Shelters and rescue groups have seen dramatic increases in the number of homeless Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and other wolfy-looking dogs coming through their doors. Inspired in part by a popular television series, people buy one of these fluffy puppies on impulse (often online) and find themselves in way over their heads. Here, we look at how media popularity has affected these dogs and provide a primer on what Huskies—the breed that’s been most dramatically affected—are and are not.
Originally, people living in the far north bred dogs to, among other things, pull heavily loaded sleds long distances across some of the world’s coldest landscapes. Today, these northern-breed dogs—Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Akitas and other Spitz-type dogs—spend most of their time as companions in a world where pulling a sled for a living is pretty much never required.