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The nomadic Chukchi people of northeastern Siberia used a medium-sized working dog to pull their sleds and herd reindeer. In their isolated region, with no other dogs to crossbreed, the Chukchis mated the best of their dogs to each other and the type bred pure and true for over 3,000 years. Noted for its ability to pull light loads over great distances at moderate speeds, the breed caught the attention of a fur trader and explorer by the name of Olaf Swenson, who brought the first of the breed to the U.S. shortly after the turn of the last century, Siberians raced in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes for the first time. A team of Siberians driven by a Norwegian, Leonhard Seppala, won the big Alaska race in 1915, ’16 and ’17. In the winter of 1925, Seppala drove one of several teams, which, running in relay, gained international prominence as the heroes that delivered serum to avert a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska. The serum run served to bring the breed to the attention of the public and a personal-appearance tour by Seppala and his team made friends for the breed from coast to coast.

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