Because of the culture of the people who utilize the strength of the breeds, sled dogs often end up with very cultural names. Most sled dog names will come from Inupiaq, the language used in the North Slope or in Central Yup’ik, the language spoken by the greatest number of native Alaskans. There are also many Athabascan people, including the Ahtna and the Tanaina people, who live in Alaska.

Sled dog names usually hold special meaning, much like the names that Native Americans and Native Alaskans (like the Inuit people) give each other. For example, a dog who enjoys howling at the moon may be named Maguyuk, meaning “howler”. These people rarely choose sled dog names without meaning, especially since the dogs are often considered part of the family.

If you adopt a dog that is often used as a sled dog, such as a Malamute, you may want to follow tradition and name your puppy something in one of the Native Alaskan languages. However, you must first have some idea of what the words mean. Here is a list of some more common sled dog names, their origin, and what they mean to get you started in choosing the one that fits your new friend.

Inupiaq Names:Central Yup’ik Names:Athabascan Names:
Miki – Meanings – little
Qannik – Meanings – snowflake
Siku – Meanings – ice
Suka – Meanings – fast
Nanuq – Meanings – polar bear
Qummiq – Meanings – dog
Ataneq – Meanings – king
Cikuq – Meanings – ice
Pukulria – Meanings – bone chewer
Qumugta – Meanings – dog
Tungulria – Meanings – black one
Yuralria – Meanings – dancing one
Desna – Meanings – boss
Genen – Meanings – shaman
Hey – Meanings – winter
Sesi – Meanings – snow
Shesh – Meanings – brown bear
Yakone – Meanings – red aurora

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