- “I wasn't thinking about those children. The important thing thing here is to get the medicine through, and that's just what I'm gonna do. (turns to Balto) And when I get back, I'm gonna fold you five ways and leave you for a cat toy."
- ~ Steele
- “Touch that box, and I'll tear you apart."
- ~ Steele threatening Balto
Steele is the main antagonist of the animated film Balto. He is an Alaskan Malamute with a bad attitude and mean streak, taking excessive pride in his popularity amongst both the village humans and the dogs and liking to bully Balto over his wolf-heritage.
Despite remarks by his musher and others that Steele might be "losing his edge" (after losing to Balto at the beginning of the film), Steele still has remarkable strength and speed close to that of Balto's.
He was able to survive a fall down a cliffside, was knocked down a dead tree, burned by a furnace (thanks to Jenna) and smashed through a closed door while pinning both Balto and Jenna down.
Steele is an image of physical perfectness among the local dogs. He was covered in jet black fur with a pure white underbelly and face. It is hinted that he is also a pure-bred, pedigree Alaskan Malamute.
Steele is arrogant, cruel, jealous and selfish, representing all of which Balto despises. His hatred for Balto is made out of pure jealousy (as Balto beat him to the finish line.)
He also likes Jenna, but she sees through his lies and loves Balto the pure-hearted instead which further strengthens Steele's hatred and jealousy towards Balto.
He was also a crafty liar, claiming that Balto and the rest of the team had died and at the end of the film the undoing of his lies causes him to be shunned and hated by those who used to respect him.
Steele had no chance of going back on the sled team for it is possible that Balto had replaced him.
Steele was the lead dog on the best dog racing team in Nome, he first encountered Balto (in the movie, Steele's behavior towards Balto is an obvious indication that they have met on prior occasions) after being defeated by the latter in a race while rescuing Rosy's hat.
Out of jealousy, Steele felt Balto was a threat so he bullied Balto. When the town became sick, there was a relay race to choose who would be on the sled dog team that would relay the medicine.
Despite being deliberately kicked off the course by a competitor, Balto was the rightful winner of the race (by taking a special & longer route to catch up), but right after the race ended, Steele tells Balto that he'll never be a sled dog which Jenna scolds Steele for being a glory-hound.
Shortly after that, Steele stomped on Balto's paw as a musher reached to pet him, forcing Balto to growl in pain and bare his teeth, making the humans believe that the wolf-dog to be aggressive and dangerous especially with his teeth.
This causes Balto to be disqualified from the race despite being the victor.
Steele became the leader of the sled team to return the medicine to Nome, managing to lead the team successfully to Nenana and halfway back to Nome before becoming lost.
Balto discovered that Steele and his team at the edge of a large ravine. Despite Balto's pleas for Steele to let him help them back to Nome (knowing that the children would die if the medicine does not get there in time), Steele attacks Balto, making obvious that he thinks Balto as a threat to his position.
Balto refused to fight back, but still managed to escape Steele who ends up tumbling off the nearby cliff in his unstable mindset when Steele grabbed for the orange bandana around Balto's neck that Jenna gave to Balto.
Having demonstrated his good nature and noble intention to bring the serum back to Nome at all costs, Balto gains the unconditional support of the other dogs on the team. They pick up the trail and head back without Steele.
Despite his state, Steele managed to follow Balto's trail back to Nome, along the way marking all of the trees to disorient him.
On his return to Nome, he claimed that Balto and the rest of the team had frozen to death and that Balto had fallen off of a cliff and also stating that Balto made Steele promise to take care of Jenna.
Then, Jenna realizes that Balto would have never told Steele such a thing and tells all the other dogs who believe Steele's story that he's lying.
Steele's strategy initially managed to catch Balto off his guard, resulting in him becoming lost as well.
Despite this, Balto manages to believe in who he truly is, catches on to Steele's trick and follows the trail he himself had marked (using only his smell) back to Nome.
Balto's return results in him being accepted as a beloved hero and the undoing of Steele's lies cause the other dogs of Nome to consider Steele as a glory hound and a jealous liar, leaving him behind alone in the boiler room as he tried to explain to them but they angrily refuse to listen at the climax of the movie.
This is a complete reversal of their roles in the beginning of the movie where Steele was the town's most popular dog and Balto was the hated outcast.
It is unknown what became of Steele after the events in Balto for he was never seen or mentioned in the sequels Wolf Quest or Wings of Change.
However Phil Weinstein explained that in the original script for Wings of Change, Steele would be one of the volunteers who would help Balto on his search for Duke.
Although we never see him in any of the sequels the character Niju is based on him.
- Niju is based off of him.
- As Steele falls down the cliff with Jenna's bandana in his mouth, you see the red bandana is white.
- Steele and Balto both have a crush on Jenna.
- Steele may have been inspired by Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and may have inspired Drake from The Pebble and the Penguin as they both have much in common: All three are vain, muscualr, arrogant and believe themselves to be the best, all three want the female simply for their beauty (Gaston:Belle, Steele, Jenna and Drake: Marina), all are adored by many females except the lead female, all are respected in their area and all try to get rid of the male protagonist in order to get the girl. Unlike the others Steele did not use violence, kidnapping or threats to get Jenna and did not particularly care about her whilst Drake and Gaston seemed more focused.