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Ditko of Seppala (1969)

Ditko of Seppala (1969)



Jeffrey's Articles
Seppala history, sleddog ethics, cynology, breeding and more

SEPPALA KENNELS PRESENTS here a collection of articles written over the years by J. Jeffrey Bragg on various dog-related topics. Everything from Seppala training, breeding, and history, to ground-breaking forays into a new age of cynology and dog breeding. We hope to add to this list from time to time, incorporating material from past forums, e-mail lists and the like. Re-formatting the existing articles to conform to the SK website will be a time- and energy-consuming process, so please be patient. And please remember that with one exception these are copyrighted works that may not be used on other websites without express written permission of the author.

Looking for Tonya: A Meditation on Death and the Canine Soul - What happens when a cherished canine companion dies? Do dogs have souls? Is there a "Rainbow Bridge"? And how does a person cope with the loss of a fifteen years' sidekick?

Registry Without Breeds: A Thought Experiment - "Dog politics" and the breed purity concept cause great genetic harm to dogs through continual population splitting and loss of genetic diversity. This article discusses how re-designing our dog registries might put an end to these genetic losses.

Population Genetics in Practice: Principles for the Breeder - How may the dog breeder go about her hobby so as to do the least possible damage to the gene pool of her chosen breed? This ground- breaking article lists no fewer than twenty ways in which the breeder can use the principles of population genetics to create a responsible breeding programme.

Random Genetic Drift: The Breeder's Hidden Enemy - We've all heard about genetic drift, but how does it really work? This article explains it in terms the breeder can understand, a step-by-step journey through three generations in the whelping box, demonstrating how a gene can inadvertently be lost forever from your bloodline.

Purebred Dog Breeds into the Twenty-First Century - Jeffrey's 1996 brief to the CKC. One of the first shots fired in the battle to promote diversity breeding, it made no impression at all on the Club, but went on to circle the globe and influence many people. Extensively mirrored on the Internet, it was instrumental in raising consciousness among dog fanciers of the genetic crisis in dogs.

The Survival of Historic Sleddog Breeds - A discussion of how historic sleddog breeds can best survive in the world today. Is dogsled racing the answer? Do dog shows help? How can something so specialised as these breeds keep their original purpose?

The Place of the Recreational Dog Musher - "Recreational mushers are ruining the breed!" We've all heard that assertion loudly proclaimed by budding "professional" mushers. But is it really true?

Exploitative versus Developmental Breeding Methods - Small working dog populations need to be protected from loss of genetic diversity. They should not be exploited to support purposes that run counter their genetic survival and well-being. Yet traditional racing sleddog breeding methods are highly exploitative due to constant short-term pressures to maintain a competitive edge. How may Seppalas be protected from exploitative breeding?

The Traits That Matter - Speed is all you need, right? Wrong! This article lists and discusses twenty essential traits or characteristics that go to make up a good sleddog.

Sleddog Ethics: Responsible Sleddog Breeding, Training and Ownership - Dogsledding is no sport for irresponsible people! A strong sense of ethics is essential to the dog driver. This article is a must for newcomers to the sport.

Sustainable Sleddog Sport - These days everything we do has environmental impact. This article explores how dog drivers may practise their hobby in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

The Genetic Tide: Will it Leave Us High and Dry? - This brief essay, published in Dogs in Canada magazine in 1996, won the Dog Writers' Association of America's Maxwell Medallion in its category. It sounded the alarm and called for new ways of dealing with the genetic crisis in purebred dogs.

The Genetic Tide Continues to Swell - A followup to the previous article, this brief essay explores the effectiveness of genetic screening as a means of coping with the upsurge of genetic defects in purebred dogs.

Wisdom Panel Genetic Tests Are a Game-Changer - A series of five new canine genetic tests based on Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are creating a lot of buzz and changing expectations in the dog world. This article explores Wisdom Panel® Insights™, Wisdom Panel® Designer Dog, Wisdom Panel® Purebred, Wisdom Panel® Professional, and Optimal Selection™ tests.

Breeding Seppalas - A series of mini-articles on various practical aspects of breeding with specific reference to Seppala Siberian Sleddogs. Twenty-five different topics are covered in this series.

Training Seppalas - By popular demand, here it is again! The well-known beginners' resource, the pages that were always the most-accessed on the Seppala Siberian Sleddog Project website. Everything you need to know to get started training Seppalas (or Siberian Huskies for that matter) for dogsledding.


Historical Articles

The Message of Bayou of Foxstand - One little Siberian Husky bitch born in 1949, ancestor of Lyl of Sepsequel and therefore of all today's Seppalas, carries a fascinating tale of breed history in the 1930s hidden in her pedigree. My all-time favourite article.


Sleddog Breed History — Breeders and Kennels

Arthur Walden (A short biographical sketch) - Arthur Treadwell Walden was a contemporary and occasional rival of Leonhard Seppala. He is known today as originator of the Chinook sled dog breed.

Leonhard Seppala (Biographical sketch) - A young resident of Norway who sought adventure and fortune in the Nome Gold Rush of the early 1900s, "Sepp" found fame as archetypal dog driver, probably the best-known musher of all time. His own carefully selected bloodline of Siberian sleddogs survives to this day, a century after he first began working with them.

Harry Wheeler's Seppala Kennels - Wheeler acquired Siberian stock directly from Leonhard Seppala circa 1930. His bloodline became the mainstay both of the Seppala bloodline and of the growing Siberian Husky purebred dog breed. His importance remains largely unknown and unacknowledged by the SH showdog world, but without Wheeler's breeding there would have been no lasting Siberian Husky breed.

Alex and Charles Belford - Alex Belford and his son were a crucial part of the early history of the Siberian Husky and of Seppala strain. With very little breeding, without even a kennel name, the Belfords nonetheless handled, drove and evaluated a great many of the most influential early New England sleddogs.

Cold River Kennels - Rose Frothingham, known as "The Duchess," and her daughter Millie bred and drove the Wheeler bloodline of Seppala Siberian sleddogsand decisively influenced several landmark kennels of the next generation. Bill Shearer's "Foxstand," Lorna Demidoff's "Monadnock," Roland Bowles' "Calivali," Marguerite Grant's "Marlytuk," and even Dr. Roland Lombard's "Igloo Pak" all owed a huge genetic debt to Cold River kennels.

William L. Shearer's Foxstand Kennels - Closely connected to Wheeler, Belfords and Cold River, Shearer's highly personal team and breeding programme was hugely influential in the New England bloodline of racing Siberians. And without Bill Shearer, J. D. McFaul's sleddog career would never have gotten a good start.

J. D. McFaul - McFaul started his dog driving career with stock from Bill Shearer and later took over the central breeding programme for Seppala strain by buying the Wheeler stock and kennel name when Harry retired in 1950. A crucial remnant of McFaul dogs including Ditko of Seppaa and Shango of Seppala formed the nucleus of the Markovo rescue of the Leonhard Seppqla bloodline from impending extinction circa 1970.

Eva B. Seeley's Chinook Kennels - "Short" Seeley and her husband Milton took over the Walden kennel on Walden's return from the Third Byrd Antarctic Expedition. They expanded into Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, sold dogs to the US Army and Navy, and strongly influenced and exploited the fledgling sleddog purebred dog breeds. Although the Seppala inheritors refused to have much to do with Short Seeley or her dogs, she made intensive use of Wheeler stock owned by others to lay down a foundation for the SH showdog fancy.



The Seppala Siberian Sleddog Project - Mr. and Mrs. J. Jeffrey Bragg - Box 396 - Rossburn, MB - R0J 1V0 - Canada