The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Skoli

The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Skoli

In the mostly ultra-competitive world of mushing in Alaska and especially in the two disciplines of sprint mushing and long distance (Iditarod) it is sad that very few people are running Siberian Huskies anymore. The old timer mushers, they were called dog punchers in those days, made the breed what it is and unfortunately it is not the same dog today. Today when you look at a Siberian Husky it bears little resemblance to the great dogs on the mushing trails of yesterday. Today you will see short, fluffy, powder-puff dogs that do well in the show ring but probably could not pull a sled if their life depended on it.

When you think of the greats such as Leonhard Seppala and Scotty Allan and Doc Lombard and Earl and Natalie Norris you think of sled dog first, looks second. Their dogs required the brains and the braun to get down the trail and that is what they breed for.

I was talking about this the other day and the gentleman said, and I am paraphrasing just a bit here: it doesn’t make financial sense for a musher to run Siberians anymore. The job security is in Alaskans.

One of the biggest struggles that I have come across sine arriving from Alaska is the two sides of the fence debate. The Siberian mushers and the Alaskan Husky mushers. It is funny, just in my neighborhood there are three Siberian kennels and two Alaskan Husky ones and those are just the ones I know about.

On Sunday I was privileged to obtain an awesome example of what a Siberian Husky should be. Her name is Skoli and she is a six year old female from some of the greatest Siberian Husky racing lines in the world. She has race experience and is a very good dogs. Many of you may be asking why would I want a dog at six years old? Its simple, racing and breeding do not necessarily go hand in hand as it was explained to me the other day. A six year old female is in the prime of her life when it comes to her second career (as a “mom’).

And just another perspective: this same kennel where I got Skoli from has a fifteen year old Siberian sled dog that looks like she could pull all the way to Nome. That is amazing to me. That shows me what a well cared for and well bred dog that is doing what it is supposed to do is capable of. Many of the show lines have been so watered down and so over-bred that many of them don’t live passed the age of 12 and by then they are bestrewed with health problems.

While the debate will continue I will do what is necessary to qualify for the Iditarod and that looks like I will be running a very fine team of Alaskans. That is okay though because in the future I am going to do my best to promote the Siberian Husky breed for its intended purpose and at some point run under the burled arch in Nome with my team of Siberians under the Team Ineka banner.

What are your thoughts on the Siberian Husky as a sled dog and as a breed? I would love to hear from you.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Doctor Radio | Denver Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and The Dog Doctor Radio Show


1 Response to “The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Skoli”

  1. 1 Training Run: 8/25/11 « Team Ineka Blog Trackback on August 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

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