The 1958 ill-fated Japanese expedition to Antarctica inspired the 1983 hit film Nankyoku Monogatari. Eight Below is the adaptation of the events of the 1958 incident moved forward to 1993. Dog teams were removed from the ice in February 1994. In the 1958 event, fifteen Sakhalin Husky sled dogs were abandoned when the expedition team was unable to return to the base. When the team returned a year later, two dogs were still alive. Another seven were still chained up and dead, and six unaccounted for.
In Eight Below there are two Alaskan Malamutes (Buck and Shadow) and six Siberian Huskies (Maya, Max, Truman, Dewey, Shorty and Old Jack). Each actor-dog had help from other dogs that performed stunts and pulled sleds. In all, over 30 dogs were used to portray the film's eight canine characters. Max, Maya, Dewey and Buck (Old Jack's stunt double) were played by dogs seen in Disney's Snow Dogs.