The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a tough, agile and impressively powerful sled dog developed specifically for operating in extremely cold Siberian climate. Being an assiduous and reliable worker, this dog became famous world-wide because of its outstanding performance in All Alaska Sweepstakes dog race. It’s rarely used as an exclusively companion animal, although it has all prerequisites to make an excellent family pet.
The forefathers of the Seppala Siberian Sleddog originated from the remote Yakutsk region of north-eastern Siberia where they served the Chukchi people as dependable companions since times immemorial. This semi-nomadic folk used their sledding dogs as the only mean to traverse enormous distances in the chilling wind and freezing cold weather. Thick coat and incredible endurance helped dogs to effectively function in such an adverse condition. In order to foster only desirable qualities in future generations the local breeders devoted much attention to selective breeding. Exclusively best specimens were allowed to mate and the rest was castrated.
The credit of the development of the Seppala Siberian Sleddog belongs to the famous dog driver Leonhard Seppala. At the beginning of the XX century the rumours about superior draft dogs from the North-Eastern Asia reached the American Alaska. They were imported from isolated Siberian regions to participate in dogsled racing, which was one of the favourite recreations in those severe lands. Leonhard Seppala was among those sledding enthusiasts, which developed its own unique breed of the draft dog from 1914 to 1931. The proficiency at developing, training and racing sled dogs earned this Norwegian the reputation of a legend. In the 1925 Nome was struck by diphtheria epidemic. Leonard and his canines accomplished a true feat by covering over 547 km (340 miles) in dangerous blizzard to supply infected city with the antiserum.
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog was always bred for its working abilities and had never entered conformation show. By 1969 its number reduced very drastically and it appeared that the breed is doomed to disappearance. Fortunately the Markovo Kennels in Canada and the Seppineau Kennels in USA showed active interest in its destiny and today the breed has much more chances to survive in a long term. Despite its quite distinctive background this dog and the Siberian Husky shared a book registry until 1997. Thereafter they were officially recognised as two unique dogs but the Seppala Siberian Sleddog hasn’t been yet accepted by any major kennel club.
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a dependable, determined and hardy working dog, which is also noted for its gentle and mischievous disposition. It tends to cling to people and doesn’t like to stay alone for long periods of time. The dog can become the decent member of a human family but it certainly doesn’t suite for a novice dog owner. Heavy socialisation and obedience training is essential if you want to bring up a well-mannered dog. It’s generally fine with children as long as it has been introduced to their company since its puppyhood.
As a rule, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog is affable with strangers, as it was initially developed to tolerate an unfamiliar sled driver. This breed always welcomes an opportunity to make a new friend and without proper training it can grow into an inappropriate greeter. It makes a reasonable watchdog, which will always timely warn its master about approaching newcomer. Its friendliness and sociable nature won’t allow it to become an effective guard dog.
The breed is definitely a team player and has vast experience in communicating with other canines. The Seppala Siberian Sleddog enjoys sharing its life with one or a few of other dogs but it prefers to deal with specimens of the similar energy level. The dog traditionally strives to assert its alpha status when it comes across unfamiliar canine so it should be walked on a leash at all times. In not so distant past the breed obtained its food partially by hunting and still preserves its passion for chasing small animals. This dog poses noticeable threat for all homeless cats and other creatures. However, there is a good chance that it will get along with a household cat if it gets used to its presence since puppyhood but it’s still no guarantee.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· eye problems.
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog should be provided with moderate amount of maintenance. Its owner should periodically apply stainless steel two-centimetre pin comb to make its coat look neat and free of mats and tangles. Its fur has tendency to be dirt-repelling so frequent bathing should be avoided.
Be mindful that this breed sheds very intensely and during shedding periods will cover all your possessions with thick layer of its hair. More through brushing will be helpful to substantially reduce amount of shedding but this breed is an inappropriate choice for an allergic suffer.
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a clever and highly trainable dog, which is characterised with well-pronounced willingness to please. However, it is an innate leader and won’t take orders from the handler, which takes lower position in the packing order in the dog’s view.
Consistency, regularity and patient attitude are major factors, which increase the effectiveness of its training. The Seppala Siberian Sleddog quickly gets tired from repetitive and dull tasks. That’s why the learning process should incorporate its favourite treats and plentiful of verbal praise. The breed is somewhat sensitive to harsh treatment, which should be by any means avoided.
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a very capable athlete and therefore it has very sizeable exercise requirements. A daily walk is simply not enough to satisfy this avid runner so make sure that you can regularly release you dog off-leash in a safely secured area.
The dog is actually the happiest if it’s systematically tasked with sledding work or at least accompanies you in your daily cycling. Without appropriate amount of physical activity it will most probably develop such nasty behavioural deviations as on-going barking, destructiveness, restlessness and even aggression.