Featured in the Nov/Dec 2010 Issue:►Sonny: 2005. Jack x Blue. 44lb-Male. Sonny is the smallest dog on my team. Bantu, one of my all time best leaders, is in his lines on both sides, (Manfred Brida’s breeding, from Austria). Havana’s sister Milos is his grandmother, another of my great leaders from the Quest and Stage Stop wins. Sonny’s breeding is a wide mix from my very best lines. I sold Jack and Blue to Gerry Willomitzer. Gerry bred them and I bought Sonny for Susie’s 2009 Quest 300 team. Susie mentioned that Sonny was exceptional. I finally took him for a run only weeks before the 2009 Quest. She lost a good leader and Sonny was in my team. Sonny has huge attitude. From the front, he has a mane like a lion and bright buggy staring eyes, but from the back you can see what a little guy he actually is. Sonny is a picky eater and he bites. I came into Eagle in the Percy in 2009, with a lot of blood on my clothes because of him. I tried to untangle his leg on the trail and he was flipping out. I made the mistake of being a little rough with him in an attempt to hold him down and he attacked. Wow! He got me really good behind the knee and on my hand. Sonny also bit a vet during the 2010 Quest just after he led the team into Braeburn. The team had just stopped and the vet affectionately threw an arm around the lead dog. Luckily he had a big coat on and once everyone knew no harm was done people burst out laughing at the intensity and seriousness of this small lead dog. We like the big attitude coming out of this little dog. ◄Banjo: 2008. Tushai x Cliff. 60 lb-Male. This accidental breeding was between a Havana x Felix brother and sister. So I guess you could say Banjo is also Havana x Felix. Tushai the mother was my main leader for years, and was retired last year due to a tendon injury so she is not in ‘Super Dogs.’ So far she is back in training this year for my team. I could not resist taking Banjo in our Quest team last season. He was only 2 years old and this was his first race in his life. There was never a moment that indicated that he had not been racing for years. He is a Natural (with a capital N). Banjo was so completely unaffected by the pace. He was one of the hardest workers in the team as well, making him as important as any other dog in that team. Two weeks after shattering the record in the Yukon Quest, Banjo went on to blow-off the Iditarod in a similar manner. Outstanding is the only word I can say to describe this dog. He is too young and without a track record to say he is my best dog, but he is one to watch.◄Kinvig: 2005. Minnie x Dax. 55lb-Male. I borrowed Minnie from Darren Kinvig for the Iditarod in 2005 and subsequently had a litter with her and my lead dog Dax. Kinvig has an incredible positive attitude. He is one of the most athletic dogs I have ever owned. Kinvig was in lead for the last 100 mile run of the 2010 Quest and won the Golden Harness award. I switched him out from swing right before leaving the last checkpoint. He looked so happy and anxious to go. He barked on cue when I asked him if he wanted to run lead.►Tyvek: 2003. Mercedes x Nikolai. 62lb-Male. I bought Nikolai from Harold Tunheim of Norway and bred him to my dog Mercedes. I sold Mercedes to Darren Kinvig. He raised the pups and I bought the whole litter back when they were a year and a half old. Tyvek became one of my best leaders and is my best single leader. He is the one I put in lead when the trail conditions get difficult. He will always find a trail and keep a team going. He looks like an old school trap line dog and acts like one too. A favourite of mine and a very, very tough dog.◄Jujiro: 2008. Mouse x Timpani. 53lb-Male. Named after an incredible Japanese musher who plied the trails in the Yukon and Alaska almost a hundred years ago. Along with Banjo, he was another two year old dog in his first race in the 2010 Quest and another two year old who went on to finish the Iditarod. Jujiro quietly does his job. He is one of these dogs you can easily forget that they are there because they never cause any trouble or concern. Jujiro has a very fast, smooth trot and is one of my favourite wheel dogs. He is extremely calm and affectionate and spends some time in the house. Jujiro will hold completely still and stare into your eyes like he is reading a book in your head. He does not move an inch all night if he sleeps on the bed. He is a strange and intense dog, and a favourite of Susie’s.►Stitch: 2005. Havana x Felix. 60lb-Male. Along with his brother Tank, these are my two best cheerleaders. Like Kinvig, Stitch and Tank just do not get tired, ever. I have not yet seen them tired or what they are capable of. Stitch was the other Golden Harness dog in my Quest 2010 team.◄Big Girl: 2004. Havana x Felix. 50lb-Female. One of my main leaders for five years now. She lead much of the way in the Quest in 2010 and was the only female in the team. Biggy is super reliable. She can have an attitude problem with other females and is very aggressive to get the team moving.►Cliff: 2004. Havana x Felix. 56lb-Male. One of the few dogs in my team who does not run lead. Cliff is a hard worker when you need him. He always shines when the tough trail comes though he looks like a lazy dog on easy trails to those who do not know him. He has the fastest trot in the yard, trotting up to 15 mph before breaking into a lope. Cliff does not pull much on easy trail. He is fresh and willing to work very hard every time you really need him. I don’t know if he is really smart or if he just likes to keep the pace or what but he is a rocket booster in neutral much of the time. It is his trait and it works extremely well for distance racing. Cliff is the father to a litter of 5 pups who is my best litter in 5 years. Of the ten pups in Cliff’s own litter, 9 of them finished Quest and/or Iditarod in my team multiple times. The most promising pup injured her knee as a yearling and is one of our house dogs. So Cliff comes from a very good litter.◄Basil: 2005. Felix x Allie. 48lb-Female. Basil is a tough nut. She is shy and I do not expect a lot out of her, yet each year as the races approach there she is surprising me by looking solid and reliable. Basil is Mint’s sister and also had some erratic behaviours as a young dog, but has matured into a more confident dog and a good worker. She is probably in over her head a little with my team but would do very well in a team that is a little less competitive. Basil is a dog I would sell to a gentle yard. She is very good in training this year and is in the line up again for my 2011 team. Basil is a voracious eater. She has a gorgeous coat and is an easy keeper.►Mel: 2008. Mouse x Timpani. 55lb-Male. Mel is Jujiro’s brother but has a very different mentality. He is the goofball of the team and rarely holds still. A very happy and cheerful dog. Mouse and Timpani were both excellent leaders and are now enjoying retirement. Despite his pedigree, I do not think Mel will ever be a leader. However, he is a perfect wheel dog. I have a harder time finding wheel dogs in my yard than lead dogs, so this is fine with me. ◄Montego: 2008. Cliff x Tushai. 44lb-Female. Montego is Banjo’s sister. Thirteen of the 14 dogs in the Quest team ran in the Iditarod. Montego was one of the three additions to make up 16 for the Iditarod. She ran lead towards the end of the race, at two years old, keeping the pace and leading a hard hitting team of veteran dogs. I enjoy Montego’s excitement at being up front. She barks at rocks or if she sees another team ahead. She has a total love for running. Double Shot, Skunk and Ming (‘the Merciless’) are the rest of that litter and are in training for my team in 2011. Skunk broke his wrist and finger bones in three places in the summer of 2009 and was the best pup up to that time. It was like a nightmare repeat of Emma, the best pup of Cliff’s siblings – but this time the injury healed and so far Skunk is looking fantastic in training again.◄Mint: 2005. Felix x Allie. 58lb-Male. A very high strung dog who was prone to freaking out when he was younger. He is still volatile, but once he is going forward he does not stop. When the sled slows down for whatever reason, he throws himself into it to keep it going. I’m glad I had patience for Mint. He has run just about every Quest and Iditarod with me since 2007. I expect him in the team again this year.►Newman: 2005. Stoney x Scotty. 68lb-Male. Another huge dog, he is a brother to Redford. Newman is very similar to Redford in performance and behaviour. They are best buddies and always run side-by-side, even on free runs they choose to run together. They are never as serious as the other dogs, they are just like big puppies. Newman ran the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in 2010.◄Tank: 2005. Havana x Felix. 58lb-Male. Out of my best lines, Tank is probably the best looking dog in the yard. He is seldom still. Out in the yard he is the one trotting constantly for hours. The energy coming from him is incredible. Tank is an example of the best that my breeding program has to offer. Smooth efficient gait, fast trot.►Topkok: 2002. Mitzi x Nikolai. 65lb-Male. Perhaps the strongest dog in the team, there’s never a slack line on Topkok. His father is from Norway and is one quarter Greenland dog. Topkok can run every position in the team. In fact a couple of years ago my leaders were not too excited to leave Unalakleet. I put Topkok in lead for his first time and he pulled the team up and out of there. A super dog to race with. He is just one of those easy, low maintanance dogs. Great coat, great eater, happy and easy going with everybody on the team.◄Redford: 2005. Stoney x Scotty. 70lb-Male. A huge dog with a big heart. He surprised me with his performance in the Quest. I never thought a dog that size could do what he did. Although I dropped him in Pelly, 750 miles into the Yukon Quest due to a blister under one of his pads, he went on to finish the Iditarod.