The "Scotty" Bloodline at SEPPALA KENNELS
Mr. & Mrs. J. Jeffrey Bragg, Rossburn, MB

Scotty, Leonhard 
         Seppala's first great lead dog
SCOTTY, Leonhard Seppala's first great lead dog

(Photo courtesy Janis Ingve, from Candy Waugaman Collection; digital enhancement Copyright © 2005 J. Ingve. This and other historic photos of Leonhard Seppala and other well-known figures of early sled dog history - and their famous dogs - are available in spectacular photoprint versions at Sled Dog Image Archive.)
THE MODERN SIBERIAN HUSKY is now very distant from its origins in Siberia and Alaska. Almost a century now separates the AKC/CKC/FCI show-dogs from sleddogs imported to Alaska in the first decade of the Twentieth Century.

That means, in practice, that forty or fifty generations of Siberians have been bred under a regime of inbreeding and artificial selection, with no new genetic material introduced throughout that entire time, while great losses of genetic diversity have occurred through genetic drift and intentional culling for show points. Modern show Siberians often show a kind of cookie-cutter similarity, dramatically illustrating their lack of genetic diversity. The original Siberian dog was not like that -- it was diverse, hardy, formed largely by natural selection rather than artificial selection for beauty points.

LEONHARD SEPPALA'S FIRST GREAT LEADER 'SCOTTY' was no cookie-cutter Innisfree show-dog! Son of the Siberia import bitch DOLLY, he was an all-purpose hard-working lead dog from Seppala's Little Creek days in Alaska. Scotty would have seen a great deal more hard freighting and passenger hauling than he did racing -- but he helped Sepp win the 1916 Ruby Dog Derby as well as the 1915, 1916 and 1917 All-Alaska Sweepstakes. SCOTTY probably did not make the trip to New England with Seppala in 1927 and has been virtually forgotten due to the Serum Drive tales and the romanticising of TOGO by early New England fanciers of the newly-registered Siberian Husky breed. SCOTTY does not even appear on the fanciful "founder lists" that are published from time to time in web pages and newsletter articles; obviously these people don't know their Seppala history. For SCOTTY was a tremendously important dog -- and his direct descendants survive today at Seppala Kennels in Rossburn, Manitoba.

SCOTTY's bloodline almost became a lost part of the Leonhard Seppala heritage. The core Wheeler/McFaul/Shearer bloodline that survived from the 1930s through the 1960s was based on the two 1930 Siberia imports KREE VANKA and TSERKO, along with the four 1925 HARRY/KOLYMA progeny TOSCA, ROSIE, BONZO and CHENUK; that core bloodline did not appear to carry SCOTTY's lineage. Had it not been for the remarkable little bitch BAYOU OF FOXSTAND bred by Joe Booth in New England in 1940, we might not be able today to trace our Seppala Siberian Sleddogs back to Seppala's first great leader, nor to the first registered AKC Siberians. Although BAYOU was three-quarters Harry Wheeler background, the other quarter came from the Oliver Shattuck breeding in New Hampshire in the late 1920s. Through the Shattuck line, BAYOU's ancestry was one-sixteenth NORTHERN LIGHT, from the first AKC registered Siberians. Shattuck's prized male NORTHERN LIGHT KOBUCK was a SCOTTY descendant through SCOTTY's son JACK FROST, the leader of the Julien Hurley NORTHERN LIGHT team.

BAYOU OF FOXSTAND was sold by her breeder to William L. Shearer's FOXSTAND Kennels, and resold to J. D. McFaul as a foundation bitch for his GATINEAU kennel. Two littermate females (LYL and MOKA) from the SEPSEQUEL litter in 1967 became founders in the MARKOVO/ SEPPINEAU revival of Seppala lineage in the 1970s. Through them the SCOTTY lineage was preserved as part of the Seppala gene pool of the Markovo Rescue period. The SCOTTY genetic markers seem to have gone underground almost from the first descendant generation (given that JACK FROST was a white Siberian), but they finally resurfaced in 1979 in a black and white bitch named DYNAMIKOS RUBY from the breeding of George Mentis of Minot, North Dakota, when he mated the Egelston male MINTO OF SEPPINEAU to ZEITA OF MARKOVO.

Kolyma of 
         Seppala, Scotty's 15th-generation descendant
KOLYMA OF SEPPALA, 15th-generation descendant
of Leonhard Seppala's SCOTTY
(Photo Copyright © 2005 J. Jeffrey Bragg.)

SINCE THAT TIME the "Scotty" genetic markers of dark earlinings, white chest with irregular markings on the shoulders and neck, and keyhole blaze (sometimes asymmetrical), with a jet-black ground colour, appear regularly among the descendants of RUBY, along with the "Jack Frost" pure white coats. The "Scotty" genetics surfaced at Seppala Kennels with the mating of XPACE OF SEPP-ALTA (a son of DYNAMIKOS RUBY) and RIVER VIEW'S SPRITE. Both of these parents had extensive "Scotty" background through LYL OF SEPSEQUEL and her sister MOKA. The XPACE/SPRITE mating produced, among other outstanding Seppalas, a female called KOLYMA OF SEPPALA who is remarkably like SCOTTY. KOLYMA and her sister TONYA OF SEPPALA have produced a number of progeny with the the genetic markers of Sepp's 1915 leader and (perhaps not coincidentally!) some very superior sleddogs. Both KOLYMA and TONYA are command leaders -- TONYA the best we have ever had.

Just how much of SCOTTY is there in the pedigrees of KOLYMA and TONYA, and how many generations are there between them and their illustrious Leonhard Seppala ancestor? Well, he occurs quite a few times, but it's all (understandably) pretty far back in the pedigree. Here is how it breaks down:

Ch. Northern Light Kobuck -- Scotty 3 - 4 (through Jack Frost)
Bayou of Foxstand -- Scotty - 7, 8 (through Northern Light Kobuck)
Lyl of Sepsequel -- Bayou 4 - 6; Scotty 11, 12 - 13, 14
Kolyma of Seppala -- Lyl/Moka 5, 4, 5 - 6, 7, 5, 4, 6

32 iterations of Scotty:
15th generation - 2 occurrences (0.0030517578125% each)
16th generation - 5 occurrences (0.00152587890625% each)
17th generation - 7 occurrences (0.000762939453125% each)
18th generation - 8 occurrences (0.0003814697265625% each)
19th generation - 6 occurrences (0.00019073486328125% each)
20th generation - 3 occurrences (0.000095367431640625% each)
21st generation - 1 occurrence (0.0000476837158203125%)

SCOTTY's total percentage of influence: 0.0236034393310546875% (about equivalent to a 12th-generation ancestor). This is so small a percentage of influence that what we see in KOLYMA and her progeny scarcely seems possible! However, genes do not exert their influence by percentages -- a particular gene is either present or absent. Distant ancestors repeated many times, as in this instance, can be compared with some validity to lottery tickets! Kolyma had 32 "Scotty" tickets -- there were 32 chances in this pedigree to express SCOTTY's genes -- and it looks like our gal KOLYMA got lucky and won the lottery!

Kolyma of Seppala    Tonya of Seppala
At left: Kolyma of Seppala, WCAC ID# 00055, (Second-string leader, dam of our L, A, C and O litters)
At right: Tonya of Seppala, WCAC ID# 00042, (First-string leader, dam of our M and I litters)
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog Project - Mr. and Mrs. J. Jeffrey Bragg - Box 396 - Rossburn, MB - R0J 1V0 - Canada