Cushing Kennels

Meet our pack of Seppala Siberian Huskies. They are all from a heritage bloodline, which dates back to Leonhard Seppala, and further back to the Chukchi tribes of Siberia.

You can learn more about this historic bloodline, and about huskies in general, after the pictures of our pups!

 
 
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Lucky

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: Avalanche

Place of birth: Trois-Rivières , Quebec

Biography: I remember coming to the Cushings in 2007 with my brother Avalanche. My family history dates back to the days of Malcome McDougall at Malamak Kennels. I have a soft personality but know when to take charge. My children have taught me patience.


Dakota

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Unknown

Siblings: Storm

Place of Birth: Throne, Québec

Background: I remember meeting the Cushings for the first time about about a decade ago. My musher was retiring and had no choice but to put all of my family and friends up for adoption. We use to be chained and only permitted to interact on special days. I come from a proud and noble racing family. My favorite hobby is sleeping.

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Cabela

Eyes: Brown                Build: Light

Weight: 45 lbs             Position: Cheerleader

Parents: Mindu & Chinook

Siblings: Vocal, Koa, Mufasa, Kia, Mojo

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Backgroun: People call me "Cuddle Bug." I don't really run anymore because of health concerns. Most of the Ashbury junior school, knows me by name. I volunteer my time at other community events. I look foward to your belly massage skills.


Vocal

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 55 lbs           Position: Team

Parents: Mindu & Chinook

Siblings: Cabela

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Backgroun: I'm one of the most dependable sled dogs in the kennel. My personality will win you over every time. I'm the "Watch Dog" of the entire kennel, alerting the pack to newcomers and wildlife (especially beavers). As a puppy, I would climb on top of Mama Mindu and howl.


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Snow

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Light

Weight: 45 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Dakota & Storm

Siblings: Kahn

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Backgroun: I'm the kennel princess, everyone has a soft spot for my softness and amazing personality. You will probably have me as your lead dog because I'm never wrong! Ok, so sometimes the mushers are confused about directions, but that's a different story. My favorite trail is the Yellow! There are always deer and eagles to see!


Kahn

Eyes: Blue & Brown    Build: Heavy

Weight: 65 lbs             Position: Wheel

Parents: Dakota & Storm

Siblings: Snow

Place of Birth: Ladysmith, Québec

Background: I'm "Kahn the Barbarian" because of my ability to overcome most limitations. I'm an incredibly strong and determined sled dog and a true Seppala Siberian legend at Indian Lake. I'm capable of pulling a full sled by myself. Some say I'm missing a few tools in my equipment bag… but I say woof woof to them.

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Akai

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Mindu & Shilo

Siblings: Zani, Kovu, Jesu

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: Every team needs enforcers,because someone needs to keep order between the older and younger dogs. I ensure stability within the pack and inform the Cushing's of imbalances. I love playing fetch and reminding the puppies who the top dogs are.


Zani

Eyes: Brown                   Build: Medium

Weight: 55 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Mindu & Shilo

Siblings: Jesu, Sempi, Kovu

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: The name is Zani -- don't forget it, pup! I didn't get these scares from sleep walking. You know, I once protected this family from a pack of snow leopards! You'd better show some respect or I'll have to teach you a lesson. The girls are with me too, so don't forget it.


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Jesu

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Mindu & Shilo

Siblings: Kovu, Sempi, Zani, Akai

Place of Birth: Ladysmith, Québec

Background: I have been very blessed to be part of such wonderful company. My kennel mates really know how to have a good time and set the standard for those puppies. I look forward to being a leader in their eyes and that of my pack. I enjoy meeting new people.


Kovu

Eyes: Brown                Build: Medium

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Wheel

Parents: Mindu & Shilo

Siblings: Sempi, Zani, Akai, Jesu

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: I love to play tag with my brother Jesu everytime we are in the courtyard! We are bestfriends. I share my kennel with Kahn. I swear that dog thinks he can rule the world by *issing on everything. My favourite trail to mush on is the Northern Blue. Always a good time. Come visit, I'll show you around.

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Sempi

Eyes: Brown                Build: Medium

Weight: 45 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Mindu & Chinook

Siblings: Kovu, Jesu, Zani, Akia

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: Every pack needs an instigator because life gets boring without some excitement. You can rub my belly any time, particularly when it's time to return to my kennel. Pulling a sled is fun but I specialize in skijoring.


Sapine

Eyes: Brown                Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position: Wheel

Parents: Mindu & Shilo

Siblings: Cyan

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: The other girls say I'm a little bossy but that's their fault really. You have to understand the situation. This is a dog-eat-dog world people. I like being at the top. I really enjoy long walks and big bones to chew on...


Cyan

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position:

Parents:

Siblings:

Place of Birth:

Background: I love sledding and spending time with my pack! My first litter was 9 puppies. I have learned a lot about character development and being a mom. It seems like yesterday I was bedded down next to a fireplace inside the Cushing. I guess having puppies wasn't that bad. But I did miss my sister, Sapine.


Quincy

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Light

Weight: 40 lbs             Position: Point-Lead

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Arctic, Tundra, Yukon, Timber, and Trapper

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: Believe it or not, I have watched over my older brothers and sisters since we were young puppies. I have carefully studied the habits of adults and children. We all have a lot in common! I love long hikes, swimming and spending time with Janna Lee. I also love my mom and dad.


Yukon

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Arctic, Quincy, Timber, Trapper, Tundra

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Background: You need something done? I'll do it for food. Paws down a reliable and noteworthy character. I love spending time with my brother Timber. We make a great tag-team!


Arctic

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Quincy, Tundra, Yukon, Timber, Trapper

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Bio: My name is Arctic. I love running with my sisters. I am a team player. You can count on me to get you around safely. When we aren't training, I love socializing with my older brothers. My favorite color is white.


Tundra

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Quincy, Arctic, Yukon, Trapper, Timber

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Biography: We girls have to stick together. I appreciate honesty, respect and listening. Show me that you care about my family and I will be your bestfriend. But don't cross me. I have the guys in my corner ;)


Timber

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Heavy

Weight: 60 lbs             Position: Lead

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Yukon, Trapper, Arctic, Quincy, Tundra

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Biography: Mushers call me a big goof but I'll show them some day! I have already been promoted to point-lead and have even lead the team with my dad! I love being the life of the pack. But sometimes my uncles don't find it funny.


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Trapper

Eyes: Blue                   Build: Medium

Weight: 50 lbs             Position: Mid

Parents: Cyan & Lucky

Siblings: Yukon, Timber, Arctic, Tundra, Quincy

Place of Birth: Indian Lake, Québec

Biography: I am still trying to figure out my place in the pack. I love spending time with my sisters, when we're allowed. I can push them around, unlike my older brothers. Life's not fair, I should be top dog. Maybe one day. The mushers say I'll be a lead dog soon!


History of the Siberian Husky

  • According to Chukchi, belief two huskies guard the gates of heaven turning away anybody that has shown cruelty to a dog in their life.
  • Siberian Huskies have over 3,000 years of lineages going back to the Chukchi and related people of the Siberian north, making them one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
  • The Chukchi depended on their four-legged family during the winter’s darkest and coldest months. It was a relationship based on mutual survival and respect.  In teams as large as twenty or more they could travel across the North to allow for fishing and hunting
  • The Chukchi economy and religious life was centered around the huskies. Members got their social status by the dogs they lived with. Many religious ceremonies and iconography was centered around the huskies.
  • A Chukchi legend tells of a time of famine: both human and dog populations were decimated, the last two remaining pups were nursed at a woman's breast to insure the survival of the breed.
  • The women of the tribe reared the pups and chose what pups to keep, neutering all but the most promising males. The men's responsibility was sled training. These dogs would act as companions for the children and slept inside when temperatures at night dropped. The Chukchi measured the temperatures by the number of dogs necessary to keep a body warm e.g., "two dog night."
  • The legendary sweetness of their temperament was no accident. Only family compatible dogs were part of the village as a dog fight could lead a family stranded in the wilderness.
  • The Chukchi would tie up all non-working dogs, except for the elite unneutered dogs, who could insure that only the very best would breed. In summer, all dogs were released and allowed to hunt in packs, they would only return to the villages when the temperatures dropped and it began snowing. These primitive hunting instincts are still found in Siberian Huskies today.
  • In the nineteenth century, Czarist troops invaded the north and attempted an all-out genocide of the Chukchi people. Their strong relationship with huskies were the key to their survival. The invasion culminated in a final battle where outnumbered Chukchi, armed only with spears, won a historic battle against heavily armed Russian Troops. This victory forced Czarist Russia to sign a treaty with the Chukchi giving them independence.
  • In the twentieth century, the Soviets opened free trade with the Chukchi and marked the beginning of the end. Smallpox decimated the tribes. This time, the Soviet leaders understood the strategic importance of their huskies. They began executing village leaders; dog breeders, and indiscriminately hunted Siberian huskies to almost extinction.

 

The start of Sled Dog Racing


 
The reputation of the little Chukchi dogs was famous amongst fur-traders and polar explorers alike for thousands of years. As such, large fur trading outposts throughout the Northern hemisphere were the breeding cornerstones (tribes such as the Chukchi and Koryak) all had some part of what is now known as the Siberian Husky.
 
In 1908, Gdosak, a Russian fur trader acquired a team and the following year took them across the Bering Strait to race in the All Alaska Sweepstakes, a 408-mile, grueling race. The Alaskan Gold Rush had established the sled dog as an invaluable commodity; transporting goods and services into the wilderness, something horses couldn’t do during winter.
 
The race had been instituted to add excitement to an otherwise pretty grim world -- to give bragging rights to the eventual winner – and support a favorite frontier passion, gambling.
 
The Siberians were about half the weight of the local sled dogs, and much smaller in stature. They were given little chance by the bookies , referred to then as Siberian Wolf Dogs.  They were dubbed "Siberian Rats," because of their small stature.
 
In April 1909, the first team of Siberian Huskies to be seen on the North American continent trotted out of the town of Nome, Alaska and into the books of history. At the halfway point in the race, two rested teams overtook the Siberian team in the last stretch. Still, the little dogs surprised everyone – finishing 3rd place!
 
This inspired a young Scot named Fox Maule Ramsey to spend $25,000 on a freighter to transport seventy new Siberians across the Bering Sea.  He split these into three teams for the 1910 race, the results were first, second, and fourth place places.
 
The legendary John "Iron Man" Johnson team finished first in this 1910 race, who completed the race in 74 hours, 14 minutes, 37 seconds. This time was never equaled, even when the race was rerun within the last decade with the benefit of modern equipment, better nutrition, and supposedly more specialized hybrid "race dogs".

 

Leonhard Seppala & His Little Dogs
 

Born in Skjervoy, Norway, inside the Arctic Circle Leonhard Seppala came to Alaska as a young man around 1900 seeking fortune and adventure. A short man at only about 5 feet tall, Seppala had been an Arctic fisherman since he was 11 years old, an apprentice blacksmith, and was an accomplished athlete.
 
In 1914, Jafet Lindeberg (Seppala's employer) acquired what was left of the first Siberian imports and their offspring, around fifteen dogs. They were to be a gift to the explorer Captain Roald Amundsen, who was planning to explore the North Pole. Seppala was given the job of caring and training the dogs.
 
World War I, changed Amundsen’s plans and Seppala ended up adopting the dogs. He entered the 1914 All Alaska Sweepstakes, but with disastrous results. But would continue on to win the 1915, 1916 and 1917 Sweepstakes. However, increased war efforts and fading competition caused the race to be discontinued until many years later.
 
In 1925, Seppala and his Siberians came to national prominence, with the famous "Serum Run" that saved the city of Nome from a diphtheria epidemic. Seppala and his Siberians, with his famous lead dog Togo, covered 340 miles in that race against death, with no other team traveling more than 53 miles.
 
Seppala became known as, “The little man with his little dogs ”and an Alaskan legend. He remained devoted to his Siberians -- hauling freight and supplies, setting many new records in mid-distance races.
 
After the Serum Run, Seppala was a North American hero and stirred controversy in conventional dog sledding circles. Arthur Walden – polar explorer and adventurer – challenged Seppala to race in New England against his powerful strain of large, Mastiff-type breed he had developed from a single dog named Chinook. His team was generally considered unbeatable.
 
Seppala accepted the challenge. As the two teams lined up, Walden’s Chinooks outweighed Seppala’s huskies by about 40-50 lbs. The contrast was striking. Many New Englanders objected to the race on humanitarian grounds, considering the Siberians too small to compete. The Seppala Siberian Huskies changed the history of New England sled dog racing as his team won with little difficulty.
 

Modern Involvement of Siberian Huskies

 
Modern day mushers hold true the lessons learned from smaller sled dogs over the larger bloodlines. However, mushers have largely abandoned Siberian Huskies for “Hybrids”—who can be mixes of just about any racing bloodline.


Come learn about sled dog sports! Find your program below.