In the March issue, I wrote about dogsledder Lance Mackey’s upcoming attempt to win both the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, back to back, for the third straight year. One interesting tidbit that landed on the cutting room floor was Mackey’s breeding strategy. I was always under the impression that sled dogs were either Alaskan or Siberian huskies. Turns out champion mushers are mixing things up. Here’s what Mackey had to say about it. —Grayson
“They’re a smorgasbord. My dogs don’t have a specific pedigree anymore. Years ago my dad combined a Siberian and a black Lab. And as those puppies grew up, and they bred them to, oh, I don’t know, a German shorthaired pointer. Serisouly. That’s what’s going on right now. We’ve got dogs that don’t look like any other dog on the planet. They’re designed and raised specifically for this sport. And in reality, they’re useless unless this is what they’re doing. They’re not a real laid back kind of dog. They don’t make good house pets. Their mentality is to run. You take ‘em of the chain and, shit, they’re gone—they run off. To the common folks, they ain’t worth a dollar. But to us, they’re valuable. We can get $10,000 for a good lead dog.”
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