Thank you for visiting Arcticsun's Siberian Husky kennel.
The Siberian for all Seasons
The Siberian for all Reasons!
been working with Siberian Huskies for about 25 years (give or
take a few) and are absolutely nuts about the magnificent breed!
Arcticsun's Siberian Huskies are internationally recognized show, movie and sledding dogs. We also maintain a line of Pure Seppala Siberians whom we dual register with the Continental Kennel Club/ISSSC in order to "follow the percentages" of our Seppalas. We lovingly home raise and thoroughly socialize all our dogs, so meeting with the highest standards of intelligence, training and temperament. Our dogs are also trained for mushing (sledding) and we sometimes have fun with skijoring. Our dogs have worked for films, commercials, and fashion shoots/shows as well as do visits to the children's hospital. They have run with Super Dogs, herded sheep, cared for kittens and chicks, tracked and performed thousands of other amazing things, a few without us even asking! We wish they would stop with some of those things, but **sigh** oh well ! Every day is a new source of fascination and joy, except for a brief time in the spring when they shed and the snow melts in the kennels all at once!
We do breed, but we breed when we need, and we breed for what we want. We do not always have babies available. When you demand quality and insist on ethical breeding, sometimes you have to wait.... but trust us, the wait is well worth it! We also know of other breeders that we can whole heartedly recommend. These are good people with good dogs who love the dogs first and the shows/races and ribbons and awards secondly. People who do love the breed and do not play the politics. We have posted our guarantee/ contract on our site. At Arcticsun we believe that it is through careful selection and honest evaluation that superior intelligence, trainability, temperament, health and conformation are achieved. The right combination for the right puppy at the right time for the right reason.
Common questions about me, breeding, and more...
How did you start with dogs?
I have always been crazy about animals. It started with the neighbours Keeshond. When I was a kid I walked the dog for my elderly neighbour. When I found out the dog was purebred and registered I nagged my parents into taking me to a dog show. We did really well and he got his 10 points quite quickly, that was in 1975. Well, I was now not only hooked on animals, but on shows too! I started with Keehonden and I love having them. They are great housedogs. In the early 80's I met some Siberians and the dream of dog sledding came a little closer. I bought into my first Siberian and eventually had one of my own. 20 odd years later I love sledding and having the Siberians, and I still have a Kees, I have my wonderful house borzoi, Bella, and about 5 years ago I brought in a Polish Lowland Sheepdog from Poland. Now I have 4. So, I have had dogs since I was a kid, I have even centered my education and first degree on animals. I will never be without my dogs. I firmly believe that no one person or group has a monopoly on what is right or wrong, good or bad, pretty or ugly, that what every you do with your dogs, enjoy them, love them and cherish them. Whether you sled recreationally or race, you show competitively or just cuddle on the couch, what matters the relationship you have with your dogs.
Why Siberians? And what about the Seppala line?
I am a winter weather person, always have been. As a kid the thought of mushing though the snow thrilled me. Needless to say the prefect combination for me was showing in the summer and sledding in the winter and playing with my crew all year round. I started with a show lines, then later I bought a "dual purpose dog" from the Westhills line. From there I continued with the belief in the all purpose Siberian. A dog that worked on sled and maintained the conformation described in the CKC Siberian Standard. I love genetics and in my first degree I was able to study it in depth. I have been able to use this in my breeding program and design, of course, and it has served me well. The Seppala bloodline, it's history and the genetics it has to offer, fascinated me. I loved the mushing and Westhills Siberians had some Seppalas, so I started looking into them and eventually purchased my first. I maintain a line of pure Seppala bloodline, and I have bred the Seppala into my dual line. In the future I may breed a predominantly Seppala dog to a Seppala and put that litter on the Seppala page, however I do not have a high enough "percentage" to do that as of yet. This also means that I now have some colours and markings in my dual line that are not seen in the show ring. I started with the pinto markings, then agouti, then white. I am hoping that in the near future to have black-agouti or even solid black, with out white markings. I have come very very close. The genetics are there, it is just a case of bringing it forward. There is no reason why the Siberian cannot still be the amazing dog that Leonard Seppala and the others brought off the ice flows in Siberia, gorgeous and an amazing worker, including all the wonderful colours and markings of the original dogs.
What do you breed for?
I breed for me! I breed for what I like, for dogs I want to live with. What good is a gorgeous dog that you can't live with? Or a really great working Siberian that looks like it is part greyhound, or just plain ugly? I want a dog that I like the looks of. I want a dog that will pull the sled like crazy and settle down politely in the house. A dog that come for a cuddle and enjoy attention but not pester me endlessly. I want a sound dog physically and mentally. I follow the CKC standard for the Siberian, not what is fashionable that week. I do not follow fashion in the ring, on the sled or in the inevitable politics. That may mean that I often march to a different beat than the big names, but I like my rhythm, and I am proud of it, and that is what matters in the end.
What about testing?
The Siberian is relatively problem free, however, not totally problem free. And, disgracefully, certain problems are cropping up more an more, specifically Epilepsy. It is difficult to know what genetics are lurking in the gene pool if a dog is only bred a couple of times (one litter tells you nothing unless the puppies ARE affected). Some breeders will not test, will declare their line clean with only a few puppies ever produced, will not admit the problems they have, or worse yet... hide and lie about the problems they have. Some will even sell affected dogs or dogs that they know produce problems, to other unknowing kennels, there by passing on the problem, "spreading the wealth" to others. Sadly it is known that some breeders test a single dog over and over under other dogs names. A person can only hope that the information they are given is correct. In general Hips and Eyes are what are tested in Siberians. The other problems listed below are only tested for if the dog shows symptoms.
a less than 1% incidence of hip dysplasia in the Siberian. Admittedly it is low
on my priority list of genetic problems. I have done hips on many dogs, and
admittedly I should OFA more. After all you often don't know you have
a phenotypic problem unless you test for it. OFA is a phenotypic test, not
a DNA test. There is no DNA test.
DNA testing: The phrase DNA testing is often misused, often either though ignorance or in order to deceive. Claims that dogs are "DNA tested clean" are a fabrication. They can have had their hips and eyes done (Must be though OFA, CERF, Pen Hip or other certified vets), but this is not a DNA test. And a checkup at the vet with the vet saying the eyes are good is NOT the CERF exam done by a trained veterinary opthomologist. For more information on what can be DNA tested in the Siberian Husky (Pretty much nothing, except X-linked PRA) go to http://www.gtg.com.au/AnimalDNATesting/index.asp?menuid=080.150.010.010 You can DNA test for parentage, but that is not DNA testing for genetic problems. In the end what it all comes down to is trying to do the best one can. Education and honesty.
How do you choose your breedings?
Some breeding are done in order to double up on certain traits, some are done to try and decrease certain traits or to introduce the genetics for a more favored trait. Some breedings are done to test for certain traits or figure out what traits a dog is carrying. Some breedings are done because other kennels or mushers have asked for a specific breeding/genetic combination, (I will do this IF it is a good combination and a good reason). I base my choices on both phenotype (the way the looks or expresses traits) and on pedigree. I believe that you cannot favor one over the other. Using only pedigree for choice you do not consider the dogs phenotype, which is a good indicator of its genetic make up (Some genes are not expressed but are present, this dog would be a CARRIER for that trait). A person may look for certain dog, or famous names, for unrelated animals or related animals or for certain bloodlines. But a poor rear to a poor rear will generally give you a poor rear, regardless of names on a pedigree, and hopefully you have truthful information about the dogs in the pedigree. Why double up on a phenotypicly expressed fault? On the other hand breeding only based on phenotype and not looking at the pedigree means you have no idea about the history behind the genetics that make up the dog you have chosen. Some people select their breedings is by looking at neither the pedigree nor the phenotype, or even the genetic information available on a dog. They only look at the ribbons on the wall or trophies on the shelf. This method is not all that bad when selecting for racing dogs, but Form Follows Function. Keep choosing for a specific function, choosing by who wins the most speed races, and eventually the phenotype will follow. The dog will look like a speed racer, short coat, long lean legs etc. Breeds look the way they look for a reason. Look at the top non purebred racing sled dogs, they look that way for a very good reason. On the other hand if your looking at show dogs and you choose the big winner of the week, you will breed to this dog, and then that dog, and all over the place, paying attention to neither consistent phenotype nor pedigree. Who knows what is lurking in the gene pool of a continuously outcrossed line, so who knows what you will get. Generally this leads to litters with no consistency.
What about inbreeding and line breeding?
This is such a controversial and misunderstood topic it needs it's own website. In a nutshell Inbreeding/line breeding are not evil, they are descriptors of the degree of relatedness of dogs in a breeding. It is not a good thing or a bad thing in and of itself, however like any other tool it can be used properly or improperly. Some people distinguish between IN vs LINE by saying IN is a very close relation while LINE is looking at dogs farther back in the pedigree. Choosing dogs that have similar dogs in the background increase the likelihood of doubling up on traits, the good stuff AND the bad stuff. Crap in equals crap out. Simple as that. Inbreeding or line breeding doesn't create problems, it only doubles up on problems. As most problems are polygeneous if a dog is carrying only, for example, 3 out of the 5 alleles required to express a problem, inbreeding will not bring forward affected offspring. This is why some lines can be inbred and not have a problem. They seem very "clean" but when bred to another line, that is also believed to be clean, the problem can be expressed. One line may carry ABC and the other CDE, combined they have the full complement of the needed ABCDE that would allow the expression. I like inbreeding/ line breeding as a tool. And yes, I do test breedings, that is breeding unknowns to knowns in order to try and figure out what a dog is carrying. It is something that as to be planned very carefully in order to be done right.
What is a "good breeding"?
In my mind a good breeding is one that gives you the results that you expected or were looking for. A "bad" breeding is one that results in lots of surprises and inconsistency. I think that if the parents are chosen carefully then a breeding will give the desired result consistently. If a litter is made up of big, small, long coat, short coat, big ears, short ears, then there is no consistency and the puppies cannot be expected to also throw consistency. A good breeding, in my mind, will result in a litter with puppies who are very similar. This does not mean colour or markings, but structure and temperament. This is not to say there will never be a surprise, and of course when breeding outcross dogs and dogs from other kennels/lines you don't know what you have until you try them. To me a good breeding is a carefully chosen pair, bred for a specific reason, and the result is a consistent litter that produces what you were trying for.
What is a "good dog"?
I hate this question. If your dog makes you smile, you enjoy being with your dog, if the dog works for what you wanted the dog for, or fulfills a roll, then it is a good dog... regardless of breed or line or any other category that any one can place on the dog.
What do you do with your dogs?
First off my dogs are my family, then comes all the things that we can do. We show and sled and cuddle on the couch, we visit, go on walks and travel. We goof around in the yard and fight over the pillow at night. Yes, we have been fortunate to have done movie work. We have 3 feature films, a bunch of little things, a documentary, some commercials and print work. We are always honored and pleased every time we are called up again to do more work.
What do you do with your old dogs?
I am very proud of my large geriatric unit. I would have a much smaller number of dogs if I was to retire or "get rid of "any dog over the age of 7 like many other kennels do. My old guys have given so much. I use the oldies to help raise and train the young ones, teach them manors and how to do things (just the good stuff I hope!). Many of my old dogs still run on sled at 10 and 11 years! This is not to say that I have not let my older dogs go to homes, some have, often to live with a younger dog in need of a trained buddy or as a pal for another lonely older dog. I have a couple that now tour the countryside in massive RVs! But I don't as a matter of routine send my old dogs away.
How do you house your dogs?
I have large kennels, bigger than most, and a large play yard. This is how I have had the dogs for years with the exception of a few times where I moved the kennels temporarily. The kennel lay out for the last 15 years or more has been a U shape of Kennels and then a courtyard in the middle. This lets me let the dogs out to play safely. I like the dogs to have a buddy with them. Some dog are singles in their runs, but most are paired and in a few cases there will be three (in the case of the kees, four) in a larger kennel. I never let the dogs be in large groups unsupervised. It is too dangerous to have a group of dogs living in a yard like that. All you need is a little squabble and suddenly you have a pack fight, or one dog will figure out an escape route and they take all the other dogs with them. When dogs are left in packs, accidents and fights and serious things can happen, NO ONE can guarantee that their sled dogs will never ever have a fight. No one can be standing there 24-7 with in arms reach of the pack. As for houses, I have tried a few things and I have found two styles that work for me. I have wood dog houses, they are 2 x 2 x 3 or 2 x 2 x 4. the dogs love sitting on them and the size is right that they can keep the house warm in the winter. I have used straw for years, but I think I will try grass hay this year and see if that works better. The other house is a large plastic barrel with a door cut into one end. This was shown to me by a veterinarian and it has been GREAT. The dog barrels are almost 4 feet long, and about 2 x 2. They are the right size and shape and the dog get on top of them too. They don't rot, they can be disinfected and hosed off easily. They don't need to be painted and best yet, the dogs cant eat them! They may chew on the rim, but they wont destroy them. I tried Dogloos, but the dogs didn't like sitting on them and the white looked dirty right away. The dogs also enjoyed destroying them. I have a few that are the Barn style plastic house, but the doors are so big that they let all the heat out. And the dogs enjoyed destroying them. I don't worry about the dogs in the winter, they are SIBERIAN Huskies, not Mexican Huskies. They will snuggle into the straw and be very warm. It is hot weather that I worry about. I tarp the kennels and have large horse buckets for them. If it gets really hot then I bring the dogs into the cool basement where I have crates always ready, just in case. I prefer winter litters to summer. I have never had a problem with cold babies, and if it is ugly then I can bring them in, but how do you cool off an already shaded kennel. Summer puppies are often not only born inside, but also raised inside, or they go out at night when it is cool. The old guys come and go from the house as they want and need. For pics have a look at the Kennel Page.
What do you feed?
I have tried many foods and combinations. I feed primarily kibble (meat based, 20/30) in the summer and as much meat as possible in the winter. We usually feed in the evenings in the summer and right after I get home from work in the winter. Hopefully there is still some sunlight! I do not feed at the same time everyday, that way the dogs do not anticipate supper time. My schedule changes and so I cannot guarantee that at exactly 6:15 every day they will get supper. I would not want them to develop the habit of getting excited and worked up at 6:10 in anticipation either. So, somewhere between 4 and 10 pm is supper time, later in the summer, earlier in the winter.
What about the "P" word, Politics?
Grrrr. Sadly it is very fashionable
to take an absolute black and white stance on things. This is right, that is
wrong, this is the ONLY way to do things. The internet is an amazing thing, but
it can also be used by the ill informed, the ignorant, the malicious and the
just plain vicious to attack the competition and build up their own sense of
self worth. Usually by inflicting damage and pain others. Once something
appears in print on the net it MUST be the truth, and only too often it cant be
taken down. Other people take it and spread it until it takes on a live of it's
own. Lies and innuendos are all it takes to really hurt someone. It is
human nature to want to belong to the pack, to try to be on top, to be popular.
This is nowhere more evident than in the show ring as to just how far people are
willing to go. Showing a dog can be fun, but thousands upon thousands of dollars
can also be dumped into it, big buisiness. It is a subjective judgment of
a dogs quality/worth, an opinion. And some take that personally. Too often you
see "winners" parading around with their blue ribbon, sneering down
upon the losers. "Congratulations!" says a bystander. The receiver
then primps and preens their hair, ignoring the dog totally. A vain "Thank
you " may, or may not, be tossed back, depending upon the deemed worthiness
of the person before them. This is also seen, although to a lesser degree in
other canine sports. Massive amounts of money and huge egos can be involved in
shows. Sadly some people think it necessary to either conquer or crush
newbies. They will try to make then devout followers, and bring them to
"understand the evil of all others", and frighteningly, the the
dangers of leaving the sacred fold. Or they are so overtly horrible to them that
they run the newbies out of the sport. This is part of the reason why there are
so few new faces in the ring, or at least ones that last, and the new breeders
that are coming up are often not involved in, and or do not want to be, in dog
sports, the clubs or other CKC breeders. It is a difficult and sad time. In 30
years I have never seen it as bad as it is right now. I suppose the main reason
is the ability to destroy people using the internet. Gossip and intimidation,
fanning the flames of zealots into raking innocent people over the hot coals. It
may seem melodramatic, but I have watched too many good people broken and driven
off, embittered. Having been on the receiving end of a smear campaign (when we
do any winning at a show it seems to start up again, hmmm) and know how much it
can hurt. Not only me, but friends and family (they have no shame and will
attack anyone associated with the intended victim). Sad how some people can take
something and turn it into a half truth, and then an outright lie.
So, yes there are politics, there will be where there is money and ego and competition involved. Will that stop me from showing, or doing anything else with my dogs? No. Thirty years later I am not so easily bullied off my love for the dogs and from enjoying all the things we do. I think it is a shame that this is happening, there is so much room, so much need for more people, for new people, to be involved. I welcome them and offer any assistance I can. There are a lot of good people out there for whom it is all about the love of the dogs and all they can do. And I say, Welcome!
Plans for the future?
I will keep working with the pure Seppala bloodline and with my dual line. I do not show as much as I used to, work now takes up too much time, but I still enjoy the shows so I will still be going. My knee is much better but I still need the surgery, but I can get on the sled again, just no crazy wild trails for a bit. I have some plans, I have friends who I will be working with. My goals for the next bit include working with the agouti gene in the show/dual line and learning more about the Seppalas.
So if your in my neck of the woods, or on-line (my computer is very temperamental), then please feel free to say "hi" and come on by for a visit.
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for the Highest results.
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are always happy to have visitors and are always willing to help
where we can. Give us a call, or better yet drop by for coffee!
And enjoy your stay.
Shannon de Bruin BSc Ag
Lauren de Bruin BA
Our New Phone number is 780-298-7747
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