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|Country of origin
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
The Sakhalin Husky, also known as the
Karafuto-Ken (樺太犬), is a breed of dog
used as a sled dog.
This breed is a spitz type,
related to the Japanese Spitz and Akita Inu. The size varies between 56 cm and
66 cm at the withers with a
weight range from 30 kg to
The ears are small, pointed, sometimes slightly tilted forwards
or sometimes falling. This breed comes in many colours, including
but not limited to russet-red and black. The hair is fine and
thick, with an undercoat of very dense hair, similar to
the hair of the Greenland Dog.
Karafuto-ken breaks down as Karafuto, the Japanese name for Sakhalin and Ken means dog;
hence, this provides the breed's geographical origin. This breed is
used rarely now; therefore, few breeders remain in Japan.
This breed's claim to fame came from the ill-fated 1958 Japanese
research expedition to Antarctica, which made an emergency
evacuation and was forced to leave behind 15 sled dogs. The
researchers believed that a relief team would arrive within a few
days, so they left the dogs chained up outside with a small supply
of food; however, the weather turned bad and the team never made it
to the outpost.
Incredibly, nearly one year later, a new expedition arrived and
discovered that two of the dogs, "Taro" and "Jiro", had survived
and they became instant heroes. Taro returned to Sapporo, Japan and lived at Hokkaido
University until his death in 1970, after which he was stuffed
 and put on
display at the university's museum. Jiro died in Antarctica in 1960
of natural causes and the remains are located at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno Park.
The breed spiked in popularity upon the release of the 1983
film, Nankyoku Monogatari, about Taro and
Jiro. A second 2006 film, Eight Below, provided a fictional version
of the occurrence, but did not reference the breed. Instead, the
film features only eight dogs: two Alaskan Malamutes and six Siberian