Seppala Siberian Sleddogs

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Since most of you don’t really talk about daily life with your huskies I’m left to fill you in on mine. It might be interesting or boring depending on the day.

I’ve talked about the many levels of husky ownership before. We all have our own family units and different lifestyles. The thing we have in common is the love for our huskies. Some, if not all of you are happy at your level and that is so wonderful!

Then there are some who just can’t get enough like me. Every time I see a puppy picture I want to buy that dog! I’ve given this sickness a name, “Husky Acquisition Syndrome or (HAS) for short. It’s a terrible thing to have!

I often dream of a thousand acres of pine forest and trails I own. Huskies running free and all of us running sleds and bikes and just plain exploring and enjoying life. I would truly love that more than winning the lottery…but if I did you know what I’d be spending it on.

I’m involved in lots of husky things. My fascination with Leonhard Seppala and his dogs drives me to a higher levels than most of you. What he did either with luck or divine wisdom was breed the dogs that now are all over this world. The Siberian Husky in all his varied colors and personalities have spread out just about everywhere.

The original direct line of Seppala Siberian Sled Dogs (SSSD) has been kept going for over 100 years by a few people who wanted to preserve this original working line. They did their best, and some spent their entire lives trying. That’s how strongly they felt about these dogs. That is another level that most don’t achieve.

With declining numbers, the dogs have been inbred a great deal to keep the bloodline alive. Eventually this runs out. Health issues show up and attrition reduces the numbers of breeding pairs. Many have given up and say the line is dead or about dead.

This is true and why I’ve become involved in a new project with Jonathan Nathaniel Hayes and his kennel. Poland Spring Kennel in Fort Kent, Maine.

If you are a history buff of Leonhard Seppala you will immediately recognize the name “Poland Spring.” This is the first place in the lower 48 Leonhard Seppala brought his new breed of dogs.

“Leonhard Seppala brought his dog sled team of Siberian Husky’s to Maine in 1927 during a tour of the United States.
He and his dog team were part of a famous serum run in Alaska known as the Great Race of Mercy that used dog sled teams to deliver an emergency supply of diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925.
His team raced Arthur Walden’s Chinook team of New Hampshire at Poland Spring in 1927.
Seppala’s dogs won the race. Seppala and Elizabeth Ricker, wife of the Poland Spring Hotel manager and a “musher” herself, started a kennel breeding these Seppala Siberian sled dogs at Poland Spring.” https://www.mainememory.net/artifact/20920

The Seppala Husky traits are a dog that is more loving and bonded to the owner than a normal husky. A dog that has an unquenchable desire to pull and work. A friendly dog who gets along better with his/her teammates than a normal husky does. They do not look exactly the same as well. A practiced eye can pick out a Seppala if you know what to look for.

Seppalas don’t exactly look like the modern-day Siberian, and they have different traits as well. They are the performance dogs of the breed you and I enjoy now. If you could follow your dog’s pedigree back all the way…you would find him or her line ending at Togo and Fritz and many others of those original dogs Seppala bred. All of our Siberians share this.

So where am I going with all this?

Well I’m following my heart. I’m going to help do what I can to move the project to a happy conclusion. Not everyone wants a working dog that rips your arms out of their sockets. But some do, some still want to race even though they will never compete with the speed of Alaskan huskies (See Iditarod.) But that does not mean they are not without value. In mid distance races they are very competitive to this day.

I really don’t care so much about the racing part. But it is what they do, and how they are tested. It is what they are. They are Seppalas, the true decendants from the 1925 Serum run to save Nome. But race or no, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help.

Some people are proud to have a classic car because of its history not its speed. I guess I’m one of those people, I’d rather have a yard full of Seppala dogs than one full of mutts only bred for speed no matter what they look or act like.

The goal is to bring them back to prominence.  It won’t be fast or easy but in time I think it will happen. It will happen because those who have been around these dogs find out how special they really are. Seppala Siberian Sled Dogs… a breed unto itself based on history and their unique traits as working dogs.

So if you are going to buy another husky at some point, why not consider a Seppala?

For the breed to survive it needs owners. They are not for everyone, but for some they are the only thing that will do.

The first step has been taken. And that is to add dogs to the kennel. From here we work towards a new future for the Seppalas.

I hope you will join us on this journey.

You can read more about the Poland Spring Kennel  here: http://www.polandspringseppalas.com/3.html

TJ

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