Pictured above: Perhaps the most famous lead dog of them all, Togo (with his musher Leonard Seppala) who lead the team that ran the longest distance in the relay of diphtheria antitoxin from Anchorage to Nome in 1925. This run is commemorated annually by the Iditarod race (which coincidentally ended this week).
“The position of lead dog is not for the fainthearted. A dog may have all the qualities generally associated with leadership—speed, intelligence, and dependability—but be unable to handle the pressure. A dog who doesn’t want the position will let his feelings be known…It takes a large measure of courage, strong will, and an almost Zen-like quality of mind for a dog to make a good leader…They are also the ones who must make the decisions in an emergency and, maybe most important, know when to disobey a bad command, no matter how forceful a driver may be.” - from The Cruelest Miles by Gay and Laney Salisbury