The classic image of a team of sled dogs racing along the trail has graced everything from sweaters to beer labels to stained glass windows, because it is an iconic reminder of the glory days when pioneers, prospectors, mailmen and freighters drove teams of stalwart-hearted huskies across the land. Indeed, even a single one of these magnificent dogs can exude an air of dignity, honesty, and strength, as portrayed in the business logo for Home Depot’s house brand, Husky Tools, or in the heavy-duty Brockway trucks with the iconic hood ornament of a husky straining into his harness.

Strong, majestic, and beautiful, the sled dog portrays an era when there were still vast wilderness areas to be tamed, when men of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police depended on their fast dogteams to carry them swiftly over the winter snows in order that they might “always get their man.”

Balto in Central Park, New York City. Helen Hegener

Balto in Central Park, New York City.
Helen Hegener

When the children of Nome were stricken by a deadly epidemic of diphtheria it was determined sled dogs who plowed through snowdrifts and the terrible blizzard of 1925 to safely deliver the life-saving antitoxin. Traveling 674 miles across a vast frozen wilderness the sled dog teams relayed the serum to the end of the trail in record time. A larger-than-life statue was unveiled in New York’s Central Park in commemoration of their race against death, and the words across the bottom of the plaque remind us that these dogs possessed “Fidelity • Endurance • Intelligence.”

The noble qualities of the sled dog have led to his portrayal on colorful fruit crate labels such as the Husky brand from Modesto, California; the Huskie Valencia oranges from Los Angeles; and the Klondyke Winner apples label from White Bluffs, Washington, with a striking team of huskies rushing straight toward the viewer.

Sports teams (the Washington Huskies), food (HuskyBurgers), artwork, clothing and so many other everyday items draw from the timeless attributes of the much-loved and always inspiring sled dogs.

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