INTEGRATION INTO OUR BLOODLINE of the new genetic material represented by the Sergei Solovyev Siberia import stock proceeded a little more slowly than we could have wished, as it was a balancing act between the integration breeding and the necessity to keep the pure Markovo-Seppala lineage going. (Few were aware of the importance of that task; the real Seppalas steadily disappeared in the USA as mixed-lineage racing SH stock was falsely and widely claimed as "100% Seppala" -- Doug Willett's self-confessed "gimmick" for promoting his ISSSC and the ConKC poo-registry. Except for Canadian stock bred by Seppala Kennels or derived from our breeding, the pure-strain McFaul/Shearer bloodline has now all but vanished.)
With the disappearance of the pure McFaul/Shearer or "Markovo-Seppala" strain in the U.S.A. there has come an undesirable side effect in the former satellite kennels of the SSSD Project -- a perception that Markovo-Seppalas are somehow "the real deal," sometimes accompanied by a notion that the integration stock (that is, stock in which new Siberia import blood has been added to the Markovo base) are "just a bunch of alaskans." There is no basis in reality for these newbie notions. The Markovo-Seppala bloodline cannot stand on its own without a steady increase of unwanted inbreeding and ever-increasing problems with the expression of genetic load. The Solovyev import strain was always an integral part of the SSSD Project concept and breeding guidelines and there was never any intention to create a divided two-tier breed.
Much blather has been heard in various websites and armchair-musher forums about "heritage in the Leonhard Seppala tradition" and the importance of having "sled dogs that Leonhard Seppala would be proud to own." The people making all the noise have not the slightest idea of what kind of dog Leonhard Seppala would actually have liked, particularly since none of them, have ever even seen McFaul dogs and many have not even any experience with Markovo-Seppalas, only with "percentage" racing Siberians. I do not pretend to know the mind of Leonhard Seppala or to be heir to his inmost thoughts and feelings about sleddogs. I have, however, owned and bred dogs from J. D. McFaul and that is more than the armchair mushers and the hangers-on of The Great One can say. The ailing, senile Professor Willett made a valiant effort to depict our Siberia import bloodline as "performance-degrading," as if he had any actual knowledge or experience of our dogs and their performance. In reality, SHAKAL IZ SOLOVYEV's progeny out of bitches from Sepp-Alta Kennels consistently outperformed their Willett dams.
We know this much: Leonhard Seppala consistently made an effort to acquire additional stock from Siberia and he bred extensively from Siberia imports. The import bitches Nellie and Dolly are examples, used in his breeding in Alaska prior to the Serum Run. The commissioned importation by the Seppala/Ricker Poland Spring kennel of Kree Vanka, Tserko and Volchok in 1930, the last Siberian dogs exported before the Iron Curtain closed Siberia to external trade, is another example. Therefore it is silly nonsense to characterise the use of Siberia import stock as being alien to the Leonhard Seppala tradition. Dogs like SHAKAL IZ SOLOVYEV are perfectly in keeping with that tradition and with Seppala's own breeding history.
About five years ago we acquired four dogs from our Catalan collaborator Ramón Rojas (two brother-sister pairs), adding two additional Siberia import founder lines to our kennel genome. Cocu, Collen, Ditko and Dushka of Cal Segu have since contributed several litters to our SSSD breeding, broadening our foundation and adding significant genetic diversity to our kennel.
After six litters in 2008 (by way of catch-up breeding, since we were unable to carry on a full breeding schedule in the year of the kennel move), we have now suspended breeding pending downsizing of both our Chinook and Seppala breeding operations. The decision to put the breed development project to bed (made in mid-June 2010) means that Seppala Kennels will no longer be producing litters "on spec" with the primary goal of advancing the breed project. If there is sufficient interest in Seppala pups to generate a waiting list backed with firm orders and deposits, we shall consider further small-scale breeding.