling a sled across the snow.

Sled dogs have adapted to living in the Arctic.

Sled dogs have thick fur to keep them warm.  Their fur has a dense outer layer and a softer inner layer for insulation. Their paws are protected by thick pads, and their fluffy tails allow them to cover their noses while they curl up in a ball and sleep.

A furry sled dog takes a nap in the snow.

Sled dogs have huge appetites!

Since sled dogs are so active and can run long distances at high speed, they burn a lot of calories.  Regular dog food and kibble from the pet store aren't enough to keep them strong and healthy.  Sled dogs are fed a special performance kibble with a higher percentage of protein and fat.  Many sled dogs in Alaska also have diets that include large amounts of salmon.  During long races, sled dogs will eat a carefully selected diet to meet the demands of physical exertion.

A husky is sitting and waiting for a treat.

Sled dogs have played important roles throughout history.

They were used to carry cargo during the Klondike Goldrush of the 1890s and during The Seven Years War during the 1700s.  Most famously, however, sled dogs helped save an Alaskan town in 1925!  A deadly outbreak of diphtheria broke out in Nome, Alaska.  Several sled dog teams had to travel 675 miles to deliver this serum for the sick people in town.

Animal Research Project

Students as young as first and second grade start learning about research and reading for information.  They also start learning about animals and adaptations during science.  The mini-research project below is an easy activity that focuses on the basics of sled dogs and their special adaptations.  It can be used while reading fictional stories... pulling facts from literature... or while reading nonfiction books of your choice.  (You can even find some of the answers in this blog post!)

Animal Research Printable. Copyright Kelly's Classroom Online

To download a FREE copy of this mini-research project (one page in all), please click on the image above. Clicking this image will take you to the Teachers-Pay-Teachers third-party website. This is a FREE download-- no purchase necessary.

Did you enjoy learning fun facts about sled dogs? If so, check out these blog posts for more fun facts about other animals:

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