Since 1991 we have developed our own breed of dogs. They are a crossbreed between Alaskan Husky and German or English shorthaired pointer. We have selected dogs for open class sprint racing and the goal was to get a type of dog that would burn up the Alaskan trails!
In Sweden racing with German- and English Short haired pointers has a long time tradition. These dogs have been bred for this purpose more than 50 years. The dogs have an enormous working attitude and are extremely tough to themselves under hard conditions working in a team. In Scandinavia you can see a lot of limited class team that are made up of purebred English and German shorthaired pointers.
In the 80s several good Alaskan Huskies were imported to Sweden and Norway. Some of the top mushers also realized that if they one day would be able to beat the best Alaskan teams they had to come up with something new, something that the mushers did not have in Alaska. We could not breed better Alaskan huskies than what they already had in Alaska, with the selected dogs that were imported to Sweden and Norway. So this is where the sled dog bred pointers came in handy. We crossed the best German- and English shorthaired pointers with the best of the imported Alaskan husky lines and got a new type of sled dog, the Scandinavian Hound!
The pointers are originally bred for hunting in the mountains. They have an enormous stamina and endurance, running for a whole day during hunting is no problem. The individuals we use for crossbreeding are small, light boned and mental very stabile, in comparison with the bigger, heavier type (60 to 90 pound.) used for pulka racing. Our pointers and most of our crossbreeds have a weight of 45 to 50 pound.
When crossbreeding two totally unrelated types of dogs you seem to get a fantastic out cross effect, a hybrid vigor. Very sound dogs with tough stabil mentality. An enormous working attitude, that sometimes can be hard to curb. Very eager to please, when trained for something they will do everything for you. Extremely friendly and social, make¹s great pets also. Very good eaters and need a lot more food than the average sled dog breed especially in the winter because of their short coats and high metabolism. They need more maintenance in the winter: insulated doghouses, lots of straw, blankets, extra padded harnesses. Our pure breed pointers, that have no coat at all, live inside the house during the winter and stay home from training when it is below -10F.
My favorite dog so far is my main leader MIKE. He is fast as Michael Johnson, strong as Mike Tyson and can jump like Michael Jordan! Ever since Mike was a little puppy he has been special. We could see it at an early age that this was going to be a super leader, he was not afraid of anything, he was always running in front of the other puppies and at the same time extremely focused on us.Mike is a big dog, 55 pounds. His body is hard as a rock.
Mikes characteristics in the team is that he starts out slowly and sometimes carefully. It takes him a couple of miles to get warmed up.
But the farther you go and the closer you get to the finish, the harder he drives. Sometimes the rest of the team dogs are hanging by the neckline when he sprints to the finish line.
When we select dogs to breed with, they must have proved their qualities in the team, preferable during many years. We try only to breed with leaders, because it is one of the qualities that is easily lost in a breeding program.
The pre-training evaluation of the puppies consist of long walks with them in the forest. There we can see what attitude they have towards running in a group and staying up front. They learn to handle their bodies at high speeds, jump over logs, crossing open water and staying close to us. We often take them on rides in the dog truck so they are ready for traveling in the fall.
Before we harness break puppies at 6 month of age, we tie them up to a chain or walk with them on a leash. This teaches them to be tied up and they also learn how to untangle them selves. They get their own house and 2 meter long chain where they stay for 2 -3 weeks. During this time we limit the amount of free running that they are used to. After this period we take two grown up leaders and 4 puppies and go! The last years we have harness broken all puppies on snow. Another good method is to teach them to chase the snow mobile when they are loose. Then when you harness break them you run the snow mobile in front of the team and they automatically start to chase the snow mobile and forget about all the lines and harnesses.
We treat all puppies the same. They all get the same training and chance to prove themselves. Usually the big, heavy males are better suited for limited class racing but there we have Mike as an exception to that rule!
Sting, son of Mike, grew up to a big boy and is now running on a team in Germany.