Sled Dogs: An Alaskan Epic

In 1925, a life-or-death race to rescue the children of Nome, AK, from disease made an international hero of one sled dog — and eventually led to the creation of Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race, the subject of NATURE’s SLED DOGS: AN ALASKAN EPIC.

In 1925, sled dogs helped stem a diphtheria outbreak.

In January 1925, doctors realized that a potentially deadly diphtheria epidemic was poised to sweep through Nome’s young people. The only serum that could stop the outbreak was in Anchorage, nearly a thousand miles away. But the lone aircraft that could quickly deliver the medicine had been dismantled for the winter. In desperation, officials turned to a much lower-tech solution: moving the medicine by sled dog.

Soon, a musher embarked from Anchorage on the first leg of a remarkable dog-sled relay aimed at delivering the needed serum to Nome. More than 20 mushers took part, battling temperatures that rarely rose above 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and winds that sometimes blew strong enough to knock over sleds and dogs. Reporters brought news of the race to a world suddenly transfixed by the drama in the far north.

Incredibly, just six days later, on February 2, 1925, Gunner Kaassen drove his heroic dog team into the streets of Nome. In the lead of his team was a husky named Balto, whose furry face soon became known around the world. A year later, in honor of the epic trek, admirers erected a statue of Balto in New York City’s Central Park.

Balto became known around the world.

Balto was suddenly a world-famous celebrity; for two years after the serum run, the dog and some of his teammates traversed the continental United States as part of a traveling show. After Balto died in 1933, his body was preserved and displayed at Cleveland’s Natural History Museum. In 1995, a popular animated movie about Balto was released, adding to his fame.

Long after his death, Balto’s popularity lives on. Today, some Alaskan schoolchildren are campaigning to bring Balto back to his home state. The students want his body moved to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race museum in Wasilla. But Cleveland officials aren’t ready to give Balto back, noting he spent more than half his life in their city. There are plans in the works, however, for Balto to return to Alaska as part of a temporary exhibit at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art — a testament to the strength of Balto’s memory and a fitting memorial to his indomitable spirit.

  • Emily Remsen

    I love Balto very much!!!!!!!!

    P.S. My story this week in school is Balto The Dog Who Saved Nome.

  • Autumn Bowen

    Balto is awesome! I can`t wait to share this site with my friends!

    P.S. I like the stauchue of Balto!

  • Rabecca

    Balto was the best dog in the world that ever lived

  • joan

    Balto is amazing i wish I could have that dog he is my hero
    P.S. he rocks my socks and sandles ox

  • Victoria

    you are so cool

  • Kirsten

    u are sooooo koool………..

  • fred

    this is hard

  • nicole grace

    that god was the best thing that ever happened

  • fred

    i like dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bolto hater

    Togo did everthing bolto ran 20 miles togo ran over half of it

  • Allen

    Balto is the best sled dog in the world,not only did togo bring to serum but balto brought it back to nome and togo got some of the fame too so there 50/50!! P.S This website is awesome, this helped me get a A!!!! thanks!

  • no one you need to know

    balto is cool!

  • edward

    that is sad that he died but, he shouldn’t be on desplay, e should be buried properly.

  • BranMan

    whats with all the comments that are too “fantastic”? There are people here who must be fake and get paid to do “wonderful” reviews that over emphasize what they are saying. This is an “okay” report but leaves out some good info that could be included. For example, they didn’t say what kind of dog balto was or anything about the musher. Some people would say this is poor and if this helped you get an “A” then i have no idea what kind of project you were doing because i highly doubt there is enough info on this page for 50 pts. I hope i have told you enough. I also doubt this comment will even be put on this page because of it’s negativeness and if it does get put on then it is only a matter of time before it is removed.

  • Ethan b.

    I learned much about Balto. I have the movie to and I
    am proud of Balto. I think Balto is the strongest, bravest and best living dog ever.

  • Rhiannon Sellinger

    I love this story soooo much and i just love dogs cats not so much


    I LOVE BALTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LOZA


  • adelle

    Togo was the real champion, Balto and Kaassen stole their glory!

  • joebob

    I like cheese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just as much as balto trust me love cheese

  • yooboo

    you smell like cheese joebob

  • brittany boyette

    hi im doing project about balto can you help!

  • naruto

    I was born in alsska the dogs are awsome.

  • dsdsdsdsd


  • Terence

    Balto is awesome!!!!!!!!!

  • oreo spot

    i love balto i want to go to the muesum where his bones are.i wish i met balto he is so cool to me.i wished didn’t die.because he is cute to me very cute.

  • Anna

    In school I have to do a presentation on dogs in the iditarod

  • dan


  • C.D

    who’s togo?

  • Tristan


  • nadie

    balto is crazy and estupet

  • Annalis Lugo

    Balto is crazy and stupied.DOGGIES RULES.I love the story.Who is togo?Balto is awesome!!!!!!!!

  • dialmarie

    bolto is a legend. i love him

  • Jackie

    Balto was a great dog dont get me wrong. But if your learning about him dont go by the movie or all of this ad. The real hero was Togo, a siberian husky. ON the serum run Togo was 12 years old!!! and ran most of the race, Balto was borrowed close to the end as a relef dog and wasnted wanted to be used as a lead dog but was just hooked on. Togo sire many champion pups, Balto was nutered as a pup (another thing the movie lies about) He MAY have wolf in him(no one knows, another made up part of the movie) but he was also mixed with many other kinds of huskeys. The reason Balto is so famous is cause he crossed the finish line. Then was sold with the team as show off dogs and then put in a musem where he was misstreated (another reason hes now so famous) someone reconised him and started a fund raiser to raise $2000 to buy him and the team which were moved to a zoo where they lived out the remainder of their life, a zoo… Balto died at age 11, a year younger than Togo when togo was in the serum race. togo died age 15 or 16. Balto is a great dog dont get me worng but he wasnt the best. He was known for being a bad leader and hes selfish ways kept him alive not his care for the musher… theres the true story on Balto…

  • Storryseeker

    I am so pationate for Balto that I am teased in school and calld wolf girl…even though Balto was not realy part wolf. He is my hero because I am learning disabled and not well like but I am like him and I perserviere, Also he was a dimond in the ruff a hiden promise in one so over looked and sene as a “least favoret dog” but he proved them wrong. My brother is like Togo as he is misbehaved and yet is a natural born leader, at least he uses his energy to create a legend for himself it is hard to explain! You may argue it but many people would suport me if I wqere to say that I may be Baltos number one fan and I am sure he is my Number 1 HERO!

  • Me

    Hey Balto hater up there, yes, Togo DID run more then Balto, but balto didnt just run 20 miles, he ran 53

    PS- i think balto got too much credit, i love togo XD

  • Alex cortes

    we all love u balto u are so awsome i hope to visit ur statue in central park


    balto is the best dog ever and togo was too they both should have statue EDDIE AND TYLER SELF HE IS THE BEST

  • allison

    it seemslike hes a preety ectrordonary dog we are reading about him in the book called incredible animal adventchers and the first book in it is balto he travld preety fair in just 5 in a half days that counts back too and a train is 25 days there and back.

  • I

    Balto would have been a sight to behold. The very story has majesty and power wafting from it. I do understand greatly that Togo did run very far, and shoudl have recieved more credit,maybe having his body preserved or a statue erected. But though Balto was not the best or the real hero,he did benefit them,at least. I believe his legacy is acceptable. BUT NEVER GO BY THE MOVIE…it is good,but not exactly….correct.Storryseeker,we have something in common,except I am called INSANE wolf girl.

  • stella

    i love balto he is my hero.!!!!!!

  • araya

    i think that if that was my dog i wouldcry if he had died

  • keikei

    i think togo and balto are heroes they changed nome forever people were saved by there heroicness he had created the iditarod

  • Smitty746

    Ok. To settle this we will just say that Balto and Togo are completely equal. Also, let me just say that they were both heroes.

  • chad the cheesy 4 burbank

    Balto should be put back in his home state home dogs

  • clark

    people still forget there was 7 more dogs on the team

  • Daniel

    i think he did a really good thing for tyhose kids and there willl be no one like him ever. HE IS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kasey

    i love bolto hes one of the best sled dogs ever he was a mut and then he was famuse thats cool!!!!!

  • Makiah

    Balto is cool he is the best sledding dog in the world!

  • Library Teacher

    Balto was a cool dog, but honestly Togo was the hero of The Great Serum Run. Balto was a pup when he ran and Togo was 12 years old! Togo also traveled a total of 260 miles while Balto traveled 55. He wouldn’t have even traveled that far if it hadn’t been for another musher falling asleep! Togo gave so much of himself for that race, that he never recovered. Yes, he did 4 more races, but never with the same speed or in the same condition.

  • korri nicole kiner

    Balto was a cool dog but honestly togo was the hero THE GREAT SERUM RUN . BALTO was a pup when he ran and togo was 12 years old. togo also traveled a total of 260 miles while balto traveled 55. he would”t have even traveled that race,that he been for for another musher falling asleep. togo gave so much of himself for that race, that he never recover. yes, he did 4 more races, but never with the same speed or in the same condition. i love the way the story was made and it was very nice intresting story
    and gunnar kasson your a good person to balto and you have a very nice and pretty sled with lots of dogs connected to it and i knoww another thing when you had the whip it kind of look like you were hitting the sleddogs.


  • Alex

    Hey i agree with the Library Teacher shes right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but I think Togo should of gotten more credit for what he did! :)

  • Washington State

    I think that Balto got Way too much credit. People forget that there were seven other dogs and Togo too. Balto did help but he wasn’t The Best like everyone seems to make it look. Yes, he was a good dog but he was a pup compared to Togo and he didn’t run as far as some of them. Another thing is that his bones are in a museum, this seems unfair to him because if he really was such a hero then why isn’t the museum somewhere where he was important? Or maybe at least put his bones in his true resting place, not some glass box where people can look at them. This is my opinion and mine only so uhm yea. Go Togo and the Seven Other Dogs! Woo!

  • cammy mosie

    this is about balto. Not his team or the musher. if it was going to be about that it would be called balto and his musher and the other dogs!

  • treydogg

    he is so cute!

  • Brittney Leland

    these comments were weird balto is cool

  • Jess

    I didn’t know about Toga before, but now I feel bad he was kinda ignored D: GO TOGA!!!
    P.S. That’s an awesome=sauce name xDD

  • Lauryn

    Balto is so cool! But we need to give the other dogs some credit, because they went with Balto, too. But other that that, Balto is a hero to whoever was saved by the antidote. BALTO RULES!

  • Squiggles

    M’kay, so, Balto is a “hero” and everything, right? But he didn’t do it all by himself. What about the other dogs? What about Togo? To me, Togo did WAY more that Balto, and actually, that’s not /just/ to me. Togo did do much more. and I’m not saying I have anything against Balto or anything, but, seriously. He was a little puppy compared to these guys. The other dogs /need/ some credit too, you know? How would you like it if you were on a team at lets say, baseball? Or something. Well, someone else, one of the younger kids, maybe one of the worse players, gets the winning home run, and everyone runs over to him and gives him all the credit for the whole game? Well, basically, that’s what happened to Togo and the rest of the dogs. They only got a slim bit of credit. I mean, how many of you guys here actually /know/ who Togo is? And I respect all your opinions and everything, but next time you go and shout “BALTO’S THE BEST! HE’S THE GREATEST DOG EVER!”, think of the other dogs and Togo, too.

    ~Squiggles (Jess)

  • Squiggles

    And by the way, you shouldn’t believe the movie. It left out and added a bunch of things. So if your saying Balto’s the best because of the movie, get some facts to support you.

  • LydPEarl

    I love Balto! I love the cartoon and the statue!!!!! He save alot.
    =] BALTO!!!!!!

  • Yari

    Yay!Balto!you did the best!

  • Patrick Dom

    After reviewing multiple photos of Balto, and learning that his owner was a norwegian immigrant, I think Balto was not a siberian or alaskan husky — he was a karelian bear dog, a dog native to finland and popular at that time in finland and norway. An ancient breed used for hunting and pulling sleds. The breed is tireless and courageous.

  • Terri

    I was just told this story again by an Irishman in Killarney, Ireland. Sad an American needs to be reminded of their own history.

  • Carol

    It really upsets/angers me to hear all the hoopla about Balto. It was Togo that did all the work of leading the team towards Nome. Just outside of Nome, Sepp realized how tired Togo had become and put one of his oher dogs in the lead, Balto, and he pranced into town. with the serum.
    My grandfather was Supertindent of the Pioneer Mining and Ditch Company, in Nome, for over 20 twenty years starting in 1901/1902. My mother lived in Nome from 1910 (she was born in Seattle and went to Nome on the first boat the following Spring) for over 11 years. My grandparents were close friends with the Sepplas and mother played with Togo as a puppy. I even have a photograph of Togo’s mother!

    P.S. Editorial staff, you can contact me if you have questions/doubts about what I wrote.

  • Jeff

    I feel that all of you going on about balto and togo are missing the point. It does not matter which dog should get credit as a hero for delivering the serum. They were not the only two doing this, their were other people and dogs involved to get the much needed serum to Nome and all involved should be deemed heros.

  • jorge ruiz

    i think balto is a great dog and he is really a hero for saving thous kids by bringing the medesin to thous kids you are really cool i will never forget you.

  • kai


  • Ben


  • Ben


  • jadan

    you guys are over reacting to this balto thing its just a freaking dog god you people are crazy over nothing

    ps: really ben

  • mr.skinnyjeans$

    iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii llllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeee


  • Kai


  • Connor Avenell

    Balto is a real famous doggy :)

  • Rupa

    Balto was half wolf he was a very good dog but , no one mentions the rest of the crew or the sled driver

  • aksjkfjd

    Balto was know for being the hero because he only ran 55 miles yet he ran there and back with the med. That would of been nothing for togo because he has ran racs before. Not saying that balto should get all the credict but thats what makes him more famous then the rest.

  • highlighter

    balto is awsome but i think they should remove balto from the museum in ohio because it is gross that they would stuff balto! that is gross plz coment if ur with me on this thanx

  • Jessica

    I <3 Balto!

  • Nick

    Go Balto!!!

  • courtney


  • bobbythe3rd

    u talk toooooo much courtney

  • courtney


  • brittany

    Balto is the best dog in the world and he is so cute!

  • happy feet


  • MichellelsRad

    Um..Balto is a life saver..:))

  • Abby

    Balto is awesome.. i loved to watch the movie when i was young i still love dogs and Balto is a sweet dog =)

  • diana

    Povestea lui Balto ma surprins si in ciuda faptului ca eu am crezut ca este un desen,faptul ca am aflat ca a trait 14 ani si a murit pe 14 martie 1933 .Este un erou si frumos nu am cuvinte pentru el insa mai caut cercetari pt ca nu stiu de ce a murit!

  • Chrstian

    u are sooooo koool………

  • Alicia

    I love Balto.He’s so cute

  • Merri

    This is not the complete story. After the tour and Balto along with his companion sled dogs were forgotten and sold to a road side show. Please read this: Forgotten Heroes
    The glory showered on the dogs was short-lived. Hollywood movie producer Sol Lesser brought the dogs to Los Angeles and created a 30-minute film, “Balto’s Race to Nome.” Kaasen and his team then toured the U.S. during the summer and fall of 1925. But later Balto and the rest of the dog team were sold to an unknown vaudeville promoter. Two years later, Balto and his famous companions had become lost in the world of sideshows and the whirl of the roaring twenties. It seemed the world had forgotten the “Heroes of Alaska.” Then, on a visit to Los Angeles, Cleveland businessman George Kimble discovered the dogs displayed at a “dime” museum and noticed that they were ill and mistreated. He knew the famous story of Balto and was outraged at seeing this degradation. A deal was struck to buy the dogs for $2, 000 and bring them to Cleveland – but Kimble had only two weeks to raise the sum. The race to save Balto was on!

    A Balto fund was established. Across the nation, radio broadcasts appealed for donations. Headlines in The Plain Dealer told of the push to rescue the heroes. Cleveland’s response was explosive. School children collected coins in buckets; factory workers passed their hats; and hotels, stores, and visitors donated what they could to the Balto fund. The Western Reserve Kennel Club gave a needed finantial boost. The people had responded generously. In just ten days the headlines read, “City Smashes Over Top With Balto Fund! Huskies To Be Shipped From Coast at Once!”

    On March 19, 1927, Balto and six companions were brought to Cleveland and given a heroes’ welcome in a triumphant parade through the Public Square. The dogs were then taken to the Cleveland Zoo to live out their lives in dignity. It was said that 15, 000 people visited them on their first day there.

    Balto died on March 14, 1933, at the age of 11. The husky’s body

  • sam

    does anybody know if Balto had any puppies? Are any of his ancestors alive today?

  • Mr.=)

    Balto is beast mode

  • Student

    You. Are. All. Stupid.

  • student2

    i agree with student

  • Cris

    I LOVE BALTO !!!

  • 19 monitor

    There does seem to be a bit of a government cover-up with regards to missing people in Nome, Alaska and UFO alien abduction phenomenon as well as the Point Pleasant Mothman prophecies creature. Are these more than just extra-terrestrial beings given their metaphysical nature?

  • 69 people

    You’re all so immature, lol. Who cares about who gets credit or not? Yeah, they both did it. Stop flipping out.

  • Tanner

    Balto is so cute : )

  • bellre

    balto is amazing

  • Rose C

    I feel that we (humans) should feel privileged that we had all those 100+ dogs do what they were made to do to deliver the antitoxin in Nome, AK in 1925. As far as comparing Balto and Togo and arguing who is more of a hero between the two, I feel that all those 100+ dogs that took part in the mission, including the mushers themselves, deserve to be honored as heroes. The sculpture monument of Balto in Central Park should be considered as a representation of what the whole team accomplished. Also, it is interesting to know about the negative traits and/or weaknesses of some of the team members, both dogs and humans. This just shows that despite the individual shortcomings of the different team members, they were able to accomplish a very important task when they put their strengths together. We, humans, are the ones who are creating the controversies about these dogs. For those dogs, what they did was simply running (which is innate to their breed).

  • Rose C

    Hey everyone, I found this site that tells the story about the mushers and the sled dogs who participated in the ‘Great Race of Mercy’ from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Very interesting information.

  • julie

    God Bless Balto and his compadres, they helped save so many children they deserve sainthood, I believe.

  • Emil Figueroa

    Balto is a cool dog!

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