Since the Alaskan Husky is a "category" of dog rather than a distinct breed all its own, true Alaskan Husky history can be quite muddled. Anthropologists believe that early variants of these dogs were created starting thousands of years ago in the villages of indigenous Alaskan and Canadian peoples. Native tribes such as the Innu, the Salish, and the Talhtan utilized various wolf-like working dogs that the villagers would use for hunting, fishing, and load-carrying. Out of these early breed types, two more specialized breed categories emerged: the Coastal Eskimo Dog of the oceanic areas, and the Alaskan Interior Village Dog of the inland regions.
Sled dogs had been in use in snowy regions around the world for centuries, but with the increase in population in Arctic areas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (including the migration to Alaska by Americans), sled dogs became much more popular as the method of transporting people and supplies. Alaskan residents began crossbreeding various types of dogs, chiefly the Coastal Eskimo and the Interior Village, to create a breed type that became known as the Alaskan Husky. Meanwhile, individual villages began holding sledding competitions in order to find the fastest, most durable sled dogs; these new Husky breed types, which were by then even more diverse because breeders were adding dogs like the Siberian Husky, the Greyhound, Spitz breeds, and various pointer breeds to the genetic pool, dominated these competitions.
The Klondike Gold Rush in Northwestern Canada in the late nineteenth century furthered the Alaskan Husky's popularity even more. The breed type became prized for its unmatched speed and endurance as a sled dog, as nearly 100,000 prospectors descended upon the Yukon territory in search of treasure and needed the best possible method of transport. With the twentieth-century advent of sledding competitions like the Iditarod (the annual long-distance sled race across Alaska), Alaskan Huskies' value (and number) increased further still.
Today, Alaskan Huskies are primarily used in sledding competitions, if not as personal companions. Breeders use the genes of numerous other breeds, including the Siberian Husky, various Spitz breeds, the Greyhound, the German Short-haired Pointer, and the Irish Setter, among others, to produce incredibly athletic (and expensive!) racing dogs.