If you haven’t heard of the Seppala Siberian Sleddog, you’re not alone. While the Siberian Husky has become almost as well known and ubiquitous as the Labrador, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog is still relatively rare. Yet believe it or not, they come from the same family as the Siberian. Whereas the Siberian Husky was developed for its looks, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog was developed for its physical abilities. The result is a working dog with superb mushing capabilities and the athletic prowess of an Olympian. Find out more about the breed as we reveal ten things you didn’t know about the Seppala Siberian Sleddog.
1. They aren’t suited to apartment living
If you live in a studio apartment and have your heart set on a Seppala Siberian Sleddog, then it might be time to find a new object for your affections. Seppala Siberian Sleddogs are working dogs with big activity requirements. Although they’ll reserve most of their bursts of energy for outdoors, they’re active enough indoors to need plenty of space to run around in. Their ideal living environment is a family home with access to a large, fenced-in yard.
2. They’re closely related to the Siberian Husky
As seppalas.com notes, the Seppala Siberian Sleddogs and the Siberian Husky were once one and the same. However, while the Siberian Husky has been bred more for its good looks and its ability to win over the crowds in the show ring, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog has remained a true working dog, known more for its mushing abilities than its beauty. The bloodlines of the show ring dogs and the working dogs were eventually separated, and by the 1990s, the Seppala Siberian Sleddog was distinct enough from the Siberian Husky to be recognized as a new breed by the Canadian agriculture authorities.
3. They weigh around 45 lbs
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a working breed, and like most working breeds, it’s got enough muscle, height, and weight to get the job done without fainting away at the end of it. Medium built and athletic, they share the same well-developed neck, shoulder, and chest of most huskies. Although sizes can vary to some degree, most Seppala Siberian Sleddogs weigh between 40 and 50 lbs, with 45 lbs being the average. According to dogell.com, males tend to measure around 23 inches in height at the shoulder, with females coming in just a little smaller at 22 inches.
4. They aren’t suitable for people with allergies
Considering its short, dense coat, it’d be tempting to think the Seppala Siberian Sleddog would be a good choice of pet for people with allergies. But while they only shed to a moderate degree, they carry a high allergen risk for people who react to dander and saliva.
5. They hate the heat
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is generally a relaxed, amicable kind of dog. If there’s one thing guaranteed to make it testy and fractious, though, it’s the heat. This was a breed that was developed to withstand the icy weather of arctic winters. Snow, ice, gale-force winds, blizzards, sub-zero temperatures… none of that fazes the Seppala Siberian Sleddog one iota. But show it a dazzling blue sky and a high temperature, and you’ll soon be looking at a very miserable dog. Although they’re not completely off-limits to people who live in warmer climates, they’ll need to be provided with plenty of shade, air conditioning, and a constant supply of water to stay happy. They should also avoid strenuous activity in the heat.
6. They’re easy to groom
You wouldn’t expect a working dog to require endless sessions at the saloon, and you’d be right. The Siberian Husky may have been developed for its supermodel good looks, but the Seppala Siberian Sleddog is, was, and probably always will be a worker. And by and large, workers tend to be a lot lower maintenance than any other type of dog. As a general rule, they’ll usually take care of the limited grooming needs they do have themselves, although you might want to give them an occasional hand with brushing, especially during shedding season. Frequent bathing should be avoided as it can strip their skin and coat of essential oils. If their natural doggy odors start to become a problem, stick to gentle pet shampoos to avoid irritation. Ears and eyes should be checked and gently cleaned to avoid infections, and teeth should be cleaned around 2 to 3 times a week.
7. They come in a variety of coat colors
Considering the breed has been developed specifically for its working abilities, most breeders don’t waste their time worrying about the Seppala Siberian Sleddog’s appearance. But none-the-less, these are still very attractive dogs, with clear blue or brown eyes, erect ears, heavily-feathered tails, well-developed yet elegant statures, and an alert expression. Their coats are short, dense, and typically come in sable, piebald, gray, white, black, or combinations of each.
8. They’re good students
Huskies have a reputation for being poor students. It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just that they lack the people-pleasing qualities that encourage most dogs to listen, learn, and do as we ask. The Seppala Siberian Sleddog is a little different. Not only are they one of the most eager to please of all the husky breeds, but they’ve also been blessed with good retention and a talent for picking up new commands and instructions. They can, however, be a little headstrong, so plenty of patience, repetition, and positive reinforcement will be needed to get the best out of your training sessions.
9. They’re wary of strangers
Dogbreedslist.info describes the Seppala Siberian Sleddog as ‘active, merry, and often quite inquisitive.’ A loving and affectionate breed, they bond easily and quickly with their owner, and will quickly work their way into the affections of everyone they meet. But be warned: while the breed is friendly enough with people it knows, it can be very wary of strangers. To stop their natural reserve from becoming an issue, plenty of early socialization and training will be needed.
10. They cost up to $600
The Seppala Siberian Sleddog isn’t the most expensive pedigree pooch in the world, but neither is it the most wallet-friendly either. Providing you steer well clear of puppy farms and dodgy breeders, you can expect to shell out between $400 and $600 for a pup.