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Siberian Huskies are a breed of dog that is adored by many, so it is really no surprise that there have been so many movies made about them! In fact, many movies about huskies are actually based on true stories! And, of course, some are just cute, feel-good movies, and some are a combination of both.
Today, we’ll explore some of the best sled dog movies out there. Maybe you’ll find a pick for your next movie night with your husky!
6 Best Sled Dog Movies
Togo is the most recent Disney husky movie to cover the true story of the 1925 Serum Run to Nome, Alaska. Traveling through Alaska during the 1920s wasn’t always an easy task. People would often rely on sled dogs and their sleds to transport essential goods and medicine, especially during the winter when the terrain could become treacherous.
In the winter of 1925, there was an outbreak of Diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection, in the small town of Nome, Alaska. The doctor in this town didn’t have the diphtheria antitoxin serum necessary to treat the infection and sent out an urgent request for help.
The hospital in the town of Nenana, 674 miles away from Nome, had a supply of the serum needed. But how would they get the serum to Nome in the middle of winter? The weather was too bad to fly, and the roads certainly couldn’t be crossed using vehicles. Well, that’s where Togo comes in!
People organized a sled dog relay that would get the medicine from Nenana to Nome as quickly as possible. There were 20 mushers and over 150 dogs who took part in the heroic mission. It took 127.5 hours total for the serum to be brought to Nome, and despite the harsh conditions, not a single vial was broken.
Togo was the lead dog for the musher Leonhard Seppala, played by William Dafoe. Togo, Seppala, and the rest of the dogs on the team traveled the most miles out of any of the teams and had the most dangerous route. Their hard work and heroic actions paid off, and they were able to save at least a full day of travel by taking the more dangerous route and getting through it! Togo and his team ran 261 miles to get the serum where it needed to go. And Togo was already twelve years old at the time of his historic run!
The movie itself is remarkably accurate and tells the story of the 1925 serum run, as well as Togo’s story of growing up and giving Seppala a hard time with all of his naughty antics as a young pup! In the movie, we see that Togo certainly gave Seppala a hard time growing up but ultimately proved to be a true friend and a heroic dog. While the movie is intense and action-packed at times, it has some great funny moments and plenty of heart-warming moments, too.
Fun fact: Diesel, the dog that plays Togo, is a direct descendant of Togo!
2. Balto (1995)
Now, we can’t really talk about Togo without talking about Balto! Balto is an animated movie that came out in 1995 that also covers the Serum Run of 1925. Before the more recent movie Togo came out, Balto was the most well-known dog of the 1925 serum run. Balto, his musher Gunnar Kaasan, and the rest of the sled dog team ran the last 55 miles of the journey to Nome and triumphantly delivered the vials to the town in need.
As an animated children’s film, the movie is not incredibly historically accurate.
The movie includes some fun characters like Boris, Muk, and Luk, who are prominent characters in the film, but they are fictionalized versions. Boris is a comedic sidekick goose, and Muk and Luk are polar bears who add humor to the story. As might be expected, these weren’t in the real story!
In the movie, Balto is portrayed as a half-Siberian Husky and half-wolf dog, but in reality, he was only a Siberian Husky. It also portrays him as an outcast with no training for being a lead sled dog. However, Balto was actually bred, raised, and trained by Leonard Seppala, Togo’s owner! The movie also significantly condenses the timeline of events and fails to mention Togo or any of the other 150-plus dogs or twenty teams that play a significant role in the relay of the medicine.
More importantly, though, it does focus on Balto’s determination, courage, and loyalty as he navigates through various challenges and perils along the way. Though the film received some critical reviews due to its lack of historical accuracy, the film has gained a dedicated fan base over the years and has become a nostalgic favorite for many who grew up with it.
Further reading: Are huskies loyal to their owners?
“Eight Below” is a 2006 family-friendly survival drama film set in the harsh environment of Antarctica and follows the story of a group of sled dogs who must work together to survive after being left behind during an Antarctic expedition.
The true story that inspired the movie “Eight Below” is that of the Japanese Antarctic expedition of 1958. The members of the expedition were attempting to explore and conduct research in Antarctica. During their mission, they were forced to leave behind a team of sled dogs due to harsh weather conditions. In the true story, unfortunately, only two dogs were able to survive the harsh weather and the conditions they were left behind in. But still, it was quite miraculous that two survived at all!
Additionally, the dogs were actually not Siberian Huskies but Sakhalin Huskies, a type of husky native to Sakhalin Island in Northeast Asia. Because the breed is critically endangered, Siberian Huskies were used for this movie.
The film stars Paul Walker as Jerry Shepard, a guide at an Antarctic research base, and Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Davis McClaren, the lead scientist on a mission to collect meteorite samples. Jerry and his team of sled dogs help McClaren and his team navigate the treacherous terrain while collecting samples. After being left behind, the dogs, led by the courageous and loyal dog named Max, must fend for themselves and find a way to survive in the unforgiving environment.
During this time, Jerry becomes determined to rescue his beloved dogs, and with the help of his friend and fellow guide, Cooper, played by Jason Biggs, he embarks on a risky and challenging mission to return to the base and save the dogs. The movie received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with praise directed at the film’s visuals, particularly the stunning Antarctic landscapes and the performances of the dogs. Siberian Huskies are certainly talented actors!
Iron Will is a family-friendly adventure film. The movie is loosely based on a true story and centers around a young man’s journey to participate in a difficult dog sled race from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. The film is set in the backdrop of the 1917 Saint Paul Winter Carnival’s dog sled race, which covered a distance of around 500 miles.
The main character of the movie is Will Stoneman who is portrayed by Mackenzie Astin. While Will Stoneman’s story is fictionalized, the movie did pick bits and pieces from the lives of two different men in the 1917 race to make his character. They used some of the story of the winner, Albert Campbell, and the last of the finishers, Fred Hartman. In the movie, after his father’s death, Will is faced with financial difficulties, and in order to save his family’s farm from foreclosure, he decides to enter the dog sled race with the hope of winning the cash prize. Despite lacking experience and resources, Will is determined to compete in the dangerous race.
As Will heads out on this challenging journey, he faces numerous obstacles and hardships, including harsh weather conditions, treacherous terrain, and fierce competitors. Along the way, he forms a bond with his team of Siberian Husky sled dogs, showcasing the resilience of both humans and animals. Will’s determination and willpower become essential as he overcomes danger and pushes himself beyond his limits. It’s a story of an underdog defying the odds and pushing through adversity to achieve a nearly impossible goal.
The movie received positive reviews for its portrayal of the dog sled racing culture and the historical context of the early 20th century. While “Iron Will” takes creative liberties with the actual events, it captures the spirit of the era and the challenging nature of long-distance dog sled races. It remains a memorable adventure film that offers viewers an inspiring tale of triumph over adversity.
Snow Buddies is a 2008 direct-to-video family comedy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures as a part of the Air Bud film series. It is the fourth film in the Air Buddies franchise and follows the adventures of a group of talking golden retriever puppies as they embark on a journey to Alaska. The film is targeted primarily at a younger audience and features adorable dog characters.
In “Snow Buddies,” the story revolves around the five adorable puppies from previous films: Budderball, B-Dawg, RoseBud, Buddha, and MudBud. The puppies accidentally find themselves in a crate bound for Alaska. Upon arriving in the cold wilderness, they meet a husky pup named Shasta and an Alaskan Malamute named Talon.
Shasta informs the puppies that they have arrived just in time for the annual sled dog race, an event that holds great significance in the local community. Together, they team up to participate in the sled dog race. As they prepare for the race, they encounter various obstacles and challenges, such as learning to work together as a team, enduring the harsh Arctic weather, and dealing with rival competitors. The puppies are initially unaware of the challenges they will face, but they soon discover that the race is a demanding test of endurance, teamwork, and friendship.
“Snow Buddies” ultimately delivers a heartwarming message of friendship, teamwork, and believing in oneself. The puppies’ journey in the race helps them discover their true potential and strengthens their deep bond with each other and their new friends.
Snow Dogs is a family comedy film released in 2002. The film combines elements of comedy, adventure, and drama and has a lighthearted and entertaining storyline. The movie follows Ted Brooks, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., a successful Miami dentist who learns that he has inherited a remote cabin in Alaska from his biological mother. Upon arriving in Alaska, Ted discovers that his mother was involved in dog sledding and racing, and he also learns that he was adopted and has a birth father living in the same town.
One of the central elements of the story is Ted’s interactions with a group of quirky and mischievous sled dogs, including a lead dog named Demon. As Ted attempts to adapt to his new life in Alaska and bond with the dogs, he finds himself reluctantly participating in the local dog sled race, the Arctic Challenge. Throughout the film, Ted faces various obstacles and humorous situations as he navigates the world of dog sledding and tries to win the respect of the local community.
“Snow Dogs” is known for its family-friendly humor, the adorable and humorous interactions between Ted and the sled dogs, and its picturesque Alaskan setting. While the film received mixed reviews from critics, it found an audience among families and those looking for a lighthearted comedy. The movie’s blend of comedy, heartwarming moments, and the theme of self-discovery makes it a popular choice for family movie nights.
Get Your Popcorn Ready!
Siberian Huskies have made some amazing appearances in movies that have captured our hearts. These brave and furry friends have shown us the importance of teamwork, loyalty, and the strong bond between humans and dogs.
From thrilling adventures to heartwarming stories, these movies remind us that these huskies are more than just cute faces – they’re intelligent, strong, and full of spirit! Siberian Huskies have proven to be true stars on the silver screen.
What husky movies have you watched?
Let us know in the comments below.
FAQ about Sled Dog Movies
What are some popular sled dog movies?
Some popular husky dog movies include “Balto,” “Eight Below,” and “Snow Dogs.”
Are there any sled dog movies that are based on true stories?
Yes, movies like “Eight Below” and “Balto” are inspired by true events involving sled dogs and huskies.
Are there any movies about dog sledding?
Yes, there are movies about dog sledding including “Togo”, “Balto”, “Eight Below”, “Iron Will”, “Snow Buddies”, and “Snow Dogs”.
Which movies involve husky dogs saving children?
One of the best movies that involves husky dogs saving children and adults is called Togo, The Untold True Story.
What is the story of “Eight Below”?
“Eight Below” is based on a true story of a team of sled dogs that are left behind in Antarctica and their struggle to survive in extreme conditions.