Seppala Kennels no longer has an active and ongoing breeding programme. Our last year of major breeding activity was 2008 so even the individual dogs remaining from that year are now getting old. At present we still have two dozen Seppalas in residence here in Rossburn, Manitoba; but the average age of our canine population is well over eleven years. So our kennel is now a caregiving operation for our remaining seniors. Seppala Kennels has no puppies available and no dogs of breeding age for sale. Jeffrey now maintains this website purely as an educational resource. Below are ID photos of the living Seppalas still remaining in residence at Seppala Kennels IV.
We regularly receive email from people who express an interest in "saving the Seppalas" from extinction. We can sympathise with that interest; Jeffrey has travelled that road twice over. The problem lies not in the dogs or their genetics, but in human nature. Our experience has been that there are never enough committed individuals with the requisite determination, financial resources and character traits to ensure success of such a goal. Both in the post-Markovo period and in the early years of the new millennium, the effort to establish Seppalas on a secure long-term footing failed owing to weaknesses of human nature and simple lack of sufficient resources. The genetic resource that we gathered and made available was not properly conserved and developed in the post-Markovo period; it's happening again just as inevitably in the post-SK period. We have no further interest in advising or supporting anyone's efforts to "save the Seppalas" because in our opinion that battle has already been lost — and not just through wastage of the genetic resource.
It now seems obvious that there is no secure "ecological niche" in today's crowded world for general-purpose lightweight sleddogs such as these. The only possible niche today would be dogsled racing and that niche is already occupied by highly-specialised dogs with a constantly-changing genetic specification and makeup, relying heavily on extremes of performance selection, high population numbers and continuous heterosis. With their stable genetic makeup and extremely small population numbers, Seppalas cannot compete successfully. Efforts to force-breed them into a more competitive state (probably through further extremes of inbreeding and selection) would only mean yet another genetic disaster. It is better for the individual dogs that the "breed" or strain should be allowed to quietly subside into extinction. After all, the Leonhard Seppala dog has enjoyed a full century's run of successful dedication to a single purpose. There is no way really to prolong that run humanely.
Particularly and specifically we do not support anyone's effort to breed and use Seppalas in the Iditarod Trail and Yukon Quest thousand-mile races. We are convinced on the basis of the track record that these races can no longer be considered humane. They were marginal at their inception and have now evolved to the point that competitive teams cannot be fielded without the use of inhumane tactics and racing strategy.
Best wishes to the few discerning admirers of the true authentic Leonhard Seppala sleddog,
J. Jeffrey Bragg