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Since when do you need a pedigree to help someone?
~ Balto to Steele.

Balto is the titular main protagonist of the Balto trilogy, and a minor character in the 2019 film Togo.

He's also the mate of Jenna and the father of Aleu, Kodi, Dingo and Saba and two unnamed siblings.

He was voiced by Kevin Bacon in the first film and Maurice LaMarche in the sequels who also voiced Brain in Animaniacs. Balto is based on the real dog of the same name. In the Japanese dub from the movie, he was voiced by Kyohei Shibata and Masaki Terasoma.

Background

Personality

Strong and outgoing, Balto is smart and trustworthy, and cares deeply for others, willing to give up his own life to help others. In the first film, he dislikes his wolf heritage as it causes him to be hated by the people of Nome, but after safely delivering the Antitoxin to Nome, he finally learns to accept it. He seems to have good intentions, but has ended up on the dark side of the story due to his father's actions.

Physical Appearance

Balto is very strong and handsome, but unkept, he resembles a wolf more than a dog, but still not as much as his daughter, Aleu. He has a brownish-gray fur, light brown eyes, and big paws.

Balto

At the beginning of the film Balto is a stray and is disliked by the people of Nome.

He was first seen with his adoptive father Boris during the race. He goes to watch the race where he sees Jenna whom he has a crush on.

When Steele and his team come into Nome for the finish, Rosy, Jenna's owner, loses her hat and the wind blows it into the middle of the race course.

Rosy tries to get it, but Jenna holds her back. Balto seeing what happened and jumps into the race as Steele's team approaches.

Balto outruns the incoming team and grabs it, frustrated Boris yells "When will you learn to stay on the sidelines!".

Balto brings the hat to Rosy who's very grateful, but Rosy's father scares Balto away, warning Rosy that he's part wolf.

Balto walks away, dejected and disappointed. Later, Balto hears Rosy's voice, excited at the thought of seeing her.

He races to meet her, but can't slow down in time and end up touching noses with Jenna.

Jenna was surprise until her owners called her, but when she looks back, Balto, who has left, is gone.

Jenna tries in vain to find him again until her owners called her once more and left.

Balto walks down an alleyway with Boris who is trying to comfort the disappointed half wolf.

On their way, they meet Steele, Nikki, Kaltag, and Star who mock Balto about being a half-breed.

Pretending to howl about Balto's deceased mother, Balto is angry and want to fight Steele, but with encouragement from Boris, decides its better not to fight.

Steele and his dogs laugh and kick snow at him, Balto leaves Nome and heads to his home, a wrecked old boat.

On his way he sees a pack of wolves, reminding him of his half wolf heritage, his ears droop, and he walks away depressed despite Boris's attempts to cheer him up.

Balto is visited by Muk & Luk, two polar bears who annoy Boris who pretends to challenge the pair to a race in order to get rid of them.

Later Balto is sitting on his boat staring off into space, Boris asks him "And just what is so interesting?" to which Balto responds "Jenna".

Boris tells him that he's in love with her and told him to tell Jenna how he feel until Balto denies it saying "Na, she's not my type."

"And why not?" responds Boris. Balto stays quiet. "This wolf business again?" says Boris.

He questions Balto asking him what's the matter with being half wolf and half dog before admitting that he wishes he was half eagle, bewildered.

Balto asks why and Boris says that he would have a bit of profile for one thing and nobody eats you for another.

A bit later, Balto visits Jenna who is waiting outside the hospital. Balto tries to ask her out on a date, chasing sticks by moonlight.

Jenna ignores him, staring upset into the hospital window. Then, Balto asks her what is wrong, "Rosy's in there," she responds.

Balto asks why she's in the hospital, Jenna says that Rosy feels warm and has a terrible cough. "Balto, what's wrong with her?" she asks nervously.

Balto says he doesn't know, but he knows how to find out. Then, he leads Jenna into the boiler room and shows her the way through the ventilation system to a small space under the building and using colored broken bottles and light from the vent to project a image of the Northern Lights on the wall.

Jenna gazes at the lights. "It's beautiful," she says. "Yeah, beautiful," Balto responds. Jenna turns to him and they almost touch noses, but are interrupted by the sound of footsteps on the vent they turn and look.

After listening, they discover that Rosy has Diphtheria, a deadly disease. Then, Jenna runs away crying. Balto follows her and says that he's sorry for taking her to see what was wrong with Rosy.

Jenna says that she's glad he did until they hear a loud noise which turns out to be Steele who had just stolen some sausages on a string from the meat locker.

Steele enters the room and immediately begins flirting with Jenna. Balto is angered and tries to stop him, but Jenna tells him not to, pretending to flirt with Steele and tricks him into burning himself.

Steele yelps and Balto and Jenna take off, two humans with a light come to see what all the noise was and Balto ends up framed for Steele's crimes.

Meanwhile, most of the children of Nome have fallen sick and the hospital is out of antitoxin. The people of Nome must select the fastest dogs in town to run a sled team.

The race is being held to decide the dogs to be on the sled team. Balto wishes to run the race, but Boris discourages him. Balto enters the race and wins, coming in first place.

Even though he came in first place, he was not allowed on the team due to his being half wolf and he walks away.

Steele leads the team out of Nome. After getting the antitoxin, Steele's team gets lost in a blizzard on the way back. As the children of Nome are getting sicker, after hearing the news of the lost team, they're about to losing the children.

Balto decides that he must go after Steele and his team and see what has become of them and the medicine or die trying.

He leaves Nome with Boris, Muk, and Luk to tag along as well. Back in Nome, waiting outside the hospital, Jenna stumbles on Balto's scent and decides to follow him.

Balto and his friends are moving along the trail, Balto is marking their path by clawing the bark off trees leaving a trail. Balto senses that they're being watched and decides the only thing to do is to keep moving which he does except his friends Boris, Muk and Luk stay, having a snowball fight.

Boris is all ready to put an end to the snowball fight. When he backs into a wall of fur, which he wasn't expecting, he turns around to see a grizzly bear. The bear attacks them and gets them trapped under a bunch of branches.

Balto hears the fighting and comes running back and hurls himself on the bear, but is quickly thrown off and pinned down.

As the bear begins to crush him, Jenna appears and jumps on the bear making it let go of Balto, she wrestles with the bear but is thrown off. The bear then turns back to Balto who it follows down to a a frozen lake.

Balto stands to face the bear, but the ice cracks, taking both the bear and Balto under.

Jenna begins to panic when Balto doesn't come back up until Muk and Luk jump into the water and find Balto bringing him back to the surface, gasping and choking.

Jenna greats Balto with enthusiasm. Balto decides to keep going, but Jenna was hurt from the fight with the bear, so he tells Muk, Luk, and Boris to take her back to Nome, but before leaving, Jenna gives Balto her bandana to be warm.

Jenna and Balto say their goodbyes and Balto heads off on his mission. Balto travels through blizzard and snow and after many days of traveling, he finally finds the lost team, but they're in poor condition, stranded at the bottom of a cliff and their musher out cold.

All the dogs are overjoyed to see Balto except Steele too prideful to admit his failure. Balto tries to help, but Steele, despite what the other dogs, doesn't want him to. He attacks Balto in an effort to kill him, but Balto dodges skillfully to one side, making Steele tumble over a cliff.

Balto leads the sled team away as their new lead dog, but Steele is not dead. So, he messes up all of Balto's marks, causing the sled team to go the wrong direction.

Balto and the team end up sliding down a cliff that leads too a sheer drop into gorge. Balto catches hold of a branch, but not before the antitoxin box begins to fall off the edge.

In a desperate effort, Balto jumps forward and catches it, but the ice under him gives way, dropping him into the gorge with the box of antitoxin. All the sled dogs think Balto is dead and without a leader, they're unable to go anywhere at the bottom of the cliff.

Balto awakes to find himself still alive, but assuming that he has failed, he covers his face and lays motionless, but not before seeing a great white wolf standing in front of him. He watches as the wolf begins to howl, but looks away. Then, he notices the unharmed crate off antitoxin, laying in a snow drift, shocked.

He turns around and gazes at the wolf's paw print, he puts his paw on the wolf's track and is amazed to see that his paw print and the wolf's are identical. Then filled with new found determination, he lets out a long howl.

Then, the wolf appears and joins him. This wolf is later reviled in the second film to be his wolf mother Aniu.

Balto takes the antitoxin and carries it up the cliff, the dogs continue to run till a unlucky sneeze by Star sets off a avalanche.

The team only manages too escape by ducking into a cave, Balto leads them through the cave, then notices that the roof of the cave is covered in stalactites.

He warns the other dogs to be quiet, but the sled hits a bump and makes a loud noise triggering a fall of stalactites. They manage to avoid the stalactites and get out of the cave alive with only one vial of antitoxin loss during the run.

Back in Nome, Jenna waits at Rosy's bedside just then Balto comes into view with the antitoxin.

Jenna barks with joy and all the humans race out too see what's going on. Balto runs into town with the rest of the team with many congratulations. While Steele is ousted by the other dogs for his lies and treachery, Balto is a hero, and Jenna becomes his mate.

Balto II

He and his daughter, Aleu will find the true meaning about themselves.

Balto III

He always wanted to fly a plane.

Trivia

  • In real-life, while Balto took the credit for saving the sick children in Nome, Togo was the true hero, as he was the one who made the hazardous journey across Alaska. A film about Togo was released in 2019 on Disney+ to reveal the untold true story behind the 1925 serum run to Nome.
  • Tom Hanks, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, Denis Leary, David Hyde Pierce, and Steve Buscemi were all considered for the role of Balto.

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