Dedicated to the preservation of the working Seppala Siberian Sleddog
Northeastern Siberia is a land of vast expanses and great contrasts, a land cut in half by the Artic Circle. It is a land of high mountains and deep valleys, vast plains and tundra’s, merciless winds and blinding blizzards, long white nights and black days, numbing cold and intense heat, a land of feast and famine.
Dogs were held in high esteem by the people that lived in this land because their very existence often depended upon their sleddogs, the ancestors to the present day Seppala Siberian Sleddog.
In 1908 William Goosak, a Ru fur buyer from northeast Siberia, brought a team of 10 Siberian sleddogs to Nome. They finished third in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes race of 1909. Over the next 10 years a number of additional Siberian sleddogs were imported, and Siberian teams, driven by the legendry John ” Iron Man” Johnson and Leonhard Seppala, dominated the All-Alaska Sweepstakes races.
In January of 1925, a child in Nome died of diphtheria. It was imperative that serum be brought in, at once. It was mid-winter and the only way to get the serum to Nome was by a relay of dog teams, 658 miles from Nenana to Nome.
With temperatures hovering around 30 below and lower, over hazardous ice and rough mountainous terrain, Seppala drove his team of Siberian Sleddogs 260 miles over a 5 days stretch, averaging 52 miles a day, to be the primary cog in getting the serum to Nome. Once again, in relatively modern times, the existence of people depended upon their sleddogs.
This, than, is the heritage of the Seppala Siberian Sleddog, a working dog of moderate size specifically adapted in temperament and in every particular of physical construction to the specialized needs of rapid long distance dogsled transport with a light load, including sleddog racing, in a cold artic climate.