Salazka Siberian Huskies

Salazka Siberian Huskies

Born to Run


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The first recorded importations of our breed to Alaska were in the early 1900's. There were several large importations of Siberian dogs to North America - all, except the last, were to the Nome area of Alaska.

It was towards the end of 1908, the year of the first All Alaska Sweepstakes race, that the first Siberian dogs arrived. A Russian fur trader, WILLIAM GOOSAK, brought at least ten dogs to Nome from the Anadyr Gulf region of Siberia, which would indicate the dogs were of Chukchi origin. These dogs competed in the 1909 All Alaska Sweepstakes, finishing 3rd. They particularly impressed one of the other competitors, FOX MAULE RAMSEY, the person behind the next importation.

In the late summer of 1909, Ramsey and IVER OLSEN went up the Anadyr River to Markovo to acquire dogs. The exact number of dogs acquired by Ramsey and Olsen is unsure but definitely between 40 and 60.

The next importation occurred in 1911. JOHN JOHNSON, one of Fox Ramsey's hired mushers and winner of the 1910 All Alaska Sweepstakes, returned to Siberia to acquire more dogs and returned with 14 dogs.

In the summer of 1914 Captain Olsen brought from Petropavlosk, at least 8 dogs for LEONARD SEPPALA. Seppala had become involved with the Siberian dogs in 1913 and entered the All Alaska Sweepstakes with a Siberian team in 1914.

In September 1927, OLAF SWENSON brought back 2 males and 2 females. These dogs were imported to Seppala at Nome. In October, Seppala went to New England on his second visit and these four dogs accompanied him along with the remaining 16 dogs that he had left in Nome.

The last important importation occurred in 1930. Elizabeth Ricker, co-owner with Seppala, of the Siberian kennel at Poland Spring, Maine, contracted with Swenson for the acquisition of 8 Siberian dogs. Swenson acquired a complete team of 8 Chukchi dogs which were loaded onto a ship and taken to Seattle and sent by railway to Maine. Unfortunately of the 8 dogs, only three survived. The other five succumbed to leptospirosis. Of the three survivors, two are extremely important to the gene pool of our breed "Kreevanka" and "Tserko" - both males.

The development of our breed can only be attributed to the 42 dogs that Seppala took from Alaska to Maine in October 1926 and the 20 in October 1927. Some of the second group were also part of the first. Of all these dogs, only eight are foundation dogs represented in todays registered Siberian Husky. They are:-

Togo (M)
Harry (M)
Smoky (M)
Kolyma (F)
Nome (F)
Pearl (F)
Dushka (F)
Sonia (F)

Added to these eight were the two surviving 1930 imports: Kreevanka (M) and Tserko (M) and two other dogs having a significant impact on the breed "Tuck", bred by Mike Cooney in Alaska from original dogs of John "Iron Man" Johnson's awesome 1910 All Alaska Sweepstakes winning team and "Duke" (bred by Seppala) which had both been sold to new owners in New Hampshire.

Therefore all of todays stock of registered Siberians are direct descendants of the above twelve dogs.

The first Siberian "officially" came to England in 1967 from Norway, interestingly the birthplace of Leonard Seppala. This was due to the registration by the AKC of the Siberian in the early 1930's which meant that the "Chukchi" dog was officially recognised as a breed.

The association by the British to the Siberian dog was evident for many years prior to this official importation. As well as FOX RAMSEY, who had a great influence on the breed in Alaska, we had the great polar explorers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Both ERNEST SHACKLETON and ROBERT F SCOTT used huskies to attempt the conquering of the Antarctic south pole. Indeed, although SCOTT was not a fan of dogs and preferred ponies for sledding, the 33 Siberians dogs that he took to the Antarctic in the fateful expedition of 1911-1912 were sponsored by many schools within the United Kingdom.

SCOTT realised that although his prejudice was against dogs, it might be useful to have a team for draught opportunities in the "summer" of the Antarctic. He eventually sent CECIL MEARES, an expert dog enthusiast, to Siberia to obtain dogs for the expedition. MEARES succeeded in collecting a team of 33 Siberian dogs plus 2 Eskimaux dogs and 1 collie bitch to accompany the Antarctic expedition.

All of these dogs were "sponsored" by various schools within the United Kingdom and New Zealand and became their own mascot. A list of the dogs and schools are listed below. If you are an alumni of these schools I would appreciate any information that you have of these sponsorships.

Most of the dogs that accompanied SCOTT to the Antarctic survived (unlike AMUNDSEN who reached the pole first, who started with 96 dogs and ended up with less than 20). This was mainly because SCOTT still held the believe that ponies were hardier than dogs and therefore turned the dogs back once they reached the final plateau onslaught to the pole. The dogs were returned to New Zealand and then became "domesticated" into New Zealand life.

I am currently undertaking research into these dogs and would like to know of any information that can be verified as to the outcome of them, especially "Osman" who was the lead and top dog for the expedition.

In the UK, in the 1970's, the main exponents of the breed were the Leich family (Forstal), still active today, who returned from the USA with some dogs which provided the base stock for the immediate gene pool. Other key kennels established in the 1970's and still active in the breed today include Skimarque (Jenny Manley), Brushbow (Mike & Lynn Harrison) and Zoox (Chris McRae).

These foundation kennels were joined in the 1980's by other successful names still active today including Rajarani (Brunette Greenland), Aceca (Bruce & Lyn Hall), Zima (Simon & Sheila Luxmoore) and Azgard (Chris Barry).

Over the years there have been some significant imported dogs to the UK, many associated with the Alaskan Anadyr (Norris), Sepp-Alta (Willett), Igloo Pak (Lombard) & Lokiboden (Gilchrist) lines and more recently the out-and-out racing Zero (Dunlap) line. All of these lines can be traced back to the 12 dogs mentioned on the first page.

The Dogs that RF SCOTT took to the Antarctic consisted of thirty-three sled dogs and a collie bitch, "Lassie". The thirty-three, all Siberian dogs excepting the Esquimaux "Peary" and "Borup", were collected by CECIL MEARES, who drove them across Siberia to Vladivostok with the help of dog-driver DEMETRI GEROF, whom he had engaged for the expedition. From Vladivostok, where he was joined by Lt. WILFRED BRUCE, he brought them by steamer to Sydney, Australia, and thence to Lyttelton, New Zealand.

The dogs were the gift of various schools, as shown by the following list:

Schools Name for dog - Russian Name for dog - Name of School

Beaumont - Kumgai - Beaumont College
Bengeo - Mannike Noogis - Bengeo, Herts
Bluecoat - Giliak - Christ's Hospital
Bristol - Lappa Uki - Bristol Grammar
Bromsgrove - "Peary" - Bromsgrove School
Colston's - Bullet - Colston's School
Danum - Rabchick - Doncaster Grammar
Derby I - Suka - Derby Girls
Derby II - Silni - Derby Girls
Devon - Jolti - Devon Navy League
Duns - Brodiaga - Berwickshire High
Falcon - Seri - Winchester High
Felsted - Visoli - Felsted School
Glebe - Pestry - Glebe House School
Grassendale - Suhoi II - Grassendale School
Hal - Krisravitsa - Colchester Grammar
Hampstead - Ishak - South Hampstead High
Hughie - Gerachi - Master H Gethin Lewis
Ilkley - Volk - Ilkley Grammar
Innie - Suhoi I - Liverpool Institute
Jersey - Bear - Victoria Coll. Jersey
John Bright - Seri Uki - Bootham
Laleham - Biela Noogis - Laleham
Leighton - Pudil - Leighton Park, Reading
Lyon - Tresor - John Lyon Lower
Mac - Deek I - Wells House
Manor - Colonel - Manor House
Mount - Vesoi - Mount, York
Mundella - Bulli - Mundella Secondary
Oakfield - Ruggiola Sabaka - Oakfield, Rugby
Oldham - Vaida - Hulme Grammar, Oldham
Perse - Vaska - Perse Grammar
Poacher - Chorney Stareek - Lincoln Grammar
Prince Llewelyn - Hohol - Llandudno Intermediate
Radlyn - Czigane - Radlyn, Harrogate
Richmond - Osman - Richmond, Yorkshire
Regent - Marakas Seri - Regent Street Poly.
Steyne - Petichka - Steyne, Worthing
Sir Andrew - Deek II - Sir Andrew Judd's
Somerset - Churnie Kesoi - A Somerset School
Tiger - Mukaka - Bournemouth School
Tom - Stareek - Woodbridge
Tua R Golleniai - Julik - Cardiff Intermediate
Vic - Glinie - Southport Modern
Whitgift - Mamuke Rabchick - Whitgift Grammar
Winston - "Borup" - Winston HG School
Meduate - Meduate - N.Z. Girls School