The dogs that pull sleds are just as important and specialized as the sleds themselves. While any dog can pull a sled, sled dogs have been specifically bred to do this job.
Sled dogs can be broken down into two groups: small and large. The dogs many people see in racing and events such as the Iditarod are usually smaller dogs in the 50- to 75-pound range. These dogs are built for pulling and speed.
The dogs used for hauling cargo are large dogs that often weigh 100 pounds or more. These dogs are bred for their pulling ability, and although they aren’t fast, they have endurance and can pull weight over a greater distance.
Alaskan husky: Huskies, which weigh between 40 and 75 pounds, are very common in sled-dog racing. Alaskan huskies are mongrels, having Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute heritage, as well as pointer, Saluki and even greyhound blood.
Alaskan malamute: Malamutes are larger dogs that weigh between
80 and 120 pounds. It is thought by some that malamutes were one of the first domesticated breeds of dogs. Although they are not built for speed, their great strength is their best asset.
Chinook: The Chinook originated in New Hampshire. It is a large, strong breed that weighs between 55 and 90 pounds. Its lineage traces back to mastiffs, Greenland huskies, and
German and Belgian shepherds.
Greenland dog: The Greenland dog is also large. Like the malamute, this dog is bred for its great strength.
The Greenland dog generally weighs in the 66- to 71-pound range.
Siberian husky: The Siberian husky is probably the most recognizable of all the sled dog breeds because of its two different-colored eyes. It is a smaller dog, weighing between 40 and 60 pounds.
Even so, it pulls like much larger breeds.