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Stuffed Sakhalin Husky named "Jiro" at National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo
|Breed status||Not recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
Karafuto-ken breaks down as Karafuto, the Japanese name for Sakhalin and Ken, a Japanese word for dog; hence, this provides the breed's geographical origin. This breed is used rarely now; therefore, few breeders remain in Japan.
As of 2011, there were only two surviving purebred members of the breed in Japan, which never recovered from the ill effects of World War II. An unknown number of purebred dogs can still be found on Sakhalin Island, particularly in communities inhabited by ethnic groups that have continuously habitated Sakhalin since the pre-War era (Nivkh, for instance). The sole remaining breeder, Sergey Lyubykh, located in the Nivkh village of Nekrasovka, died in 2012, but before his death stated that there were no longer enough living specimens of the breed to allow for the genetic diversity necessary for continued breeding.
Explorers who went to Franz Josef Land, conquerors of northern Alaska, and South Pole explorers (including Robert Falcon Scott) used these dogs. They were utilized by the Red Army during World War II as pack animals; but that affair was short-lived after research proved that they were prodigious eaters of salmon, and not worth keeping.
There are efforts to revive the breed.
This breed's claim to fame came from the ill-fated 1958 Japanese research expedition to Antarctica, which made an emergency evacuation, leaving 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 Huskies. In 2011, TBS presented the much-awaited drama, Nankyoku Tairiku, featuring Kimura Takuya. It tells the story of the 1957 Antarctica Expedition led by Japan and their Sakhalin Huskies.
The breed and the expedition are memorialized by three monuments: near Wakkanai, Hokkaido; under Tokyo Tower; and near Nagoya Port. Sculptor Takeshi Ando designed the Tokyo statues (he also designed Hachikō's statute in front of JR Shibuya Station), which were removed, likely to be placed at Tokyo's National Institute of Polar Research.
The Sakhalin Huskies of the 1957-1958 Japanese expedition
Few sources provide the names of the fifteen Japanese sled dogs that were stranded, as well as the photos and descriptions of the huskies. The names of the dogs are listed here:
- Riki: Seven-year-old male with light gray coat and white markings, leader of the team. (Disappeared)
- Anko: Three-year-old male with brown coat and white streak on chest. (Disappeared)
- Aka: Six-year-old male with dark gray coat, has a tendency to pick fights with other team members. (Deceased)
- Kuma from Monbetsu: Five-year-old male with black coat, white socks, and white chest, sometimes served as lead dog. (Deceased)
- Kuma from Furen: Five-year-old male with black coat and ripple of white on chest. Father of Taro and Jiro. (Disappeared)
- Pesu: Five-year-old male with brown coat, black mask, and black ears, almost resembles a Belgian Tervuren. (Deceased)
- Goro: Four-year-old male with black coat and white stripe on face, almost resembling a collie. Served as wheel dog of the team. (Deceased)
- Deri: Six-year-old male with gray coat and black saddle. (Disappeared)
- Pochi: Four-year-old male with light-brown coat and a ravenous appetite. (Deceased)
- Moku: Four-year-old male with black coat and white socks on front feet. (Deceased)
- Jakku: Four-year-old male with black-and-white coat, almost resembling a collie. (Disappeared)
- Kuro: Five-year-old male with black coat and white markings on face, muzzle, chest, and legs. (Deceased)
- Shiro: Three-year-old male with snowy-white coat, sometimes served as lead dog. (Disappeared)
- Taro: Three-year-old male with black coat. Son of Kuma from Furen and older brother of Jiro. (Survived)
- Jiro: Three-year-old male with dark brown coat, a ripple of white on chest, and white socks. Son of Kuma from Furen and younger brother of Taro. (Survived)
- "Karafuto Ken (Sakhalin Husky)". All About Japanese Dogs. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Gertcyk, Olga (3 November 2015). "Desperate effort to save Sakhalin Laika from extinction on its native island". The Siberian Times. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
Only 7 dogs remain: is it enough to save the species?
- Cupelloni, Simona (September 7, 2016). Akita Inu: the genesis. pp. 9–10. ISBN 9788822840110.
- "Sakhalin Husky dogs who survived in Antarctica for a year". Keiji-hagiwara.blogspot.com. 29 January 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "ImageShack - Best place for all of your image hosting and image sharing needs". ImageShack. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- "The Dogs in "Eight Below?" Not the Breed You Saw". National Purebred Dog Day. February 14, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- "Antarctica Expedition Taro and Jiro Sakhalin Husky Monument (Wakkanai)". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Antarctica Expedition Monument" (in Japanese). Asahi. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Monument to national heroes Taro and Jiro in Nagoya, Japan". Digitaljournal.com. Nagoya, Japan. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Famous dog statues to leave Tokyo Tower". Japan Times. Kyodo. May 16, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- Riffenburgh, Beau (October 25, 2006). Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. 1. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415970242.
- Solar, Igor I. (November 21, 2012). "Taro and Jiro — A story of canine strength and tenacity". Digital Journal. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- natiawarner (March 19, 2013). "ARCTIC STORY no. 3 - TARO and JIRO: The Dreaded Winter of 1958". Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- "Antarctic Journal of the United States". 2. Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation. December 17, 2010.
- "The Japan Journal". 3 (1-7). Japan Journal Limited. 2006: 24.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sakhalin Husky.|
- Sakhalin Husky Dog Photos
- "Hana, Karafuto Ken (Last surviving Sakhalin Husky)" (video). Retrieved 17 March 2013.