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The today known Siberian Husky story begins in Alaska in early 20th. century with dogs brought from the northeast Siberia.
The inhabitants there, the nomadic Chukchi people, practically depended on theirs dogs to survive as dog sledding was the only transportation and communication way.
Using performance as the sole criterion they developed a particular kind of dog with stamina, strength, speed and very low requirements.
In the first decade of the century the Russian fur trader William Goosak introduced in Alaska some of those animals which mushers called 'siberian rats' because of their size (around 18 to 23 kg or 40 to 50 pounds) and their apparently no greater pulling abilities.
However, possibly the best attributes of these animals was just to run ahead sleds during nearly unlimited time and distances regardless how cruel weather conditions might be.
Perhaps the very first important sled dog contest was the All Alaska Sweepstakes with an initial run in April 1908.
The winner there was John Hegnes (Norway) after around 120 hours (119 hours 15 minutes 12 seconds) for the trial Nome to Candle and return to Nome, about 665 Km (408 miles).
At the following year trial a Danish sailor arrived third with the Goosak team of those 'siberian rats', the winner was Allan A. "Scotty" Allan (Scotland) in 82 hours 2 minutes 41 seconds.
Fox Maule Ramsay traveled to Siberia and imported around 60 more dogs of the kind. He made three teams for the 1910 race.
Running one of those teams Finn John "Iron Man" Johnson (Finland/Sweden) won the trial in 74 hours 14 minutes 37 seconds (about 60% of the time of 1908) and he did more than to win the trial, he established a record to be hold for many years
until 2008 when Mitch Seavey (Alaska) etablished the actual one with 61 hours 29 minutes 45 seconds.
Many names and tales come along with these dogs. Amongst those usually mentioned is the one about two Norwegians, Gunnar Kaasen and Leonhard Seppala, for their participation in the diphtheria serum transportation to Nome in January 1925.
Siberians dogs were already very popular for both transport and competitions.
The AKC (American Kennel Club www.akc.org) recognized the breed in 1930, assigning the number 758529 to the first Siberian Husky dog ever registered: Fairbanks Princess Chena (born 16 SEP 1927) bred by Julien Hurley (Bingo II x Alaskan Princess, both a half Seppala).
The UKC (United Kennel Club www.ukcdogs.com) recognized the breed as “Arctic Husky” in 1938 and renamed it Siberian Husky in March 1991.
Leonhard Seppala imported and bred many dogs.
His last breeding was at the Poland Springs Kennels co-owned with Elizabeth Ricker.
A while after all dogs were moved to St. Jovite in Canada, in 1931 the Seppala-Ricker Kennel was acquired by Harry Wheeler. He was the first to name dogs as 'of Seppala'.
A soundless and cruel division of the breed had already begun.
While many people preserved dogs original characteristics, some others realized the potential market for those attractive in most cases blue-eyed dogs with incredibly nice coat and an extremely friendly attitude despite their challenging expression.
Today, a century has gone from the beginning and after more than 80 years from the first registered SH we may see a wide variety of animals under, almost, a single breed.
Been meticulous, the split results in the following five categories sorted from highest to lowest number of dogs per group:
* Show Siberian Huskies (pets and/or exhibition dogs).
* Dual-purpose Siberian Huskies (show and pull).
* Racing or working Siberian Huskies (most with some Seppala ancestry).
* Non-unique Seppala dogs (lightly outcross animals that retain a high percentage of original strain).
* Unique Seppala dogs (individuals almost disappeared with absolutely all pedigree lines pointing to pure Seppalas).
Despite the differences, both physical and mental, between the aforementioned meticulous categorizations, the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) and its affiliated members recognize only one unique breed with the standard number 270 in the group 5 (Spitz and primitive types) and originally from the USA: the Siberian Husky.
But (there are always some) all over the world there are 'other dogs' registered as Siberian Husky.
Those are the Seppala Siberians which (as I know) can only be registered as SSSD in USA at the Continental Kennel Club (www.ckcusa.com).
A project for an International Seppala Association (ISA) in USA failed.
SSSD: are the Seppala Siberian Sleddog, a direct descendant of many those Chukchi dogs imported from Siberia primarily developed and bred by Leonhard Seppala in Alaska and Maine from 1914 to 1931.
Well taken care and preserved by many people during years, the breed still relatively unchanged since the 1930s and was strictly developed for its working abilities and not for the appearance.
These dogs are rarely seen in show rings.
Among important names related to the Seppala breed, to be noted are in alphabetical order:
Alec and Charles Belford, Roland and Ruby Bowles, Keith Bryar, Gary Egelston, Marie Lee Frothingham, Allan Gagnon, Julien Hurley, Jean Lane, Malcolm McDougall, Donnie McFaul, Bruce Morrow, Isaac Okleasik, Charles Posey, Carolyn Ritter, Deborah Serbousek, William Shearer, Oliver Shattuck, Earl Snodie, Curt Stuckey, Marie Turner, Millie Turner, Dick Whitmore, Verner Zoschke.
The most remarkable attempt to rescue the bloodline from extinction was done by the Markovo (Canada) and Seppineau (USA) kennels during the 1970s.
It pointed to 10 dogs, eight of them 100% Seppala and two females (litter-mates Lyl and Moka of Sepsequel) 98.90823%, most pure Seppala but two non pure ancestors as their GT-GT-GT-GT-GT-GT-Parents Duchess of Huskyland 92.67578% and Tyka of Foxstand 65.625% (see bottom of the page).
A while after and until present days, we must honor and be grateful to Mr. Jeffrey Bragg (first Markovo and then Seppala Kennels) and Mr. Douglas Willett (Sepp-Alta Kennels) and for thier constant dedication during decades to preserve the strain.
Very unfortunately, each of them are infatuated in own different concepts, quite contentious and very controversial, which after all their effort are now enough to contribute to the complete extinction of the few pure Seppala dogs remaining.
Deercreeks Jersey (99.43%) and Peulla Sepp Aduschka Aquinta (99.55%) are descendant from all ten dogs below.
Click here to examine JER's 8 generations pedigree (Will open a new tab or window)
Click here to examine DUSH's 8 generations pedigree (Will open a new tab or window)
Please note that all percentages in any Peulla's pedigree are:
* Based on genuine mathematical calculations made since the first Seppala dogs from the 20 century
* Regardless to any theory of absolute purity of the Seppala strain.
* No 'friendly' or 'for convenience' adds nor 'unjustified' or 'for particular ideals' deductions.
These were the ten dogs also known as the 'Second Foundation dogs'
THE FIVE MALES were
Ditko Of Seppala
Mikiuk Tuktu Tornyak
Shango Of Seppala
Vanka Of Seppala
THE FIVE FEMALES were
Duska Of Seppala
Lyl Of Sepsequel
Moka Of Sepsequel
Willi-Waw's Gale Of Cupid