Serious Sled Dog Research In the Offing, Here

Whenever the weather’s cold, Starspider recoils a bit, draws her wool greatcoat tight round her, and exclaims, “It’s colder than a sled dog’s arsehole out here!” It doesn’t seem to matter what the actual temperature is – this starts when the weather dips below 60°F in September and continues until late spring.

One days, I finally asked her, “How cold is a sled dog’s arsehole?” And we realize we do not know. There is, as far as we know, no empirical research measuring the temperature of the bare skin on husky butts. She’s decided to do a Kickstarter to raise funds. We figure the easiest way is to send temperature guns to sled dog breeders in the depth of winter so they can shoot their dogs in the arse and come up with an average. That way, no one’s out there trying to hold a thermometer against arseholes. I have a feeling we’d not get many takers for performing that action. But zapping them with, say, a temp gun with a laser sight? That should be an easy sell!

Sled dogs displaying the anatomy of interest. Image courtesy Wikipedia.
Sled dogs displaying the anatomy of interest. The owners may be able to acquire the requisite measurements from the sled during training. Yay, multitasking! Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Before she puts together the Kickstarter, she wants me to ask you all: what do you think an adequate sample size is? Fifty butts? A hundred? How many different breeders? How many countries? We will need to know these parameters before we calculate how much money we’ll have to beg For Sled Dog Science!

And if anyone has any suggestions as to which temp guns are the best, we’d be glad to hear it.

Remember, people: It’s for Science. We must base our phrases like “Colder than a sled dog’s arsehole” in reality. We must have an answer when people challenge us as to the accuracy of our assessment of the ambient temperature.

Serious Sled Dog Research In the Offing, Here

10 thoughts on “Serious Sled Dog Research In the Offing, Here

  1. 1

    There are several different breeds of dogs used for sledding. A sampling should be made from all. I am only aquainted with the Siberian Husky, being owned by two males from the same litter. I can tell you that I have never seen their arse holes get cold, and most playful when coming across the Great Divide December 1, 1969.

  2. rq

    But you also have to divide things geographically. I mean, maybe American sled dog arses cool differently from Russian sled dog arses? And Finnish sled dog arses (oh wait they use caribou…)? You’ve really got to look at how you want to categorize this. Yes, by breed (Samoyed, Husky, Malamture…), but do you include mixed-breeds in the study? What if they’re mixed with non-sled-dog breeds?
    Definitely more than 100 arses, I would say – probably 100 each (breed/variety/geographical location).
    THEN. Then. Should you separate out working sled dogs (those who pull sleds for a living) from pet sled dogs (those house-trained and cooled sufficiently only at the owner’s discretion)? How are you going to transport all those indoor/pet sled dogs up north to get their arses sufficiently cooled?
    Wow. This is tough, Dana. But I support the endeavour, and I look forward to the results. Will this be published in Nature?

    (Don’t have any info on temp guns, sorry.)

  3. 4

    How much colder would their arse holes be when resting instead of actively training? Does the lowly arse hole do its part to shed excess heat along with the much more charismatic floppy dog tongue? And what furless body parts are the coldest – donut, paw pads, or famously cold doggy nose?

    Having used a temp gun in the lab, though, I’ve got to say it’d take awfully good aim to take a reading from a moving sled of such a small target as the donut itself rather than the surrounding butt fur, and unless there really IS a significant temperature difference, there’d be no way to know which readings were off.

    Surely someone with a dog and a temp gun could attempt a proof of concept? >_>

  4. 5

    i’m not going to try sticking thermometers up my huskies’ butts either, but i doubt they’re all that cold. these dogs love cold weather, i’ve seen them use snowdrifts for dog beds and be perfectly happy about it, and they consider a nice medium blizzard perfect conditions for a fun run around the neighborhood.

    their paws may get colder, especially if it’s slushy and the fur tufts between their toe pads get iced up. that can be a real health risk for them, if you don’t catch it soonish.

  5. 6

    Sounds like an Ig-Nobel award in the making!

    My suspicion is that the temperature is not a whole lot different in the winter than in the summer. Probably not different at all if you used a rectal thermometer.

  6. 7

    No, I don’t think this study will work. You will find that sled dog aholes are toasty warm…..they are well covered in fur. They will be as warm as the rest of the dog. You can’t even see a hairy dogs ahole. But with some non-hairy dogs who hold their tails up high, they look horribly big and round.

    I can tell you that the inside of a dogs ahole is very hot. I stuck my big toe up the butt of my rhodesian ridgback. This was by accident and it was very disgusting. The dog said “rauwww?”

    Starspider thinks 60F is cold? Pah. Here it is -26 C. Needless to say, my dogs aholes are nice and warm.

  7. 8

    You know, with any of the fuzzbutt breeds, just finding their arseholes is a challenge. With my fuzzbutt breed of choice, the Australian Shepherd, there is even a lid-like tail nub for clamping down tightly when a thermometer is in close proximity. Even my spaniel mix tucks her tail and sits down if there is intense human interest in her buttholial region.

    Butt enough about that, if this is to be done properly, there will need to be controls of other breeds, both fuzzbutted and otherwise, to establish a normal range of arsehole temperatures during snow exposure. You’re going to have to put out a call for volunteers and be able to explain this is a way that doesn’t make you sound like one sick puppy yourself.

  8. 10

    Colder than the ticket taker’s smile at the Ivar Theater on a Saturday night.

    –Tom Waits, from the album “Nighthawks at the Diner” which also features a killer version of “Big Joe and the Phantom 309” which is a must hear for all truck drivers and for all those who have ever looked over into the next lane and thought, “wow, nice truck”.

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