- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Buck winning the bet for John Thornton by pulling a sled with a thousand-pound cargo, which leads to a...
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming:
John Thornton: As you love me, Buck, as you love me.
- Nightmare Fuel: The idea of getting overwhelmed by forty dogs and torn to pieces a la Curly if you so much as fall down.
- The Scrappy: Hal, Charles and Mercedes for some readers of book.
- Tear Jerker: Everything leading up to Buck leaving John, and then Buck coming back to find John's dead body.
- What an Idiot: Hal, Mercedes and Charles. Just about everything they do is stupid and they're frequently told as much by the other Alaskans. They all pay for it in the end.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Because the story is short, the language is pretty easy, and the protagonist is an animal, this often ends up on kid's shelves and read in middle school. It's actually an extremely bloody story and not at all politically correct when it comes to race and gender.