The term ‘husky’ refers to snow or northern hemisphere dogs, and can include a wide range of breeds. Originally breed in Greenland and Labrador, these dogs are especially suited to cold and windy conditions. Their thick double-layered coats provide excellent protection against the extreme environment.
Dog sledge teams were first used in Antarctica in 1898 by the British Antarctic Expedition. Husky teams wore harnesses to haul 50 kg to 90 kg of supplies on a sledge. The number of dogs used in a sledge team varied depending on the weight of the load.
Huskies were introduced into the Australian Antarctic program in 1954 at Australia’s first station, Mawson. Strong and willing workers, they were used for travel in the field for almost 40 years. In addition to being a reliable form of transport, huskies provided friendship and loyalty to Antarctic expeditioners.
In 1991, Antarctic Treaty members introduced the Protocol on Environmental Protection, which banned all introduced species, except humans, from the Antarctic. In 1992, it was with a great deal of sadness that the last 6 huskies left Mawson and the Australian Antarctic Territory. The older dogs lived out their days in Australia, while the younger ones enjoyed a new life as working dogs in Minnesota, USA.