We got a great review from Mr. Rob Cooke. Finisher of 6 Yukon Quest, and 2 Iditarods. He runs purebred Siberians, not Alaskan Huskies. Thanks Rob!
******5.0 out of 5 stars.
A very good and informative read
October 6, 2019Format: Paperback
I set out to read The Seppala Siberian Sleddog – II with some degree of trepidation, particularly as I had promised to write a review on completion.
I have never been a fan of the ‘Seppala Program’. I don’t accept Seppala’s as a distinct breed of dog, rather a line of Siberian Husky much in the same way as Kodiak, Northome, Tsuga, Anadyr etc. are lines of Siberian Huskies albeit the Seppala line is a line that dates back to the origins of the breed in North America.
I thought, and still do think, the whole UKC program was both misguided and divisive. I think egos and personalities have also done a great deal of damage to the reputation of the line, in particular, those who think Sepalla’s are better than other Siberian Huskies lines in some way, who hold them up as superior working dogs but who have never actually bothered to work them themselves.
Without really knowing any better I had previously lumped Doug Willett into this group and so, all these things considered, I did wonder why I was reading the book. I was, however, very, very pleasantly surprised in many aspects. First, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog – II is a great history of the working side of the North American Siberian Husky. Many of the dogs that are featured in the book appear way back in our pedigrees; the pictures, pedigrees and personal accounts of such incredible dogs are priceless and highly informative.
I also learned a great deal about Willett’s history and background that was, I am ashamed to say, new to me – in particular about his race successes with Siberian Huskies. But what shocked and surprised me the most, and what I will really take away from reading the book, was how much I both found myself liking Willett but also agreeing with him on so many points – something I never thought I would do. Time and time again, as I kept turning the pages, I kept thinking ‘that could be me, I agree with that, that is how I think too’.
More than that though here was someone who really did talk the talk, he knew the only way to assess a working dog is through working and performance and he set out to achieve that. I found myself agreeing with how he assessed dogs, the qualities he thought were the most important in sled dogs and whilst we would never be able to breed the number of litters he produced, I found myself agreeing with his breeding principles.
There was also a great deal to think about in the book, new information to learn and digest. Whilst in Europe this summer a number of us were discussing Willett’s belief that some dogs can produce much stronger male offspring over females and vice versa or how some characteristics can skip a generation; I started to think about our on breedings and how that might be true.
We should always be learning and so I was very pleased to learn a great deal from a book that, initially, I was not too enthralled to be reading.
Despite my initial trepidation, I would highly recommend this book to everyone, Seppala aficionado or otherwise, maybe especially the Seppala aficionados who might need reminding of Willett’s underlying principles. The Seppala Siberian Sleddog – II is informative, well written, enjoyable and thought-provoking and supported throughout by the great prose of T M Johnson. One of the better Siberian Husky books I have read
🙂 Rob Cooke Shaytaan Siberian Huskies.https://www.amazon.com/Seppala-Siberian-Sleddog-II