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Start ALASKAN MALAMUTE SEMINAR by Lisa Piccolo Al Qantarah’s Kennel
MENU Alaskan Malamute History n The Origins and The Golden Rush The name Alaskan Malamute derives from an Inuit tribe known as Malemutes, or Mahlemuts, who once lived in an area close to the Kotzebue Sound on the north-western coast of Alaska. The Mahlemuts were hunters and fishers; they were nomadic tribes, whose seasonal migrations depended on the work of their dogs - the forefathers of today’s Alaskan Malamutes. Thanks to their exceedingly dense fur and thick footpads, the Mahlemuts’ dogs were able to stand the harsh climate of Alaska and cover long distances on ice in spite of extremely low temperatures. Like nowadays’ domestic Alaskan Malamutes, those dogs depended on their owners for food. Dogs were essential for survival and the Mahlemuts established a relation with their dogs based on mutual independence and respect. In 1896 gold was discovered in Klondike and people from all over the world arrived in Alaska. The flourishing activity of gold mining in remote areas of Alaska gave origin to an unprecedented demand for dog teams, necessary for sledge hauling and to supply the numerous workers from all parts of the world with water, food, mail and equipment. In 1908 a man called Jackson B. Corbett, Jr. wrote: "They are hereditary workers, their ancestors for hundreds of years back having toiled along the frozen trails of Alaska and the British Yukon in Indian and Eskimo teams. . . They are 'wise' in the slang meaning of the word, it being a common saying that. . . a Malamute is the most cheerful worker and the nost obstinate shirk; intelligent or dense, but always cunning, rafty, and wise; stealing anything not tied down. . . He makes an exceptionally strong and reliable leader, in that place displaying the cunning wisdom and trickery that characterize the breed. No smoother or smarter leader exists. No other can make life so miserable for an inexperienced or cruel musher".
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MENU n Eva Seeley and The Kotzebues strain Eva Brunelle Seeley, nicknamed "Short" for height, is often considered "the mother of the Alaskan Malamute". Mrs. Eva Seeley has been equally influential for the development and recognition of the Siberian Husky, and perhaps that's why she is considered as a giant (in spite of her height) in the field of Northern Breeds in general and of sled dogs in particular. Born in Worchester, Massachussetts, 19? ? , she developed an interest in sled dogs through her friendship with Arthur T. Walden, a famous explorer, writer, breeder and musher. In 1923, when she was commissioned to organize a winter carnival in her town, Worchester, Eva Seeley asked Arthur Walden to give a sleddog demonstration as the main attraction of the feast. Walden agreed and during the carnival Eva Seeley had an opportunity to lead a team herself. This experience was so exciting that Eva's course of life would utterly change. In 1924 Eva Seeley (then Brunelle) and Milton Seeley got married and spent their honeymoon at Arthur Walden's inn. The friendship between Walden and the Seeleys went on and a few years later, when Walden was preparing an expedition to Antarctica with Admiral Richard Byrd, he convinced the Seeleys to run his Chinook kennel at Wonalancet, New Hampshire, during his absence. The Seeleys agreed and the couple dedicated themselves to the world of sled dogs with increasing passion. Eva "Short" Seeley soon became a skilled musher and trainer of a sleddog team of her own. During Byrd's expedition, the Great Depression struck America and the financial situation was so bad that Arthur Walden's wife, Kate, had no other choice but sell the Chinook dogs to the Seeleys. Thus, all the dogs Walden had set off with on his expedition and the name of the "Chinook" kennel passed to the Seeleys. To escape the Great Depression, the Seeleys took part in trade activities. They moved the Chinook kennel to a land of 200 acres and started to advertise their dogs as Dogtown Village, proposing sleddog laps to tourists and capitalizing the profits in polar expeditions. During the arrangements for Admiral Byrd's expedition to Antarctica, a good number of dogs had been brought to the Chinook kennels to be trained and selected. Chinook sixteen dogs were not enough for the expedition, so more dogs were acquired from Labrador and Alaska. Among the arrivals was a big male with a thick wolf grey coat and a beautiful tail like a plume. His name was Rowdy Of Nome and he had been brought by "Scotty Allen", a famous sleddog musher. Allen had bought Rowdy Of Nome in Alaska and, enthusiastic about the gentle nature of the dog, he kept Rowdy with himself. He told Eva Seeley that, in his opinion, Rowdy was the ideal representative of Alaskan sled dogs. Eva Seeley was captivated by Rowdy's beauty: he was very different from the dogs she had seen so far. Rowdy was bigger than a Siberian Husky, he weighed about 80 pounds, while he looked just like a wolf, but had a very sweet disposition.
MENU When Byrd's Expedition left, Eva Seeley began to search for more specimens of that kind of bigger sled dogs and in Elizabeth Ricker's kennels, called Poland Springs, in Maine, she met a dog called Yukon Jad, who had been imported from Yukon to Canada. Leonhard Seppala was breeding Siberian Huskies at Mrs. Ricker's kennels. He was more interested in smaller sled dogs, who were more suited for racing. It was Seppala who gave the Seeleys Yukon Jad, who had become famous after the 1925 heroic serum run to Nome. Like Rowdy Of Nome, Jad was a big, strong dog of a wolf grey colour, his ears were straight and his tail was carried over his back like a plume. The Seeleys found a suitable mate for Yukon Jad called Bessie, who had been given them by Walden. Bessie's ancestors were unknown, even though Eva Seeley once referred to her as an Groenlanded dog ("Kit Kirby's Interview to Eva Seeley", Alaskan Malamute Annual, 1981). According to Eva Seeley, Bessie had a rougher coat than a Siberian Husky and he had a "wide head, erect ears and an excellent racket snow foot" ("Kit Kirby's Interview to Eva Seeley", Alaskan Malamute Annual, 1981). Bessie was crossed with Yukon Jad and on the first days of 1929 Seeley's first litter of Alaskan Malamutes was whelped - four remarkably similar puppies. They were called Tugg Of Yukon, Gripp Of Yukon, Finn Of Yukon and Kearsarge Of Yukon. The Seeleys soon developed a uniform strain of dogs. This was accomplished thanks to accurate interbreeding and by choosing dogs of similar looks only. In order to preserve the original function of the breed, i. e. work dogs, the Seeleys used specimens that had taken part in the various expeditions and whose skills had been ascertained. Eva Seeley turned to the American Kennel Club (AKC) to have her dogs officially recognized. The AKC would accord recognition provisionally. There must be the necessary conditions: a number of dogs of sufficient quality and uniform features were to be shown in mixed class till it was possible to have such a number of them as to grant the continuity of the breed. Seeley and the other breeders of northern breeds agreed to the condition and began showing Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies and Samoyeds in some of the most prestigious shows of the country. In 1935 the registration of the Alaskan Malamutes with at least two generations in their pedigrees was started and Rowdy of Nome was the first Malamute to be registered. Registration was granted even to dogs with unknown ancestors, provided they got points in conformation shows. Shows, anyway, were not Eva Seeley's priority. Her breeding program was mainly based on the selection of work dogs for expeditions. In fact she was carrying out two kinds of selection at the same time, one to produce work dogs, including crossbred dogs, the other to develop the Alaskan Malamute pure breed. After a few years, the Seeleys decided to adopt the name "Kotzebue" for their kennels. The original name "Chinook" was not abandoned, though, and it was used as a suffix, for example in the case of Kotzebue Panuck Of Chinook.
MENU Every Alaskan Malamute that was registered before 1950 was a Kotzebue, or a descendant of the Kotzebues. During this period, however, a lot of other dogs, not registered at the AKC, were defined Alaskan Malamutes by their owners and breeders. Roughly at the same time, while the Seeleys were acquiring dogs for their kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in New Hampshire, a man called Paul Voelker was similarly operating for his kennel in Marquette, Michigan, known as M. Loot Kennels. Together with the Kotzebues, the M'Loots and the Hinman-Irwin dogs are the basis and the foundation of the breed. When the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA) became a member of the AKC in 1953, Eva Seeley became its first president. She was officially bestowed the title of AKC judge. Her merits are many; she was the owner and breeder of the first Malamute to become an AKC champion (Gripp Of Yukon, in 1936), as well as the owner of the first Alaskan Malamute to be registered (Rowdy Of Nome). Eva "Short" Seeley became famous also for the demonstration given with her sled dogs at the Olimpic Games of Lake Placid in 1932, an event that helped to promote the popularity of Alaskan Malamutes and other sled dogs. When Eva Seeleys died in 1985, Carol Williams, who had been collaborating with her for years, took over the Kotzebue line. Her dogs are pure Kotzebues and have Heritage and Chinook as their kennel name, as in the case of Heritage's Kotzebue Dakota. The other kennels that bred or are breeding pure Kotzebues are Sno-Pak, of Arthur e Natalie Hodgen, and Tigara, founded by D. C. and Dorothy Dillingham, now owned by Samuel Walden (Arthur Walden's nephew). The mingling of Kotzebues, M'Loots, Hinman-Irwins e Husky Paks, the selection that has been mostly successful, is going on today and has dimmed the differences among the original strains; Eva Seeley's legacy, however, shall be remembered forever. Thanks to her dedication, the Alaskan Malamute was officially recognized as a breed and successfully presented at shows. Yet, Eva B. Seeley's most relevant contribution to the development of the breed perhaps lies elsewhere, that is, in her love for sled racing. As a breeder, as well as a professional musher of sled dogs, she offered all modern breeders a standard and a model, showing how the best show dogs are also skilful workers on a trail
MENU Some Kotzebues Gripp was first champion of the history Ch. Gripp Of Yukon Finn and Kearsage of Yukon Kotzebue Taku of Chinook Ch. Heritage KB Tribut of Chinook Ch. Kotzebue Panuck Of Chinook
MENU n Paul Voelker and The M’Loots strain In the twenties, just while the Seeleys were acquiring dogs for their kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in New Hampshire, a man called Paul Voelker was similarly operating for his kennel in Marquette, Michigan, known as M’Loot kennel. Voelker had spent most of his life breeding and training dogs and had become familiar with a good number of breeds. Now he was looking for something different, so he began to breed a new kind of dog, which he called “Malamute”. The Malamutes of M’Loot kennel had different origins: some dogs had been purchased in Alaska, some from the Army in Montana, others from Mackenzie River Huskies in Minnesota and two bitches came from a litter of an all white Canadian Eskimo Dog. In a kennel brochure Voelker writes that his foundation dogs, both males and females, came from the film industry in California (Barbara A. Brooks and Sherry E. Wallis, "Alaskan Malamute - Yesterday and Today"). Owing to their different origins, the M’Loot Malamutes were not so uniform as the Kotzebues. While the Seeleys’ Kotzebue strain included only dogs of grey and white colour, the colours of the M’Loots varied from black and white to silver grey and white. The M’Loots were also heavier and taller than the Kotzebues. Like the Kotzebues, however, Paul Voelker’s M’Loots had a thick straight coat, a bushy tail carried over their back like a plume and straight ears. Just like Eva Seeley, Paul Voelker was a skilful sleddog driver and his M’Loots were excellent work dogs and received many an official recognition for their performances. Unlike Eva Seeley, Paul Voelker didn’t breed only excellent sleddog subjects. M’Loots were mainly publicized as excellent companion dogs, ideal for whoever was looking for a dog which was so beautiful and eye-catching as to make people stop in the street (ibidem). Paul Voelker’s M’Loots became popular thanks to his kennel advertisements and lots of dogs were sold to lots of houses all over North America. As Voelker said: “The best examples of the greatest breed have become perfect company dogs for the families in different places from the north in Alaska to the states exposed to the sun in Florida, California and in New Mexico in the south”. M’Loot dogs were not bred only by Paul Voelker, but also by other breeders, who used them as the foundations of their breeding programs. Other M’Loot dogs soon became influential: Gentleman Jim, who became famous for his service in World War II, Silver King and Silver Girl, and a dog called Mikiuk, bred by Paul Voelker and owned by Raplh and Schmitt of Silver Sled Kennels in Wisconsin. Mikiuk was crossed with a bitch called Noma; this combination bred two important champions, Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter (the first Alaskan Malamute to come out on top in show groups) and Ch. Ooloo M'Loot (the first bitch to get a champion title in the history of the breed). Both of them were owned by Silver Sled. Another important combination was between a dog called Nanook and Ch. Ooloo M'Loot. Two puppies were whelped by this mating: Ch. Nanook II and Ch. Gyana. The descendants of these first M’Loots became later the foundation dogs for many a kennel and are the ancestors of lots of today’s Malamutes In 19? ? the American Kennel Club reopened the Alaskan Malamute breed to registration. This decision delighted the owners of M’Loot and Hinman-Irwing dogs. They had been possessing dogs that were not officially recognized as Alaskan Malamutes.
MENU Eva Seeley’s followers and the Kotzebues’ fans, instead, strongly objected to the decision. In their opinion only Kotzebues were really representative of the breed. In order to be AKC registered, the owners of the “new” Alaskan Malamutes were to show their dogs till they reached 10 points. Strangely enough, no dog personally owned by Paul Voelker, Dick Hinman or Dave Hinman was ever registered. In all cases, many of the breeders that had based their breeding programs on M’Loots and many owners that had bought their ‘original strain’ dogs managed to have their Malamutes registered. After 1950, most Malamutes had evolved thanks to the mingling of Kotzebues, M'Loots and a little Hinman-Irwin. Some breeders, however, kept crossing pure M’Loots only. Among these was the Canadian breeder Lorna Jackson, owner of Lorn Hall kennel. Lorna bought her first dogs directly from Paul Voelker, and one of these, Oogorook M'Loot, was the first Alaskan Malamute to become a Canadian Champion. Oogorook has also been the first all white Alaskan Malamute that became a champion in the history of the breed. Another breeder that went on breeding pure M’Loots was Jean Lane, owner of Mulpus Brook kennels. Like Eva Seeley, Jean Lane practised sleddog and bred Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies. Her Malamute breeding program produced Ch. Mulpus Brooks The Bear, purchased from Bill and Lois Dawsons of Kobuk kennel. “Bear” was the first Malamute to win first prize in the show group (B. O. G. ) in 1954. He was also the sire of Kobuk's Dark Beauty, a black and white bitch owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rifkind, from Kodara kennel. Kobuk's Dark Beauty is one of the most important dams in the history of the breed, and she bred Ch. Sno-Crest's Mukluk, the first Alaskan Malamute to win a Best in Show in America. In 19? ? AKC suddenly decided to close breed registration again. A lot of M’Loot owners who hadn’t yet shown and registered their dogs were bitterly surprised. To achieve greater cooperation with AKC and more influence in important decisions, the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA) began operating in order to become an AKC member. This purpose was achieved in 1953, when AMCA received a letter from AKC, which informed that AMCA had been officially accepted as a member. After that, Kotzebue and M’Loot breeders strove to get round their differences, and the evolution of the breed gradually moved toward the final fusion of the two strains. Although she had strongly objected to M’Loot dogs for years, at a certain point even Eva Seeley took an interest in what this strain could offer and agreed to cross Ch. Chinook Of Kotzebue with Ch. Tuyah Of Silver Sled, an M’Loot bitch owned by Delta Wilson Smith. In 1960 a new breed standard was adopted for the Malamutes, because of the increasing number of M’Loot dogs which had remarkably influenced their aspect. M’Loots were much bigger than Kotzebues, therefore the breeders that mainly used the M’Loot strain urged to increase height and weight limits (the first breed standard had been based on Gripp Of Yukon, one of Seeley’s dogs). Nevertheless, several Kotzebue breeders had different opinions, and the question was eventually settled by means of a compromise: the present standard is the outcome of that compromise.
MENU Ooloo M'Loot of Silver Sled Kennel First Bitch Champion of the history Some M’Loot Notak of Silver Sled King M’Loot Ch. Kobuk's Dark Beauty Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter Ch. Tuyah of Silver Sled
MENU n Hinman-Irwin (third strain) Differently from the Kotzebues and M’Loots, the Hinman-Irwin dogs are often defined as ‘the third strain’. Some influential people, above all Robert Zoller, coined the definition, as there were too few of them to be recognized as a proper strain (Barbara A. Brooks and Sherry E. Wallis, "Alaskan Malamute - Yesterday and Today"). Nevertheless, the Hinman-Irwin dogs’ contribution to the history of the breed is remarkable. Their ancestors, Igloo and Lynx, were imported in New Hampshire from the area of Baker Lake in Canada by a man called Dave Irwin. From the mating of Igloo and Lynx came a dog called Irwin's Gemo (also known as Erwin, Gimo o Chimo). Gemo was brought to Craig Burt’s Ranch in Vermont, where the dog worked as a teamdog. Whenever Dick Hinman (who was a barber) had the opportunity, he would go to the ranch to drive the sleddog team, and Gemo was used by Dick Hinman for reproduction, too. The Hinman-Irwin dogs, however, would never have become a part of the official history of the Alaskan Malamute, hadn’t it been for a man called Robert Zoller (or rather, Bob Zoller) had served as a navy officer in World War II and, while on service in Newfoundland, he was deeply impressed by an Alaskan Malamute he met there. When the war was over, Zoller decided to contact a few breeders so as to see this magnificent breed again. He was first addressed to the Seeleys’ Chinook kennel, which was at the time run by a man called Dick Moulton. Zoller saw the Kotzebue Malamutes, but he found them a bit too small. So Moulton suggested that Zoller should go and see Dick Hinman’s dogs, which were probably more similar to what Zoller had on his mind. Zoller went to see the Hinman/Irwin dogs, and from that time on they were involved in a remarkable breeding program and became a part of the history of the Alaskan Malamute. When Bob Zoller went to see Dick Hinman, Hinman was working and was busy, so he sent Zoller to his kennel to see the dogs. There Zoller saw two specimens he described as “the two most impressive Malamutes” he had ever seen in his life. The two dogs were Hinman's Alaska and the sire Irwin's Gemo. Zoller, who had met both the Seeleys’ Kotzebues and Voelker’s M’Loots, thought that these Hinman-Irwin dogs were better than any other dog he had seen before. He decided to purchase a puppy from the litter Dick Hinman had currently available. The sire was Hinman's Alaska. The puppy, Kayak Of Brookside, was later crossed by Robert Zoller with Ch. Artic Storm Of Husky-Pak (Zoller decided to call his kennel Husky-Pak) and from this mating Buccaneer, Black Hawk and Banshee were whelped. They all became champions. Zoller thought he was lucky he had met the Hinman-Irwin dogs; they offered additional quality to his breeding program. Thanks to the Husky-Pak Alaskan Malamutes, the Hinman/Irwin dogs became very popular among other breeders and effectively contributed to the evolution of the Alaskan Malamute.
MENU Some Hinman/Irwin Ch. Banshee of Husky-Pak Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak Kayak Of Brookside
MENU n Robert Zoller and the Husky-Paks Robert Zoller (or rather, Bob Zoller) had served as a navy officer during World War II and, while he was in Newfoundland, he met an Alaskan Malamute that greatly impressed him for his bold attitude and powerful build, but also for his gentle expression. When the war finished, Zoller decided to contact a few breeders in order to see this splendid breed again. When he turned to AKC to collect information about this breed kennels, Robert Zoller was addressed to Chinook kennel, owned by the Seeleys. At that time Eva Seeley was ill and she had entrusted the provisional management of the kennel to a man called Dick Moulton. Zoller admired the Kotzebue Malamutes, characterized by strong uniformity, good posteriors, fine heads, muzzles and ears. However, Zoller thought that Chinook Malamutes were a bit too small and that some of them had bad front legs. Bob Zoller also saw Paul Voelker’s M’Loots, which he found very different from the Chinook Kotzebues. In Zoller’s opinion, the M’Loots were actually much bigger than the Kotzebues, they had good front legs, but lacked angulations and their long moving legs suggested a sort of stilted gait. After visiting Chinook kennel, Zoller was advised by Moulton to go and see a man called Dick Hinman, who was also a beeder of Alaskan Malamutes. Zoller followed Moulton’s advice and in Dick Hinman’s kennel he met the two most beautiful Malamutes he had ever seen: Hinman's Alaska and Irwin's Gemo. To Zoller the two dogs outdid both the Kotzebues and the M’Loots in beauty. Delighted by what he had seen, Zoller decided to buy a puppy from the litter that Hinman had available at the moment. The sire was Hinman's Alaska. The puppy, Kayak Of Brookside, was very lively and Zoller and his wife Laura thought he needed to socialize with another Malamute puppy. Thus the Zollers, who were considering several “mates” for Kayak, purchased three puppies: Ch. Husky-Pak Mikya of Seguin, Ch. Apache Chief of Husky Pak and Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak. All of them were shown so as to be registered. Zoller’s first Husky-Pak dogs were a mix of M'Loot and Hinman-Irwin, but Zoller had never forgotten the Seeleys’ dogs, so he searched for a Kotzebue to include him into his breeding program. His search led him to a pure Kotzebue called Toro of Bras Coupe was crossed with Arctic Storm Of Husky-Pak and the combination of the M’Loot and Kotzebue strains was successful. The resulting litter consisted of six puppies, five of which became champions; Robert Zoller became a personality in the Malamute rings. These dogs were Ch. Cliquot of Husky-Pak, Ch. Cheyenne of Husky-Pak, Ch. Cochise of Husky-Pak, Ch. Comanche of Husky-Pak and Ch. Cherokee of Husky-Pak. One day Bob Zoller said that Ch. Cherokee of Husky-Pak was the best Alaskan Malamute he had ever had. Thanks to Zoller’s success in crossing the M'Loot/Kotzebue/Hinman-Irwin strains, lots of other breeders chose similar mating combinations, though many of them preferred to cross M'Loots directly with Husky-Paks rather than use pure Kotzebues. Today most Alaskan Malamutes are the result of the M’Loot – Kotzebue (or Husky-Pak) mix, and the direction that the breed development has ever since taken owes a lot to Robert Zoller’s work and vision.
Breed History Standard Zoller interview Balto History Breed Diseases Work Section
MENU Standard GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. The Malamute stands well over the pads, and this stance gives the appearance of much activity and a proud carriage, with head erect and eyes alert showing interest and curiosity. The head is broad. Ears are triangular and erect when alerted. The muzzle is bulky, only slight diminishing in width from root to nose. The muzzle is not pointed or long, yet not stubby. The coat is thick with a coarse guard coat of sufficient length to protect a woolly undercoat. Malamutes are of various colors. Face markings are a distinguishing feature. These consist of a cap over the head, the face either all white or marked with a bar and/or mask. The tail is well furred, carried over the back, and has the appearance of a waving plume. The Malamute must be a heavy boned dog with sound legs, good feet, deep chest and powerful shoulders, and have all of the other physical attributes necessary for the efficient performance of his job. The gait must be steady, balanced, tireless and totally efficient. He is not intended as a racing sled dog designed to compete in speed trials. The Malamute is structured for strength and endurance, and any characteristic of the individual specimen, including temperament, which interferes with the accomplishment of this purpose, is to be considered the most serious of faults. This premise describes the Malamute in generic way but it perfectly gives the idea of as this breed has to be what the most important things are to appraise. As we will also see in the following points, every part of the standard is characterized from “moderation”. While instead it will be resulting evident to all the readers the extreme importance that is set to the movement and the temperament, that owe to be the principal merits of an Alaskan Malamute. SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE: There is a natural range in size in the breed. The desirable freighting sizes are males, 25 inches at the shoulders, 85 pounds; females, 23 inches at the shoulders, 75 pounds. However, size consideration should not outweigh that of type, proportion, movement and other functional attributes. When dogs are judged equal in type, proportion, movement, the dog nearest the desirable freighting size is to be preferred. The depth of chest is approximately one half the height of the dog at the shoulders, the deepest point being just behind the forelegs. The length of the body from point of shoulder to the rear point of pelvis is longer than the height of the body from ground to top of the withers. The body carries no excess weight, and bone is in proportion to size. The breed history teaches that the size isn't to consider of primary importance being the product of a historical compromise with the purpose to reconcile the supporters of the three founder lines extremely different among them. When an Alaskan Malamute is judged, it must be keeps in mind that so many typologies and different lines exist. A careful reader owes, instead, to understand the importance of the proportions and the substance. Often happens to see subjects with chests a little developed, too much compact subjects, too much light subjects or excessively heavy. In all these cases the dog wouldn't have that functional attributes that would allow him to haul big weights. It's important that the chest is correctly come down, that the skeleton is in proportion to the size, that the length of the body excessively isn't long or short, the correct word is moderation. The subjects in overweight must be penalize.
MENU Standard HEAD: The head is broad and deep, not coarse or clumsy, but in proportion to the size of the dog. The expression is soft and indicates an affectionate disposition. The eyes are obliquely placed in the skull. Eyes are brown, almond shaped and of medium size. Dark eyes are preferred. Blue Eyes are a Disqualifying Fault. The ears are of medium size, but small in proportion to the head. The ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart on the outside back edges of the skull on line with the upper corner of the eye, giving ears the appearance, when erect, of standing off from the skull. Erect ears point slightly forward, but when the dog is at work, the ears are sometimes folded against the skull. High set ears are a fault. The skull is broad and moderately rounded between the ears, gradually narrowing and flattening on top as it approaches the eyes, rounding off to cheeks that are moderately flat. There is a slight furrow between the eyes. The topline of the skull and the topline of the muzzle show a slight break downward from a straight line as they join. The muzzle is large and bulky in proportion to the size of the skull, diminishing slightly in width and depth from junction with the skull to the nose. In all coat colors, except reds, the nose, lips, and eye rims' pigmentation is black. Brown is permitted in red dogs. The lighter streaked "snow nose" is acceptable. The lips are close fitting. The upper and lower jaws are broad with large teeth. The incisors meet with a scissors grip. Overshot or undershot is a fault. This part of the standard is to free interpretation, but there is some important things to appraise. The eyes are very important since they confer that typical expression but, above all, the small eyes and to almond shaped have a functionality (the flow tears acts from antifreeze. You try to race to -30° without glasses and you will realize that your eyes will freeze and you won't see anything, but to the Malamute this doesn't happen. That's why it's important that the eyes are small and never round. A good almond shaped is a protection to the eyes that are exposed to the cold through this “crack”, that more they are thin and more are functional). The dark eyes are preferred since they make the least wild expression, but clearer eyes don't interfere with the breed functionalities, besides the eyes color depends often from the bloodline and the color of the dog. The pigmentation is important too, it has to be “absolutely” black to exclusion of the red dogs, the snow nose isn't a guilt: the confirmation that this dog is a "machine" able to face the cold, the Malamute nose is enough great and with ample nostrils and of black color. The extraordinary characteristic of this animal is the "snow nose". In the warm season (summer - spring) the nose is black, in the cold season (autumn - winter) the pigment becomes clear black, then grey up to to have a stripe pink in full winter. The nature thinks indeed about everything: in the cools season the nose clears to facilitate the assimilation of the ultraviolet rays of the sun, the days are more short and accordingly the exposure to less sun. Important the ears have rounded tips, small proportions in comparison to the skull, perfectly erect and with substantial cartilaginous thickness, big ears and thin cartilages would be the cause of a big thermal dispersion. to the bites there is many confusion. There is the tendency to penalize dogs with level-bite or pre-molars lack. In both cases the standard doesn't make reference. The judges have free interpretation, in Europe the dog culture is different than in America and often both the cases are considered guilts. But in the origin country these aren't guilts (scissors or level-bite isn't of fundamental importance, both have merits, the scissors bite is surely better, but the level-bite is more functional decidedly to truncate bones, to lacerate meat and to crush fleas. But the important is that the teeth are strong, big and wide, they have to be able to fragment bones or frozen meat without problems). A last thing concerns the lip: absolutely well adherent. Falling lips would allow the spillage of saliva that would immediately freeze, this would get bothers and pains too).
MENU Standard NECK, TOPLINE, BODY: The neck is strong and moderately arched. The chest is well developed. The body is compactly built but not short coupled. The back is straight and gently sloping to the hips. The loins are hard and well muscled. A long loin that may weaken the back is a fault. The tail is moderately set and follows the line of the spine at the base. The tail is carried over the back when not working. It is not a snap tail or curled tight against the back, nor is it short furred like a fox brush. The Malamute tail is well furred and has the appearance of a waving plume. The Malamute is never square, but it hasn't even the long kidneys that could weaken the back; this underlines the importance in the back evaluation that doesn't have to ever yeld. The yelding back implicates a serious dysfunction in a working dog and it's a serious fault. The correct back is slightly tilted toward the hips; this doesn't imply that the Malamute has to be “rampant”, such structure would be unbalanced among front and rear and it would interfere with the correct movement that MUST be balances. A good along neck is very important, we will see the functionality in the movement paragraph. The tail has aroused many polemics in America too because the standard isn't perfectly explicit and there aren't illustrations that can confirm the exactness of the position. It doesn't have to roll up as the Akita and it doesn't have to fall on the side. The most greater part of the American judges and breeders don't consider very important this problem, because in this breed it's very easy to see dogs with narrow tails or without characteristic curve. Surely the tail that touch upon the back is aesthetically appreciable and preferable, but the tail that doesn't have the halfmoon form isn't a serious guilt. FOREQUARTERS: The shoulders are moderately sloping; forelegs heavily boned and muscled, straight to the pasterns when viewed from the front. Pasterns are short and strong and slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are of the snowshoe type, tight and deep, with well-cushioned pads, giving a firm, compact appearance. The feet are large, toes tight fitting and well arched. There is a protective growth of hair between the toes. The pads are thick and tough; toenails short and strong. HINDQUARTERS: The rear legs are broad and heavily muscled through the thighs; stifles moderately bent; hock joints are moderately bent and well let down. When viewed from the rear, the legs stand move true in line with the movement of the front legs, not too close or too wide. Dewclaws on the rear legs are undesirable and should be removed shortly after puppies are whelped. This standard part makes a direct reference to the moderation when it describes the correct anglings. A dog very angulated or few angulated isn't incorrect, in fact the moderation arrives from the historical compromise of the three founders lines. The angling degree has to be equal in front and in the rear to have a balanced movement and constant. A shoulder less angulated of the rear will visibly confer an unbalanced movement; the push of the rear would be too strong for a front in degree to receive it, the front to adjust would be forced to any other mechanism to compensate the unbalance. Vice versa, with a front angulated more than the rear, the movement would be characterized by a gait insufficient. Important the feet evaluation too, that must to be great, while the tendency of selection both in America and in Europe make more and more small feet, aesthetically more appreciable but completely useless from a functional point of view. Therefore the small feet are to penalize.
MENU Standard feet Correct Front Correct Rear
MENU Standard COAT: The Malamute has a thick, coarse guard coat, never long and soft. The undercoat is dense, from one to two inches in depth, oily and woolly. The coarse guard coat varies in length as does the undercoat. The coat is relatively short to medium along the sides of the body, with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the rump, and in the breeching and plume. Malamutes usually have a shorter and less dense coat during the summer months. The Malamute is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet. The undercoat can reach 5. 8 cms, coarse guard coat can reach 12 cms, therefore it never needs to exchange a more abundant coat with the long coat. There is a variable and it doesn't have to be considered in the evaluation. The long coat is to penalize. COLOR: The usual colors range from light gray through intermediate shadings to black, sable, and shadings of sable to red. Color combinations are acceptable in undercoats, points, and trimmings. The only solid color allowable is all white. White is always the predominant color on underbody, parts of legs, feet, and part of face markings. A white blaze on the forehead and/or collar or a spot on the nape is attractive and acceptable. The Malamute is mantled, and broken colors extending over the body or uneven splashing are undesirable. On the color it would need to open a debate, since it's evident, especially in Europe, the tendency to prefer the grey in the various tones and the white faces without mask. Instead the color or the mask it wouldn't owe in any way to interfere with the evaluation of a dog. The tendency to prefer some colors and some masks pushes the breeders to select these characteristics, unfortunately in the time to future the rarest colors and masks could unjustly disappear. some beautiful mask
MENU Standard BLACK AND WHITE Black guard coat with black or dark grey undercoat SEAL AND WHITE Black or black tipped guard coat with white or cream undercoat. Dog appears black at a distance, but is not a true black because of the light undercoat. GREY AND WHITE Gray guard coat with a light gray, cream, or white undercoat. No red factor is evident. Dog definitely appears gray, even though there may be some black coat on the topline SILVER AND WHITE Light gray guard coat with white undercoat PURE WHITE Both guard coat and undercoat are white. Often evidence of a mask in cream color. Only solid color allowed. RED AND WHITE A definite shade of red, either light or dark; with light points (lip line and nose), and eye color. No black factor evident. rare colors: Blue and Agouti SABLE AND WHITE Black or gray guard coat with a reddish undercoat and red trimmings. Both black and red factors evident. Trimmings: shadings of gold, cream, buff, brown or reddish hues often found on legs, ears, tail and face between white areas of the underbody and the dark color above.
MENU Standard GAIT: The gait of the Malamute is steady, balanced, and powerful. He is agile for his size and build. When viewed from the side, the hindquarters exhibit strong rear drive that is transmitted through a wellmuscled loin to the forequarters. The forequarters receive the drive from the rear with a smooth reaching stride. When viewed from the front or from the rear, the legs move true in line, not too close or too wide. At a fast trot, the feet will converge toward the centerline of the body. A stilted gait, or any gait that is not completely efficient and tireless, is to be penalized. The movement is the principal base to judge an Alaskan Malamute. The movement must be preferred to the whole rest. As aforesaid, to have a fluid movement, balanced and constant the anglings in front and on the rear have to be equivalent. The feet will converge toward the body center in the phase of the single-trak (to see the figures of the front and rear), not to confuse this type of tendency with a possible movement that “tightens”. very important Thing that has made to lately discuss in America is that the Malamute isn't a race dog; it doesn't need to prefer in a ring the dog that has the fastest movement. The natural movement cannot be seen in a ring of acceptable dimensions too. A moderate walk can make to mostly jump the movement fault that, contrarily, it could be visualized with greater difficulty in velocity. The standard doesn't make reference to specify degrees of anglings, it speaks instead of moderation. This is result of the historical compromise, that it saw three different bloodlines each with different anglings. Today great structural differences are seen, between dogs of the same bloodline too. Therefore the judgment should be given in base to the equilibrium among front and rear. The two figures represent the typical and correct side gait. As aforesaid it's not good to have an awful push and extension on the rear and then small footsteps in front; sideways the dog will have a hopping gait. The legs should give the impression instead, in full relaxation (in the moment of the singletraking), of a "W" upside-down where falcade and push have to be equivalent. The four feet will contemporarily graze the base of the ground, as in figure.
MENU Standard TEMPERAMENT: The Alaskan Malamute is an affectionate, friendly dog, not a "one man" dog. He is a loyal, devoted companion, playful in invitation, but generally impressive by his dignity after maturity. An aggressive temperament towards people is to consider a serious guilt that must be underlines in each judgment; in any way a dog with such guilt must be exhorts to the reproduction. A balanced temperament is at the base of each breed of sleddog that it has to work in a team, this has to be always kept in consideration. Aggressive or scary temperament is hereditary. SOMMARY: IMPORTANT: In judging Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting in the Arctic must be given consideration above all else. The degree to which a dog is penalized should depend upon the extent to which the dog deviates from the description of the ideal Malamute and the extent to which the particular fault would actually affect the working ability of the dog. The legs of the Malamute must indicate unusual strength and tremendous propelling power. Any indication of unsoundness in legs and feet, front or rear, standing or moving, is to be considered a serious fault. Faults under this provision would be splay-footedness, cowhocks, bad pasterns, straight shoulders, lack of angulation, stilted gait (or any gait that isn't balanced, strong and steady), ranginess, shallowness, ponderousness, lightness of bone, and poor overall proportion. The summary is the perfect synthesis of the whole standard and it's the most remarkable part too: never, to neglect in any case the functionality of the breed. That this comment to the standard can make clarity on some dark aspects of the standard, and that it can help in a more correct and technique evaluation. DISQUALIFICATIONS: Blue Eyes. Approved April 12, 1994 - Effective May 31, 1994
MENU Bob Zoller Interview by Tracy Young Reproduced here with the written consent of Robert Zoller & Tracy Young Starhawk congratulates and thanks these brave and dedicated individuals for their forthrightness and determination to the true story of the Alaskan Malamute history! Copyright - Robert Zoller / Tracy Young 1998 -1999 Any reproduction of this article must be done with the written consent of the copyright holders. A particular thanks to Christopher Cooper of the Starhawk Kennel that has allowed me to publish this very beautiful and interesting interview www. northernterritories. com. Lisa Piccolo Blue type: Tracy Young - Black type: Robert Zoller - "who is this man? “ "who I think everyone has heard of the Husky-Pak line. Well, that's who he is. This man is now 83 years old and is a major part of the Alaskan Malamute history with a factual history of our breed. Several years ago, Dick Tobey persuaded Bob Zoller to write an article for the A. M. C. A. newsletter describing the first years of the development of this breed. He complied then, and some of the tales that were part of history seem to not be exactly as we have been led to believe. I have the pleasure of being a friend of Sam Maranto, a member of A. M. C. A. since 1952 and who owned Ch. Cochise of Husky-Pak and finished his championship in 1955. He was out of Ch. Toro of Bras Coupe X Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak. After reading the story, I called Sam and questioned him in regard to the article. He stated that the article was very factual. In my opinion, Robert Zoller has not been given the credit that he deserves. So sit back, relax and enjoy " the other side of the story". Part I - Robert Zoller's Story I haven't been active in Alaskan Malamute affairs for quite a long time. But I keep in touch with a few people and dick tobey is one of them. A couple of years ago I told him about an article I had written for the New Zealand Kennel Gazette, about the many problems we encountered in getting our breed established in the 1940's and the 1950's - the critical years. Dick thought it should be published in our newsletter. The more we talked about it, the more I agreed with him that the events of those years following world war 11 should be told in some detail, before all the people who were there were dead and the true facts lost forever. I had tried to do this in my New Zealand article. But, done properly, it's a long story and I felt there was a limit to the space an all breed publication halfway around the world would devote to a 30 -year-old history of a single breed here in America. So I had to skip a lot of details and just hit the highlights, without explaining what really happened and why. I had also shied away from naming names. Even after thirty years, it is difficult to call a spade, because it may appear self-serving to do so. It may even be construed as an attack on old enemies who are no longer around to defend themselves. I assure you it is not that at all; I just became convinced that, finally, the full story should be told. For many years some of the bizarre happenings were covered up to spare feeling and to maintain as much unity as possible within our club. In the short run, I believe that is the proper thing to do. So I rewrote the story and here it is: names, dates, places, people, dogs - all as accurately as possible. It’s important to say some things clearly, right up front. My first point is that after all these years I bear no animosity toward anyone. Not even a little bit. In those days I had ample reason to be outraged on many occasions but I don't think I ever was, really. And lest you think with that statement I may be proposing my own candidacy for sainthood, I assure you I am not. I am human. I bleed when punctured, and I bled from a lot of stab wounds in those early years. I was indeed "teed off" from time to time, but I got over it quickly - for several reasons.
MENU Bob Zoller Interview First, by nature I am not a grudge-holder. I am a fighter, and I suspect not one bit less opinionated than most others in our breed. But I have never believed that others must agree with me to deserve my friendship or respect (I've been a democrat surrounded by republicans all of my life!). Secondly, after the initial shock, much of what I saw coming out of new hampshire in those times was so audacious that some of it was actually amusing, and practically all of it was fascinating to observe at close range. You had to see it to believe it. Most important, I think, it wasn't all that difficult for me to be somewhat generous in my judgment since, eventually, I ended up winning all the fights, at least the really important ones. It wasn't always easy, believe me. Many times I sincerely feared for the welfare of our breed. I was relatively young, not well known in our breed or anywhere in the world of purebred dogs, and I was taking on some pretty important people. Like many other newcomers to the wonderful world of Malamutes, I was a bit "snowed under" in my initial contacts with the "in" group. But I learn fast and was able to sort things out in rather short order. After that, it was mostly a matter of hard work. The second point to be made up front is that some of the following is opinion and some is fact, and I hope there is no misunderstanding or confusion as to which is which. It should be clear to everyone that when I say our Cherokee was the best Malamute ever, that's an opinion. While there is much evidence to support such a belief, there is of course no way to compare him or any of the top dogs of this time with any of the outstanding winners who may have come along twenty or thirty years later. On the other hand, much of what I write is indeed fact: the show records of "third strain" dogs; the events that resulted in changes in the standard; the charges and counter-charges and the outcome of the historic "Seeley Vs. Zoller" trial at A. K. C. much is well documented by official records, some is subject to verification by people still living who are knowledgeable about the happenings described. In a few cases, I present facts I can no longer prove, perhaps because they were never made a part of official records, or because after many years the letters or whatever were lost, or maybe never intended to be kept. In these cases you can take my word for them - or not. They are facts, nonetheless (you can rest assured that I will understand it if you find some of the facts incredible. If you were there and I was not, and you were telling the story, I'm not sure I would believe you). Having said that, I will get to the point and tell you my story. . It's about the Kotzebues and the M'Loots and our own Husky-Pak days. About where our breed came from and how it got to where it is. “eskimo dog” It's about a few years when varying opinions led to vigorous disagreements, choosing sides, and bitter battles over what the Alaskan Malamute is and what it should be; about a rare on-again, offagain policy as to the American Kennel Club registration, about changing the standard; about who runs the club and how. It's about the trial that totally determined what our breed was from that point on. Almost all registered Malamutes today are in some way related to the events that occurred in a relatively short period of time, more than thirty years ago. Had things turned out differently then, our breed would be a lot different now! Malamutes are pretty much a product of evolution, so they've been around for a long, long time. Early explorers wrote that the dogs of the Malamute indians of Alaska were bigger, stronger, more beautiful and more gentle with their human companions than any other arctic dogs they had seen. But the breed was virtually unknown for many years. Until AKC recognized Malamutes as a distinct breed in 1935, they were lumped with a lot of others as "eskimo dogs".
MENU Bob Zoller Interview Even then, not much happened before and during World War II. But in the late 40's and early 50's a lot of people became interested, all about the same time. That is when the modern Malamute really began. I saw my first Malamute in a primitive U. S. Navy Officers Club in Newfoundland in 1941. Impressed, I decided to learn more about those dogs - someday. When "someday" came in 1947, my wife Laura and I began our search. We read everything we could find (there wasn't a great deal to be found). We fell in love with the breed, went to New York and talked to AKC, wrote dozens of letters (maybe hundreds), and logged thousands of miles driving around to see almost every Malamute we could locate. There were so few dogs to see, so little written about them, so few people who seemed to know much, that we were doubly interested. We felt we had stumbled upon something rare, beautiful and virtually unknown. In our search we saw a lot of Malamutes that were not Malamutes - some not even close. Everyone with an arctic dog had a story to tell, and no two stories were alike (in those times they didn't even agree on how to spell "Malamute"!). Pedigrees, often recorded in handwriting, were difficult to decipher and frequently misread. We soon learned that most early sled dog people were not very good at record-keeping, and usually didn't really know much about our breed. In all, it was like living a detective story - trying to sort out the clues, separate facts from fiction and the good buys from the bad guys, and somehow arrive at the truth. It took a lot of work but we finally learned, and we applied what we learned to a limited breeding program. I stress the word "limited"; people today are surprised to learn that Husky-Pak's numerous national championships and breed records were achieved with a handful of dogs, and we produced only twelve litters in 12 ½ years, start to finish! Our dogs won about everything there was to win. This made me exceedingly unpopular with an awful lot of people. But it helped us develop credibility and resulted in a following of good people who supported us and became important contributors on their own. From almost total chaos in the late 1940's, it took us less than ten years to achieve a stable, established and secure Alaskan Malamute breed; an active, growing, democratic national breed club; and a new standard that worked well and which everyone could live with for many years to come. At that time, mission accomplished, we quit and went on to other interests, and let others carry on the legacy we left to them and all who followed. In one sense, Husky-Pak came to the end of the line on July 16, 1968, the day "Eagle", our last Malamute died. But in reality we closed up shop in 1962 when we sold the last puppy in our "m" litter (in case you are counting, we didn't have an "f" litter). So it has been years since we have been active in any way. Remarkably, we still get letters, some from overseas. They are nice letters that talk about the great Husky-Pak dogs of the 1950's and many tell us there have been nothing like them since. We are exceedingly grateful to be remembered after all these years. The Kotzebue and the M‘Loot and the “third strain dogs” In the 1920's and 30's a few people here in the USA became interested in sled dogs and discovered the Malamute. They brought from Alaska a number of dogs believed to be Malamutes. But nobody really knew what they were. There was no IKC (Indian Kennel Club) or EKC (Eskimo Kennel Club) - and of course none of them were registered, and with many, even their immediate ancestors were unknown. In all cases, it was a matter of opinion. Since opinions differ, different-looking dogs were selected, labeled “Malamutes”, and bred. In New England we found the Kotzebues. Their stateside beginnings were mostly at arthur walden's kennel - he was the noted “dog puncher” who handled the dogs on byrd antarctic expeditions - but they were taken over and their progeny later AKC registered by milton and Eva Seeley's also imported other dogs that resembled what they believed the Malamute to be.
MENU Scattered about in other places were the M'Loots, assembled and developed by Paul Voelker, near Marquette, Michigan. Voelker was an enthusiast who sold a lot of puppies but wasn't interested in showing or in the AKC, so none of the M'Loots were registered. In Newbury, Vermont, we saw an older dog named Irwin's Gemo that we thought was the best we had run across. Once owned by Lowell Thomas, the famous explorer-newscaster, Gemo (sometimes “Gimo” or “Chimo”) had been shown to best of breed at Westminster in Madison Square Garden in 1941. We bought his grandson, a puppy we named “Kayak”, and we learned these dogs were neither Kotzebue nor M'Loot: they weren't many of them, and some had been crossed with M'Loot-strain dogs. Dick Hinman, the owner, had gotten some of his dogs from Dave Irwin, another explorer and author of "alone, across the top of the world". Later I began to call these dogs the Hinman-Irwin strain or “the third strain”, although actually they weren't a strain at all, just a few individual dogs (perhaps a family) that were neither Kotzebue nor M'Loot. Our main asset in those days, I believe, was a rare degree of objectivity. The Kotzebues and the M’Loots had developed fanatical followings who were too busy maligning the other side to really look, listen and learn. We kept open minds and eventually came to these conclusions: the Kotzebues were good type, mainly because of their heads, muzzles, eyes, ears, expression and good body proportions. They were more uniform than the M’Loots, mostly wolf gray, usually about the same size and structure. Generally good rears and bad fronts - chests too wide, out at the elbows. And most of them were much smaller than we believed the original Malamute was or should be. The M’Loots had better size but some were rangy and lacking in substance. Good fronts, many bad rears - lacking angulation, which produced some stilted gaits. Tendency toward long ears, long muzzles. Some “snipeyness”. Much variation in coats and colors - long, short; from light gray to black and white, some all-whites. Dispositions differed as well. The Kotzebues were less aggressive, easier to control; the M’Loots prone to fighting, often difficult to handle around other dogs. In short, the M’Loots were bigger, flashier and more impressive, but they had some rather characteristic faults and I felt they varied considerably in type and in quality. Kotzebues were too small, but they had uniformity going for them, and their main asset was type-as a whole they more closely resembled the original Malamute as we believe it to be. We easily concluded that crossing these strains with some skill, to combine their good points and minimize the faults, would produce better Malamutes than by breeding within either two strains. Bob Zoller Interview Kayak Of Brookside Ch. Spawn's Alaska 2 times BOB at Westminster
MENU That “third strain”, however, could not be ignored. Kayak, unfortunately, never turned out to be another Gemo. Our second Malamute was one of the better pure M’Loot bitches: she became Ch. Husky-Pak's Mikya of Sequin. Then we really got lucky. Near Great Barrington, MA. , we found a pair of pups sired by an impressive dog named Alaska (later Ch. Spawn's Alaska). This brother-sister pair that we bought, raised and took to national championships became Ch. Apache Chief of Husky-Pak (“Geronimo”) and Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak (“Takoma”). They were the biggest winners of their era and became milestones of breed progress. Best of all, they had third-strain genes; they were three-quarters M’Loot, one-quarter “other” going back to Irwin's Gemo and Hinman's Sitka, incidentally, may have been an even better bitch than Gemo was a dog. I think she deserves a great deal of credit for the quality that resulted later on. Our pair were as large as the bigger M’Loots but a bit heavier in bone and better proportioned; in body they were almost like king-size Kotzebues. Good coats and coloring and excellent overall balance. Heads were broad. Ears were correct size and shape and set properly on the skull. We knew this combination was superior, and the show results soon convinced a lot of other people. But we weren't entirely satisfied. We felt a “third-strain-cross” would heavy up the muzzles and set the type. We searched for a Kotzebue of adequate size and came up with Toro of Bras Coupé, then owned by Earl and Natalie Norris of Anchorage, Alaska. Fortunately, Toro was in the states being shown by a professional handler. He had just gone best of breed at Westminster. We brought him to Husky-Pak, mated him with Takoma and produced our “C” litter. We think this was the greatest litter in the history of our breed. Five were shown, all became champions. One was Cherokee, and we think he was the best Malamute ever: three consecutive National Specialty best of breeds, and three consecutive AMCA dog-ofthe-year awards. There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that he could easily have gone best of breed at the next two specialties, for five years in a row, had we chosen to keep showing him. But we retired him as a gesture of good sportsmanship. Cliquot-the dog shown in our official AMCA emblem - was the first Malamute to win both a championship and a CDX. He was also the top winner in New England. Cochise was the best in California for a time, and the sire of Ch. Snocrest's Mukluk, our breed's first best-in -show. Comanche and Cheyenne, the “C” litter females, were consistent winners starting with the big 1953 national specialty where, at 14 months, they were winner's bitch and reserve winner's bitch - to their mother's best of breed! Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Spawn's Alaska sire of Apache Chief & Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak Zoller with Ch. Apache Chief of Husky-Pak
MENU Comanche died shortly thereafter. Cheyenne produced two daughters who won three consecutive national specialty bos, and both of whom defeated most of the top males of our breed in that era - including Ch. Mulpus Brook's The Bear, who was our 1954 national specialty best of breed and dog-of-the-year. The sixth “C” litter pup was Chippewa, a sure champion except for one little detail: his owner, who I couldn't talk into showing him! The saying is, the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. Our "c" litter was the formula. Unhappily, Arctic Storm (Takoma) and Comanche died from hardpad distemper following the december 1953 Philadelphia K. C. show. When Takoma died, we had advance orders for more pups than she could have produced in a lifetime. And Comanche, owned by Martha and Bob Gormely, was an extremely powerfully-built, broad-headed, heavilymuzzled bitch that I thought could have become a superlative producer of the real, original Malamute type. What a loss! When we settled down from these tragic events, we decided on two ways to approximate the “C” litter. (1) mate Geronimo to Takoma's surviving daughter, Cheyenne. And (2) import a Toro daughter, also for mating with Geronimo. Cheyenne's litter produced three champions including Ch. Husky-Pak Marclar's Sioux, national specialty BOS (to Cherokee) both in 1956 and 1957, and ch. Barb-Far's Marclar's Machook, Specialty BOS in 1958 and our breed's first female to place in the group. Sioux just has to be the finest show female in our breed, unless I missed count somewhere in recent years. She completed totally in top national competition against the best of those times, from her first show until her retirement. And no other female ever came close. The only male she never beat was Cherokee! Consider this: Sioux finished her championship in four straight shows in one month's time, defeating 55 different Malamutes including nine champions! (fifty-five was a might impressive number in the mid -1950's) and, like Cherokee, she could have won at least two or three more national specialties, had we chosen to show her. Toro's daughter was ch. Kelerak of Kobuk, right off a dog team in Anchorage, Alaska. The Norris' had sold us a good one: we showed her to two national specialty BOS. (and after all these years, we still talk about her wonderful disposition. ) Her mating with Geronimo produced three fine champions. Erok was the youngest ever to place in group and he became a winner and outstanding sire in California. Echako was rated the outstanding Malamute of 1960 (Phillips System), held the record for group placings (and probably still does on a percentage basis) and was our 1960 best of breed at Westminster. Except for his first show as a puppy, Echako was never beaten by any other Malamute! Bob Zoller Interview Geronimo Ch. Apache Chief of Husky-Pak Takoma Ch. Arctic Storm of Husky-Pak
MENU Eagle was the best of the three, but he came along about the time we lost interest in showing. We showed him only a few times and he was never given a chance to show what he could do. Still, he was best of breed at Westminster in 1958, held the dog world award for his overall show record, and in group placings he defeated several of the all-time record holders in other working group breeds. And I think Eagle may have been the best moving Malamute I ever saw. Our Husky-Pak “E” litter was the first and perhaps the only one in our breed to produce three brothers to place in group (which was difficult for any Malamutes in those days) and two to win best of breed at Westminster. Show results play a major role in the improvement of all breeds because they are supposed to be expert, unbiased, third-party judgments. They usually are that (or about as close as you can hope for in this imperfect world)-except for relatively unknown breeds as ours was in the 1950's. In which case, expertise is not always provided. Since judging is a matter of opinion, mistakes are made, probably a lot more often in the lesser-known breeds. I showed under several judges who were seeing Malamutes for the first time. But that's all part of the game and there isn't much you can do about it. So a few wins or losses don't mean a lot; a consistent pattern of winning is what counts. Quality of the competition, and who beats whom, how often are the major factors indicating relative quality. Before 1953, with a few exceptions, competition among Malamutes was mainly local or regional. It was in early 1953 at the National Capitol and Harrisburg shows that the top regional winners got together and national competition in our breed began. Then in october 1953 we held our first real national specialty in rye, New York. In these biggest and most important shows of their time, the results were revealing. Geronimo won both at National Capitol and Harrisburg. Takoma came out of two years retirement to win the specialty, defeating all the best dogs and bitches of that era. Her brother Geronimo was BOS and three of her 14 -month-old pups won just about everything else: WD, WB, RWB, BW! (in the bestof breed judging, Takoma's and Geronimo's main competition was their father, Ch. Spawn's Alaska). By year-end - after the Philadelphia show in December was again a total family affair the message was loud and clear: strain crosses had produced a superior Alaskan Malamute. If further evidence is needed, consider this: in national specialty shows in the seven years 1953 - 1959, all seven best of breeds and five best of opposites were strain crosses involving “third strain” genes. (our Kelerak, a Kotzebue, had the other two BOS). In 1955 AMCA selected it's “top ten” in our breed and eight were the strain crosses. Toro and Kelerak were the two Kotzebues. No pure M’Loots. (nine of the top ten, incidentally, were part of, or results of, our Husky-Pak breeding program!) Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Cherokee of Husky-Pak Ch. Cochise of Husky-Pak
MENU Quantum leap? At this point an interjection; you will remember that former President Nixon often said, “now let me make one thing perfectly clear. ” I need to do that now, because I well understand that what I have been telling you sounds like a eulogy of Husky-Pak. That - I assure you - is not my purpose. My recitation of the foregoing statistics is essential to prove beyond any doubt that dramatic improvements in the Alaskan Malamute breed had taken place at this point in time. You might well call it a “quantum leap forward”. I'm convinced that statistics prove this point-of-view because they are overwhelming. That's point number one. Point number two, equally important, is that because of this obvious breakthrough, immediate steps were taken to discredit all the dogs involved in it; to totally destroy this noteworthy progress, and return our breed to the rather sorry state it was in, only a few years before. I will describe these events in some detail. But first a few observations on some of the important dogs of those times. Except for moosecat M’Loot - our Mikya's sire, owned by Cecil Allen of Fayetteville, Tenn. And I thing never shown - the best pure M’Loot those days was Ch Mulpus Brook's Master Otter, owned and extensively shown by Jean Lane (formerly massaglia, and later briar). This dog was the first to place in groups and helped publicize our breed. But he was beaten by Toro, and consistently by Ch. Spawn's Alaska was the big winner - twice best of breed at Westminster - until Geronimo and Takoma (Apache Chief and Artic Storm) came along and totally dominated the breed. Geronimo was AMCA's first "dog-ofthe-year". He was a tremendously popular dog, so powerful, regal, impressive, yet gentle and friendly. I suspect he may have done more than any other dog to call attention to the Malamute breed in those days when we were relatively unknown. Master Otter sired one outstanding winner, Bill and Lois Dawson's Ch. Mulpus Brook's the Bear was our national specialty best of breed in 1954 and our first ever to win the group. He got his third strain genes from his dam, and he was a better Malamute than his sire. The best Kotzebue I ever saw was, of course, Toro. And I suspect his daughter Kelerak was the best of the Kotzebue bitches; show records support this opinion. I was most fortunate to discover these two and appreciate their virtues. And over the years I have deeply appreciated the generosity and good sportsmanship of Earl and Natalie Norris who were willing to share them with us. In all, the Kotzebue and the M’Loots were important contributors to our breed, and the third-strain and the three strain crosses we pioneered in the 1950's added significant quality and ended up improving our breed for countless generations to come. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Husky-Pak Marclar's Sioux Ch. Cheyenne of Husky-Pak
MENU Bob Zoller Interview Janet Edmonds, an English lady who researched “the origins of the present day Malamute” and published her findings in 1979, tells pretty much the same story I am telling you now, although in less detail. She did miss an important point - the role of the third-strain dogs - but I forgive her because she wrote: “I find it interesting that it was when the types were sensibly interbred that the resulting dogs looked most like the (original) pre-gold rush Malamutes. The classic examples of this are the Husky-Pak dogs of the 1950's“. Robert Zoller story Part II The story continues. . . Eva B. Seeley, a formidable opponent The breeding program described was a significant development, but there were others in those critical years: the lengthy battles over revising (or “clarifying”) the standard was one, the fight for control of the club was another. These major conflicts occurred about the same time, with Eva Seeley being the major proponent of the status quo, and yours truly leading the newcomers who came to believe the status quo was intolerable and had to be changed. To me, the status quo meant total domination of both the breed and the club by Mrs. Seeley. And so long as that continued, our breed was dead in its tracks and going nowhere. In my initial contacts with Mrs. Seeley and other New England owners, the idea of all-out war never entered my mind. I felt sure that cooperation and negotiation could solve the problems and get both the breed and the club moving. I was wrong. Mrs. Seeley like things the way they were and she intended to keep them that way, no matter what. She was indeed a formidable opponent. Less than five feet tall and maybe 90 pounds - her nickname was "Short" - she would nonetheless fight like a tiger when crossed. Unfortunately, I seemed to have crossed her, early on. And repeatedly. Everything Malamute soon become Seeley vs Zoller. I really did not want to fight. She was, I thought, something of a legend in our breed and I was the new kid on the block. But I did have one thing in my favor: early in life I learned you should not believe everything you read or are told. There is value in being skeptical, in finding out for yourself. Already in my life I had met a lot of “celebrities” and was never all that impressed with any of them. I learned we are all human, with our own peculiar set of faults and virtues. Nobody's perfect; it's just that some of us are luckier than others. It is right and proper to acknowledge achievement, and even to honor it when it deserves to be honored. But hero-worship is not my thing, and never was. Ch. Husky Pak's Mikya of Seguin Ch. Comanche of Husky-Pak
MENU So I was a bit skeptical right from the beginning and I'm sure Eva Seeley detected that. Unlike many others new to our breed, I did not become a “disciple” and I did not believe everything she said, simply because she said it - especially when I discovered that what she said didn't always make a lot of sense. Still, I knew she was a pioneer and had rubbed elbows with the likes of Arthur Walden, Leonhard Seppala, Scotty Allen and Admiral Byrd. She owned Chinook kennels and was well known by most sleddog people, and apparently by some of the people at the American Kennel Club. So at the beginning I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I listened a lot more than I talked. But eventually I came to not believing a great deal of what I was being told. It bothers me when the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. She had a virtual monopoly on AKC-registered Alaskan Malamute and wasn't about to let that get away. According to the Seeley-Riddle book, there were no more than thirty registered Malamutes in 1947! She owned a number of those and the rest were owned by close friends or had been sold by her under written agreements that no breedings would ever occur without her approval, and then only with a male of her choosing! That you could buy a dog or a bitch and not be allowed to breed it, was a new one on me. But you have to admit it's a great way to protect a monopoly. All this wasn't too surprising in view of two later discoveries. When AKC reopened our breed to registration - based on the same requirements under which her dogs had been registered, plus a quality test requiring each candidate to be shown and accumulate ten championship points as well - Eva Seeley immediately declared all Malamutes not of her own Kotzebue stock as “Eskimo dogs, not Malamutes”! This was quite a shock for new owners in those days. They would approach the legendary Short Seeley at a dog show, or by journeying all the way to her home in the middle of New Hampshire, to get her opinion of their new Malamute puppy, and be told their pride and joy was not an Alaskan Malamute and probably not a purebred of any breed! I have seen people shattered by this experience. But in time the word got around. Since it had happened to almost everyone at one time or another - even those of us whose dogs were going best of breed (or even placing in groups under AKC licensed judges) - we all began to view this as a sad joke. You just weren't important in our breed until Eva Seeley had labeled your dogs as “Eskimo”. It was just “Seeley being Seeley”. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Sno-Crest's Mukluk first BIS in the breed history Cochise's son Ch. Husky-Pak Gazelle
MENU Toro repudiated Still, I was indeed surprised when she repudiated Toro of Bras Coupé, probably the best Kotzebue ever. Eva's husband, Milton Seeley, had died and it seems that in the mid or late 1940's she became quite ill. Unable to care for her dogs, she sold her kennel to a man named Dick Moulton, who lived nearby. Dick produced two litters from the same sire and dam and sold them both to a winter resort in Canada, called Bras Coupé. After a couple of years the resort decided to sell the dogs. They offered them to me and other Malamute people - apparently I was one of the first. Toro was one of these dogs and he caught my eye immediately; I would loved to have had him. But we were just getting started, already had four dogs, and no plans whatever to ever be more than a very small hobbytype operation. Toro really tempted me, but Laura said no. So Earl and Natalie Norris bought toro and some of the others. When Toro started showing and winning, I asked Mrs. Seeley how she ever let him get away. She literally bristled. “those two litters were a mistake, ” she told me. “those two should never have been mated! I am going down to AKC next week and have all those registrations revoked!” They were not revoked. But not because she didn't try. I know she tried because later, at the "Seeley vs. Zoller" trial, I cited her actions against Toro and his littermates as evidence of the lengths to which she would go to discredit any Malamute no longer under her ownership or control. I did this both in my defense briefs and again in person at the trial, and it was never denied either by Eva Seeley or her lawyer. That she was willing to repudiate Toro was surprising, but I thought it was even more surprising that she actually believed AKC would revoke his registration on her say-so. But again, it was another example of “Seeley being Seeley”. Later on, of course, she claimed full credit for Toro. When I used him at stud with Takoma, the Norris' instructed me to send him on to Mrs. Seeley who wanted to use him as well. (surprise, surprise. ) A bit later, while Toro was still at Chinook kennels, I drove up to attend the annual meeting and specialty show in Framingham, MA. Since I had brought no dogs of my own, Mrs. Seeley asked me to handle Toro in specialty. He was entered in open dogs and Seeley wanted like crazy for him to beat the specials entry, who was Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter, the M’Loot owned by Jean Lane. Well, Toro won and I think short Seeley actually liked me for about ten minutes on that june day back in 1952! It didn't last long. A year later, at the 1953 annual meeting in Winchester, MA. , the AMCA President, Paul Pelletier, greeted me with a verbal attack so violent that I was stunned, and bill and Lois Dawson who were nearby couldn't believe what they were hearing. After all these years, I don't remember what he said, or what I replied. I do know that he and I had virtually no contact ever before. He knew nothing about me from personal experience, so obviously somebody had done a real hatchet job on me among the New England members. It wasn't hard for me to figure out who. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Toro Of Bras Coupé head
MENU The Alaskan Malamute Club Until 1952 the club was very small, closed (Kotzebue only) organization composed solely of New England members and dominated by Eva Seeley. These people were not very active, either in breeding or showing. Mostly this was just a few friends with a common interest, getting together at a dog show or at someone's house to talk dogs and socialize a few times a year. I didn't know it at the time, but the club was not affiliated with or officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. But with Malamutes suddenly growing in popularity and quite a number now being shown in other parts of the country, it apparently occurred to the New England group they'd better hurry and get AKC recognition as the official breed club before someone else beat them to it. So I figured they petitioned AKC, or at least inquired and apparently were told they'd have to grow a bit and get some members from outside their own neighborhood. Or, in other words, appear a bit more like a representative breed club. This seems logical in view of the fact that all of a sudden, I was allowed to join their club! (me, the guy with the Eskimo dogs down in Maryland!) They also took in another outsider, Jean Lane. She lived in New England but owned an “outside” dog, Master Otter So I paid my dues and over the next several months began to wonder why. All I got out of it was an occasional postcard announcing a meeting at someone's house in New England. Some of these even reached me a few days after the meeting had been held! Some arrived prior to the meeting date but seldom far enough in advance for me to plan on going and actually get there. And none ever included a reason for me to drive that far. Reading show reports in the AKC gazette, I knew there was a lot more Malamute activity taking place in other parts of the country. Especially in the Milwaukee area. On a business trip out that way, I visited Ralph and Marcheta Schmitt who owned Silver Sled, the largest Malamute kennel in the country. They had heard of me and welcomed me, and immediately started phoning people. In a couple hours they had assembled more than twenty members of their Alaskan Malamute club, all of whom lived reasonably nearby. They also knew of other interested owners in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest. Some people in California were getting active as well. We soon figured out that if my group and their group joined forces we could come up with fifty or sixty members in a few weeks time. The Schmitts proposed we do just that and petition AKC for recognition as the official National Breed Club - and leave the new england people out in the cold. But I felt AKC would look more kindly on our putting together a truly national membership, including the owners in New England. I also argued that a cease-fire, if one could be arranged, would be better for everyone. Bob Zoller Interview the official AMCA emblem represents Ch. Cliquot of Husky-Pak Ch. Husky-Pak Echako
MENU It wasn't an easy sell. The Schmitts were singularly "unfond" of Mrs. Seeley. But they agreed, reluctantly, to give me a chance to see what I could do. I was to attend the next meeting in New England spell out the new facts of life to the people there. Their choice: open the club to new members everywhere, or we would start our own National Breed Club without them. Their response would determine out future course of action. A few weeks later I drove up to the 1952 annual meeting in Farmington, MA. This was the same day and place where I had handled Toro to the specialty best of breed over Master Otter. We held the meeting in a tent on the show grounds. Only nine or ten members were there, including Jean Lane and me. I was surprised to learn the total club membership was only about twelve; or sixteen or seventeen, depending on whether you counted those who hadn't paid any dues for the past year or two. I told them about my meeting with the Milwaukee club - including the arithmetic of the breeding and showing activities going on in other parts of the country. After some discussions they agreed but not very enthusiastically, as you might suspect - to my proposal that we open the membership to any Malamute owners who wanted to join, unless there was some legitimate reason not to accept them. Jean Lane, apparently still feeling a bit of an outsider, did not have a great deal to say at this meeting. Mrs. Seeley, however, was not at all pleased with the proposal to expand. And, true to form, she came up with a great idea: we would have two classes of members - the new ones would be “auxiliary members” and only “original members” would be allowed to vote! I guess that was a bit much, even for the other “original members”. Her motion didn't pass: nobody seconded it and it never came to vote. At this meeting, I also pointed out that we have to give our members something for their dues. A nationwide membership, whenever it came about, would require more services than a few postcards each year about occasional get togethers somewhere in New England. What Malamute owners wanted, I submitted, was information. Communications was the key requirement. I volunteered to write, produce and mail an official monthly newsletter to all members. After much discussion - and apprehension - they said okay. But they made it clear they would cancel it if they didn't like what I wrote. Our newsletter, I think has been published every month since I wrote and mailed the first issue in august 1952. Membership grew rapidly as the Schmitts and I and a few others contacted our customers and got them t join. Before long, the new majority pretty much took over, achieved a great deal of growth and progress and planted the seed that grew into a democratic national breed club. Today we have a membership of nearly 900 including a fair number outside the USA. While growth isn't everything, we're a lot better off than when we had twelve or sixteen members in early 1952. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Husky-Pak Jingo Ch. Husky-Pak Erok
MENU It wasn't an easy sell. The Schmitts were singularly "unfond" of Mrs. Seeley. But they agreed, reluctantly, to give me a chance to see what I could do. I was to attend the next meeting in New England spell out the new facts of life to the people there. Their choice: open the club to new members everywhere, or we would start our own National Breed Club without them. Their response would determine out future course of action. A few weeks later I drove up to the 1952 annual meeting in Farmington, MA. This was the same day and place where I had handled Toro to the specialty best of breed over Master Otter. We held the meeting in a tent on the show grounds. Only nine or ten members were there, including Jean Lane and me. I was surprised to learn the total club membership was only about twelve; or sixteen or seventeen, depending on whether you counted those who hadn't paid any dues for the past year or two. I told them about my meeting with the Milwaukee club - including the arithmetic of the breeding and showing activities going on in other parts of the country. After some discussions they agreed but not very enthusiastically, as you might suspect - to my proposal that we open the membership to any Malamute owners who wanted to join, unless there was some legitimate reason not to accept them. Jean Lane, apparently still feeling a bit of an outsider, did not have a great deal to say at this meeting. Mrs. Seeley, however, was not at all pleased with the proposal to expand. And, true to form, she came up with a great idea: we would have two classes of members - the new ones would be “auxiliary members” and only “original members” would be allowed to vote! I guess that was a bit much, even for the other “original members”. Her motion didn't pass: nobody seconded it and it never came to vote. At this meeting, I also pointed out that we have to give our members something for their dues. A nationwide membership, whenever it came about, would require more services than a few postcards each year about occasional get togethers somewhere in New England. What Malamute owners wanted, I submitted, was information. Communications was the key requirement. I volunteered to write, produce and mail an official monthly newsletter to all members. After much discussion - and apprehension - they said okay. But they made it clear they would cancel it if they didn't like what I wrote. Our newsletter, I think has been published every month since I wrote and mailed the first issue in august 1952. Membership grew rapidly as the Schmitts and I and a few others contacted our customers and got them t join. Before long, the new majority pretty much took over, achieved a great deal of growth and progress and planted the seed that grew into a democratic national breed club. Today we have a membership of nearly 900 including a fair number outside the USA. While growth isn't everything, we're a lot better off than when we had twelve or sixteen members in early 1952. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Kelerak Of Kobuk
MENU Today's members should know the facts about the democratization of our Malamute club. At the 1953 annual meeting in Winchester, MA. , the new majority had gained complete control and I submit, we exercised our control in a most responsible manner. We elected more than a proportional number of New England members - including Eva Seeley - to our board of directors. And then our majority on the board - I was one of them so voting elected Eva Seeley as our president! We tried hard to be more than fair because we felt that by doing so, we could convince Mrs. Seeley and her followers that working together was the best thing any of us could do to benefit our breed and our club. It really didn't help. Nothing much improved. The 1954 annual meeting, for some stupid reason (like believing if we continued our goodwill and cooperation we might get some in return) we again allowed to be held up in the middle of New England - actually in Wonalancet, N. H. , just a couple of miles from Seeley's home. This, of course, was about as remote and inconvenient as we could get, for the vast majority of our members. This meeting, however, was a major step forward, in that Eva Seeley was not re-elected to anything. And this was not my doing: she alienated too many members outside her own group. It didn't help any when she hired a high- powered boston lawyer, and brought him into our meeting to make sure the rest of us did not pull any illegal shenanigans! (the lawyer's name was Kenneth Tiffin. He had been an official of the American Kennel club, and at the time, I believe he was president of the Great Dane Club of America. More on Mr. Tiffin later. ) At the 1954 annual meeting, I was re-elected a director and elected president. We continued to be fair; we elected Nelson Butler of the New England group to our board of directors, and appointed Dr. Lombard as our delegate to AKC. We also decided to incorporate - in the state of New Hampshire, as a further gesture to Seeley and our New England members. Shortly thereafter, we became the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, inc. Incidentally, in the interest of accuracy, it is necessary to point out that Mrs. Seeley was not the founder of our club. I cannot remember exactly when we achieved official AKC recognition as the parent club of our breed - it probably was in 1953 - but I know for sure after we had grown into a truly representative national organization (over Eva Seeley's vigorous objections), thereby meeting the requirements of the American Kennel Club. In my view, it was probably not until the 1954 annual meeting that we really became and began to act like, a national breed club. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Barb-Far's Marclar's Machook Moosecat M'Loot
MENU Standard of the breed The original standard was based on the Kotzebue dogs, because it was written by the people who had Kotzebue dogs. In all, it wasn't a bad job and it never occurred to me to try to change it. Contrary to some opinions, I was never one who believed “the bigger, the better” when it comes to Malamutes. Still, I thought that 20 -inch, 50 -pound bitches and 22 -inch, 65 -pound males - allowed by the standard - were smaller than Malamutes ought to be. And I could not see that 23 -inch, 70 -pound bitches and 25 -inch, 85 -pound males should be the upper limit of our breed. But we had been showing our larger dogs under that standard and were doing quite well. Only one judge ever put down one of our dogs for being over the standard size, and I could live with that. It was Eva Seeley who wanted to change the standard. She had come to Washington, D. C. in early 1953 to show one of her dogs at the National Capitol Show. It was a large turnout for those days, and it included dogs from several different areas of the country. Her dog didn't do all that well, while our king-size Geronimo took Best of Breed. She didn't like that. So after the judging she called a meeting of all the Malamute owners and announced that on her way home she would stop at AKC to “see my good friend John Neff” and have our standard “clarified” to disqualify all Malamutes who were over the sizes stated! She said the original intent was to disqualify; they just overlooked making that clear. This announcement created quite a stir, as you might expect. Almost everyone's dogs were over 25", 85 lbs and bitches over 23", 70 lbs. We were all fairly naive about AKC: based on her claimed relationship with “good friend John Neff”, whom we did recognize as the guy who pretty much ran AKC, we figured maybe she just might be able to pull it off. We heard no more about it, though, until October that year, at the Big National Specialty in Rye, NY. After judging, Mrs. Seeley (now the president) convened an official meeting and the first thing she did was to introduce the executive vice president of AKC - her good friend, John Neff! We were totally taken by surprise, and most of us fully expected him to make some pronouncements about disqualification's that we really did not want to hear. But he spoke briefly, complimented us on our large turnout and the excellence of our dogs, and then departed. This was a happy surprise. The first point of business at the meeting then, was “standard clarification”. By obvious pre-arrangement, Delta Wilson made a motion that Eva Seeley be designated as chairman (we didn't have “chairpersons” in those days) of a standard review committee and appoint her own committee members to serve with her! Fortunately, we had the votes to put a stop to that sort of thing. I made a short speech about democracy, and upon my motion we voted to elect a committee representative of the membership as a whole. Then, with fair and proper consideration for all points of view, we voted Mrs. Seeley a seat on the committee. Bill Dawson, Ralph Schmitt, Jean Lane and I were also elected. Bob Zoller Interview Ch. Mulpus Brook's Master Otter Ch. Mulpus Brook's The Bear first BOG in the breed history
MENU Leaning over backwards - again - trying to accommodate Eva Seeley, which we did on so many occasions, turned out to be a bad idea. She was dead set on regaining control of the breed by disqualifying as many competitors as possible, and she would not give an inch. We argued for two years. Dawson, Schmitt and I agreed on what we felt was a correct, fair and representative standard. Jean Lane, for reasons known only to her, just would not function and contributed nothing whatsoever. Mrs Seeley insisted on the sizes in the original standard with automatic disqualification's for any over that size. (but not for being under that size). She wanted to add five other disqualification's as well! After two years of getting nowhere, the best we could do was to give our membership a choice: the majority report, the Seeley minority, or leave the standard unchanged. 107 members voted - 73 for the Zoller-Dawson-Schmitt version (as I remember, Jean Lane didn't even vote), 9 for Seeley's and 25 for no change. AKC added the 25 to the 9 and said that was “significant opposition”. They said we couldn't change anything without a “more unanimous” opinion. So the committee was disbanded in October 1956 after some 2 ½ years of hard work, and I declined to waste any more time on the standard review matter. Let someone else do it, for a change. In September 1957, Martha Gormley, then president, appointed a new standard committee consisting of Bill Dawson, Dorothy Dillingham and Hal Pearson. I felt this was a fair committee, in that it represented the three points of view among our members - although not at all in proportion to the number of members in each group. (but then it didn't have to be: any sane person knows the majority isn't always right. ) at any rate, Pearson liked the big Husky-Pak dogs, Dillingham was a Seeley- Kotzebue fan, and Dawson - whose bear was 25", 85 lbs and often lost to king- size Cherokee - was solidly in the middle. Size, really, was the major bone of contention from the beginning to end. The new committee finally reached an intelligent compromise: instead of defining a size range they settled for a statement that “the desirable sizes” were 25/85 and 23/75, males and bitches. Otherwise, the revised was pretty much as written in our earlier majority report. I remember writing many of the words that still exist: “there is a natural range in size in this breed”, and also that “size considerations should not outweigh that of type, proportion and functional attributes. . . ”. I remember writing the closing paragraph: “important - in judging Alaskan Malamutes, their function as a sledge dog for heavy freighting must be given consideration above all else”. And the words that follow that statement. There were no size disqualification's in the committee's recommendation so, of course, Eva Seeley denounced it and voted no. But the membership approved it in november 1959 and AKC gave it their blessing in april 1960, nearly seven years after our first committee was elected and began its work. Bob Zoller Interview Bob Zoller & Cherokee of Husky-Pak Zoller work with his dogs
MENU What happened then is why I feel now that anyone who suggests “revising” the standard to spell out whether red Malamutes (or whatever) are acceptable, etc. , ought to be chained to an iceflow and set adrift in the bering sea. Of course, the standard is not perfect; it's a compromise. But it's one we can all live with. I could write a standard better than the one we have. And so could Penny Devaney, whose knowledge of our breed I respect. But I know what it takes to get an “almost unanimous” approval by 800 -some-odd members, most of whom want a standard that describes their dogs. I also think you don't want anymore details than our standard now has. You don't want judges to come into the with scales and a tape measure. You don't want a standard with so many words that most judges won't read them, and the ones who do will not remember what they read! Before I leave this matter of size, a few final words: despite what our standard says, I am not at all convinced that 85 -lb males and 75 -lb females are “the ideal freighting size”. That statement was a compromise, the best we could do then, and a lot better than the way it was. But I always felt the “original” Malamute was a big dog, even after many generations of survival in a harsh environment. I think the old photos show that. In the 1950 s, near Lake Placid, NY, I saw real, honest-to-god good-type Malamutes, brought out of the arctic by Jacques Suzanne, that were bigger than any real Malamutes I have seen before or since. For many reasons I was told that anyone who ever worked sled dogs had found the big dogs “much less efficient” than the smaller ones. Some even said any dog over 80 -lbs was clumsy and more likely to break down and drop out. Not being a driver, I couldn't argue. But now that opinion has been made to look silly by Will Steger and his gallant companions who journeyed totally across antarctica in what has to be said to be the greatest feat of human and canine endurance ever on this earth. They accomplished this with teams of 100 -lb dogs - and their performance was magnificent! Susan Butcher and her smaller Iditarod dogs are to be much admired. Let us all keep in mind that Iditarod is a race, not a freighting event. The Malamute is “not intended as a racing sled dog”. . . He is a “sledge dog for heavy freighting”. Anyone disagree? It's in our standard. And now - again - let me be perfectly clear: I did not say, the bigger the better. And in no way am I suggesting we rewrite the standard to conform to my opinions. Bob Zoller Interview The famous sketch of Zoller with Geronimo, Takoma, Sioux and Cochise Geronimo - Apache Chief of Husky-Pak
MENU The plot thickens (enter John Hofft and John B. Roth) By late 1954, Eva Seeley was an unhappy woman, to say the least. She was no longer allowed to run the breed and the club, her dogs were not winning anything important, AKC had registered a lot of dogs she claimed were not Malamutes (i. e. Kotzebue), and it looked like she was failing in her efforts to eliminate the competition by rewriting the standard. There were rumors she was up to something and a good guess was that it had nothing to do with establishing a Husky-Pak fan club. Soon we heard she was gathering “facts” to prove our dogs were not purebred. She had told a number of people that Dave Irwin, Dick Hinman, Hazel Wilton, Paul Voelker and Brud Gardner - all breeders of dogs behind my stock - had “admitted” their dogs were not purebred Malamutes! I immediately checked with Hinman and Wilton and they said this was totally untrue. Seeley had said Jean Lane was with Paul Voelker on the occasion when he had repudiated all his M’Loot dogs, and Jean Lane said this never happened. “quite the opposite, ” she maintained, “Paul said his were purebred, and a lot better than hers!” My friend Jim Lynn was a friend of Brud Gardner, so I asked him to check that one out. Brud told Jim that Seeley had approached him, asking that he sign certain “affidavits” and he flatly refused because “they were based on falsehood. ” On january 23, 1955, I received a most interesting letter. It was from margaret Tracy Irwin, wife of Dave Irwin. These people did not know me at all. They did not even know where I lived. S they addressed their letter to me in “care of the American Kennel Club”! Something strange was going on, she wrote in her letter, and they thought I should know about it. She said that a man named John Hofft had popped in at the Irwin's a few months previously, with no money, no job and a truck-full of hungry Malamutes. Irwin's had helped, fed the dogs and gave him a job. Some weeks later, he left. Now he had come back. Mrs. Irwin wrote: “recently the man has been calling, writing and coming here to get affidavits signed by Mr. Irwin. Since he had not been successful, a letter we received yesterday took on a most threatening tone. ” The letter, she said, was signed by a "John B. Roth" - but was “suspiciously in the handwriting of one John Hofft”! It was a long and rambling letter, but among other things it said: “Mrs Seeley has letters you wrote to Mr. Wolff also one fingerprinted affidavit from Lowell Thomas, Margaret Dewey, Jack O'Brien and Dick Moulton. ” Bob Zoller Interview Kobuk's Dark Beauty ('53)
MENU “Mr. Zoller, president of the Malamute club, wrote John a letter claiming you have a terrible reputation and that you couldn't tell the difference between a Malamute and Siberian Husky. Zoller for years has controlled the Malamute and Siberian situation and no dog could be registered unless approved by him. Zoller could expose you as a phony who was never in the arctic and never was in king Williamland, who simply was lost in the arctic. The affidavits are for your protection. I have spent a lot of money over this registration business, taking officers of the kennel club out to dinner and shows on broadway. Registrations do not come cheap. I have spent over $50. 00 in the last few days buying scotch for different officials. Now I don't intend to spend a lot of money to come all the way up to milford to get those affidavits. “(further on: )” now Mr. Irwin, these affidavits are for your protection because Mr. Hofft and Mrs. Seeley have enough affidavits and letters to put Zoller on the lam and get their dogs registered. Both Hofft and Seeley are going through regardless whether you furnish affidavits or not. Zoller will put you over a barrel to save himself. For you to hold back the affidavits you are not going to stop Mr. Hofft and Seeley from putting Zoller on the pan because they intend to do it anyway and let Zoller pass the buck on to you. ” I responded to Mrs. Irwin and tried to explain what I thought was happening. When she wrote back she enclosed a photocopy of the “John B. Roth” letter. I found several Hofft letters in my files, compared the handwriting, and found beyond any doubt that John Hofft was “John B. Roth”. Mrs. Irwin also wrote: “there is a garage man, Terpster by name, who befriended Hofft, and to whom David took our Pontiac station wagon after Hofft had messed it up. He told David that Mrs. Seeley was tempting Hofft with a promise of getting him to the South Pole expedition coming up. Hofft perhaps would do anything to get to such a place, although I doubt it is sincere on her part. He had nothing but horrible things to say about her when he was here, and then suddenly he became pen pals with her!” It was hard for me to believe all this was happening, but there it was, in black and white, before my very eyes. About the same time, several members noticed and complained that the AMCA column in the AKC gazette always included a small head study of a dog with a forlorn and unappealing expression, that was a poor advertisement for our breed. They suggested we come up with a better photo. The board agreed. But since the dog shown was one of Seeley's we were very careful to set up a fair system for selecting a replacement. We solicited unidentified photos from our membership. (as I remember, it was one of Toro that was finally chosen. ) Bob Zoller Interview Aabara of Redhorse ('59) Karohonta's Voodoo Flame ('60)
MENU But of course the very announcement that we were considering a change was greeted by the expected Seeley tantrum and related threats: she was going to protest to AKC and “demand proof” of pure breeding of the dog selected, etc. I guess this one was the straw that broke the Camel's back. Not long after that, I received a strange letter from her. It started out by inquiring about the health and well being of my wife and children and sending them her best wishes. And then, it issued an ultimatum; I was to prove to her that my dogs were purebred Malamutes and do so within ten days! Failure to comply would result in her immediate launching of an AKC investigation! At the same time she sent a letter to each member on our board of directors which said, “the American Kennel Club must now prove to me that the persons who signed off affidavits of pedigrees and made their own declaration as to these pedigrees being of purebred of the same breed, have not been impostors. ” I wrote back, a long letter, saying to her that things were getting out of hand that her constant harping and outlandish accusations were damaging our breed and our club; but most of all were damaging to her; that many of our members who honored her for her pioneering efforts in the 1930 s were now saddened at seeing the disruptive influence she had become. I felt sorry for her, and with complete sincerity I suggested in my letter that before she issued any more threats, she should check her judgment with some of the people she trusted - Dr. Lombard, Edna Lawlor, Delta Wilson. I also wrote to the Lombards and the Lawlors. They were good and reasonable people, I thought: I especially liked Edna Lawlor. Dr. Lawlor had a Malamute team - some were registered, some not - and his main interest was racing. He persisted in running his Malamutes against the Siberian teams and I don't think he won very often, if at all. Lombard, a veterinarian, was one of the best and best-known dog drivers in the world. He ran Siberians exclusively, but always had a Malamute or two around the place. I asked them to do me no favors, but to please help Mrs. Seeley stop making a fool of herself; that if she would use a little common sense and back off a bit, she could possibly regain some of the respect she had earned a few years previously. I pointed out that while I was the target, literally dozens of other people were involved; if she persisted in her efforts to destroy thework of so many people over so many years, we would have to take whatever counter-measures became necessary, and Eva Seeley would be a certain loser in the process. I never heard a peep from the Lombards and the Lawlors, and I do not know why. Could be, they too were finally fed up with Mrs. Seeley and decided to let her go hang. More likely, they agreed with her and hoped she could get rid of all the new people and new dogs and return to the cozy little family set-up they had in the past. It is also possible that neither the Lombards nor the Lawlors cared enough, one way or the other, to become involved. I never was able to figure it out. Bob Zoller Interview Erowah Cinnaman ('61)
MENU Bob Zoller Interview Robert Zoller story Part III Final chapter Seeley vs. Zoller: the charges In October that year I was notified by AKC that Mrs. Seeley had formally accused me of knowingly breeding mixed-breed dogs and representing them to be purebred Malamutes. If I wished to deny these charges, I could present my arguments at a formal trial at AKC headquarters in New York City. Included were photocopies of the letters that Mrs. Seeley had submitted as "proof". There were a couple of letters from a man named R. Gibson Perry, a retired medical doctor, establishing that in 1936 he had purchased certain dogs from Milton Seeley. Other letter's established that Brud Gardner had obtained some puppies from Dr. Perry and in due course had bred one called "Alaska ", and sold one of her female pups named "Sitka" to Dick Hinman later had mated Sitka with Irwin's Gemo, producing a dog who later sired my "Kayak of Brookside". I realized immediately, of course, that the same dogs were ancestors of Spawn's Alaska and therefore, of course, of Geronimo, Takoma, Cherokee, Sioux, Eagle, Echako, Machook, etc. Even Dawson's "Bear" and Pearson's Banshee and Aabara (national specialty winners) were involved. In short, most of the National Specialty Winners over a period of years, and virtually all of the top dogs and bitches of that era! So the Seeley charges seemed to be based totally on this: our dogs and many others went back to one or more dogs the Seeley's had owned some twenty years before - and she now claimed they were not purebred Malamutes. I kept looking through the material AKC had sent me, searching for her proof. I couldn't find any. I wrote AKC saying they must have forgotten to send me everything they had planned to. They replied and said no, that was it. That was everything. It was hard for me to believe the whole case boiled down to this: Eva Seeley said the ancestors of my dogs were not Malamutes. All I would have to do is prove they were Malamutes. Question: at this early stage in the development of the breed, how do you do that? Since all Malamutes in 1936 - including hers - were only a generation or two from "unknown", we couldn't prove that the ancestors of our dogs were purebred Malamutes, just as she couldn't prove anything, one way or the other, about her dogs. According to AKC, all Malamutes were "eskimo dogs" before 1935! Glacier Lady of the Artic ('63) Glacier Storm Kloud ('65)
MENU In my defense brief - mine was hardly "brief", more like a textbook - I took several approaches. I pointed out that she had no proof whatever to substantiate the charges, that her whole case was based solely on her claim that my dogs were not Malamutes. My claim was that Eva Seeley was famous throughout the Malamute world for labeling all Malamutes not of her own breeding as eskimo or crossbred dogs, and that she had been doing this for many years, and nobody any longer believed her or took her seriously. I also called attention to her repudiation of her own Kotzebue dogs - Toro and the others who had slipped away from her control. This consistent pattern of behavior, I said, should show her claims had no validity. One thing, however, had me worried. That was the unique nature of our breed in those times - so recently out of the arctic, so close to the "unknown". I knew the members of the trial board knew nothing about Malamutes, and so could totally err in their findings by not realizing how different our breed was from most others. So I wrote a fairly lengthy history of our breed. And to put Seeley's charges in proper perspective, I submitted a lengthy history of her attempts to eliminate the competition by revising the standard, to control the Club, to discredit all dogs not of her own. I emphasized that this case was in no way a simple "Seeley vs. Zoller" matter, but rather an attempt to destroy the work of years by as many as seventy members of our Club (the vast majority as of then) and even including eight of the nine people serving on our board of directors. I established that the fourteen "Seeley years" had produced two AKC champions in our breed, while the following five years had produced 61 - most of which she was now trying to discredit and render useless for all further breeding programs. I even pointed out the Seeley charges made AKC itself look pretty silly: I enclosed a list of 46 AKC-licensed judges - all of them among the best known dog judges of those times - who had judges these "eskimo dogs or arctic mongrels" and put them up as the best Alaskan Malamutes in our country. If they couldn't tell crossbreds from purebreds they were obviously incompetent and should have their licenses revoked. This case, I suggested should be renamed "Seeley vs. Everybody including AKC!“ I also covered the whole story about the Irwin's Gemo - John B. Roth case as an indication of how far she would go to build her case. I submitted copies of letters from Irwin, Hinman, Brud Gardner and Mrs. Wilton to show that everyone in the chain had bought, owned, bred and sold these dogs and their progeny as purebred Malamutes. Almost everyone. One line is missing: Dr. Gibson Perry. This concerned me more than somewhat: I did not know this man at all, but I had heard Mrs. Seeley praised him and quoted him on many occasions. I figured he was either a relative or a close friend of the family, and as such might be willing to sign anything just to help her out. Bob Zoller Interview Inuit's Wooly Bully ('65) Voyageurs Cougar ('66)
MENU I had no choice but to find out. I learned he was retired and living in the woods way up on the vermont border with Canada. Jim Lynn offered to drive me there, a long trip. After two days of fast driving, we arrived in a mid- afternoon. It was november. Cold. I remember the skies were dark gray. It was just beginning to snow. We had no idea what to expect. When the old doctor found out who we were and why we had come, maybe he'd throw us out. It was make-or-break time, I knew that for sure. He came to the door of his cabin. He was indeed an old man, in his eighties I found out. Didn't see too well. But he was, I soon learned, a right sharp senior citizen. "Dr. Perry? ", I inquired. He said "yes". I said, "I've come to talk to you about Eva Seeley”. He held up his hand to stop me. He took out a match and lit his pipe. Then in a moment or two - without knowing anything more about me, or why I was there - he volunteered his opinion of Eva Seeley. Throughout this account of the critical years in our breed's history I have, in the interest of accuracy and historical perspective, been totally frank - perhaps more so than some readers may feel is necessary. But so much misinformation still exists, it must be corrected, and I have done so with considerably more charity than I ever received from Eva Seeley or any of her friends. Still, I cannot bring myself to tell you what Dr. Perry said, although the exact words are etched forever in my memory. But I knew then for sure that if we ended up losing our case at AKC, it wouldn't be due to Dr. Gibson Perry. One of the printable things he said about Mrs. Seeley was that she drove him crazy. Always pestering him "to sign something or other". We talked at some length. More than an hour. When we left he had given us a letter that said: "to whom it may concern": "the dogs I purchased from Milton Seeley in 1936 were represented by him to be Alaskan Malamutes and were understood by me to be of that breed. The dogs I mated to produce the pup I sold to Vernon (Brud) Gardner were purebred of the Malamute breed. I have never had reason to suspect that those dogs were crossbred or purebred of any other breed. I have owned other sledge dogs, but the above facts apply to the dogs in question; those purchased by me from Milton Seeley in 1936. I have never told Eva Seeley, or anyone else, otherwise. " Bob Zoller Interview Baronof ('68) Karohonta Conestoga ('68)
MENU The trial There were several delays, postponements and changes in the composition of the trial board, so the hearing did not take place until june 1956. Jim Lynn went with me. He was our AMCA delegate to AKC, and came along as a witness to verify the Brud Gardner and Dr. Perry statements in case that became necessary. My wife, Laura and Connie Lynn were there, too. But just along for the ride. We arrived at the AKC offices in Manhattan before the others. Nobody knew us, but we told the receptionist who we were, and we were asked to have a seat in the waiting room. People we didn't know kept walking in and out, and no one spoke to us or paid any attention. AKC had told me most people hire an attorney for cases like this, but I figured I would handle it on my own. Besides, (with apologies to any lawyer reading this) the money I'd save would buy us a nice trip to europe later on. Or a new car. Someday. (maybe) Then a lot of people came into the waiting room, all at the same time. A half dozen or more well-dressed, distinguished-looking gentlemen in their fifties or sixties, obviously lawyers, probably members of the trial board, and some AKC officials. Eva Seeley was with them and I recognized Mr. Tiffin, Seeley's lawyer from Boston. Being President of the Great Dane Club of America and a former AKC official, he was well known there and was shaking hands with everyone. As a matter of fact, everyone was laughing, shaking hands and slapping each other on the back like long-lost buddies. Or fraternity brothers. Seeley was right in the middle of the festivities, being treated like it was a family reunion and she was one of the family! Jim Lynn looked at me and shrugged, with a "win some, lose some" expression on his face. I felt terrible. If ever I saw a stacked deck of cards, this was it. It occurred to me that maybe I had lost the case before the trial even started. However, the trial board turned out to be courteous and imminently fair. Seeley got to present her case first. She brought in John Hofft as a witness and he told a lot of lies about me. This really hurt, since he was once a customer of mine and I had done a number of favors for him over the years. I could not believe what I was hearing. But as he continued to berate me, I began to realize he was such a bad liar he was probably doing more damage to their side than mine. When my turn came, I think I was able to discredit him completely. I brought up a few character flaws I knew about and I introduced Mrs. Irwin's letters and the ridiculous John B. Roth letter. Hofft denied writing this, of course, and I told the trial board that it was so obvious that any handwriting expert - even one who wasn't very good at it - could easily identify the writing as Hofft's. And I insisted on having this done if the board had any doubts who was lying and who was telling the truth. Bob Zoller Interview Glacier’ Santa Man ('68) Aristeed's Frost Shadow ('69)
MENU I accused Seeley of bribing John Hofft and there was no real response to that, either from Seeley or her lawyer. They just changed the subject. One thing surprised me: Seeley and her attorney introduced matters at the trial that were not included in their original charges! I though that was illegal. With no advance notice, they brought Irwin's Gemo into their case. They had not mentioned him in their original charges, obviously because dave Irwin had refused to sign their affidavits. But now they claimed he was not a Malamute because he had been shown as an eskimo dog in 1934! They did not back up their charges with any information or proof of any kind-no mention of when or where or anything else! This caught me by surprise. But then it dawned on me that Gemo wasn't even born yet in 1934!! I said so, and then I also said it didn't really make any difference anyway, because all Malamutes were "eskimo dogs" under AKC's definition until they acknowledged ours as a separate breed; and that didn't happen until 1935 - at least a full year later than the alleged showing took place! And then I declared most emphatically that I could prove that gemo was shown as an Alaskan Malamute at the Westminster K. C. show in Madison Square Garden in 1941 and again in 1942, after AKC recognized our Malamutes as a breed separate and distinct from the eskimo. Introducing such a careless accusation with no evidence whatever to back it up, was, I am sad to say, typical Eva Seeley behavior. But I could not imagine her big-time Boston lawyer doing anything that dumb. When it happened, I began to feel a lot more at ease about handling my own case without legal representation. The other new "evidence" presented without any advance notice was a statement by Paul Voelker that was potentially damaging to my defense and to all owner's of M’Loot dogs (of which there were many). Apparently after Hofft had failed to bulldoze Dave Irwin, he had gone to Arizona where voelker was living at the time, and tried the same thing with him. I had no way of knowing whether the Voelker statements presented at the trial were authentic or forgeries, and I said so. I also said that, by several years of corresponding with Voelker, I had figured him to be not totally reliable and something of an egotist who considered everyone else in the breed as a "Johnny-come-lately", or an "impostor". That he was intent on playing the role of the master, with all others as devoted disciples. I had letters from him calling his best customers - the Schmitts and Jean Lane - stupid people who refused to follow his teachings and who had "ruined" the dogs he sold them. Since Voelker was totally out of the business, and I believed quite jealous of how far the breed had progressed beyond where he was able to take it, it was possible he may have decided to repudiate his M’Loot dogs to get even for imagined wrong. Bob Zoller Interview Kodara's Koona Karohonta (196? ) T'Domar's Bismark (196? )
MENU Possible, I said at the trial, but not likely. It was easy to prove that for all of the years he had been in the dog business, he had consistently represented his dogs to be not only purebred Malamutes, but by far the best Malamutes on planet earth! It would take a lot more than "affidavits" by Seeley and Hofft to convince me the documents they presented against the M’Lloot dogs had any more validity than the rest of their case. Finally they got to the matter of the Perry dogs and I figured this was the big, high, hard one of the Seeley case. And just about the time I was beginning to feel quite comfortable, her lawyer tossed Dr. Perry onto the table a document about the dogs bought from Milton Seeley in 1936 - and it included the statement, “these dogs not of purebreeding!” I was dumbfounded. What in hell was happening here? All I could do, of course, was to present my letter signed by Dr. Perry which stated positively that the dogs were Alaskan Malamutes. I called on Jim Lynn as a witness to tell the story of our visit to Dr. Perry's camp and attest to the validity of my document. Then I told the trial board I could not explain the conflicting documents but it wouldn't be all that difficult to contact Dr. Perry and find out from him which of us had presented the true facts, and I insisted that this be done. At that point, Mr. Tiffin began to whisper to Mrs. Seeley, and in a moment or two (rather painfully, I thought) he explained to the trial board that Mrs. Seeley had herself, typed in the words, "these dogs not of purebreeding" above Dr. Perry's signature, after he had signed it! (I told you early in this story that some of the things that happened in those days were indeed incredible. I don't know what records AKC has kept on this trial or how detailed they would be. But if a complete transcript still exists and is available, it will show this account to be totally accurate). I cannot remember every detail, but I do know that another document signed by Dr. Perry turned up at the trial, and it included the words "not of purebreeding". Immediately after the trial concluded, Jim Lynn drove all the way to the Canada-Vermont border to see if Dr. Perry could explain how that had happened. Dr. Perry was away on a hunting trip, but his granddaughter remembered. "Just as he was ready to leave", she told Jim Lynn, "Mrs. Seeley pulled in with some papers for him to sign. He refused and she told him it was nothing but a statement that he had bought some dogs from the Seeleys at one time. He didn't have his glasses, so he accepted her word and signed. Then he told her to leave as he was in a hurry". The granddaughter said she would tell Dr. Perry what had happened when he returned. He would be mad, she said, and he would go to AKC personally and give his views on Mrs. Seeley if that were necessary. Although the trial was over, the findings of the trial board would not be announced immediately. So I sent this new information to AKC, just in case. I knew the future of the entire breed was at stake, so I would leave no stone unturned! Bob Zoller Interview Tote-Um's Sno-Star ('70) Inuit's Sweet Lucifer ('70)
MENU The verdict and the appeal A couple of weeks later we were notified that the Seeley charges were not sustained and that the case was dismissed. Seeley and her lawyer, however, immediately appealed the verdict to the AKC board of directors as a whole. Mr. Tiffin's appeal brief, which AKC sent me, was three pages of undiluted hogwash containing statements like this: "there is further contradicted evidence to be found in the transcript that certain of the dogs in the line of Kayak were first shown as Siberian Huskies. . . “. Unbelievable! Another new accusation never before mentioned in the charges or introduced at the trial! And therefore - think about it-there was no possible way for them to be "found in the transcript" as stated. I cannot believe Mr. Tiffin, a lawyer, did not know his tactics were improper. And more important, like everything else charged in this trial, his statement about "shown as Siberian Huskies" was not accompanied by explanation as to which dogs, which shows, when, by whom, or any evidence or proof of any kind! When I studied Mr. Tiffin's appeal brief, I found no substance whatever. The appeal was based on his claim that with all the affidavits I had submitted, "the people probably were not telling the truth". And the board, he said, should really decide the case on " Mrs. Seeley's own testimony which I do not believe can be questioned. (Maybe I'm wrong, but that seems to me to be quite a claim about a woman who typed in "these dogs not of purebreeding" over Dr. Perry's signature and introduced it as evidence at the trial!). I did not even attend the appeal hearing in New York on November 28, 1956. In due course, I was notified that the appeal was denied. Aftermath Several people who had followed the case suggested I should sue Mrs. Seeley for slander, libel, and defamation of character. I did not. I will fight to defend my interests, but not to get even. I had won the case, but it took nearly two years of my time, a great deal of hard work, and a right fair amount of money I could ill afford in those days. She had lost her case. But she never really paid the price - not when you consider the tactics she used. Many who knew what happened excused her. Looked the other way. Again. People believe what they want to believe. I didn't care. I was in favor of sweeping it all under the rug, now that she was no longer a threat to our Malamute breed. I actually felt sorry for Eva Seeley - although at times I cannot understand why! At any rate I refrained from publishing the whole story for more than thirty years. I am convinced also that it never occurred to Eva Seeley that anything she had done was wrong. Even a little bit wrong. In a few years, I was out of it - and I think that at least in some measure the way I had been treated had something to do with my getting out. On the other hand we had made a number of close and lasting friendships. We met a lot of interesting "characters" and some really good people. Jim Lynn was always 100% with his support, and the Pearsons and gormleys and the Dawsons and some others were solidly on my side from start to finish. Bob Zoller Interview Inuit's Sweet Lucifer ('70) Uyak Buffalo Bill ('71)
MENU But I think everyone who owned Kotzebue dogs wanted Seeley to win, and they didn't care how. (Human nature is like that. Even as I write, millions of Arabs worldwide revere and support Saddam Hussein simply because he is Arab, and nothing else counts). Most of our AMCA members realized I was fighting to save their dogs as well as my own, and therefore were firm allies at the time. But quite apart from the trial, and except for a few of us in the middle, our Malamute people remained mostly Kotzebue or M’Loot fanatics and they viewed each other with about the same amount of trust and affection we see with the jews and the arabs in the middle east today. Since I had said some nice things about both strains, I was viewed with suspicion by both camps. Winning a lot didn't help me much either. You know and I know that our dogs are more like our kids than just possessions. This overstates to make a point, but: you beat me stamp collection and I will admire your stamp collection; you beat my dog in the show ring and I'll hate you forever-and probably the judge as well! Some of this you have to expect, but a little goes a long way. Over time, you get a it tired of it. Things like this bothered me: just before the trial, a prospective customer in California wrote: "A touch matter has come up. Another breeder out here wants us to take one of her bitches. . I told her after seeing Geronimo's picture, I wanted a daughter of his. She wrote back quite a reply. Before you hit the ceiling, let me state again, I like Apache Chief and definitely feel he's the most beautiful Malamute I've ever seen - whatever is said about him. I still like him and want his daughter. Her letter read, "I'm reasonably well acquainted with the stock. . . The dam is an excellent specimen. (Author's note: that was Kelerak. ). The sire, Apache Chief, is the dog I spoke of, that is under fire with the AKC. What a shame that a bitch of her quality was bred to a dog of questionable background". I never said anything about that letter, but it's the kind of thing that's hard to forget; the kind of behavior that makes the dog hobby less joyful than it ought to be. I'm sure there's still some of this going around. But those of you who came into our breed in the 1960's or since, found everything pretty neatly packaged and not a lot different than in most other breeds. It may be difficult for you to understand what things were like in the early days. That's mainly why I am telling you this story. Great dogs like Geronimo and Takoma and Cherokee and Sioux were only a few generations from "unknown". So they were maligned constantly by Eva Seeley and some others who's own dogs were even closer to "unknown". They used the term "foundation stock" as if it applied solely to the Seeley dogs. Actually, Irwin's Gemo and Sitka and the early M’Loot dogs were foundation stock as well. Bob Zoller Interview J-Len's Gallopin' Jimlet ('71) Lorien's Man O War of Sno Ridge ('72)
MENU Bob Zoller Interview And consider this: Ch. Gripp of Yukon, one of the first Seeley dogs to be registered was by Yukon Jad out of Bessie is described as "a Greenland Eskimo" by none other than Eva Seeley herself in her book, "Chinook and his family". What's more, Yukon Jad was sired by Grey Cloud - a dog whose owner, Frank Berton of Dawson, in the Yukon Territory, claimed was "about three-quarter wolf". (To give credit where it is due, the above information was the result of research by Richard Tobey, who in my opinion, knows more about the early history of our breed than anyone else in the world). Now please understand, you cannot use the above facts to indicate the Seeley dogs therefore were not Malamutes. Every breed has to start somewhere. Malamutes regardless of bloodline - all go back to "unknown". Which isn't at all bad when you consider that most other breeds go back to known dogs of other breeds! A postscript One final note. Years later - 1975? - the phone rang. It was Maxwell Riddle. I didn't know this man personally, but I remembered him as one of the best and best-known dog judges in America. He told me he was working with Eva Seeley to produce an authoritative book on Alaskan Malamutes. I said, "that sounds like a contradiction; to me "Mrs. Seeley" and "authoritative" are mutually exclusive. Since she claims there are no Malamutes except her own; obviously you will be writing a very short book!“ Mr. Riddle said he was definitely including our Husky-Pak dogs. That's why he was calling; he needed to verify some of the facts and figures. We talked at some length, and I'm sure he was hearing a lot of things from me that he hadn't heard from her. He asked if I would be willing to put some of it down on paper. A bit later on he wrote to thank me for the material I had sent to him. "What I have done", he explained, "is to have a chapter in the beginning by Eva Seeley, and another chapter in the beginning by Robert J. Zoller". And he added, "I am printing what you sent, word-forword. . . " Surprisingly, the Seeley-Riddle book was published just that way. Maybe you saw the book and wondered how this happened. So did I! Could it be that Seeley finally decided the hundreds of AKC-registered Alaskan Malamute champions were really Malamutes after all? I found out. . . . Years later, in September 1987, when I received another letter from Maxwell Riddle. He told me what had happened. "After the book was published", he said, "short Seeley refused to speak to me ever again!“ So that's what happened in our Alaskan Malamute breed in those critical years. Perhaps I have told you a lot more than you really want to know. This was a true life adventure and, like life for almost everyone, it was a bit sad in places. But I think it turned out well in the long run - for all of us who love this breed and want to be the very best it can be. Karohonta Skymaster ('73)
MENU Bob Zoller Interview In retrospect, I am proud of what I did to so effect (and protect) the quality of the Malamutes of today. I don't think about it often, but it hit me recently when Laura and I decided to drop in on a dog show for the first time in more than ten years. There, at quite some distance, we spotted a big male Malamute. "Look", I said, "a Husky-Pak dog!" Anyway he looked like one, an on closer examination we decided he was the best Malamute we had seen in many years. And I didn't have to see his pedigree to know that this magnificent dog would never have been born if the events I describe herein had turned out differently many years ago. And I'm willing to bet the same is true of virtually every top winning Malamute of the past twenty years! For me, my experience with Malamutes was a lot like my involvement in World War II (which isn't a bad analogy, come to think of it); I wouldn't have missed it for anything, but i'd never want to go through it again! Uyak Bison Bobby ('74) THE END! A particular thanks to those people that have allowed us to publish this material writing and photographic. Because of this great quantity of historical photographic material, it hasn't been possible to contact all the parties, or because many breedings don't exist anymore today or because hasn't been possible to find an address. In every way the photos published in this cd are been withdrawn by official breed websites. J-Len's Arctic Windjammer ('74)
MENU The serum race to nome In Memory of the Heroes Nome village had appeared on the map at the end of the 19 th century, during the period of the great gold rush. Located on the Seward peninsula, its population was over 20, 000 inhabitants. When gold mines closed, toward 1925, it had dropped to only 1, 400 souls. Nome was isolated by ice for seven months a year and the nearest railway line was 650 miles away, in the town of Nenana. Nome was able to communicate with the rest of the world by cable, a new invention in those days. Although Alaska was an American State, mail was dispatched along roads that could be trodden only by means of sleigh dogs; the path joining Ancorage with Nome was and is still called “Iditarod Trail”. It took the best “mushers” one month to run this distance. On the 20 th of January 1925 a radio message arrived: “This is Nome calling… We have a diphtheria outbreak… No serum… We badly need help… Nome calling…” The only doctor in Nome, Mr. Curtis Welch, had diagnosed a few cases of diphtheria, an extremely contagious disease affecting throat and lungs. The Inuits were particularly vulnerable; whole villages had been devastated by the first measles and flu epidemics, serum was dramatically urgent. “Seattle calling… We have serum supply here… Airplanes ready to take off…” but a tremendous Arctic storm was raging over Nome and winter temperatures plunged far below zero. At that time technical reasons prevented airplanes from facing those meteorological conditions. “Ancorage calling… localized 300, 000 serum units in our hospital… parcel can be sent to Nenana by train… weight of the parcel is 20 pounds… could be forwarded through the Iditarod Trail by means of dog teams…” Just like this! Even though it was the 20 th century, problems could not be solved by technology! Settlers had been putting their trust in brave men and strong dogs for years; they would trust them this time too. On the following day three children had died in Nome because of diphtheria, and other cases had been diagnosed. Time was a life or death matter! Replacement teams were rapidly organized along the Iditarod Trail. On the 27 th of January 1925 the serum got to Nenana by train and the dog team set off on their journey to Nome… Leonhard Seppala and Togo Balto
MENU The serum race to nome William "Wild Bill" Shannon led a team of nine Alaskan Malamutes from Nenana to Tolovana (52 miles). He received the antitoxin with the instructions at 11. 00 in the evening and left for Nenana. Besides the dogs’ panting and the shuffling of the sleigh through the snow, no other sound could be heard along the trail. Temperature was rapidly going down to 30° below zero when Shannon left, then dropped to 35°, 40°, 50° in the Arctic darkness. Shannon was literally freezing to death when he handed the serum over to Dan Green in Tolovana. In the archives Shannon is reported to have arrived in Tolovana on the following day at noon; he had no accidents during the journey. Wild Bill was killed by a grizzly a few years later. Dan Green didn’t meet any relevant difficulty during his trip of 32 miles from Tolovana to Manley Hot Springs. The temperature was 30° below freezing point. Without any accidents he passed the serum to Johnny Folger’s team. Johnny Folger, an Athabasca native, travelled with his team from Manley Hot Springs to Fish Lake for 28 miles in the night. The archives report that he ran this distance in record times, but we don’t know exactly how long it took him to get to Fish Lake to deliver the serum to Sam Joseph. 35 -year-old Sam Joseph, from the tribe of Tanana, ran from Fish Lake to Tanana (26 miles). He led a team of seven Malamutes; when he got to his home in Tanana, the temperature was 38° below zero. He had covered 26 miles in only two hours and forty-five minutes; satisfied with his performance he handed over the serum to Titus Nikolai, an Athabasca native, from Tanana to Kalland (34 miles). There is no news about Nikolai’s team. He passed the antitoxin to Dave Corning in Kalland. Dave Corning, from Kalland to Nine Mile Cabin (24 miles). We haven’t much information about Dave Corning’s team either. We know that he covered the distance at the record speed of 8 miles per hour and handed over the serum to Edgar Kalland, from Nine Mile Cabin to Kokrines (30 miles). Edgar had been a musher for the mail service and he made no mistakes during the trip. He was welcomed by Harry Pitka at Kokrines. Harry Pitka, a half-beed, from Kokrines to Ruby (30 miles). He ran a fast team of seven dogs along a trail in good condition; the average speed was 9 miles per hour. He punctually handed over the serum to the following team, led by Bill Mc. Carty, from Ruby to Whiskey Creek (28 miles). The lead dog of his team was Prince. Despite a bad storm the team ran at a good pace and passed the antitoxin to Edgar Nollner at 11. 00 in the morning on the 29 th January. The temperature was 40° below zero. Balto and Gunnar Kaasen Balto near "his" sculpture
MENU The serum race to nome Edgar Nollner, 21 years old, from Whiskey Creek to Galena (24 miles). The 8 -year-old lead dog of his team, composed of seven Alaskan Malamutes, was called Dixie. Edgar handed over the serum to his brother George at Galena. George Nollner, from Galena to Bishops Mountain (18 miles). George hadn’t been married for long when he left his new wife at Galena to take part in the great race. He is reported to have used the same team as Edgar, who had run the previous 24 miles. He handed over the serum to Charlie Evans, an Athabasca half native, 21 years old, from Bishops Mountain to Nulato (30 miles). He set off on his journey from Bishops Mountain at 5. 00 in the morning with a dreadful temperature of 64° below zero. He got to Nulato at 10. 00 in the morning, so covering 30 miles in only 5 hours. His team consisted of nine dogs; two had been borrowed and they both suffered from groin congealment during the journey. Tommy Patson "Patsy", a native of Koyukuk, from Nulato to Kaltag (36 miles). Patsy lived at Nulato. He ran on a fairly straight trail and smooth ground, the trail used for mail transportation. He reached the highest speed in the great race, 36 miles in only three hours and a half, at an average speed of about 10 -11 mph. Jackscrew, an Athabasca native, from Kaltag to Old Woman Cabin (40 miles). Jackscrew was a rather short man, known for his unusual strength. As soon as snow and darkness fell on him, he started running beside his lead dog to light up the path, till he passed the Kaltag Divide, where the trail sloped down to Norton Sound. He got to Old Woman Cabin at 9. 10 in the evening on Friday. His average speed was about 6 miles per hour along a difficult 40 -mile-long trail. Victor Anagick, an Eskimo native, from Old Woman Cabin to Unalakleet (34 miles). Victor ran with a team of 11 dogs. He covered a distance of 34 miles in 6 hours and got to Unalakleet at 3. 30 on Saturday morning. The antitoxin was now at 207 miles from Nome. Myles Gonangnan, an Eskimo native, from Unalakleet to Shaktolik (40 miles). Nothing is reported about this team, which, anyway, handed over the serum to Henry Ivanoff’s team at Shaktolik. Henry Ivanoff was partly Eskimo and partly Russian. After only half a mile from Shaktolik, his team attacked a reindeer. While he was untangling his dogs, the Russian Eskimo called Leonhard Seppala, the greatest musher in the territory, with Togo, one of the greatest dogs in the territory, was coming back from Nome to meet the musher who was carrying the serum. When he received it, he started off at all speed down the trail. Balto natural history museum - Cleveland
MENU The serum race to nome Leonhard Seppala, from Shaktolik to Golovin (91 miles). 48 -year-old Leonhard led a team of Siberian Huskies, the two lead dogs being Togo and Scotty. Leonhard had left Nome with the intention of intercepting the serum at Nulato. He knew nothing about the numerous replacement teams. Leonhard had left Isaac’s Point, on the northern side of Norton Bay, in the morning, and travelled for 43 difficult miles with a very strong wind at he back. When he intercepted Henry Ivanoff he took the serum, turned his team round and started off again in the wind along the trail. The temperature was 30° below the zero; he faced again the strong wind and darkness. In order to gain precious time, Leonhard took chances by choosing a shortcut on the ice, so saving 20 miles. The snowstorm was blinding. He relied on Togo for the safety of the team and not to lose the trail, and the dog didn’t disappoint him. Each dog in a team plays a vital role, but it’s the leader that must guide them through. Besides being brave and tough, a leader like Togo was obedient and had a mysterious instinct for finding the track and sensing danger. The strength of the wind threatened to break the ice at any moment. Togo led the team through a zone with jagged edges, while the ice creaked under the sleigh. Only three hours later the ice would break at Norton Sound. On the northern beach of Norton Bay Leonhard stopped the sleigh near an igloo, where he had spent the night before. He put the dogs in the kennel and fed them properly, then he took the serum out of the sleigh to warm it, in the hope that the storm would abate. On the Sunday morning the temperature was 30° below zero and the wind was raging. Once again Leonhard got on the sleigh and began the race in conditions nobody would have accepted, hadn’t it been a life or death matter. When he got to Dexter's Roadhouse at Golovin, his dogs collapsed on the trail exhausted. The serum was now 78 miles away from Nome and it was Charlie Olson’s responsibility to take it to the next stopover, Bluff. In total, Seppala’s team had covered the incredible distance of 260 miles! Charlie Olson, from Golovin to Bluff (25 miles). Charlie led a team of seven Alaskan Malamutes, whose leader was Jack. Charlie had left Gunnar Kaasen at Olson Roadhouse and had reached Golovin to wait for the serum. He left Golovin at 3. 15 on Sunday afternoon with a temperature at 30° below zero and a wind at 40 mph. Many a time his sleigh was knocked out of the trail by powerful blasts. The dogs’ movements were increasingly getting stiff because of the cold. He stopped and covered each dog with a blanket to prevent him from freezing. In order to do that he had to take off his gloves and suffered terribly, as if so many needles pierces his fingertips. Unluckily two of his dogs finished off badly with a groin congealment. In spite of the storm, Charlie arrived at Olson's Roadhousea Bluff at 7. 30 in the evening. There Gunnar Kaasen was awaiting, worried about the lot of his friend, who had faced the dreadful storm. Balto movie brochure
MENU The serum race to nome Gunnar Kaasen, from Bluff to Nome (52 miles). The lead dog of the team was called Balto. Gunnar was sent from Nome to Bluff to wait for the serum; while Ed Rohn was sent to Pt. Safety. On his way to Pt. Safety, Gunnar was unable to see the trail because of the tempest and had to rely on Balto. Kaasen had a premonition that the storm would even get worse; he would never have chosen Balto to lead his team. Balto had never been considered an excellent leader, though he was one of Seppala’s dogs, but he showed his boldness when he plunged into the roaring snowstorm. Along the trail he even stopped to rescue his musher and team from sure death in the Topkok river. As they got to Bonanza, a terrible blast of wind swept the team out of the trail and the sleigh overturned. After straightening up the sleigh and untangling the dogs, Gunnar realized that the serum was missing! He felt sick at heart and, falling on his knees in despair, he franticly searched for the serum. His bare hands miraculously found it in the middle of the snow. After he had crossed Bonanza, he covered the last 12 miles in 80 minutes and got to Safety at 2. 00 on Sunday morning. Ed Rohn was sleeping and Kaasen decided not to wake him up in order to save time. The worst part of the trail was now behind him and the dogs were in good condition, so Kaasen tackled the final 21 miles separating him from Nome. He reached his destination at 5. 30 on that Sunday morning. The town was safe! He had covered 53 miles in seven hours and a half. The serum was frozen but undamaged and it was immediately used to check the epidemic. Five days later the epidemic had been completely halted. Eskimo, Indian and White mushers carried the serum in “the Great Race of Mercy”. The replacement teams had stretched their endurance to the limit. The antitoxin was passed from frozen hands to frozen hands, till the last team brought hope to the town of Nome. Exhausted and half frozen after a 53 -mile race, Kaasen, Balto and the rest of the team were immediately considered heroes in the United States. The 674 - mile journey had been made in 127 hours and a half, a world record. The dogs’ glory was brief. Sol Lesser, a Hollywood film producer, brought the dogs to Los Angeles and created a 30 -minute film, “Balto’s Race to Nome”. Kaasen and his team then travelled about the States during the summer of 1925, but later Balto and the rest of the team were sold to an unknown producer of musical. Two years later Balto and his famous friends had become minor attractions. It seemed that the world had forgotten the “Heroes of Alaska”. Then George Kimble, a Cleveland businessman that was visiting Los Angeles, discovered the dogs exhibited for ten cents in a little museum and noticed they were sick and ill-treated. He knew Balto’s famous story and was shocked by this degradation. He made an agreement to purchase the dogs for $ 2, 000 and take them to Cleveland – but Kimble had only two weeks to gather the sum. The race to rescue Balto had begun! Central Park - New York
MENU The serum race to nome A fund for Balto was set up. All over the nation, radios transmitted appeals for donations. Paper headlines furthered the cause of freeing the heroes. The answer of Cleveland was explosive. Lots of children collected buckets of coins; factory workers, hotels, shopkeepers and visitors gave what they could to Balto’s fund. The Western Reserve Kennel Club made a remarkable donation. People had responded generously. In only ten days Balto’s fund reached the sum for the liberation of the heroes! On the 19 th of March 1927, Balto and his six companions were brought to Cleveland were welcomed like heroes in a triumphal parade. The dogs were then led to Cleveland zoo, to spend the rest of their life decorously. On their first day at the zoo 15, 000 people visited them! Balto died on the 14 th of March 1933, at 11 years of age. His body was embalmed and can still be seen in the Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, where it has been preserved to recall the brave race against death. As yet, nobody can state for sure which northern breed Balto belonged to. Some people say he was an Alaskan Malamute, others a Siberian Husky, still others say he was half Malamute and half wolf. It will probably remain a secret forever. To remember the heroic race against death and in memory of the sleigh-dogs whose “endurance, loyalty, courage and intelligence” saved the life of Nome’s population and that ran through the Iditarod in only five days, a statue was put up with Balto’s features. It was located in New York Central Park and is still the most visited by tourists and children. Balto and the other dogs of the race against time shall not be forgotten; in 1995 the Twentieth Century Fox distribuited the animation film “Balto”, produced by Steve Hickner and directed by Simon Wells. Final note: Balto was not the real protagonist of that race against time. He had covered 53 miles in a dreadful snowstorm and delivered the serum to the town of Nome. That’s why he became famous and was given so many recognitions, but the true hero, for those who know the facts, was Togo and Leonhard Seppala’s team, who covered 418 kilometres in the middle of a blizzard and on the ice that would threaten to break and would repeatedly creak as the sleigh went past! Togo was already 12 years old when he led the team through the storm! Seppala had been Balto’s owner, but he knew that the true hero and protagonist of the great race was above all Togo. He would have liked more recognitions for his “great” dog, and after Togo’s death in 1929 at the age of 16 Seppala had him embalmed. Today Togo is in the little museum of the Iditarod headquarters at Wasilla. THE END! Campaign to save Balto and the other dogs Dedicated to the indomitable Spirit of the sled dogs that relayed the antitoxin 600 miles over rough ice, treacherous waters; through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925. ENDURANCE FIDELITY INTELLIGENCE
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk It’s the common name for a disorder that causes adult malamutes to experience hair breakage and loss. Accurate diagnosis of coat funk is complicated by the fact that symptoms vary widely and because other conditions may have similar clinical signs. The condition appears in other Spitz-type breeds such as Pomeranians, Samoyeds, Chow chows, Keeshonds, and Siberian huskies. A similar disorder is also seen in miniature poodles and occasionally cocker spaniels. Affected animals rarely have any other physical abnormalities and usually have normal blood values. The disorder is so little understood that most experts simply call it "alopecia X. " Clinical Presentation: In malamutes, owners typically first notice guard hairs breaking off around the collar area. Many owners report a pattern of abnormal shedding. Some dogs never blow coat normally, while others shed normally for a few years and then stop shedding altogether. This may pass unnoticed at first, but if the dog is not shedding his old coat, then he is also not growing fresh healthy coat. As the coat ages, hairs eventually become stripped of their protein protection, causing color to fade and breakage to occur. Guard coat tips may turn from gray or black to a burnt orange or reddish color, and the coat may begin to feel dry and brittle. Because tail hairs in malamutes do not normally shed as often as the rest of the body, the tail takes on a sparse or hairless appearance sooner than the rest of the body. Guard coat along the hips may begin to show wear, followed by the trunk. Eventually, much of the guard coat is gone, leaving the dog dressed in a dry, wooly undercoat. Except for his head and legs, he may look like he has a lightcolored "puppy coat" or like a sheep with a malamute head. At any point in the condition's progression, the dog may begin to have bare patches which may not be all that noticeable at first. These tend to spread as the disorder progresses, although typically the process is slow in malamutes. Some dogs may become quite naked as they age, but most maintain the wooly appearance for many years. Exposed skin may turn black in color and may eventually become thick and leathery in response to the lack of protective fur. Just as every individual human experiences disease differently, so do dogs. The above symptoms can happen in most any order, and a given dog may have all or just a few of them. The symptoms can progress fairly quickly, or they may take as much as eight years to develop. Owners of CF dogs have reported other symptoms, from scaly skin and sores, to a funny odor, to a greasy feel to the coat. Some dogs seem to spontaneously improve, then get worse again. Symptoms can become apparent as early as two years old, but more commonly the dog is between three and five years old when the first symptoms show up. Anecdotally, males seem more likely to get it than females, and of the females who get it, most seem to be spayed. However, we desperately need more data to help us to understand the disease better, which dogs are affected and why, how to diagnose it, and how best to treat it. Dog “A”
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Dog “B” Diagnosis Diagnosing alopecia X, or coat funk, can be challenging. There is no single test that definitively indicates coat funk. Rather, endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease must be ruled out, as well as post-shaving alopecia and Sertoli cell (gonadal) tumors. Post-shaving (also called "post-clipping") alopecia occurs when the dog's fur is shaved close to the skin and fails to grow back, sometimes even after a couple of years. In some veterinary literature, follicular dysplasia is another differential diagnosis, but it is unclear whether follicular dysplasia would be the primary diagnosis or whether it is usually secondary to some other underlying disease state. In fact, the term follicular dysplasia may describe several different disorders, such as alopecia X, color dilution alopecia, and recurrent flank alopecia. For each of these conditions, the dysplastic change is different and more or less characteristic for the disease. Experts also recommend doing skin biopsies to aid in diagnosis. Typically, they are consistent with endocrine disorders. (Mueller, 2003; Paradis, 2002; White, 2001; Schmeitzel, 1999) "Flame follicles, " or telogen phase follicles with "excessive tricholemmal keratinization" in medical jargon, are strongly suggestive of alopecia X, but can also be associated with other disorders. (Paradis, 2004) Diagnosis is therefore achieved through careful case histories and differential diagnosis. Research to date Research on Alopecia X stutters along, much of it supported by Pomeranian fanciers. So far the results have been disappointing. Several disease processes have been postulated, but none of them have been proven. Most veterinarians believe that the disorder is caused by an endocrine abnormality, because it so often responds to hormonal therapies. Others believe that the problem may reside in the hair follicles themselves, which are influenced by hormone levels. Follicles have receptors for various hormones, including sex hormones and growth hormones. Adrenal hyperplasia-like syndrome has been the most popular description, suggesting that the disease is caused by too much sex hormone-producing activity in the adrenal gland, which can affect hair growth. Researchers have tended to focus on the adrenal gland, but research is complicated by the fact that these sex hormones can be produced both there and elsewhere in the body. Growth hormone imbalances have also been suggested as the culprit because there have been reports of the disease responding to growth hormone injections. Others postulate that the condition is caused by an abnormality within the pituitary gland because of the pituitary's effect on the secretion of many types of hormones. (Jacobs-Knoll, 2004).
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Dog “C” Dr. Lynn Schmeitzel first focused on the possibility that sex hormone imbalances caused by a complicated interaction of adrenal hormones played a role in disrupting hair growth (adrenal hyperplasia-like syndrome). Along with more technical reasons having to do with adrenal function and molecular binding, Dr. Schmeitzel cited the fact that affected dogs sometimes respond well to neutering or to treatment with sex hormone altering drugs. More recently, Dr. Schmeitzel suggested that many of the disease's characteristics might be explained by a combination of a primary hair follicle disorder that is triggered by a sexhormone related signal. (Schmeitzel, 1999; Paradis, 2002) Dr. Linda Frank, of the University of Tennessee, is leaning in that direction as well. (Frank, 2004). Dr. Frank's group developed a study to try to answer Schmeitzel's questions about whether the disease was caused by an adrenal steroid hormone imbalance by examining data about cortisol, growth hormone, and sex hormone levels. They did a retrospective analysis of data gathered over a period of seven and a half years on various breeds, including eight malamutes. Comparisons of blood levels before and after adrenal stimulation with ACTH showed no striking patterns. None of the correlations were strong enough to support any of the various adrenal theories about how the disease works. Dr. Frank's group concluded that, "based on our results, there does not appear to be a single hormone abnormality associated with the hair loss and not all dogs or breeds have hormone alterations. " (Frank, et al. , 2003, 95. ) Malamutes were among the breeds that did not have much of an alteration in hormone levels, but the results are not conclusive because of the small sample size. The study suffered from a lack of comparative norms for the various breeds, as well as the raw numbers that would be needed to achieve statistical significance. As is often the case, its primary achievement was in ruling out any easy answers and showing where more research might be fruitful. Dr. Frank is currently exploring the notion that estrogen receptors in hair follicles play a role. (Frank, 2004). Dr. Schmeitzel (1990) and Dr. Julie Yager (Paradis, 2002) have speculated that breeding for hirsutism (abnormally big fluffy coats) may have been inadvertently selecting for an unspecified adrenal disorder. Dr. Schmeitzel suggested that when piggy-backed onto another disorder similar to male pattern baldness, the result might be runaway alopecia. She based this hypothesis on an analogous condition in human women, which can cause either hirsutism or pattern baldness, depending on other genetic factors. (Schmeitzel, 1999) Yager wondered whether breeding for dogs who will carry fluffy puppy coats into adulthood (neoteny) may be causing the problem. To date, these hypotheses are merely speculative and need additional research.
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Dr. Jocelynn Jacobs Knoll worked with Dr. Paul Bloom at Michigan State University to see whether coat funk malamutes might have any laboratory results markedly different from normal malamutes. Not only might this shed light on the mechanism of the disorder, but a simple blood test to determine whether a dog has coat funk would make it much easier to diagnose early. Early diagnosis is critical in order to make responsible breeding decisions and, perhaps, for treatment purposes. Because of the small sample size (five affected dogs and five unaffected dogs for comparison), the results were indeterminate. However, slight abnormalities in sex hormones were noted in the coat funk dogs and merit further study. (Knoll, 2001). Treatment There is no proven safe and effective treatment for coat funk. Some owners have reported coat improvement with nutritional supplements such as Missing Link (at doses from 2 to 4 times those recommended by the manufacturer) or ground flax seed or oil. One interesting theory is that malamutes evolved on a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and that current diets do not provide them in the ratios needed. There have been no studies on this theory, and it seems likely that if a dietary supplement was all that it took to make the problem go away, there would be many fewer dogs with active coat funk. However, every clue is useful when you are trying to figure out such a mysterious condition. One wonders whether a diet of seal meat would be feasible. . . Nearly all veterinarians who study alopecia X recommend neutering as the initial therapy for intact dogs. Many dogs will regrow a normal coat either permanently or, more likely, for several months to several years. (White, 2001; Paradis, 2004) Pharmaceutical interventions are considerably less benign than the aforementioned dietary changes and not that much more effective. They are therefore rarely recommended for a condition that most clinicians consider essentially cosmetic. One drug that has been used with some success is mitotane (Lysodren), a chemotherapy agent that erodes the adrenal gland, thereby slowing production of hormones. The drug is properly used to treat Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism), whose symptoms mimic those of coat funk, but which is very rare in malamutes. The dog has to be monitored closely to guard against throwing him into Addison's disease (hypoadrenocorticism), which can be life-threatening and difficult to treat. Given the risks and its patchy efficacy, most veterinarians do not recommend mitotane for coat funk dogs. Another potential treatment is the male hormone methyltestosterone, but it is both very expensive and very difficult to obtain. More importantly, it carries a high risk of liver damage and frequently causes aggressive behavior. The disorder has also been treated with porcine or bovine growth hormone, but most veterinarians consider it undesirable because of the high risk of iatrogenic diabetes, which may be temporary or permanent. Like methyltestosterone, growth hormone is hard to get and expensive. Dog “D”
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Moreover, none of these treatments have been proven to be effective more than temporarily. Coat loss nearly always recurs. Dr. Rosario Cerundolo has been getting promising results in Europe with trilostane, a drug that interferes with the production of adrenal steroids. However, it has not been thoroughly tested and is not yet available in North America. (Cerundolo, 2001; Paradis, 2002). Dr. Manon Paradis popularized the use of melatonin in treating alopecia in dogs. It is readily available over the counter in the United States (but not in Canada) and has minimal side effects. (Paradis, 2004) Some dogs may appear lethargic (melatonin has also been used to ease anxiety or as a sleep aid), but the effect goes away when doses are reduced. Best results occur when a 3 to 6 milligram dose is administered three times daily to maintain blood levels. (White, 2001) Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that affects, among other things, hair growth cycles. (Schmeitzel, 1999) Improvement, if it is going to happen, is usually seen within 8 to 12 weeks, at which time the dose can be lowered until it is not needed any more. (White, 2001) If the alopecia recurs, melatonin therapy can begin anew. Melatonin is not advised in diabetic dogs because it may cause insulin resistance. (Paradis, 2002) Dr. Jacobs-Knoll has anecdotal reports that malamutes do not seem to respond to melatonin. (Jacobs-Knoll, 2004) Indeed, the success rate with melatonin was only about 33 percent among all dogs treated by a roundtable group studying the disorder. Dr. Frank has reported better results from a controlled study that is currently under way at the University of Tennessee. (Frank, 2004) Melatonin's safety and low cost make it a reasonable therapeutic alternative. (Paradis, 2002) Breeding animals may experience temporary reproductive side effects, but in any case it is prudent to avoid breeding affected animals until we know more about how coat funk is inherited. (Schmeitzel, 1999). Mode of Inheritance Current studies of alopecia X have so far not identified a clear mode of inheritance, either by pedigree analysis or by DNA marker. In Japan, Dr. K. Takada and his group worked on a candidate gene (21 -OH) that was identified with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) in humans. They cloned the analogous gene in dogs and sequenced it, but there were no mutations identified. Dr. Takada's group concluded that the 21 -OH encoding gene was not responsible for the alopecia condition in Pomeranians. (Takada, 2002) Because coat funk appears to be more common in males, it has been speculated that it may be an X-linked disorder, i. e. , the gene(s) might be found on the X chromosome. Dr. Jacobs-Knoll collaborated with Dr. Gary Johnson of the University of Missouri on a small study to determine whether a few very specific sites on the X-chromosome might have a marker for the disorder. (Knoll, 2000) Luck did not smile on their efforts, but every little piece of information, in this case that the gene is not on either end of the X chromosome, moves us closer to finding a marker. Dog “E”
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Dr. Johnson is currently working on finding a marker for the Pomeranian alopecia under CHF grant number 2290, which is nearing completion. If he continues this work, we hope that he will add malamutes to his data collection. In malamutes, we see clear evidence of family ties among dogs who develop the condition. However, even closely related dogs may have very different clinical presentations, and its appearance in any given pedigree is so far frustratingly random. Experts believe that coat funk is likely to be a polygenic disorder. (Jacobs-Knoll, 2004; Paradis, 2002) Because of the wide variety in the clinical signs and progression of the disease, its expression may depend upon the level of penetrance of the gene(s). (Paradis, 2002) In other words, one dog may be mildly affected and never get any worse, while another may develop signs early and deteriorate rapidly, all because of how "strongly" or "weakly" the genetic potential is activated. Conclusion As of this writing, we do not know how to predict when coat funk will strike, nor do we know how to treat it successfully. The physiological mechanisms are likewise poorly understood. Much more research will be necessary to help us defeat this frustrating condition. We are working with a veterinary epidemiologist to develop a survey that will give us more information about coat funk. Please visit frequently to check on our progress. With all of us working together, we can get rid of coat funk and restore our proud breed to its natural beauty. References: Cerundolo, Rosario, D. H. Lloyd, A. Persechino, H. Evans and A. Cauvin, "The use of trilostane for the treatment of 'alopecia X' in Pomeranians and miniature poodles, " in Veterinary Dermatology 2001, 12, 225 -41. Frank, Linda A. , personal communication, July 2004. Frank, Linda A. , Keith A. Hnilica, Barton W. Rohrbach, and Jack W. Oliver, "Retrospective evaluation of sex hormones and steroid hormone intermediates in dogs with alopecia, " in Veterinary Dermatology 2003, 14, 91 -97. Jacobs-Knoll, Jocelynn, "Coat Funk Update, " presented at the AMCA National Specialty in Minnetonka, MN, October 2001. Jacobs-Knoll, Jocelynn, "Canine Alopecia (Coat Funk or CF), " in Alaskan Malamute Research Foundation web site, AMRF Coat Funk Page, April 2000. Jacobs-Knoll, Jocelynn, personal communication, July 11, 2004. Mueller, Ralph S. , "Noninflammatory alopecia in dogs, " in Veterinary Medicine (June 2003): 518 -34. Paradis, Manon, "Roundtable Summary, " in Dermatology Dialogue, summer 2002. Paradis, Manon, personal communication, July 2004. Schmeitzel, Lynn P. , "Alopecia X of Nordic Breeds, " Fifteenth Proceedings of the American Association of Veterinary Dermatologists Annual Meeting, April 1999. Takada, K. , H. Kitamura, M. Takiguchi, M. Saito, A. Hashimoto, "Cloning of canine 21 -Hydroxylase gene and its polymorphic analysis as a candidate gene for congenital adrenal hyperplasia-like syndrome in Pomeranians, " in Research in Veterinary Science, 2002, 73, 159 -63. White, Pat, "Identifying 'look-alike' endocrine diseases, " DVM: the newsmagazine of veterinary medicine, June 1, 2001. With grateful acknowledgment to Jocelynn Jacobs-Knoll, DVM, Linda A. Frank, MS, DVM, Diplomate ACVD, and Manon Paradis, DVM, MVSc, Diplomate ACVD for their assistance in preparing this article Dog “F” 15 months old 4 years old
MENU Breed Diseases: Coat Funk Dog “F” to 5. 5 years old
MENU Breed Diseases: Chondrodysplasia (Malamute Dwarfism) Chondrodysplasia is a genetic disorder in which puppies are born with bone deformities, which may become evident in abnormal shape and length of limbs as they grow. Also known as "dwarfism, " chondrodysplasia is caused by a simple recessive gene, which means that both parents must carry this gene to produce an affected (chondrodysplastic) puppy. In very young puppies (under six weeks of age), the deformity is usually impossible to detect without x-rays, even to the practiced eye. Chondrodysplastic dogs (dwarfs) can be affected in varying degrees. Some adults may appear almost normal, perhaps just unusually small, while others may have a disturbing resemblance to a Bassett hound. Chondrodysplastic malamutes can vary in size, just as normal malamutes do. We know of "dwarf" malamutes who stand 26 or 27 inches at the withers! After it became obvious in the 1970 s that chondrodysplasia has a simple recessive pattern of inheritance, a test-breeding program was implemented by the AMCA to distinguish carriers from non-carriers. While the program has been the source of occasional controversy, there is no doubt that it has been highly effective in limiting numbers of carriers of chondrodysplasia in the breeding population. The AMCA chondrodysplasia certification committee is still active today and has been working with the Alaskan Malamute Research Foundation to produce a DNA test that will simplify the task of identifying carriers and non-carriers.
MENU Breed Diseases: Hypothyroidism and Epilepsy Hypothyroidism Dogs with hypothyroidism have impaired production and secretion of thyroid hormones resulting in a decreased metabolic rate. The disorder may be acquired (a progressive deficiency of thyroid hormone) or congenital (present at birth). The acquired form is the most common in dogs and appears to be widespread in Alaskan malamutes, though we need more data to determine its exact prevalence. Found most commonly in dogs aged four years or older, the disorder is the result of gradual atrophy of the thyroid gland or progressive replacement of the thyroid gland with lymphocytes due to an autoimmune process (lymphocytic thyroiditis). The disease tends to run in families and is therefore thought to be genetic, though the exact mode of inheritance is unknown. Affected dogs should not be bred. A broad range of clinical signs make hypothyroidism a challenge to diagnose. Early signs include lower energy levels, unusual episodes of aggression, and increased susceptibility to infections. As the disease progresses, the dog may develop symmetrical hair loss, darkening of the skin, or dry or greasy hair. Other clinical signs include a slow heart rate, lethargy, difficulty maintaining body temperature, mental dullness, exercise intolerance, infertility, constipation and weight gain. A dog may exhibit all or only a few of these symptoms. When hypothyroidism is suspected, ask the veterinarian to do a complete thyroid assay. Standard treatment consists of thyroxin supplementation once or twice a day for life. Within a week of starting treatment, the dog's attitude and activity levels should improve, although improvement in the skin and coat can take up to six weeks or more. With treatment, all symptoms should eventually disappear. If they do not, consider whether your dog may have been misdiagnosed. Because the symptoms are similar to those present in a variety of other disorders, hypothyroidism is among the most overdiagnosed of canine diseases. Epilepsy, which is found in the Alaskan malamute, is the occurrence of repeated seizures. These seizures indicate that brain disease is present. A dog can have a classic "grand mal" seizure, or a partial seizure (also known as simple or complex focal seizures). When a typical grand mal seizure begins, the dog stiffens and falls, then begins jerking movements. The dog cannot control its bladder or bowels during a seizure, and may urinate or defecate. The dog is not conscious during a seizure, though its eyes may remain open. A grand mal seizure usually lasts about two minutes. More serious seizures can occur in clusters, in which the dog seizes again and again in succession, sometimes culminating in a continuous seizure that doesn't stop (status epilepticus). Simple focal seizures are characterized by twitching, most commonly in the face. The pet is alert and aware while this is happening, and often becomes confused. The seizure may stop there, or it may become a classic grand mal seizure. Complex focal seizures may cause the dog to run uncontrollably; engage in senseless, repetitive behavior; or, rarely, fly into a rage. These types of seizures often are accompanied by a grand mal seizure. Anything that injures the brain in the right area can cause epilepsy. If the cause of the seizures can be determined, the dog has symptomatic (or secondary) epilepsy. If the cause can't be determined, the dog has idiopathic (or primary) epilepsy. Many idiopathic epileptics have inherited epilepsy, meaning that their epilepsy is caused by a genetic mutation inherited from their parents. Malamutes with idiopathic epilepsy frequently begin seizing between one and three years of age. Seizures can have a number of causes; therefore, a single seizure does not indicate inherited epilepsy. Common causes include toxins (such as those found in some plants and pesticides), metabolic diseases and physical brain injury (for example, trauma or a tumor). Diagnosing idiopathic epilepsy is a process of elimination. If you suspect your pet is having seizures, your veterinarian can perform various tests to try to determine the cause, including physical and neurological examinations, a complete blood count (CBC), routine serum chemistry profile, urine analysis, bile acids assay and thyroid function tests. Affected animals should not be bred.