GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR OWN KENNEL
To the new, inexperienced musher a sled dog is a sled dog.
This is normal as I was the same.
It wasn't until later in my mushing career that I started to learn the difference.
Most of us started off with Siberian Huskies and at the time there were few kennels that actually specialized in Racing Siberians. From theses dogs I could see the difference in confirmation (body structure) that separated this type of dog from the Show Types.
The development of the Alaskan Husky and The Pointer Crosses are all further example of looking for the structural confirmation that will allow these athletes to run with the smoothest motion, with the least effort to produce the speed/endurance required to compete in their specialized field.
Probably the worst way to start a kennel is use your favourite dog Spot (of an unknown sled dog origin) breeding it to your friends favourite dog Bill (also of an unknown sled dog origin) and produce a litter of Billy/Spots.
After, a couple of years of training working with these dogs, you find that (if your lucky) you have one or two that actually want to perform as a sled dog.
Let me explain, this is not the fault of the dog. But, rather the unfortunate coupling of mediocre dogs as the base breed.
This method of starting a Racing Sled Dog Kennel is the most expensive and demoralizing way to start. Not to mention the unfortunate position these offspring’s have with a future in sledding or even finding them a loving pet home.
I remember someone telling me that you can't form an opinion of a great Racing Dog Team until you have experienced being on one.
It is for this reason, I highly recommend that you contact an experienced musher to talk too or even better work with them for a season.
Now you will be armed with the knowledge that few take advantage of.
Personally, I find I learn something new every year by observing top racers and asking questions of them and listening to what they have to say and then incorporating what I learn into improving my kennel.
Now if you want to start a good racing kennel go out and buy some of the best dogs you can afford. Most Racing Kennels have some good dogs for sale that are older that can give you a great start.
Next installment: BREEDING
Until next week.......