Upcoming litters... next step in building the BPDog(Boreal Prepper Dog).
August 30, 2017
We are expecting two litters of puppies this fall/winter. As of date we are unsure of the success of conception, but two of our females were bred. Our plan was to fuse the breeds together to make a dog adapted to our needs and environment. The first step was taken almost two years ago with the crossing of an Akita female with our Freight Husky. The resulting puppies are commonly called Huskita (Husky+Akita). They are becoming more popular in the lower 48 as a companion dog, noted for superior health and vigor. They combine the traits of sled pulling instinct with the more intelligent loyalty and protective instinct of the Akita.
We kept three Huskita, two males and one female we named Ursa (Latin for bear). Ursa has a very strong genetic trait for white coat, which she got from her grandmother(a pure white Malamute Sled dog), and from the Great Pyrenees genetics from several generations ago. Ursa is larger than her brothers and very athletic. After training her in harness last winter, she displayed the physical and mental capacity of a good harness dog. She was also tested as a puppy for signs of prey drive, and seemed more prey driven than some of the other pups. We mushed her often beside our male Karelian Bear dog, and they seemed to get along well. This August she went into estrus and we decided to breed her with Ladislaus, the afore mentioned Karelian Bear Dog. They are both in their youthful prime and we expect them to be successful breeders.
Ladislaus is a rare Karelian Bear Dog that still has the more primitive grey/white pattern of the breed before they were codified by the European Kennel clubs in Finland. In Karelian Russia there are still such grey KB dogs, whereas on the Finnish side of the border that divides Karelia, only the black and white patterns are allowed to live and be recognized as true KB Dogs. Among many breeders of KB Dogs this is an often argued controversy, which I will not enter into here. Suffice to say, both color combinations are real hunting dogs (provided they were from good hunting lines). I acquired Ladislaus from a breeder in Montana, who happens to be one of the few remaining sources of such grey KB Dogs. He is very rare.
At the young age of 6 months old he was put into the harness to see what he would do. He was an instant natural at pulling and never tangled his lines (like many high strung sled huskies). He seemed more attentive to commands and followed us where ever we led. I prefer to use him over all my other dogs as a single pulling dog for hauling a ski-pulk during ski treks. He is also a very good nose. He has an attraction to hounding moose tracks and other game sign. You can see a video of him pulling our ski-pulk on a winter outing with my young daughters...
Once he attained his first year, he began to show more prey drive. He began to locate and tree grouse for my daughter to harvest in the Alaska range, where we have a remote cabin site. Then he began to tree squirrels and can do blood tracking work for wounded big game. The ancient Inuit dogs of the Arctic were often both sled dog and hunting dog, as were the KB dogs hundreds of years ago before kennel clubs were involved. But today dogs are bred for specialization rather than multi-tasking. Thus, it is uncommon to have a dog that has both hunting and sledding instincts. Both of these dogs are powerful pullers and high endurance athletes. I expect pups to be pretty uniform in physical constitution, and very loyal, attentive sled dogs. My hope is that the hunting instinct will pass on to the litter of puppies and that we can increase the prey drive and intelligence of the BPDog (Boreal Prepper Dog).
I want to mention a little more about ski pulks and ski dogs. It was very common in centuries past for Northern European hunters and trappers to work on skis, with a ski pulk to haul the essential gear for professional hunting and trapping. It was not uncommon for the hunting dog to do double duty as hunting dog and pulling the ski pulk after harvest. At some time or place in the misty past of frozen Northern forests, some bright fellow (or perhaps lady), got the notion to tie themselves to their ski pulk and the dog tied in front to pull ski pulk and skier. Thus skijorring was invented. This was a very economical and effective method for trapping and hunting in remote areas where horses and carts could not go. It increased the range of the hunter and trapper, and the amount of gear and game he could haul.
Today such dogs are bred primarily in Scandinavia for hunting, so much so that in Sweden there is a law that can call up all Jamthund (Swedish Elkhound)dogs in time of war for pulling sleds in the winter for troop supplies. But over the years the sled pulling prowess has been neglected. But this was a viable strategy for survival in the environment. Here in Alaska, many people are skijoring with their dogs, usually 1-3 dogs. It is fun and less expensive than dog mushing by basket sled. Admittedly the range is not as great as what a team of 16 huskies and a basket sled can do, but 16 dogs are expensive to feed and require more resources to maintain. Aboriginal people typically would never have had so many dogs, except for the Inuit that had access to whale blubber and an abundance of sea mammals for food. As mentioned in a previous blog, Athabaskan hunters typically had only one to three dogs. In an emergency prepper situation, feeding 7-20 dogs is not a sustainable situation, and one is more likely to eat the dogs if the emergency lasts for an extended time. Less dogs is more sustainable.
As a hunter and trapper I am interested in this method of skijoring and using a companion dog to pull a ski pulk on winter trapping and hunting treks. Such a dog is more handy if it has both instincts, hunting and pulling. This has a potential to be a very viable strategy for winter survival and living off of the Boreal subarctic resources of our environment.
The ski pulk itself is worth discussing. Unlike a basket sled that has an elevated basket above the runners, the ski pulk is more like a little boat that floats on snow. I have been mushing for 17 years now and one thing that irks me about a traditional basket sled is how it can bog down in deep snow once one has left well establish packed trails. It is also more prone towards tipping over on tight turns, especially if there is a heavy load and fast dogs. Some have solved these problems by putting a toboggan bottom just 2-4 inches above the runners, increasing flotation and lowering the center of gravity. The ski pulk is immune to these problems. Like the aboriginal wooden toboggan of Canada and North Eastern USA, the ski pulk floats high on fresh powder snow. It never gets stuck. But one added feature that makes it some what more handy than a toboggan is that it has sides like a boat, and sometimes is made with a tie down lid. Thus all contents of the ski pulk are secure and will not be lost in the event that the pulk may tip or roll over.
(Traditional Lapland ski-pulk, also called an Akkja)
When out miles into the frozen wilderness, especially at sub zero temps, loosing gear can be fatal. Having all gear confidently secured, where it can not be lost or broken, gives the hunter/trapper an advantage that others may not have. I plan on using this method more in the future, and have cut a truck load of birch boards for making more ski pulks in the future. I hope to make more videos of ski pulk outings with the dogs, just to show the potential of what can be done.
The temperament of these two dogs, Ursa and Ladislaus, are such that they would make a perfect ski pulk pair for ski trekking. I expect the puppies to be perfect for such outdoor adventure and Northern bush craft.
Puppies are scheduled to be born around October 24th-26th. They will be ready for new homes at 8 weeks of age. Check back with us in October if you are interested. On a limited basis for preferred customers ski pulks may be available later in the winter of 2017-18.