Franklin, ‘the Michael Jordan of sled dogs’

a dog on top of a dog house
Franklin after a training run. (Photo courtesy of Eddie Burke Jr.)

Aaron Burmeister said one of his leaders, 5-year-old Franklin, has just about everything a sled dog can have.

He’s a cheerleader for the rest of his team and a free-spirited, happy-go-lucky dog. He also has an effortless gait and athleticism that’s given him the nickname “The Michael Jordan of Sled Dogs,” said Burmeister.

“He wants to see everybody at their highest potential,” said Burmeister. “If somebody is backing off, he’ll start talking to him on the trail.”

This year will be his third Iditarod race and he helped Burmeister’s team finish second last year.

“He’s a really special dog all the way around,” said Burmeister.

Franklin is part of our “Dog of the Day” Iditarod series. Previously we met Tempest, who barks at the sparkles in the snow, Morello and Slater, who led Brent Sass to victory, Chevelle, who loves to bark, Nala, the peppy cheerleader, Butcher, who needs her space, Sherlock, just a big doofus, Tundra, an unpredictable captain, Steve, who’s kind of a jerk, Viva, an unflappable navigator, Stealie, who loves hugs, and Zeke the rescue dog.

Lex Treinen is covering the state Legislature for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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