Skookum, the rowdy one

a dog gets a kiss oustide
Lauro Eklund gives his dog Skookum a kiss at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in downtown Anchorage on Saturday, March 2, 2024. (Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media)

Skookum, age 8, is a veteran on rookie Iditarod musher Lauro Eklund’s team and is named after Eklund’s kennel, Skookum Expeditions.

But why did Eklund choose that name to begin with?

“I always liked that name. It’s an old term that means ‘solid’ or ‘strong.’ You’d get a dog, a lot of dogs, it’s like, ‘He’s skookum.’ I heard a lot of old timers say that,” Eklund said. “I made a kennel name, and he was six months old at the time. He was always the rowdy one, beating up on his siblings all the time, so I named him Skookum.”

Skookum can run in lead, Eklund said, but he’s mostly a swing dog, running behind the leaders and helping to pull the team in an arc so they smoothly go around corners.

This will be Skookum’s first Iditarod, despite being on the older end of the age spectrum, Eklund said.

“I’m hoping he gets us to Nome, and he has a good run,” Eklund said. “When I raised him, we were hoping for that all those years ago.”

Skookum is part of our “Dog of the Day” Iditarod series. Previously we met Paul, Ralph, Mussel, Junior, Meg, Schooby and Mayhem.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

Previous articleIditarod reports first dog death of this year’s race
Next articleDisagreements between Alaska House Republicans stalled education work for 3 weeks