Washagami's Working Siberians

The Siberian Husky (under construction)

  The Siberian Husky is a medium sized, dense coated working breed that originated in North-Eastern Siberia. Siberians were bred by the Chukchi people of North-Eastern Asia, and were used to pull moderate loads for long distances over sometimes extremely cold, harsh terrains. Siberians were eventually imported to Alaska during the gold rush and later to the US and Canada. Siberians are not a dog for a first time dog owner. There well known for being mischievous and get bored when not entertained. They are also extremely smart which can make them quite stubborn, I occasional get that look of "I know you want me to sit, but I don't want too, so I won't" They are not guard dogs, the majority of my crew will welcome you in the kennel yard with excitement and except a belly rub. There natural desire to run makes them an ideal choice for a sledding team, but trouble when they are loose off leash. Their high prey drive usually makes it extremely difficult to live with cats, and it doesn't mix well with chickens either...not naming any dogs in my yard.... "Echo". Siberians do best when with their own kind, more dogs, like potato chips, you must have many, or they get lonely....They also have an inherited landscaping ability, they will leaves holes for you to fall in everywhere, and don't dare put a freshly planted tree in their yard, as they will promptly remove it as it just doesn't belong there...

 

Pictured right is Washagami's Speed N Sasha, a female Siberian Husky born in Dec. 2007.
 

 

 


            

 

 

 

     
  

 

 

 


Much of the time being referred to as "Siberian Rats" the first team of Siberian Huskies made its appearance in the All Alaska Sweepstakes Race. Jon Jonson in 1910 won a grueling 400 mile race over extremely rugged terrain, ideal conditions for the Siberians as this is what they were bred for.

Siberian teams would then be seen capturing most race titles in Alaska and became increasingly popular.

 

 In 1925, the city of Nome, Alaska, was stricken by  diphtheria. Supplies of the anti-toxin were low, and more would be needed immediately. The quickest and most reliable source of transportation at the time, was by dog team. 20 mushers and 150 dogs were set up to relay the life saving medicine from Nenana to Nome,  approximately 674 miles of the worst terrain imaginable.

 

After the Serum run was over, and the medicine given to all who was in need. A particular musher was given the most credit, and idolized. Gunnar Kaasen and his team lead by the famous Balto was the dog team that ran the last leg and delivered the life saving medicine. A statue was even made in Central Park NYC to commemorate Balto's efforts.

Many mushers feel to this day the true hero was Leonhard Seppala for running the longest leg of the relay, with Togo in lead. I feel this was a true team effort, that was made possible by the tough, hardy dogs of its time.

Balto was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Today Togo is on display in a glass case at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters museum in Wasilla, Alaska.

 

   

 Many Siberians were sold to mushers from the Seppala/Ricker Kennel. Harry Wheeler obtained the remainder of Seppalas stock, and continued breeding and racing which provided many fine sled dogs to other kennels. Some other earlier kennels were Gatineau, Igloo Pak, Kodiak, Anadyr and many others. Like any working breed, even to this day...you hear the same old argument of how the Siberian took two different paths, work versus show.  Ch. Bonzo of Anadyr, CD, became the first Siberian Husky to win Best In Show at an AKC all breed show (1955). Bonzo was the Norris's main leader from 1954 to 1960, this dual purpose concept was successfully continued into the 1970s. The Siberian in some cases have taken two paths, a show dog should be an example of the original working dog. Some kennels today still race and do well in the show world, others excel in one discipline more then the other...

 


Siberians were recognized by the AKC in 1930 and by the CKC in 1939. Pictured right is an example of what the breed looked like during early registrations, this is Bonzo, a male Siberian born 7/15/1925. Bred by Leonhard Seppala and the first Siberian Husky registered with the Canadian Kennel Club.

                                                                      
             Male Siberian Husky  7/15/1925
             Color: Brown/Grey/White
Markings: Brown eyed
Owner: Harry Wheeler
Breeder: Leonhard Seppala
AKC 787251
   CKC 155386
Sire: Harry
Dam: Kolyma (bitch)